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Want to visit a charming small town in Germany? Look no further than Tbingen! This beautiful university city is located just 30km (19 miles) south of the major city of Stuttgart and is perfect for a day trip or even an overnight stay. And while Tubingen is the textbook definition of a quaint fairytale town, there is no shortage of wonderful things to see and do around the city. To help you make the most of your trip, here is my ultimate guide for 11 amazing things to do in Tubingen, Germany in one day!

11 Things to Do in Tbingen Germany in One Day (2024)

This itinerary is made with walking distance in mind and can be comfortably completed on foot However, if you get tired, you can always rest on one of the many benches throughout the city or opt for public transit via the bus to reach some of the spots!

Oh and if you don’t want to deal with navigating the city or simply want to learn about the city more in-depth, you can opt for a private walking tour of Tubingen!

I didn’t personally take this exact tour. But, in a way, I did… My childhood friend lives in Tubingen and spent 4 days showing me all around the city, so technically I got all the inside scoop from a local guide.

Check rates & availability for this private walking tour of Tubingen!

1. Walk Through the Old Botanical Gardens

A picture of several plants in a greenhouse.

To start your day with a little burst of Serotonin, I recommend heading to the University of Tubingen’s old botanical gardens.

The history of the garden goes as far back as 1535 when medicinal plants were initially planted. Since then, the botanical garden has evolved to feature over 12,000 different plant species.

As you stroll throughout, you’ll find several greenhouses dedicated to plants of a certain type of climate. For example, they have a desert house, a rainforest house, and an aquatic plants section.

Aside from the greenhouses, they also have specific collections and gardens, such as a Japanese garden and a Swabian collection. And to help you understand everything you’re observing, there are signs with information in both German and English.

Thus, if you love beautiful flowers and spending time in green spaces, this is definitely the place for you! The gardens are free to visit and open daily from sunrise to sunset.

NOTE: There are two botanical gardens in Tubingen. The one located closer to the city center is called, “Alter Botanische Garten.”
You want to go to the other one that’s on the hill.

2. Tour Eberhard Karls University of Tbingen

A picture of a bench underneath a tree in the courtyard of the castle on top of the hill in Tubingen.

After exploring the Botanical Gardens, start walking towards the center of the city. Along the way, you’ll be able to see several of the buildings that make up the Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen.

Something to note about the University of Tubingen is that it doesn’t have a proper campus. Instead, the university’s buildings are spread throughout the city, often concentrated together based on certain fields of study. Therefore, you’ll likely not be able to see all of the university’s buildings.

Nonetheless, it’s still worth taking the time to appreciate the architecture and history steeped within the university.

Today, the University of Tubingen is a public research university that is globally recognized in various fields. Some of these areas include plant biology, medicine, law, ancient cultures, theology, and most recently, their newer artificial intelligence program.

In fact, 13 Nobel Laureates have been associated with the university!

3. Marvel at the iconic view from Eberhards Bridge

A picture of the iconic Neckarbrcke in Tubingen. You can see a Stocherkhne resting in the water, the colorful buidlings in the background, and all kinds of blossoming flowers in the front. Seeing this gorgeous view of Tubingen is a must things to do in the city.

The next stop is one of the most iconic and most pictured views of Tubingen — “Eberhardsbrcke” or “Neckarbrcke“. In English, it’s referred to as The Eberhard Bridge and crosses over the Neckar River.

To most visitors, this is easily one of the most beautiful places in Tubingen and will simply take your breath away.

The bridge serves as a lovely lookout point for people watching and admiring the ancient houses painted in stunning pastel shades.

And if you visit in the spring or summer, you’ll notice that each side of the bridge is adorned with lots of blossoming flowers. Definitely make time to see this charming spot as it will steal your heart.

4. Go Punting Along the River Necker

A picture of the colorful buildings taken while punting down the Neckar River. Punting is another fantastic thing to do during your visit to Tubingen.

When you’re done taking in the gorgeous view from Eberhard Bridge, you’ll probably be ready to give your feet a little break. This is the perfect time to go punting or “Stocherkhne fahrten” along the Neckar River!

For anyone unfamiliar with punting, it involves a long narrow boat called a Stocherkhne that can carry up to 20 people. The boat is powered by someone standing on the end and utilizing a long pole to push the boat through the water.

