Trier: What to See & Do in Germany’s Oldest City

Trier, Germany’s oldest city with an incredible Roman history and an astonishing 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Trier is not on many travelers’ bucket lists and I have to admit even I only visited the city because my German friend recommended it to me. But I have to say this city really surprised me with its rich and well-preserved history, its cozy atmosphere and incredible architecture. And there are many things to do in Trier!

So I hope this guide will convince you to add Trier to your bucket list as well.

Trier: 2000 years of human history represented in architecture

Trier is a German city in the Moselle (Mosel) wine region, near the Luxembourg border. Founded as Augusta Treverorum in 16 BC during the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, Trier is Germany’s oldest city and it contains several well-preserved Roman structures. The city is often referred to as the “Rome of the North” because it served as the key city of the Roman northern territories.

Nowadays the city is also known internationally because it is the birthplace of Karl Marx.

Trier is a very walkable city with most of its key sights located within easy walking distance of the old city center.

These Are My Top 10 Recommendations for Things to Do in Trier, Germany:

 

1. Start at the Porta Nigra

Things to do in Trier: Porta Nigra
The Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany – Things to do in Trier
View from the Port Nigra - What to do in Trier
View from the Port Nigra – What to do in Trier

When you visit Trier you can’t miss the Porta Nigra.

The Porta Nigra is an impressive 2nd-century Roman city gate. It’s the world’s best-preserved Roman city gate and Trier’s landmark. You can enter the gate and climb to the top for a beautiful view of the city.

The Porta Nigra is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Admission: € 4.00
For more information: Porta Nigra prices and times

2. Check out the Hauptmarkt (Main Market)

Visit Trier: the Hauptmarkt in Trier Germany
Visiting Trier – the Hauptmarkt

The central market square, the Hauptmarkt, is a lovely town square surrounded by impressive buildings constructed over the centuries, showing you the rich history of Trier.

Around the square you find a great selection of shops, bars, and restaurants making it the perfect location for a break or some (souvenir) shopping.

Additionally, Germany’s oldest market cross, dating back to the year 958, can be found on this square.

3. Admire the Trierer Dom (The High Cathedral of Saint Peter)

Trier what to do: admire the Trierer Dom
What to do in Trier: admire the Trierer Dom
view from the Trierer Dom
view from the Trierer Dom

The Trierer Dom or Dom St Peter is the oldest cathedral in Germany and houses an impressive collection of artworks, architecture and holy relics. You can’t miss this impressive piece of architecture when visiting Trier.

Once you are inside the cathedral walk all the way to the back where on the right side of the building you will find a door leading you to a stunning courtyard. From there you can really see 2000 years of human history represented in architecture: look up at the cathedral and the neighboring church to see all the different building styles making the two structures into what they are today.

The Trierer Dom is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

trier what to see: Trierer Dom

what to see and do in Trier Germany: Trierer Dom

Admission: free
For more information: Wikipedia and Dominformation.de (only in German)

4. Have a Look Inside the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

things to do in Trier, Germany: go inside the Liebfrauenkirche
things to do in Trier, Germany: go inside the Liebfrauenkirche

The Liebfrauenkirche is located next to the Trierer Dom. It is one of the two earliest Gothic churches in Germany and offers a lovely contrast to its older Romanesque neighbor.

The Liebfrauenkirche is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Admission: free
For more information: Wikipedia

5. Be Amazed by the Size of the Konstantin-Basilika (Roman Imperial Throne Room)

what to do in Trier: Be amazed by the size of the Konstantin-Basilika

inside the Konstantin-Basilika in Trier, Germany

The Konstantin-Basilika, Constantine’s throne room, was built by the emperor Constantine (AD 306–337) at the beginning of the 4th century.

It is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times. The Romans wanted the architecture to express the magnificence and might of the emperor.

Since the middle of the 19th century the building has been used as the first and oldest Protestant church in Catholic Trier.

