Tübingen is a small, traditional university town that has a distinctive quality – and culture – of living. The town is characterised by both its historical charm as well as its youthful, conscious and sustainable way of life. The summer and fall months offer many ways to experience the culture, nature and flair of this vital, bustling town.
Small steps, narrow alleys, large parks and pointed gables make up the townscape of old Tübingen. Narrow cobblestone alleys wind between countless timber-framed houses dating back to the 15th and 16th century. The streets are lined with numerous outdoor cafés, wine taverns and student bars as well as unusual small shops. “We pride ourselves embracing a unique quality of life marked by individuality, intellectual curiosity, conscious living, and respect for history and nature,” explains Ms. Feiler, a spokesperson for the city.
The Swabian university city with over 86,000 inhabitants and 28,000 students combines the flair of a lovingly renovated city centre dating back to the Middle Ages with the colourful, bustling and vital consciousness of a young and cosmopolitan student city. It is, in fact, the state’s youngest city. Single travellers, families and groups can explore and experience the unique culture that the town’s residents, merchants and students cherish and uphold.
Historical, cultural and vital charm
Located 40 kilometres south of Stuttgart between the Schönbuch Forest and the Swabian Hills – on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers in the state of Baden-Württemberg – the old university town is easily reached for a day or weekend trip. The climate is often said to resemble a Mediterranean atmosphere, especially in the summer months.
Tübingen combines the flair of a medieval city centre with the youthful vitality of a student town. The River Neckar runs right through the town centre, and taking a boat trip in a famous ‘Stocherkahn’ – the boat exclusive to Tübingen that is propelled by a long wooden pole — offers a scenic view of the picturesque Neckar waterfront with the famous Hölderlin Tower. During the summer (May- September), guests can take ‘Stocherkahn’ tours daily at 1pm and Saturdays at 5pm, as well as after-work events on Thursday and Friday at 6:30pm.
Exhibitions at Tübingen’s famous art galleries and museums, as well as theatres, cinemas and festivals emphasise the diversity of Tübingen’s cultural aspects. The weekly farmer’s market is held Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the historic market square, and on Saturdays in front of the Jakobus church. Bag glossy fruits and vegetables, oven-fresh bread and local honey and herbs at this regional gem.
The pedestrian-friendly old town invites visitors to browse the shops or settle in one of the cafés along the way. The ‘Gassentreffen’-Tour is an individualised way to get to talk and visit local shopkeepers, merchants and artisan craftsman that are well represented in the town. It is part of the ‘Tübinger Melange’, a three-day visitor package. Visitors can get a sense of how engaged, responsible and connected Tübingen’s residents and business owners are with their environments – historical, political and cultural.
“As a town, Tübingen shows how to connect growth and high quality of life with the awareness for nature and climate protection,” states Tübingen’s mayor Boris Palmer.
Centre of knowledge and research
For hundreds of years, Tübingen has also been a town of science. The Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, dating back to 1477, is one of Germany’s oldest and best schools, attracting students to its internationally renowned programmes in medicine, the natural sciences and the humanities. Facilities such as the University Medical Centre, the Max Planck Institutes and other establishments offer an excellent research and learning environment.
The best way to explore the town is through a guided tour. The Tübingen Tourism Bureau helps guests, groups and companies through providing tourist information, accommodation, tours and event tickets.
TEXT: ELISABETH DOEHNE