Ulm Germany: 5 Fun Things To Do in This City

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Ulm, Germany is famous for two things:  1) being home to the world’s largest church steeple and 2) being the halfway point between Munich and Stuttgart.

Ulm Cathedral in Bavaria, Germany
Cathedral has the highest church steeple in the world!

 

It was the latter that motivated me to actually visit Ulm, Germany. I was looking for a halfway point to meet up with friends from Stuttgart.  I was pleasantly surprised that it offers a lot more than anticipated.

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1) Ulmer Münster (Ulm Cathedral)

Ulm, Germany is home to the tallest church steeple in the world measuring 161.53 m (529.95 ft).  It dominates the aptly named Münsterplatz. However, I visited it on a foggy day. The fog seemed to swallow up the steeple as it disappeared into the clouds. This may sound majestic, but simply put, I couldn’t see the whole thing.

The entrance to the cathedral is free and while it’s a nice cathedral I wasn’t wowed.  Firstly, I have seen a lot of churches. Secondly, because of this it really does take a lot for me to be wowed. So you won’t necessarily want to take my word for it. After all, it is just my opinion.

For a small fee, visitors can climb the 768 steps up the church steeple, for what I’m sure (hope) would be a spectacular view after climbing all those steps.  Our group of four decided against it since it seemed like a lot of work for what was going to be inevitably a view of fog.

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inside the cathedral in Ulm, located halfway between Munich and Stuttgart in Germany
Inside Ulm Cathedral

1a) Enjoy the view of the Ulmer Münster

While I wasn’t blown away by the interior of the church, I did enjoy watching the steeple disappear into the clouds then reveal a bit more of itself, only to cover up again in cloud cover. We enjoyed the views of the cathedral from Münsterplatz over a glass of gluhwein (mulled wine) as we explored our first Christmas market of the year.  To warm up we headed to Cafe im Stadthaus, a modern cafe in stark contrast to the cathedral with huge windows that offers great views of the Münster.

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Albert Einstein Fountain
Bizarre looking Albert Einstein Fountain where Albert Einstein was born.

2) Check out the Albert Einstein Fountain

Ulm, Germany is the birthplace of Albert Einstein and there is a rather comical fountain that is worth visiting.  I’m not sure this is how I would wish to be immortalized, but it is memorable and better than another boring looking statue just standing there.

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SchiefesHaus in the Fishermen's Quarter
The Crooked Haus (SchiefesHaus) in the Fishermen’s Quarter.  Photo courtesy of to.wi on Flickr.

3) Fishermen’s Quarter (Fisherviertel)

The Fishermen’s Quarter lines the River Blau with traditional half-timber houses, cobblestone streets and was home to the fishermen and tanners in previous times.  It is also home to the Crooked House (SchiefesHaus), a leaning 16th-century house that has been renovated and is now a hotel.  I have seen a lot of half-timber houses since moving to Germany, but I never get tired of them and if they have an interesting history, even better.

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Federal fortifications that were the largest in Germany at their time.
Federal Fortifications were the largest in Germany at their time. Photo courtesy of the City of Ulm.

4) Go for a Walk Along Fortress Way (Festungsweg)

Ulm, Germany is home to the Federal Fortifications which were built between 1842 – 1859.  Fortress Way (Festungsweg) provides a nice walk along with the surviving buildings with signs along the way (in German).  The Federal Fortress has more than 800 rooms in its four wings and was the largest fortress in Germany at the time. 

While it is possible to go inside some of the buildings, it does take some planning.  Fort Oberer Kuhberg (Upper Fort Kuhberg) is only open to the public on Sundays only from 2-5 pm, with a guided tour on the first Sunday of every month at 2 pm.  Guided tours are available at Wilheimsburg (William’s Castle) on the third Sunday of every month at 1 pm.

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Brotkultur (bread) Museum i
Display at the Ulm Bread Museum, the largest bread museum in the world!

5)The World’s Largest Bread Museum (Museum der Brotkultur)

I love quirky museums and the World’s Largest Pig Museum in nearby Stuttgart remains one of my favorite offbeat museums.  I confess that I didn’t have high hopes for the bread museum in Ulm and was going more for the quirky factor, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The staff was the most welcoming and friendly staff I’ve ever met at any museum in Germany and self-guided tours (in English) were included as part of the very reasonable admission price. 

