Trier is the oldest city in Germany and has the most Roman ruins of any city in Germany. Trier is a city where you can see the Roman past on every corner of the street, it is full of history, culture, and charm. The best thing about Trier is that the Roman ruins, the medieval palaces, and the contemporary trend come together beautifully in this small romantic city.
The entire city of Trier is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which gives you enough reason to visit Trier. Are you looking for: things to do in Trier? Discover our 20 tips here.
Things to do in Trier?
Although Trier is a small city, there are many fun things to do. We have visited Trier more than 10 times, so we can share the best tips. Read the 20 things you can do in Trier below. We hope this provides an answer to the question: what are the best things to do in Trier.
A few activities are located outside the city. For each activity is explained how to get there.
#1 Dom St. Peter
The Cathedral st. Peter is the oldest cathedral in Trier and all of Germany. The Cathedral was built in 326 by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. The cathedral was built at the same time as St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Originally, the building complex consisted of four basilicas that were connected. At the time, the complex was larger than it is today.
Due to renovations, the cathedral has become a mix of different styles. Nevertheless, the cathedral is a magnificent building to visit. The cathedral is free to visit. If you want to see the treasures you can enter the treasure room at the back of the building.
In addition to the Dom, it is also wonderful to sit on one of the benches in the square and enjoy your view. Try to take the time to let everything sink in. You will see more than you initially do.
Tip: if you walk from the Dom to the Hauptmarkt you have ice cream parlor Christis – Eis & Kaffee on the left. Here you can order delicious ice cream and enjoy it in front of the cathedral.
The Liebfrauenkirche stands next to the Dom St. Peter and was built in the 13th century and is, together with the Elisabethkriche in Marburg, the oldest Gothic church in Germany. When you are inside the church, the circular shape of the building stands out. If you look at the blueprint you see a 12-petalled rose. This symbolizes the Virgin Mary.
It is a great church to visit especially the 12 supporting columns, these are painted with the 12 apostles. Also, the original entrance is very beautiful with statues that welcome the visitor.
The most beautiful thing about the church, however, is the garden. For this, you have to walk to the back on the right side. A nice courtyard where you can see the church and the Dom st. Peter from another side.
#3 Porta Nigra
The Porta Nigra is perhaps one of the most famous buildings in Germany.
The Porta Nigra is a city gate from Roman times and is the oldest and largest monument from Roman times in Germany. The name Porta Nigra comes from Latin which means black gate and thanks its name to the dark color of the stones.
The city gate was built for military use between 160 and 200 AD. Only in the higher floors are openings to attack enemies.
The city gate is nice to visit because on the floors are models and information boards to learn the history of Porta Nigra. From the top, you have a nice view of the city. You can visit the city gate daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Ticket costs are €4/$5 per adult and children pay €2,50/$3.
If you want to do something active, the Römerpfad is a must to visit. This is a 10 km walking route just outside Trier. This route is beautiful to walk because you pass a couple of Roman sights.
In addition to the Roman sights, you will see a waterfall, cross large plains, have a beautiful view over a valley, discover Burg Ramstein and enjoy the hilly forest landscape.
The route is moderate in difficulty. People with difficulty in walking cannot do this hike.
You need to drive to Burg Ramstein and park your car there. From there you have to follow the red signs with the logo of the Römerpfad. You can use the map below to guide yourself.
#5 Aula Palatina
Aula Palatina was built by Emperor Constantine to impress friends and foes. At the time it was thought that the emperorship was only about wine, women, and parties, but it was actually nights of debating about important themes.
Constantine wanted to show luxury and power by building this throne room. He wanted to impress everyone who was called to the emperor and make them feel like they were about to become darlings of the gods the moment they walked into the building.
For this reason, a basilica with the largest pillarless hall construction in the ancient world was built, equipped with monumental floor heating. This was unthinkable at the time.
If you keep this in mind when you step inside, it is impressive to see it with your own eyes. Admission is free and is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Next to Aula Palatina is the Kurfuerstliches Palais with the palace garden. You cannot visit the palace, but you can visit the garden. Nice to walk through as it feels like you are in Italy.
The Imperial Baths are located on the south side of the center and are one of the best-preserved Roman ruins in Trier. In the past, people could enjoy peace here. At the time, it was one of the most popular baths in Europe because of the view of the hills of the Petrisberg.
You can visit the KaiserThermen daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Ticket costs are €4/$5 per adult and €2,50/$3 per child. You can buy a ticket on the spot at the entrance.
#7 Burg Eltz
In the Eifel, there are a couple of castles and fortresses to visit, of which Burg Eltz is one of the most beautiful ones. This is due to its location and environment. It lies between the hills above the Moselle with tall trees around it. Built-in the 12th century, this castle is one of the few castles that has never been destroyed.