And in Tubingen, punting is a tradition that dates back hundreds of years!

In fact, on the second Thursday of every June, all the Stocherkhne in the city are on the Neckar River! Different groups and fraternities from the university compete against one another in a race

The different teams also dress up in costumes and everyone in the city lines the Neckar River to witness this popular event.

I was fortunate enough to time my visit to coincide with this insane spectacle and let me tell you, it’s a sight to see! The slowest team must drink a giant cup of fish oil and is responsible for organizing the event the following year.

A picture taken from the annual punting competition in June. Pictured is a team dressed as smurfs! Witnessing this spectacle is a fun thing to do in tubingen is you can time your visit properly.
One of my favorite boats I saw — Smurfs!

If you miss the annual event, you can still partake in the tradition by going on your own punting adventure.

Punt Viaverde offers rides for 70 euros an hour. I know this can be expensive, but it becomes much more affordable if you can go with a friend or two.

Plus, this is a great way to see the city from a new perspective. ViaVerde even offers packages where you can enjoy a delicious barbecue on the water that includes region-specific foods and a dessert.

Thus, if you have the money to spare, punting is an experience you won’t want to miss out on!

5. Stroll Through Neckarinsel

A picture of the university buildings taken while strolling down Neckarinsel. Walking around this artificial island in the center of Tubingen is great way to slow down and simply take in the views of Tubingen.
A picture I took while strolling around Neckarinsel.

After punting, or if you don’t have the chance to go punting, I recommend strolling through Neckarinsel. This is a 2/3-mile artificial river island located in the middle of the Neckar River.

As you walk down the main path, you’ll notice plane trees lining the pathways. This is formally referred to as a plane tree avenue.

The best part about Neckarinsel is that there are plenty of benches to rest on, making it a peaceful spot to relax or have an afternoon picnic. You may even spot the local swans and ducks hanging out near the waterfront.

In addition, if you’re feeling up for it, you can even go for a swim (weather permitting of course)! There are designated swimming areas on the island that are patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months.

Ultimately, it’s the perfect place to take a break from all the sightseeing and just enjoy the fresh air.

6. See Hohentbingen Castle

Two pictures. Both pictures display different views of the courtyard at the Hohentbingen Castle.
The courtyard of the Hohentbingen Castle

When you’re ready to continue with your tour of Tubingen, head to the west end of Neckarinsel. From there, you can cross the Neckar River and make your way to Hohentbingen Castle next.

The castle is believed to have been built during the 11th century and is located on a mountain overlooking the city.

As such, I hope you’re wearing comfortable walking shoes because it’s literally an uphill battle. Luckily, it’s only a 10-minute uphill climb, so you should make it without breaking into too heavy of a sweat.

Hohentbingen Castle features a large courtyard as well as a castle gate. Though, in its heyday, it served as a medieval castle, palace, and fortress all rolled into one.

Nowadays, you can explore a few different rooms that have been turned into museums. For example, there’s an exhibition on the first discovery of DNA in the first labs of the University of Tubingen. There are also often events held at the castle such as concerts or plays.

One thing in particular that I recommend doing is observing the architecture along Unteres Schlosstor. This is the famous gate portal to the castle and it’s an absolute work of art.

A picture of the striking red roofs of Old Town that can be seen from the top of Tubingen's Hohentbingen Castle. Walking up to the castle and exploring the grounds is another thing to do if you want panoramic views of the city.
The view near Hohentbingen Castle

And, if you make your way up to the top of the castle, you’ll be able to enjoy the best panoramic view of the city and its signature red roofs.

Trust me, when I say it’s worth making the trek up. Seeing the city from this vantage point was one of the greatest highlights of my trip.

7. Check Out the Ancient Culture Museum

While you’re at Hohentbingen Castle, something you may be interested in checking out is the Ancient Culture Museum.

The museum is located in the castle’s former stable and it houses an impressive collection of artifacts ranging from the Paleolithic times to the Romans.

One of the most unique things about this museum is that it houses one of the largest wine barrels in Germany. The barrel was originally built in 1549 and can hold approximately 84,000 liters of liquid! For this reason, it’s aptly called the “large barrel.”

