15 Best Things to Do in Trier, Germany

Trier, Germany
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Nestled on the banks of the beautiful Moselle River, Trier is the oldest city in Germany.

It has reputedly earned the nickname "Rome of the North" because of the city's well-preserved, still-standing Roman art and architecture, from when it was conquered by the Roman emperor Augustus during the 16th century.

It sits in a breathtaking valley and is situated in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which is 15 kilometers from the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Trier boasts a total of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and therefore has a lot to offer—from striking Roman ruins and ancient bathhouses, across old, gothic churches and chapels, to a bustling marketplace and fine wine.

An old vineyard city is a remarkable World Heritage Site and has aged gracefully through the Roman ruins, like the popular Moselle wine that it is famous for.

Are you interested in learning more about this historic city?

These are the best things to do in Trier, Germany:

Take a Tour around the Porta Nigra, the Largest Roman City Gate

Port Nigra
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The city of Trier has a myriad of well-preserved Roman monuments, but the most well-known one is the Porta Nigra, which is a Roman city gate north of the Alps.

It is also called the Black Gate, roughly translated from Latin, and is built with large, dark-colored sandstones.

Dating back to 170 CE, the city gate has remarkably withstood the test of time and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are two towers, and the largest tower of the Porta Nigra spans four stories, all the floors being perfectly accessible to tourists.

It was also turned into a church in the Middle Ages when a Greek hermit sought shelter in one of its towers.

The Porta Nigra is undoubtedly a great place to mark the start of your time in Trier.

The architecture still stands strong, held by rusting iron clamps, and the staircases give easy entry to explore all the floors.

If you visit during the summer, you can also opt for a guided tour around the site and learn about it from a well-informed local!

Get Awed by the Vast Aula Palatina

Constantine Basilica
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The Aula Palatina, also known as the Basilica of Constantine, was built in the early fourth century.

It served as the throne room of Emperor Constantine the Great and is the largest single room structure among the Roman ruins.

Besides being a grand throne room and a Protestant Church, this hall also hosts beautiful classical concerts, and you may even get to catch one when you visit.

The dimensions of the hall stand at a remarkable 33 meters in height and 67 meters in length, and the place has been modified and restored several times.

Constantine Basilica
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Take a walk around the red-bricked building and look inside to see the oldest building to be used as a church in all of Germany.

The Aula Palatina is of great historical significance and is an excellent place to visit because it is attached to the Electoral Palace.

Explore the Electoral Place and Relax on Its Beautiful Lawn

Electoral Palace
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The Electoral Palace is just a walk around the Aula Palatina, standing on a breathtaking lawn with its impressive rococo architecture.

The pastel-hued building of the Electoral Palace stands in stark contrast to the red-bricked Aula Palatina and is instantly an eye-catching foundation.

The main attraction, however, is the baroque-style artistic garden that houses the palace.

Sculptures in Electoral Palace
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This garden is lined by tall hedges and dotted with a gravelly pathway.

Relax among the beautiful well-kept greenery of the lawn and marvel at the brilliant statues, which stand out against the impressive collection of seasonal plants.

The pathway of statues follows various mythological figures and cherubs with vibrant flower beds in between them.

Learn about Trier's Rich History in the Rheinische Landesmuseum

Rhineland Museum
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The Rheinische Landesmuseum, also known as the Rhineland Museum, is one of the most important archaeological museums in Germany.

Built in 1877, it houses artifacts that span a history of 200,000 years—from the prehistoric era to the 19th century.

Among the museum's most interesting exhibitions is the collection of 2,500 Roman gold coins.

The Rheinische Landesmuseum has over 4,500 artifacts, ranging from ancient burial monuments to merchant ships' models to beautiful Roman mosaics.

Visitors may avail of a guided tour of the museum.

It is a great way to learn about the region's development through a massive timeline of eras while looking at priceless and well-preserved artifacts.

Artefacts in Rhineland Museum
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Witness the Ancient Roman Bathhouses of Kaiserthermen

Imperial baths in Kaiserthermen
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Nearby the Electoral Palace lies the ruins of Kaiserthermen, also known as the Trier Imperial Baths.

The origin of the baths can be traced back to the fourth century and is impressive proof of the technological advancement of the Roman Empire.

The Trier Imperial Baths house complex, underground chambers with large hot-water baths heated by six boilers.

They are said to have a capacity of about 600 bathers.

The ruins of Kaiserthermen are the perfect place to witness and feel the excellence and superiority of the Roman settlements so many years back in history.

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Step Back in Time at the Trier Amphiteater

Trier Amphitheatre
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A tour of the ruins of the great Roman Empire could hardly be considered complete without visiting the Trier Amphitheater.

Like all great amphitheaters boasted by the ancient Romans, this, too, was used for medieval sports and performances.

The Trier Amphitheatrerwas built in the third century and is located on Petrisberg hill, not too far from the Imperial Baths.

Although the seating area was not successfully preserved, the top and underground arena are open to visitors and are definitely worth checking out.

Underground arena in Trier Amphitheatre
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Take a Look Inside the Liebfrauenkirche, the Church of Our Lady

The Church of our Lady
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The Liebfrauenkirche, also known as the Church of our Lady, was established in the early 13th century and is the oldest standing Gothic church in Germany.

