Germany off the beaten track

Marienberg fortress high above the Main river in Würzburg. © CTW/ Andreas Bestle

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1 City 5 Ways: Trier

Another installment of my mini series called “1 City 5 Ways,” showcasing the surprising number of ways you can experience some of Historic Highlight of Germany’s magnificent cities.

Today's post focuses on Trier, Historic Highlights of Germany's most Roman-inspired city.


You have likely heard of Germany’s Mosel region. Trier is in the heart of the Mosel region. However, what you may not know is that Trier is actually Germany’s oldest city. As evidenced by the old bridge spikes now on display in Trier’s Archeological Museum, Trier was founded by the Romans 2000 years ago. And even today much of Trier’s modern identity links to this Roman heritage. 

However, as with all of our cities, there’s truly something for every traveler’s interest!


The Foodie Traveler
Michelin Star restaurants have arrived in Trier! Wolfgang Becker, a chef with two Michelin stars to his name, has his main restaurant Becker’s along with his more accessibly priced Becker’s XO.

For a very original foodie experience in Trier, I highly recommend Dom Zumstein’s authentic Roman meals. Located directly in the historic center, across from the cathedral, this restaurant offers meals directly based on the recipes of ancient Roman chef, Marcus Gauis Apicius (AD 30). In summer, to continue your Roman inspired foodie adventure, you can indulge in some delicious gelato from one of the city center’s many gelaterias. The gelato here is quite possibly some of the best outside of Italy.

The Shopper
Trier is a truly a haven for the power shopper.  Many travelers stop in Trier to shop, whether staying in Trier or just passing through to a nearby EU country. Unlike many places in the EU where you have to spend upwards of 100 Euros before you can ask for a “tax free shopping receipt,” you usually need only spend 50-60 Euros to do so in Germany. You can ask for such a receipt at most large shops and even at some smaller ones.

Although the tax advantage is Trier’s primary attraction, there are others reasons to shop in Trier as well. Trier is one of Germany’s most compact city centers. Nearly all of the city’s main shopping is reachable by foot. And you’ll find countless small shops that you won’t find elsewhere, as well as many German style department stores that carry designer Germany brands often unavailable outside of Germany.

The Daytripper
Trier’s unique proximity to so many other EU countries makes it the ideal place to stay while daytripping around Europe. You can pick a different country each day and venture off to spend the entire day there, without having to worry about tramping your luggage about. If you are truly ambitious, you can hit up as many as three neighboring countries in one day! With access to a car, a marathon travel day might look something like this: breakfast in Germany, lunch and sightseeing in Luxembourg City, afternoon shopping and snacks in France, an evening drive through Belgium, and a late dinner in Luxembourg City before returning to your hotel in Trier for the night. Such a whirlwind “Eurotrip” can be quite a lot of fun!

The History Buff
Trier locals will proudly inform you that they are living amid some of antiquity’s greatest treasures. Founded more than 2000 years ago, Trier is as historically significant as Istanbul. That is, before Constantin founded Constantinople (modern Istanbul), he was setting up Augustus Trevorum (today’s Trier) as his base for the Roman Empire outside of Rome. For years, it was referred to as a “Second Rome.”  Today, Trier boasts a UNESCO World Heritage listing that includes eight of its sites and more artifacts are discovered daily. During a recent visit to Trier, I strolled past an excavation site, directly in the city center, where the structure of an old Roman building complete with massive columns had just been uncovered during a building’s construction. As is common practice in the city, archaeologists were busily scurrying around the site. The city’s most significant pieces make their way to the Trier’s Archaeological Museum. As an example, the world’s largest Roman coin collection ever found in one place was discovered in Trier, during the construction of a car park, and it has been on display at the Archaeological Museum since 2013.

The Wine Connoisseur
Wine truly is Trier’s lifeblood, now just as was 2000 years ago when the Romans began planting vines on the Mosel’s perfect slopes. So, not so surprisingly, it is
Germany's oldest wine growing region. Throughout the year, you’ll find wine events taking place in or around Trier. In January, the Moselle Wine Forum hosts more 100 wineries at the Forum Baths at Viehmarkt Square. However, Trier's main wine event is the Trier Wine Festival, taking place in the Olewig district, during the first few days of August. As well, one can take a tour along the Wine Cultural Trail.

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