There is also an ancient Egypt collection with various mummies, statues, and everyday objects on display.

However, one thing to note is that there aren’t many English translations, so it may be worth skipping if you don’t think you’ll enjoy the experience as much with English translations.

All in all, it’s a pretty cool museum if you’re into history or archaeology.

8. Wander around Marktplatz

A picture of the Tubingen's Marktplatz while the morning market is going on. Seeing all the half-timbered houses and browsing the local stalls is something you will definitely want to do while in the city.
The morning market in Tubingen’s Marktplatz

Once you’re ready to head back down, walk towards Tubingen’s Marktplatz, or Market Square. I know I keep saying this, but Marktplatz is another favorite place of mine within the city.

Several historical buildings and half-timbered houses dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries line the perimeter of the square. Miraculously, these buildings were not destroyed by bombings during WWI or WWII, so they still embody that old European style and charm.

Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, there is a farmers market held in Marktplatz that allows visitors and locals alike to shop locally. Vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade jams and jellies to an assortment of handcrafted souvenirs.

And in the center of this cobblestone square is a remarkable Renaissance fountain that displays Neptune and a trident.

Two pictures. The left picture is of one of the streets near Marktplatz. The right picture is of Marktplatz when it's more empty.

You may even be lucky enough to experience one of the small festivals often held in Marktplatz. They normally include live entertainment and everyone in the city comes together, creating joyous energy.

It’s definitely worth taking some time to wander around and take everything in.

9. Admire the architecture of Rathaus

A picture of Tubingen's Rathaus, or city hall. Admiring the gorgeous and intricate architecture of this building is something you won't want to miss while wandering through Marktplatz.

While Tubingen’s Rathaus is technically part of Marktplatz, the city’s town hall is so striking that it deserves its own spot on this list.

The building’s facade is adorned with an impressive astronomical clock that was built in 1511. And, if you look closely at the facade, you’ll also notice various baroque elements as well as allegories to prudence and justice – reminders of the guiding principles for council members.

Behind Tubingen’s Rathaus, is their Ratskeller, which is essentially a restaurant or pub. In many German towns, it’s common for the city hall to have a dedicated pub or restaurant in the basement of the Rathaus. Think of it as a convenient tavern for after-hours drinks and food!

Rathaus is definitely one of the not-to-miss centerpieces of Tubingen’s bustling square and I highly recommend taking a moment to admire all the intricate details that went into this functional work of art.

10. Take In St. George’s Collegiate Church

A picture of St. George's Collegiate Church in Tubingen. Climbing to the top of the tower within is another thing to do during your visit if you want to see a bird's view of the city.

From Marktplatz, walk about 2 minutes to reach another one of the city’s most notable landmarks, St. George’s Collegiate Church or the Stiftskirche. The church is a late gothic structure dating as far back as 1470.

Not only is the architecture absolutely stunning, but it’s also one of the first churches to convert to Martin Luther’s first protestant church.

Inside, you’ll find beautiful wood carvings, colorful stained glass windows, and an incredible altar painting from the 16th century.

But in my opinion, the best part about St. George’s Collegiate Church is the tower.

For just 1.5 euros, you can walk up all 350 steps to reach the top of the tower. The views from up there are nothing short of captivating. You can see for miles in every direction and get a unique view of Tubingen’s Rathaus roof.

Two pictures. The left picture is of the exterior of St. George's Collegiate Church in Tubingen. The right picture shows the area surrounding St. George's church.
The outside of St. George’s Collegiate Church. In the right picture, the yellow building in the back is the original lecture hall!

Something worth noting is that the University of Tubingen’s original lecture hall is right next to the church. It’s the yellow building that’s to the right side of the entrance to the church.

And the building directly in front of the church entrance is a student dorm. This is where Germany’s most famous poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived for a few months. You’ll even find a plaque underneath one window that says in German, “Goethe threw up here,” which is pretty funny.

11. Watch the Sunset from Osterberg

A picture of Osterberg in Tubingen. Watching the sunset from the hills in Osterberg is one of best ways to end your visit in Tubingen.
The trail wraps around the hillside and there are a few benches along the way to sit down on.

Lastly, if you still have energy within you, I highly recommend capping off the day by watching the sunset from Tubingen’s Osterberg or the hillside.