The Konstantin-Basilika is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

the Kurfürstliches Palais in Trier, Germany
the Kurfürstliches Palais – what to do in Trier

When you visit this Basilika, walk around the building to have a look at the Kurfürstliches Palais (Electoral Palace) which is considered one of the most beautiful rococo palaces in the world and offers quite a contrast to the Basilika!

Admission: free
For more information: Wikipedia and Ekir.de (only in German)

6. Picture What Life Was like at the Kaiserthermen (Imperial Baths)

Imperial baths, a must when you visit Trier, Germany

These Roman baths date back to the 4th century AD. Only its ruins remain but you get to explore and discover the far-reaching subterranean passageways with furnaces for heating along with the impressive outer walls.

Just imagine what the Roman bathing ritual was like and how much money and time was spent on creating these impressive baths…

The Kaiserthermen are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Admission: € 4.00
For more information: Trier-info.de

7. Learn More About History at the Rheinisches Landmuseum (Archaeological Museum)

Things to do in Trier: visit the rheinisches landesmuseum
Things to do in Trier: visit the rheinisches landesmuseum

If you want to get to know the lives of the Romans, you’ve come to the right place. Here you can find the largest gold coin hoard in the world with about 2,600 coins, colorful Roman mosaics, impressive burial monuments, and a large model of Trier in Roman times.

The Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier is one of the most important archaeological museums in Germany. Its collection stretches from prehistory through the Roman period, the Middle Ages to the Baroque.

Admission: € 8.00 (various discounts available)
For more information: Landesmuseum-trier.de

8. Explore the Area by Boat

What to see and do in Trier Germany - boat excursions
What to see and do in Trier, Germany – go on a boat excursions

Yes, there are more things to do in Trier than just admiring its rich history!

If you want to see more of the area around Trier a boat excursion is a great option. The landscape around Trier is truly stunning and the Moselle curves through it beautifully.

Different excursions are available depending on your preferences and the time of year.

For more information: Moselrundfahrten.de

9. Eat & Drink in Trier

where to eat and drink in Trier, Germany
source: Weinsinnig – What to do in Trier

When visiting Trier you probably want to enjoy some of the city’s best food and drinks as well!

Eat at Zum Domstein. This restaurant by the main market square offers a truly original dining experience. Try to get a table in the basement where you will be surrounded by excavations from Roman times while enjoying original dishes based on old roman recipes from Marcus Gavius Apicius dating back to 30 AD.

Tip: I highly recommend booking a table at least a day in advance since this restaurant is often fully booked.

Quality wine might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of visiting Germany but Trier has a long wine growing tradition, going back to Roman times. Today the Moselle Riesling grape is world-famous and other well-known varieties include Elbling, Pinot Blanc, Rivaner and more.

I would recommend Weinsinnig for a wine tasting. They have a great selection of local and regional wine, knowledgeable staff and as a bonus the best Flammkuchen (Germany’s take on pizza) I have tasted so far.

Alternatively, try Weinstube Kesselstatt which boasts an incredible wine cellar.

10. Cycle and Hike Around Trier

Trier, Germany - hiking and cycling trails

This area has much more to offer than just historic buildings. In recent years the area around Trier has developed into a popular destination for cyclists and hikers. Well maintained cycling trails allow for beautiful tours around the countryside.

Hikers can discover the unique hiking scene around Trier on the excellent hiking trails of the Saar-Hunsrück Climb, the Eifel Hiking Trail or the Moselle Hiking Trail.

For more information about cycling and hiking around Trier go to the official tourism website Trier-info.de.

More Things to Do in Trier

Trier, Germany tourist information

I want to thank Trier’s Tourism office for helping me plan my visit to Trier and providing me with so much information about this beautiful city.

Their guided tour showed me so much of this city I am sure I would have otherwise missed. I highly recommend the guided tour (available in different languages) and do visit the Tourism office, located next to Porta Nigra, for more information about things to do in Trier or plan ahead by visiting their website Trier-info.de

How to Get to Trier and Where to Stay

Trier has a large train station (Hauptbahnhof) located right next to the old city center. It offers good connections from most major cities.