Burg Eltz is open daily from 09:30 am to 5:00 pm. Make sure you arrive at the car park* at 08:30 am so that you are at the entrance by 09:00 am. Do not visit Burg Eltz later otherwise, you will quickly be in the queue for 1 hour. Tickets (€10/$12 per adult) can be bought on site.
*From Wierschem you should drive in the direction of Burg Eltz, you can park the car at the 1st or 2nd parking lot on your right.
Burg Eltz can only be reached by car from Trier, keep in mind that this is approximately an 80-minute drive. It is possible to combine this with activity number 12: Koblenz. Please note that this will be a very intensive day.
Cochem is a wine village on the Moselle that is recommended to visit. Cochem has nice shops, you can enjoy a walk along the water and there are many authentic buildings. However, the main reason to visit Cochem is to visit the castle of Cochem.
Burg Eltz is more spectacular in terms of the castle due to its location, however, this castle is definitely worth a visit because the rooms in this castle are nicer and you can visit the cozy German village of Cochem afterward.
Tickets can only be bought on the spot. Adults pay €3.50/$4 and children €1/$1 to enter. The castle is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Cochem can only be reached by car.
The Hauptmarkt is the central and most beautiful square of Trier. What immediately stands out is the Market Cross in the middle of the square, which was built in 958 and is, therefore, the oldest Market Cross in Germany.
There is also a beautiful fountain called Petrusbrunnen where allegories symbolize the four cardinals for justice, steadfastness, temperance, and prudence.
In addition, the Hauptmarkt is surrounded by buildings with beautiful facade decorations. Take a seat on one of the terraces and enjoy your time with a drink.
#10 Luxembourg City
Less than 50 kilometers from Trier lies Luxembourg City, the capital of Luxembourg. Luxembourg City, like Trier, is a historic city that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can discover many nice things here such as castles, fortresses, and casemates. You can also enjoy beautiful viewpoints, nice restaurants, and pleasant shopping streets. Luxembourg City is a fun city trip from Trier.
If you go by car it will take you 45 minutes. You can park the car at Parking Monterey – 28 Avenue Monterey. Costs for this are €2/$2 per hour.
The train takes you +/- 60 minutes, tickets can be bought at the official website of the German Railways. Costs for a return ticket are +/- €10/$12 per person.
Koblenz is a large city where the rivers Rhine and Moselle meet. Here you will find picturesque streets, nice courtyards, imposing cabinets, palaces, and attractive squares. Koblenz is nice to visit if you want to see more cities in Germany.
Just like Trier, the historic center is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Despite the devastation of the Second World War, the city center has been beautifully restored.
It is recommended to go by car because you can combine this with activity number 7 Burg Eltz. From Trier, it is a 90-minute drive to Koblenz. You can park the car at LÖHR CENTER Koblenz.
#12 Karl Marxhaus
Karl Marx was born in Trier and was primarily a philosopher who strongly influenced economics, sociology, and journalism. He was the founder of the labor movement, which had a major impact on the economy.
There is a lot to tell about Karl Marx, if you are interested in it is worth visiting the house where he was born, which is transformed into a museum.
#13 Rheinisches Landesmuseum
In Trier, you can visit two museums where the collection mainly consists of antiquity. The Rheinisches Landesmuseum is an archaeological museum that has works of art and works from the German Rhineland. You can mainly see pieces from the Roman period here.
If you want to learn more about Roman history and what it meant to the city of Trier, this is the best museum to visit.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can buy a ticket (€8/$9 adults) at the entrance.
Just outside the center is an amphitheater that is amazing to visit. Some 1,700 years ago, spectators enjoyed watching battles here. Nowadays only the structure is left, all the less it continues to have its power to appeal to the imagination.
After the Romans left, it was used as a quarry. Today you can still clearly see the scale where the fighting took place. The Amphitheater in Trier ranks 10th in size of all remaining Roman amphitheaters.
It can be visited daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. You can buy a ticket at the entrance adults pay €4/$4.
#15 Simeonstift City Museum
In addition to the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Trier has another wonderful museum to visit: Simeonstift Stadtmuseum. This is the city museum of Trier which is located next to Porta Nigra. It features a wide collection that focuses on the early modern period through the 20th century. In this museum, you will learn everything about the city of Trier.
If you mainly want to see Roman art, you better go to the Rheinisches Landesmuseum. If you want to see a varied collection, the Simeonstift Stadtmuseum is better to visit.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tickets cost €5.50/$6 per adult.