Built entirely on Roman foundations, it is a marvelous blend of architecture and sculpture—the fine craftsmanship evident in every nook and cranny of the building.

The exterior alone is replete with a beautiful courtyard and unique sculptures, and the interiors are adorned with stained glass windows that catch the light from the outside, causing the lovely hues to dance across the Church's walls.

It also holds 15th-century paintings, which you can admire while weaving your way through the 12 apostles on the supporting columns.

Interior of the Church of our Lady
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Visit the Former Residence of the Famous Philosopher, Karl Marx

Karl Marx House
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Karl Marx, a notable German philosopher and political theorist, was born in Trier in 1818.

His house was turned into a museum dedicated to his life and beliefs in the form of various exhibits.

Here, you can take a look at some of his original journals, the letters he wrote, and even the old armchair where he is said to have spent his reading time.

There are other artifacts dotting the communist history and the Industrial Age.

This small museum also sports a lovely back garden and is worth visiting on your trip to Trier.

Wander around the Bustling Streets of the Hauptmarkt

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The Main Market Square in Trier, known as the Hauptmarkt, sits in the heart of the Trier old city at the convergence of six streets, all leading to different tourist spots.

This market dates back to the 10th century and has been in use since medieval times.

Lined with beautiful cobblestone streets and half-timbered buildings, the vibrant market square is the perfect place to mingle with the local crowd and experience the authentic life in Trier.

Surrounded by different historical attractions on all sides, the market square is at the junction, therefore providing easy access to some interesting places worth exploring.

You can look through different local crafts, shop for souvenirs, and relax at the various cafes scattered across the area.

Admire the Stunning Facade of the House of the Three Magi

House of the Three Magi
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The House of the Three Magi, also called the Dreikonigenhaus, is located on one of the main shopping streets in the Hauptmarkt.

It is very easy to spot with its beautiful Romanesque and gothic architecture.

Much of the building's interior had been damaged in the World Wars, and therefore only the exterior has been reconstructed and preserved.

There is, however, an entrance on the ground floor that leads to a cafe and a bakery.  

Say a Prayer at the High Cathedral of St. Peter

Trier Cathedral
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The High Cathedral of St. Peter or Trier Cathedral, also popularly known as the Trierer Dom or Dom St. Peter, is one of the oldest bishop churches in Germany, dating back to the era of Constantine.

The Trier Cathedral is one of the largest structures in Trier and is a stunning blend of Romanesque, baroque, and Gothic styles of architecture.

The site has been modified over different eras and therefore contains art and architecture, which expands over a vast timeline of 1,700 years, making it a fascinating sight to behold.

In addition to that, the Trier Cathedral Treasury contains important exhibits ranging from various artworks to several holy relics.

Interior of Trier Cathedral
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Catch a Breathtaking View of Trier from St. Mary's Column

St.Mary’s Column trier
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St. Mary's Column, or the Mariensaule, looks down at the city of Trier from a height of 40 meters.

You can drive through the lush forest or take a hike up the winding road to reach this monument.

St. Mary's Column can be seen from a distance in various parts of the city, but the real attraction at the top of the column, where you can catch the best view of the city.

Located atop a high mountain, St. Mary's Column offers breathtaking vistas of the city and the Moselle Valley, which are definitely worth the climb.

St.Mary’s Column trier
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Take a Stroll across the Roman Bridge

Roman Bridge in Trier
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Trier's Römerbrücke, or the Roman Bridge, is the oldest bridge in Germany and dates back to as early as the second century.

It is built on Moselle's beautiful, sparkling river and is perfect for a relaxing stroll across the sandstone foundation.

Although the upper part has been reconstructed twice, the supporting pillars are still old Roman structures that have withstood several centuries.

The old bridge still stands as an important and well-preserved historical site and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Enjoy a Boat Ride on the Moselle River

Boat ride in Moselle River
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Perhaps Trier's most well-known landmark is the beautiful Moselle River, along the banks of which this historical city thrives.

Taking a boat ride across the stretch of this river is the perfect way to view the city's stunning landscape.

The Trier Tourist Office offers various excursions to explore the river, ranging from tours around Trier to luxurious river cruises at different times of the day.

Go on a simple boat excursion across the river or indulge in an opulent moonlit dinner on an evening cruise!

Taste the Famous Riesling Wine of the Moselle Valley

Riesling white wine in Moselle Valley
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The Moselle Valley is famous for being home to the award-winning Riesling white wine and has large areas of vineyards that visitors can explore on guided wine tasting tours.

You don't necessarily have to travel towards the vineyards to get a taste of this famed wine, for the local restaurants and bars in Trier are bustling with an abundance of varieties of wine.

Vineyards with fresh grapes in Moselle valley
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One of the best dining places is Zum Domstein, located in the Hauptmarkt, not very far from the Trierer Dom.

In addition to the quality wine, the restaurant boasts different Roman recipes, some of which date as far back as the first century!

The central market area is peppered with many more fantastic eateries and wine bars, including a two-star Michelin restaurant and winery called Beckers.