At first sight, this small city with only 240,000 inhabitants, surrounded by mountains, forests and hot springs, does not appear to be home to a dynamic university, a UNESCO world heritage site and one of Europe’s best Christmas markets all at the same time.
However, the combination of a well-preserved, medieval, picturesque city centre with its famous cathedral, as well as an established location for science and research with over 50,000 students gives Aachen a unique and charming flair. During Christmas time the squares and streets around the impressive Aachen Cathedral turn into an atmospheric paradise of Christmas sounds and fragrance.
Things to see and do
Aachen Christmas Market
The smell of steaming “Glühwein” (mulled wine) is in the air, little wooden stalls in dazzling colours sell their charming souvenirs against the backdrop of a splendid cathedral, and Christmas songs are heard in every cobbled alley. This is the famous Aachen Christmas Market that attracts around 1.5 million visitors every year and was crowned the third best Christmas Market in Europe by visitors. Characteristic for the market is its familiar atmosphere and charme typical for a small city, and all of this in a setting of beautiful, medieval buildings. And along with delicious German mulled wine, the famous sweets "Aachener Printen" are a must-try for every visitor.Click here for more information.
Aachen Cathedral has been the city’s most impressive landmark for more than 1000 years. Commissioned by Charles the Great in 795 to consolidate the centre of the Carolignian Empire, the architectural masterpiece represents the heart of the city even today. Together with the Cathedral Treasury, which is one of the most important ones among the churches’ cultural treasures, the cathedral is Germany’s first and the worlds’ second UNESCO world cultural heritage site in 1978.
Charles the Great
RWTH: University of Aachen
How to get there
Aachen can be reached by air, with nearby airports in Maastricht (15 miles away), Liege (20 miles away), Cologne (35 miles away) or Düsseldorf (40 miles away), or by train from St Pancras via Brussels and by coach from London Victoria Station.