You can input Osterberg into Google Maps and it will take you to the nearby area and then you can hike the area for a nice spot. However, to go directly to the trail that the picture is taken from, you can follow my directions below.

When you’re coming from St. George’s Collegiate Church, you will want to head in the direction of the University of Tubingen’s Library. It takes about 10 minutes to reach a pathway called Wilhelm-Schussen-Weg.

You’ll want to hike for about 5 – 10 minutes up to the top of this pathway. When you reach the top, there’s a fork in the road, and you will want to turn left on Matthias-Koch-Weg.

This street deadends pretty quickly and becomes a dirt path that wraps around a lush green hillside. The path doesn’t stretch on for very long, so I suggest making yourself comfortable in the grass.

Side Note: You also may want to grab a glass of wine or beer along the way if the opportunity presents itself :’)

From there, you can sit back, pour yourself a glass of wine if you grabbed any, and watch as the sun sets behind the hills surrounding the city.

This is what I believe to be the best way to celebrate the end of your tour of Tubingen and cement the beauty of this small yet magical city!

A picture of the sunset and all the white city buildings sprinkled in the distance on the hill opposite of me.
I mean, does it get more fairytale than this?!?

Where to Stay in Tubingen

If you’re considering spending a night or two in Tubingen and looking for places to stay, here is my top recommendation based on my experiences.

Hotel Am Schloss

Location: This superb hotel is located just a couple of hundred meters away from the historic Schloss Hohentbingen castle and offers a hillside view of Tubingen’s Old Town. It’s also within a 2-minute walk of the exuberant Marktplatz and within a 10-minute walk of several of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Honestly, the location doesn’t get much better than this.

A picture of Hotel Am Schloss in Tubingen.
Hotel Am Schloss is the pastel yellow building on the left side!

Amenities: In terms of amenities, the hotel has a sundeck, terrace, restaurant that serves excellent regional meals that align with the season, a delicious breakfast buffet, and more services available for an extra charge. The rooms are well-furnished and have a modern/contemporary style. It’s a welcome contrast to the older historic atmosphere of the surrounding area.

Why it’s worth it: Aside from the hotel’s prime location, the service is impeccable. From the second you walk in, the staff makes you feel extremely welcome and goes above and beyond to ensure you have the best stay possible. The rooms are more than comfortable, and I believe the bathrooms have been recently renovated.

Ultimately, the hotel is everything you could ask for and more.

Check rates & availability at the delightful Hotel Am Schloss

Or, feel free to use the map below to explore other housing options! The prices are up to date and the pin represents Marktplatz, which is the center of the city

Best Time to Visit Tubingen

The best time to visit Tubingen is definitely in the spring or summer months. Specifically, May to August is when the weather is ideal, the flowers are blooming, and the city looks most picturesque.

Occasionally, there are days when it might be rainy, but that’s the case with most of Germany. So as long as you pack an umbrella or a raincoat, you should be all good!

Plus, during these months, Tubingen hosts some of its famous festivals and most popular outdoor events. You can really see the city come alive during this time and there’s always something fun to do.

Check out the compact yet durable umbrella I always travel with!

A picture of some of the half-timbered houses that can be seen while walking along walking down Unteres Schlosstor.
One of the views you see walking down Unteres Schlosstor.

But, if you’re looking to save some money, shoulder season months like September or October can also be a great time to visit Tubingen. The weather is still pleasant this time of year and most tourists have gone home. As a result, hotels and restaurants are much less crowded, and your trip might be both cheaper and more enjoyable.

Where Is Tubingen in Germany?

Tubingen is located in the southwestern part of Germany. Specifically, in central Baden-Wurttemberg, if you’re familiar with the 16 German states.

For anyone unfamiliar with the 16 German states or who prefers using other major cities as landmarks like I do… Tubingen is about 35 minutes to an hour away from Stuttgart, depending on your choice of transportation.

By car, Tubingen is also about 2.5 hours from Munich, Germany, and a little less than that from Zurich, Switzerland.

How to Get to Tubingen in Germany

Depending on your starting location, there are a few different ways to get to Tubingen.

By Plane

If you plan on flying into or around Germany, the closest international airport to Tubingen is the Stuttgart International Airport.