The bread museum is home to over 17,000 bread artifacts but as the cashier jokingly assured us “Don’t worry not all the artifacts are on display, many of them are in storage.”  It was incredibly informative covering over 6000 years of the history of bread and bread’s significance in Christianity. 

My favorite part of the museum was the “Bread and Art” section. Which featured works by Salvatore Dali and other prominent artists that used bread as their subject matter.  We were all surprised by how interesting it was and it’s worth a visit.  Visitors can also purchase an “8 for 12” Museum Card. This entitles visitors access to 8 museums in Ulm and in Neu-Ulm for a small fee and is good for a year.

Accommodation in Ulm Germany

Best Western Plus Atrium Hotel is located in the Böfingen district right opposite to a bus stop that runs to the city center. The hotel offers free wifi, 2 restaurants and, modern, comfortable rooms. Guests are free to use the Finnish sauna and spa area as well as the fitness center. 

Comfor Hotel Ulm City is located in the city center. The hotel offers free wifi, as well as a great daily breakfast in the conservatory. The rooms are comfortable with a modern decor and include a work desk and refrigerator.

I confess that while I didn’t have high expectations for my visit, mainly because all I knew about it was the Ulm Cathedral, I was pleasantly surprised.

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17 thoughts on “Ulm Germany: 5 Fun Things To Do in This City”

  1. Some very interesting facts about Ulm. The Münster’s steeple disappearing inot the fog must be a magic sight. I always associate Ulm with Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger, the ‘taylor of Ulm’ an aviation pioneer who constructed a hang glider in 1811 and promptly crashed into the Donau on his first flight attempt..

    Reply
  2. @Inka – I actually thought the Münster’s steeple disappearing into the fog was beautiful as well, although I still would like to see it on a clear day. I read about Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger but couldn’t find anything associated with him in Ulm, but there must be a statue or something of him there that I missed.

    @Dina – No, I didn’t notice the sparrows and I don’t the famous Ulm Sparrow story. Do tell, now I’m very curious.

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    • There are sparrow statues all over the city, at least there were when I was there 7 years ago. The legend is that when they were building the Munster, they could not get the beams through the city gates. While they were trying to figure it out, someone noticed a sparrow carrying a piece of straw in it’s beak lengthwise instead of crosswise. That gave them the idea to turn the beams so they would fit through the gates. And this is why the sparrow is honored to this day by the city of Ulm. You see what this is so amusing to us?

      We were visiting in Germany for a couple of weeks and we drove from Munich west past Stuttgart and I was sad that we did not have time to stop in Ulm again, I found it to be a charming city. 🙂

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    • We plan to visit Ulm. Are all the places, like the fountain and the church, withing walking distance. Are the shops open on a Sunday, or what else can you do there on a Sunday.
      Regards
      Rosa

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  3. @Dina – I love that story, but now I’m wondering how I missed the sparrows everywhere. I’m going to have to go back and be on the lookout the next time. Thanks so much for sharing! I like Ulm too and despite having driven past it numerous times, just finally made it there.

    @Mette – I think that’s how a lot of people end up in Ulm, but it’s definitely worth a rest stop.

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  4. @Dina – I tried clicking on the link, but it wouldn’t open. Thanks for trying though, I’m very curious and wondering how I missed them.

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  5. @Claire – It’s beautiful on the outside and nice on the inside. I loved the Albert Einstein fountain as well, it’s so quirky.

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  6. I just learned about the Ulm School that took root after the end of WWII – I’m taking a 20th C Germany Art & Design seminar – and it’s great to see such a progressive come out of such a historical town.

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  7. I remember climbing the Münster and eating pasta somewhere between there and the train station. Otherwise, my experience there is very limited. I do think I need to add it to the list though. That every growing list that would be far more simple and accurate just to be replaced by a small piece of paper with “everywhere”.

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  8. @Ashley – Very cool, you probably know more about it’s history than I do.

    @Andrew – I still need to climb the Muenster, just on a day when it’s not cloudy. I like your idea of a list. I find the same thing, especially when you start getting into the lesser known places which I really enjoy. I wouldn’t say Ulm was a “must do”, but I did enjoy it and think it’s worth a stop.

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  9. Thanks for this useful information about traveling to Ulm. Good details and I am amused with the Einstein’s Fountain 😀

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  10. Love your site. I am actually coming to Ulm to visit my son who is in a band Road String Army. We will finally get to see them perform. They are currently on tour in several of the places that you have mentioned. Hope I can catch the sites. Getting excited.

    Reply

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