A visit to Bavaria's third-largest city is like travelling back in time to the Renaissance, largely thanks to the work of master builder Elias Holl. Inspired by his travels in Italy, he turned Augsburg into a northern outpost of Italian architecture. Explore the sights of Augsburg and enjoy an unforgettable day in this city of a hundred faces.
Architecture to impress: Augsburg's synagogue and Elias Holl's first commission
Start your visit at Augsburg's main station and walk into town via Halderstrasse. This is where the first of the main sights is located: the synagogue. This monumental building is over 100 years old and is among the most beautiful synagogues in Europe.
Afterwards, go left to the end of Halderstrasse. A large tram stop called Königsplatz is located here: use the covered platforms to follow the tram track to your left. Once the stop is behind you, look to the right and you will see Zeuggasse opening off Königsplatz. Walk down this small street until you reach the old city arsenal, or Zeughaus. No other architect played such an important role in shaping Augsburg's urban fabric as Elias Holl, and the arsenal is the oldest of his surviving creations. Soldiers once lived in this building, but now it is a meeting point for young and old in the heart of the city. Its external courtyard changes with the seasons: a beer garden is the perfect place for relaxing during the summer months, while it lights up with the magic of a Christmas market in winter. The Zeughaus Stuben restaurant serves irresistible local food in this wonderfully authentic setting. If you want to see (and taste) what Augsburg is really like, don't forget to drop in here.
Venetian charm meets gilded splendour, plus the world's oldest social housing
You can stroll from here to the old town hall on the other side of Maximilianstrasse. En route, explore the enchanting Lechviertel neighbourhood. With its narrow, winding alleys, little shops and small waterways, the locals call it "Little Venice" – and you can see why. Augsburg is home to a huge number of listed buildings: 1,226 individual sites and 20 groups of structures. Its old town covers a large area and is a designated heritage site. No less than 65 preservation orders keep its squares and streets looking as good as they do, and you should take the time to see what it has to offer.
Augsburg's town hall is the next stop on your tour. This Renaissance-era building is one of Germany's most impressive town halls, and it was also designed by the famous Elias Holl. It forms an ensemble with the nearby Perlachturm tower, almost 60m high – together, they are another of Augsburg's many landmarks. But don't just be content to look at the facade from the street. Inside, the sumptuous Golden Hall will take your breath away. Three storeys high, it is a lavish display of gilding and decoration, and it also houses a number of art works.
After the town hall, walk down the street Am Perlachberg and keep going along Jakoberstrasse until you reach the next sight on your tour: the picturesque Fuggerei complex. It represents the world's oldest social housing scheme that is still in use, and it was originally founded by Jakob Fugger, a member of the wealthy merchant family. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the "show homes" that reveal what life here was like in the past, so different to how the complex's modern-day residents live.
The roots of the Threepenny Opera and Mother Courage
Just a few minutes' walk from the Fuggerei is the birthplace of Augsburg's most famous son, Bertolt Brecht. A red figure marks the entrance to the Brecht House – you can't miss it. Now a museum dedicated to the creator of plays such as The Threepenny Opera and Mother Courage, its collection contains priceless original manuscripts and first editions of his works. Videos and documentaries provide further details about Brecht's literary activities as well as information about his life and influence. Our insider tip for you: use the museum's wifi connection for visitors to download the video guide and learn even more about the writer's universe.
A feast fit for Goethe or Mozart
There's no better way to round off your eventful day exploring Augsburg, its sights and secrets than eating at the city's oldest restaurant, Bauerntanz. Goethe and Mozart were among its famous guests, eager to sample something from its range of Swabian-Bavarian dishes. It's not far from the Brecht House. Go to the end of Auf dem Rain, and turn right at Barfüsserstrasse. Go left at the first corner and stay on Mittlerer Lech until you come to Bauerntanzgässchen on your right. You only have a few metres left to go: the restaurant is in the last building on the right, at the corner.
Enjoy the historic atmosphere of Bavaria's oldest city one last time as you make your way back to the station. It takes about 15 minutes to walk there, and it's virtually a straight line. Walk to the end of Weisse G (or Gasse), then go right just a little so you can head down Judenberg, which brings you to Moritzplatz. Bürgemeister-Fischer-Strasse is the large street almost immediately opposite. Follow it to the end, cross Königsplatz and then go down Bahnhofstrasse, which takes you right to the station. Catch your train and enjoy reminiscing about your fantastic day and all the wonderful things you saw in Augsburg.
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.