Just 10 of Many Reasons Freiburg (Germany) is Perfect for Traveling Families
By: Thrifty Travel MamaJust 10 of Many Reasons Freiburg (Germany) is Perfect for Traveling Families
Since September 2010, our family has called Freiburg im Breisgau home. We moved to Germany in search of adventure… and a paycheck that America just wasn’t possible during the worst of the economic recession. We arrived in Freiburg that fall with seven suitcases, a toddler, and an infant to our name. We had no idea we’d fall in love with the place or that it would prove to be an ideal location for exploring the whole of Europe… and the world!
As expats who now have three boys in tow, we’re no stranger to the ups and downs of family travel. Packing woes, mid-airport temper tantrums, turbulent bodily fluids… we KNOW. Through our years of wanderlust, we have come to appreciate the value of the perfect home base – a city that makes it easy to explore the world AND feels warm and familiar when you just want to snuggle on your own sofa.
Below, I’m sharing just ten of the many reasons why Freiburg is that perfect place for our wandering family, and why you might want to consider moving your own family circus here… even if it’s just in your dreams.
10. Riding the Rails. Freiburg im Breisgau halts train traffic on the main north-south German express train route. This means travelers can make their way to big names such as Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, Milan, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Berlin, all without having to change trains! When you’re hauling bags and babies, it’s nice to keep your rear planted on the same train for the duration of the journey.
9. Road Trippin’. Fancy a motoring holiday instead? The A5 runs along Freiburg’s backside, offering easy access to Switzerland in the south, Frankfurt to the north, and 15 other German autobahn routes in between… all without clogging the city itself with smog, noise, or maddening traffic.
8. Reach for the Skies. Worldwide travel begins with a direct train from Freiburg’s Hauptbahnhof to the Frankfurt Airport (again, no changes, yeehaw!). With over 100 airlines to choose from and a plethora of non-stop destinations, the dream destination of your choice is only a jet hop away
7. Pinch Your Pennies. For those with more kids than euros in the bank, budget airlines are a godsend. The Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport offers a dozen airlines including the ever-popular easyJet. Oh, and did I mention it’s less than one hour away by bus or car? Plus, dashing back and forth across the unmanned French-Swiss border inside the airport terminal is just plain fun.
6. The East Within Reach. Bus service in Germany has exploded in the past year, and Freiburg is now served by five bus companies which make exotic eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia, Romania, and the Czech Republic accessible… and cheap!
5. Smashing Scenery. Who doesn’t love a good castle, ruined or restored? Pack a picnic and your handy-dandy chain mail for a rabble-rousing good time at one of the many palaces, fortresses, and castles in Freiburg and her home state of Baden-Württemberg. With over SIX HUNDRED sites, it’ll be years before the family could possibly see them all.
4. Fairytale Forest. Nestled right next to Freiburg, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) offers real life adventure for families in the natural playground made famous by the Grimm Brothers fairytales. While you might find a few witches and cuckoo clocks, the area is better known for its thousands of kilometers of hiking trails. With routes suitable for everyone from pre-schoolers to pros, families will love discovering the amazing views, trees, ravines, meadows, waterfalls, and vineyards in the Schwarzwald.
3. Croissants & Chocolate. When it’s time for a break from schnitzel and sausage, wine and croissants are waiting just over the border in France. Dine on world-renowned Alsatian cuisine for dinner, and toast to the delicious fact that you can be home from your feast in forty five minutes. If the kids are more into fondue and chocolate, cruise on down to the Swiss border. Since Basel is a mere sixty-minute drive, the “are-we-there-yet” chorus in the back seat won’t stand a chance of ringing out before you arrive.
2. Soak up the Sun. Warm weather lovers rejoice! Freiburg boasts the best weather in all of Germany. If your soul needs the sea, sail on down to the Bodensee where you’ll find beaches and an island to delight children and adults of all ages. But when nothing but the Mediterranean will do, make a beeline for Italy. Six CDs later, everyone will be sculpting sandcastles and slurping spaghetti.
1. There’s no place like home. Sure, the Alps are amazing and Paris is perfect, but after every grand adventure, it’s lovely to be back in your own space. Freiburg has that small-town vibe and big-city variety. With friendly neighbors, nearby shops, and miles of cycling paths, everything our family needs is only a bike ride away. Plus, clean air, green spaces, and scores of playgrounds make it a joy to be outdoors. Several well-established expat networks, an English library, and bilingual schools help foreigners like us adjust and feel welcome.
Freiburg is the perfect place to love and leave – cozy when you’re here, convenient when you want to pack up the kids and just get away. What more could you ask for?
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Contest Comments » There are 15 comments
What great facts about a little town I visited back in 2008 and LOVED. My biggest memory was all of those bicycles about town.. so so so many bikes. GOOD LUCK>
A few years ago I was there for a day, and considering that my very short trip there was part of a weekend trip to France and Switzerland, you are definitely in an envious part of this world. Great round-up!
"A perfect place to love and leave" ....I like our central location as well. Living in the middle of Europe is wonderful. Weekend getaways are easy. Mountains, beach, cheese and wine.
Sounds like a great place to visit for a month too.
Warm, realistic recount of experiences by a savvy expat and international traveler who, undaunted, peels away the packaging, gets to the essence of other cultures, respects and relates to them well.
Thank you for a great summary of what makes this region special. I really enjoyed the notes about it being a city with small town touches because I also find that to be one of its greatest assets. Cheers! ...or Caio as they say!
I love all of the transportation ideas mentioned and even though I am not an expat it makes me want to just go visit!
Haven't lived in Freiburg but it would be a good option if I'd be living in Germany. Good summary and good tips, thanks!
Very helpful inspirational kick in the bottom to get out there and explore this region more thoroughly even with our now four children or better yet is the idea to go over the border for a nice meal just the two of us.
Great post! And I agree with you- the more we see of Germany the more we love it. Such a beautiful place- great tips for sure!
Freiburg is certainly one of Germany's best kept secrets (until now..)!
Now that the cat is out of the bag what other home-town secrets are you going to share with us?
I've never been to Freiburg but Germany seems pretty family friendly! I think Germany is also beautiful and full of great places to visit- perfect for traveling families!
I think these are some excellent points. Do you think it is safe to say you have explored your little part of Germany to its fullest?
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