In addition to all the historic buildings, Trier is also especially pleasant to walk through, enjoy the bustling city, and especially visit the local shops.
In Brotstraße you will find many boutique shops. If you are at the Hauptmarkt and you walk south you walk straight into Brotstraße.
A shop we used to visit as children is the Rappelkiste near the Dom of Trier. A shop for children’s where a lot of toys are made of wood, typically German!
The Barbarathermen are unique as it was the largest bath complex in the entire Roman Empire outside of Rome. At the time, the area was 42,000 square meters, which is huge.
This bath complex was built in the 2nd century and unfortunately little of it is still left today. Only a third of the original bath temple has been preserved.
Definitely worth visiting if you want to see more of the Roman buildings. You can visit this complex for free between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm.
#18 Petrisberg viewpoint
If you want to get an idea of what Trier looks like from above, a visit to the Petrisberg is worthwhile. On this mountain, you have a viewpoint where you have a breathtaking view of Trier.
The special thing about the Petrisberg is that Emperor Augustus built a military base here to fight the civil war. This was the beginning of the foundation of the city of Trier.
When you have visited the Amphitheater you can go to the Petrisberg, it’s a 12 minutes walk.
#19 Roman Bridge
The Roman bridge is located next to the Barbarathermen and was built in the same period, namely in the 2nd century. The bridge was built to improve the trade route of Trier, it is partly thanks to this bridge that Trier became so big in Roman times.
This Roman bridge is the oldest in Germany. When you get to the Barbarathermen take a moment to view the Roman bridge.
#20 The Eifel
If you have access to a car, it is wonderful to drive around in the Eifel. The Eifel has volcanic mountains, extensive forests, imposing waterfalls, and castles that have welcomed visitors since the Middle Ages. The Moselle also flows through the Eifel, which means that many charming villages can be found along the river. Grapes grow on the many valleys, wine lovers can enjoy various local wines.
If you want to know more about the Eifel visit the tourist office in Trier, next to Porta Nigra.
How many days do you need for Trier?
As you have read, there is plenty to do in and around Trier. If you want to do most of the activities from this list, we recommend staying 3 nights / 4 days in Trier. In 4 days you have enough time to see most of Trier and the surrounding area.
Where to stay in Trier?
Trier is a popular destination so there are many possibilities of where you can stay in Trier. The recommendations below all have a good price-quality ratio. Staying in Trier is not cheap. In addition, there are no hostels, so you have to stay in a hotel or room via Airbnb.
We stay in Best Western (€80/$94 double room) and recommend it. The Hotel is located on the south side of the historic center. The rooms are big, clean and the beds are really good. You can park the car at the hotel. Ibis Styles (€102/$120 double room) is another good hotel, the rooms have been renewed, location is right in the historic center, perfect to stay.
Tip: book the accommodation in time to ensure yourself a place to stay. Because of their popularity, these accommodations are quickly booked. If you book via one of the links above, you can change your reservation free of charge two days before departure.
Where can you eat well in Trier?
As in all of Germany, you can enjoy delicious food in Trier. We recommend the following places:
- Masons: cozy restaurant where you can order dishes from different parts of the world;
- Weinwirtschaft Friedrich-Wilhelm: restaurant in the historic center where you can drink delicious wine with down to earth dishes. It’s not fancy but above all tasty;
- Weinstube Kesselstatt: located next to the cathedral with a beautiful terrace where they serve delicious wine;
- Dean & David: a chain that focuses on healthy dishes, here you can order veggie buddha bowls;
- Vianotta: besides pizzas you can order flammkuchen, these are delicious.
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How do you get to Trier?
Trier can be easily reached by train or car. You can travel to Trier from Koblenz, Saarbrücken, or surrounding villages in the Moselle valley. Check the official website of the German Railways for more information.
If you travel to Germany by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.
What is the best period to travel to trier?
Trier is best visited in the spring, summer, or autumn, so from March to November. Winter is not a good period because of the low temperatures.
Also, keep in mind that the summer is more expensive due to the holiday period in Europe.
Tip: if you are looking for other useful resources we recommend using the official Tier tourist information site.
Want to see more of Germany?
Trier is located in the west of Germany, another area that we love to visit is Bavaria. Bavaria is located in the south of Germany close to the Alps. Due to the Alps and the awesome nature landscapes, Bavaria is a fantastic holiday area. We have made a road trip through Bavaria and recommend doing the same road trip because it is amazing! Check our 10-day Bavaria road trip here to get inspired.
If you are looking for general information about Germany, our Germany travel guide can be useful to prepare for a holiday. In our travel guide, you can read all the tips about the best places to visit in Germany, how to travel on a budget, and more useful tips.
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