Charlemagne's treasure chestThere's no better time to hit the road! 5,000 years of history are waiting to be explored by you in Aachen. The chronicle begins in the Neolithic period, when flint was mined in the area. With their thermal baths, the Romans established the tradition of Aachen as a spa and health resort - one of the hottest springs north of the Alps gushes out here at a temperature of 73° Celsius (163.4 F). Charlemagne subsequently made Aachen his prestigious imperial residence, where coronations took place up until the 16th century. In modern times, numerous museums, the World Equestrian Festival CHIO Aachen, and several renowned universities continue to uphold the rich history of the city.
Just follow the "Charlemagne Route" and you’ll discover all the main attractions. The starting point is the "Centre Charlemagne", Aachen's new city museum that brings the history of the city alive with its exciting exhibition concept. The highlight on your route is, without doubt, Aachen Cathedral. In 1978, it was the first German monument to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Together with the palatial city hall, it forms the heart of the picturesque old town.
The sensational octagonal architecture of the cathedral, which was completed in Charlemagne's reign in 803, takes every visitor's breath away. It is complemented by immeasurable art treasures that include the “Karlsthron”, which served as the coronation throne for an amazing 30 Roman-German kings until 1531.
Lovers of modern art should not miss the Ludwig Forum Aachen. Over 3,000 works of international art dating from the 1960s onwards are exhibited in this world-class collection, which is located in a remarkable former factory building in the Bauhaus style.
In Aachen's old quarter, cute cafés and restaurants ranging from simple to fancy beckon you in, and great shopping is a breeze in the numerous quirky shops. Several smaller and larger theatres and the Aachen Symphony Orchestra invite you to enjoy opulent operas, high-calibre acting and nationally acclaimed concerts.
Our tip for your rendezvous of the senses:
Snack on "Aachener Printen". The most famous delicacy of the town is a spicy Lebkuchen pastry, similar to gingerbread, which has been produced in the region since 1820. If you prefer something hearty - and have the requisite culinary courage - you should order "Öcher Puttes". Like the Printen, this Aachen black pudding speciality looks back on 200 years of tradition, and both have been awarded with the quality seal "geographical indication" (GI) by the EU.