With a population of 118,000 inhabitants Ulm forms an urban district and administrative center of the region. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and traditions as a former Free Imperial City (German: freie Reichsstadt). Today, it is an economic center due to its varied industries, and it is the seat of a university. Internationally, Ulm is primarily known for having the church with the tallest steeple in the world (161.53 meter or 529.95 feet), the Gothic Ulm minster (German: Ulmer Münster) and as the birthplace of Albert Einstein.
Ulm lies at the Danube river and is surrounded by forests and hills which rise to altitudes of over 620 metres, which are part of the Swabian Mountains. Because of the Danube Ulm sees a lot of dense fog especially in late autumn and early spring. Most parts of the city, including the old town, are situated on the north-west bank of the Danube. On the other side of the river lies the twin city of Neu-Ulm in the state of Bavaria.
Around the city, there are many statues of sparrows (Spatzen). Spatzen is a nickname for the residents of Ulm and a symbol of the city. Legend says that, while building the cathedral, the workers couldn't figure out how to get the long wooden beams into the church until they noticed a sparrow entering its nest while holding a piece of straw lengthwise, instead of sideways.
Standard German is understood by everyone, but the local dialect is Swabian (Schwäbisch).
There are special train tickets called Länder-Tickets for travel within a region, such as Baden-Württemberg or Bavaria (Bayern). With this ticket up to five people can use all regional trains for a whole day for only 22 € (one person) – 38 € (five persons). Prices may change, so check the Deutsche Bahn website for the latest prices.
From these airports you can take the ICE or IC train to get to Ulm.
- Munich International Airport (IATA: MUC). 150km from Ulm, about 2 1/2 hours by train. The airport has an S-Bahn station, which connects to other Munich train stations.
- Stuttgart Airport (IATA: STR), 90km from Ulm
- Friedrichshafen Airport (IATA: FDH), also known as Bodensee-Airport, Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance
- Memmingen Airport (IATA: FMM) near Memmingen. One of the RyanAir destinations.
Ulm is near the intersection of the A7 and A8 autobahns.
The town center is small enough to walk around, but there are lots of buses and even sightseeing boats on the Danube (Donau) River.
- Ulmer Münster. Construction on this Gothic cathedral began in the 14th century, but the current version was only fully completed in 1890. The interior of the Münster contains gorgeous choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin (1469–1474) from the 15th century. The top of the steeple, which is the tallest in the world, can be reached by climbing 768 steps and offers an amazing view of Ulm and the region (4€ for adults). On clear days, it is possible to see the Alps.
- Fishermen's Quarter (Fischerviertel). a scenic old part of town with half-timbered houses, around the Blau River. Contains the crookedest hotel in the world
- Rathaus (city hall). With its ancient colorful painted walls and the astronomical clock (dating from 1520)
- Library. The library of Ulm, also known as "Glaspyramide" (glass pyramid), because of its architecture.
- Schwörmontag. a town festival that includes the Nabada, a water parade in the Danube (Donau) river. Every year on third Monday in July
- Christmas market. On the plaza in front of the Münster
- Farmers' Market. Om Wednesday and Saturday in front of the Münster.
- Narrensprung. The annual parade at the beginning of Carnival season
A Museum Pass is available from the Tourist Information office for 12€ and is valid for 12 months. It provides entry to the Weishaupt Gallery, Ulm Museum, Museum of Bread Culture, Danube Swabian Museum, Edwin Scharff Museum, Museum at Wiblingen Monastery and Rococo library, Natural History Education Centre, and Children's Museum Neu-Ulm.
- Museum of Bread Culture. In the Old City, dedicated to the 6,000-year history of bread.
- Kunsthalle Weishaupt (Weishaupt Gallery). A modern art museum
- Ulmer Museum. Containing ancient and modern art, including the world's oldest zoomorphic figurine
- Walk along the Donau (Danube) river and the city wall and through the Fischerviertel. Visit the many art galleries there. See the Schiefes Haus (Crooked House) and enjoy the nice and little houses with very little streets between and small rivers. Visit the birthplace of Albert Einstein. Today the site of the house where he was born is marked with a memorial.
- Take a cruise on the Donau until the Delta
The major shopping street starts at the train station and leads directly to the Ulmer Münster church.
There are plenty of places to eat in the nice and quiet Fischerviertel, where you can get some genuine German food and beer.
- Zur Forelle, Fischergasse 25, ☎ . Very good German fish and meat dishes.
- Hemperium, ☎ . Zinglerstraße 1. Restaurant/bar where various meals made from the (impotent) male hemp plant are served. Prices are very attractive and food is good.
- Kornhäusle, ☎ . Kornhausgasse 8. A cozy small restaurant which serves crèpes (yummy salty French pancakes), also very nice.
- Donaustern, Herdbruckerstr. 26. is one of the better kebab booths in Ulm
- Gaststätte zur Stadt Heidenheim (Oststadt). Big meals, Biergarten during summer
- Barfüßer, Paulstraße 4, Neu-Ulm, ☎ . The Barfüßer restaurants brew their own beer. There is also one Barfüßer beer garden directly at the Donau river.
- Murphy's Law, Keltergasse 3, ☎ . Murphy's Law is an Irish Pub.
- Schlössle, Schlössleweg 3, Neu-Ulm, ☎ . The Schlössle is perhaps one of the nicest beer gardens and can be reached within a 15min walk from the city. They also serve their own beer.
- Hotel ibis Ulm City, Neutorstraße 12. Basic hotel but but clean, not too expensive and close to the centre
- Hotel Schiefes Haus, Schwörhausgasse 6, ☎ . Very nice, but also very expensive. Breakfast included. 125-148 Euros.
- Ulmer Münster Hotel, Münsterplatz 14, ☎ . Check-in: 3 /9/2012, check-out: 5/9/2012. Located next to the Münster.
- Maritim Hotel Ulm, Basteistraße 40, ☎ . Quality hotel with a very good breakfast buffet. Locate by the river, bit of a stroll to the town centre
The Ulm tourist office, located in the Stadthaus in the Münsterplatz, is very good. There are many pensions in the old town whose owners do not speak English well and prefer the office to act for them. The old town on its own is worth the stop with some excellent stuben.
There are a lot of internet cafes all over the town. Just ask.
You can get free internet access at the new Stadtbibliothek (city library), next to the Rathaus (city hall). They have about 30 PC there. WLAN is also available there.