Marburg is a small university town north of Frankfurt in the Lahn valley, Hesse. The castle ("Landgrafenschloss") on the hill, the university's historical buildings and the old city ("Oberstadt", upper city) are the top sights of the city.
Walk the labyrinth of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with extremely well-preserved examples of 17th and 18th century Hessian architecture while taking surprisingly many stairs outdoors. Hearing nearby church bells toll while strolling through this part of Marburg is a life changing experience. This is the Germany you expect from the tour books and here you can enjoy it free from the crowds of tourists.
The Philipps-Universität (founded 1527) is the oldest Protestant university in the world. Marburg has approximately 76,000 residents. With 23,500 students and 6,000 people working for the university, a saying in Marburg is: "Other cities may have a university, Marburg is a university."
Those who have a grasp in Biology and/or Epidemiology may also remember the Marburg virus, which is equally fatal as the Ebola virus. The virus is named after the city after an outbreak in 1967, causing dozens of infections and several deaths.
- 1 Tourist Information Marburg, Pilgrimstein 26, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Monday - Friday: 13.00 - 17.00, Saturday: 14.00 - 18.00, Sunday 13.00 - 17.00.
in addition to suburban trains Marburg is also a stop for InterCity IC trains. The city is well connected to Frankfurt and Kassel. From there you have extensive connections on the German InterCityExpress ICE train network.
Marburg has no airport so head for Frankfurt/Main, Germany's busiest airport.
Marburg is not officially connected to an Autobahn, but you will find that coming from the south via Frankfurt and Giessen the Autobahn seamlessly leads to Bundesstraße 3a, which is developed equivalently.
As a small town it`s best explored on foot. Other possibilities include the public bus services and bicycle. A touristic tour is offered by the Schlossbahn.
If you need, ask the inhabitants: Most people are very friendly and will go out of their way to point out the sights.
Schedules and connections should be checked with the supra-regional transport association RMV.
Since stairs and ways to the castle are especially step and long, bus line 10 is a great alternative: Starting downtown it also stops at the old town's market and then drives all the way up to forecourt of the castle!
Single trips ("Einzel-Fahrkarte") cost around €2 and are quite expensive compared to a day ticket ("Tages-Karte") for less than €5 - as of 2018. Tickets can be bought directly from the bus driver, but a mobile journey planning & ticketing app is also available.
Some bus drivers can be rather harsh and impatient - no matter if you're a foreign tourist or local resident. So better be prepared which kind of ticket you want to buy or where you want to go and have some basic German words prepared.
The direct neighbourhoods of the old city can easily be explored by bike. However, since the old city itself is on a hill and streets are cobbled, riding a bike there is not recommended.
A bike trip to the south along the Lahn river is a perfect addition to a sightseeing trip in Marburg. Elevation is no problem there and bike ways are well developed.
A rental bike system is also available from Nextbike. 30 Minutes will cost €1. Registration should be done in advance and rentals should be managed via Nextbike's app.
The "Marburger Schlossbahn" is a private service, which offers sightseeing tours through downtown, old town and up to the castle. The whole vehicle is styled like a train with locomotive and waggons. Tour guides come from loudspeakers and are available in other languages as well. The service is not operated in winter.
To reach the "Oberstadt" you can also use one of the two lifts, which make it easily accessible for the disabled. Both lifts are free of charge. The "Oberstadt-Aufzug" is located at Pilgrimstein 28. The other lift is part of the "Pilgrimstein Parkhaus" parking deck and accessible from the street.
In Marburg many European and other languages are widely spoken. English is never a problem. For example it is possible to find those who will understand a little Japanese or Mandarin, especially if you approach one of the many exchange students. The people in Marburg are very friendly and when you ask friendly you can get sometimes special tips you can never find in a guide.
Stroll around the old city and enjoy the medieval atmosphere in combination with the spirit of a university town. Visit the Elisabeth Church, Germany's oldest Gothic church, and the old castle at top of the "Oberstadt". Also worth seeing are the old university building, the city hall, and Weidenhausen (the old part of the town on the other side of the river Lahn).
- 1 Castle (Landgrafenschloss).
- 2 St. Elisabeth's Church (Elisabethkirche).
- 3 Historical town hall (Historisches Rathaus).
- 4 Old town market (Marktplatz).
- Take a romantic pedal boat trip on the river Lahn, which starts from the bridge opposite to the old university building.
- Take a hike up to the Spiegelslustturm and enjoy a wonderful view over Marburg at night.
- There is an exhibition on the culture and history of Hesse in the old castle and also guided tours through the "Kasematten", the cellars of the castle. Consult the tourist information office for details.
- There is the Aquamar, a relatively new swimming pool with a spa area.