From the Stuttgart airport, the 828 bus line regularly goes between Tubingen and the airport and takes about 35 minutes to reach the city.

You just need to buy a ticket from the counter at the bus transit terminal. It only costs a few euros, so it’s definitely the cheapest way to get to Tubingen from Stuttgart International Airport.

PRO TIP: Use both Skyscanner and StudentUniverse to find the best flight deals!

A picture of the greenery as my plane descended into Stuttgart International Airport.
The view flying into Stuttgart International Airport

This is also how I personally arrived in Tubingen the first time I visited my friend who lives in the city. And if I can figure it you without knowing any German, you definitely can too!

That being said, you also have the option of getting a taxi, but this can be quite expensive.

By Bus or Train

In the event you’re not flying into the Stuttgart International Airport, you can access Tubingen via train or bus. Germany’s public transportation network is fantastic and well-connected throughout Germany.

Therefore, it’s always a good option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of an airport or are coming from a city that doesn’t have an airport nearby.

When my friend and I visited Munich, we took the bus from Tubingen to Munich and the Train from Munich back to Tubingen. There were no issues and everything operated in an incredibly timely manner, which was a pleasant change of pace from other countries’ public transit networks.

I recommend using Omio to book your trains and buses as they are the best platform for sourcing all transportation options within Europe. They are my go-to platform and in the 5 years I’ve been using them, I’ve only ever had one issue (you can read about my experiences with Omio here)!

Click to book your bus or train ride based on where you are
And if it’s your first time using the platform, use this link to receive $11 off your first booking!

A picture of a red half-timbered house with stunning flowers draping from various window gardenboxes.
Some of the half-timbered houses around Old Town and Marktplatz

By Car

Another great way to get to Tubingen is by car. This is ideal if you want to see the countryside, explore Germany on your own schedule, or a few spontaneous stops along the way.

I won’t try to guide you on how to Tubingen by car since Google Maps will do a far better job than me, but I’ll give you a few reference points. From Munich, Frankfurt, and Zurich, it’s only a 2.5-hour car ride to Tubingen.

So, if you’re looking for a fun little adventure, consider renting a car to get to Tubingen.

Click to check rental car prices based on where you are.

Visiting Tubingen: FAQ

What Is Tbingen Famous For?

Tubingen is most famous for being the home to one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe Eberhard Karls University. The university was originally established in 1477 and has been attracting students from all across the globe ever since.

Today, ~1/3 of Tubingens population is students, giving the city a lively and vibrant atmosphere. And, with a median age of 39.11 years, Tubingen is the youngest city in all of Germany. Thus, you likely wont feel out of place if you dont fit into the traditional student demographic!

Is Tbingen Worth Visiting?

If you’re ready to travel off the beaten path, then yes — I believe Tubingen is well worth visiting! Between the enchanting setting of the River Neckar, surrounding forests, and vineyards to the bright red roofs, cobblestone streets, and bright half-timbered houses, this city feels straight out of a fairytale.

It’s a place where you can appreciate the beauty of old-world Europe! So, for these reasons, and honestly more, witnessing the magic of Tbingen is 100% worth it, even if only for a day!

How Long Should I Spend in Tubingen?

Since Tubingen is a quaint town, you can do most of the things to do in Tubingen with just a day trip. However, if you can spare the time, I believe it’s worth staying an extra night or two to appreciate everything the city offers!

I stayed for four days and loved leisurely roaming the cobblestone streets, participating in the festivals, shopping at the local market, and hiking nearby trails. Plus, having that extra time in Tubingen meant I didn’t have to be constantly on the go, which felt immensely rejuvenating!

Wrap-Up: 11 Amazing Things to Do in Tubingen Germany in One Day (2024)

And there you have it! 11 amazing things to do in Tubingen Germany in one day… Or over a few days because it’s worth taking the time to immerse yourself in the local culture, even for a quick moment.

From the vibrant half-timbered houses and the incredible sweeping views of the city to the lively Martkplatz, Tubingen is truly a hidden gem in Germany!

All in all, I hope this post has inspired you to put it on your future travel list. And, as always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach out!

A picture of Kristin smiling while standing on the main bridge that crosses over the Neckar River in Tubingen.
My heart was so happy to be exploring this wonderfully magical German town | Happy travels!

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