- If you are looking for culture, art and a special place to enjoy a glass of wine, visit the Kulturzentrum Waggonhalle, right behind the train station. Placed in the historic wagon halls, you will find art exhibitions, theater, concerts, flea markets and cabarets. The Rotkehlchen Cafe/Restaurant serves great food, tasty cakes, and offers outside seating.
- If you should visit the town in summer, the city laid 3TM is held during the second weekend in July, while on the 3rd weekend in July the international open-air short-film festival OpenEyes Filmfest starts.
Self-caterers and low-budget travelers can find all the big discounters in Marburg. There is also no shortage of health food stores. Furthermore, there is the possibility of getting supplies on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the markets in the south quarter, in the upper town and at the Elisabethkirche / Firmaneiplatz. In the old town you will find many smaller specialist shops with an extensive range, including several bookshops. There are several shopping centers in Marburg; Marburg, on the other hand, does not offer large shopping areas and miles.
A typical souvenir from Marburg is the "Marburger Nachtwächter", a herbal liqueur made according to a traditional recipe with 38% vol. It can be bought in the liquor and tobacco shop, Marktgasse 17, in the upper town.
The city caters for the needs of more than 18,000 students so it is not difficult to find a nice cafe or pub. Most of the good pubs are located in the Oberstadt. Be aware that during the university terms they are sometimes crowded.
Next to the lower level of the lift (Oberstadtaufzug) in the middle of Marburg you will find numerous restaurants, great Doner and a very good Lebanese Imbiss.
If you arrive at the train station and like to eat Asian food just walk straight away from the train station and cross the river bridge behind the highway. On the right side is a small, but good place for Asian food.
The area in the historic center around the Marktplatz and Barfuesserstraße is full of good, affordable restaurants for all tastes, many with outside seating. Most restaurants in the Oberstadt offer breakfasts or brunches, and pretty much all of them will have many vegetarian options.
All these are in the city centre:
- 1 Cafe am Grün (next to the Red Star Bookstore). It's one of the most alternative cafes in Marburg and also a good place to go with children. In summer you can sit in their back garden right at the Lahn river.
- 2 Cafe Barfuss, Barfuesserstraße 33. is a classic.
- 3 Maxx, Barfüßerstraße 55.
- 4 Café Paprica, Reitgasse 12.
- 5 Bistro Early, Wettergasse 14.
- 6 Salädchen Marburg Mitte, Pilgrimstein 29.
- 7 Mensa on the Erlenring, Erlenring 5. If you want to meet students then the Mensa on the Erlenring is very good, you can eat there as a guest, and the food is of good quality and affordable.
- 8 Ratsschänke, Markt 3 (directly next to the historic town hall). traditional German food
- 9 Kostbar, Barfuesserstraße 7 (entrance of the Oberstadt). offers a great variety of healthy and delicious foods.
- 10 Restaurant Ancho, Biegenstraße 19.
- 11 Weinlädele, Schloßtreppe 1.
- 12 Bückingsgarten, Landgraf-Philipp-Straße 6.
- 13 Taverna Korfu, Ketzerbach 21.
- 14 Marburger Esszimmer, Anneliese-Pohl-Allee 1.
If you have a sweet tooth, definitely check out:
- 15 Cafe/Konditorei Vetter, Reitgasse 4. Make sure to try the Sacher Torte. If you want to take something home for your loved ones, their Pralines, Marzipan animals and sweets always make a beautiful gift for family. If you come around Easter, check out Vetter's Easter eggs with individual names written on them. $$.
- 16 Cafe/Konditorei Klingelhoefer, Haspelstraße 21. if you like Marzipan don't miss the Wiesbadner $$.
There are too many pubs and bars to list them all, but if you are in Marburg and everything is closed because its already 3 or 4 o´clock in the morning you have to go to the bolschoi pub! It is near the Elisabeth Church and the place to be in the later night! If you are looking for some true Marburg experience, check out the Delirium mit Frazzkeller (Steinweg 3), a 2 floor bar with true Marburg characters and smoking downstairs. Try the Roter Korn. If you like live music, sip a glass of wine to some jazzy band at the Jazzclub Cavete (right across Deli/Frazzkeller). One of the oldest pubs in town is Hinkelstein in a vaulted cellar at the market square. Try Altbierbohle here. A good place to drink a beer during the day is at the harbour (pedal boat rental) on the river Lahn next to the Weidenhäuser bridge.
- 1 Youth hostel, Jahnstr. 1, ☏ . The youth hostel is located in walking distance from the city center
- 2 Welcome Hotel, Pilgrimstein 29.
- 3 Villa Vita Rosenpark Hotel, Anneliese Pohl Allee 7-17.
You can also take a trip to the Amöneburg, an old fortress 15 km east of Marburg, or to castle Rauischholzhausen, a traditional castle with a nice park.
You can also go for longer hikes in the surrounding hills and the picturesque forests.