Alternatively, you can rent a car with any of the major car rental companies (use Carrental8.comTrier: What to See & Do in Germany's Oldest City to compare lots of different rental agencies). Most hotels offer parking or will be able to direct you to the nearest public parking option.

Trier has a large number of hotels with something to suit any budget. Booking.com is one of the best places to find all the hotels in and around the city with a best price guarantee.

Also check out my hotel review for the Vienna House Easy hotel in Trier.

If you would like to combine a visit to Trier with other European destinations I recommend checking out Tourradar.comTrier: What to See & Do in Germany's Oldest City who offer interesting multi-day tours.

One Final Tip: the Christmas Market in Trier

Trier, Germany Christmas market - What to see and do in Trier

If you were planning to visit Trier in winter, definitely try to go during the time the Christmas market is in town. It is one of the oldest and nicest Christmas markets in Germany and will undoubtedly add to your experience!

For more information: Trierer-weihnachtsmarkt.de

Enjoy your visit to Trier!

Map of Things to Do in Trier 

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Trier is a beautiful city for anyone who loves history, culture, architecture or just a nice city break. Check out what to do in Trier in this practical city guide with map.

Featured image source: wikipedia.org

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Sanne Wesselman

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

19 thoughts on “Trier: What to See & Do in Germany’s Oldest City”

  1. Yes, please come to my town. We love tourists and we do have many nice hotels. Trier is a fantastic 2000 year old mixture of old and new, very nice places, cute shops, excellent restaurants, pubs, roman buildings, history, place of birth of Karl Marx. Trier is also very young, because we have many students, you will find a lot of parties and pubs. For more trendy and luxury nightlife and also a lot of high rated restaurants you can visit Luxembourg City, which is 25 min by car to go. Just ask me, I am pleased to support you.

    Reply
  2. I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of this town before. I know a lot of german cities and have also read its history but yet I do not think I even came across Trier! It seems to be packed with archaeological heritage, something that always get me going.

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  3. I had no idea that this is the oldest city in Germany. It looks like a lovely town with a lot of history and charm. It also looks like a mixture of different cultures – the roman baths, the main square that remind me a lot of Polish cities.
    I would love to visit a real Christmas market in Germany!

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  4. Your post is special in the sense that it has lots of historical stuff, I have a fondness for such content.
    I had heard about Trier but not about its historicity. Germany is largely known for towns like Berlin, Bremen, Dusseldorf etc.

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  5. Trier definitely does have a lot of history. I enjoyed all the Roman sights you went to and it’s excellent hearing about their history. I’ll have to add Trier to the bucket list. I had never heard of Trier before.

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  6. I love learning about new places; especially ones full of history. The Roman era has always been a fascination for me, from their ‘stolen’ mythology to their political religions to when they built a wall to keep out the Scots! So Trier is definitely going on my list now, especially so I can visit the Kaiserthermen!

    Reply
  7. How come I never heard about Trier?… It looks like an incredible place. I’m crazy about UNESCO sites and would love to visit this ones. Congratulation for the post. It’s full of interesting information.

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  8. Germany has so many of these cute small cities! Never been to Trier, but loved the small towns of Bacharach, Boppard and the others we visited while hiking along the Rhine in the Romantic Rhine region.

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  9. Germany has so far not really been on our mind when looking for options where to go. Probably due to the fact that other countries has seemed to be more interesting and Germany is just a transit country. I know that there are so many nice towns in Germany that we really should consider visiting, Trier for sure being one of them. Maybe it is time to go back to Germany again, it is now 10 years since last time. 🙂

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  10. It looks like Trier is small but it has everything a tourist would love. The nature surrounding the town is so pretty and it’s great that you can go cycling or hiking around. I had no idea that this is the oldest city in Germany.

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  11. Trier seems amazing, with all its history and historical sites. I particularly am intrigued by the Imperial bath. Nice set of tips that you have shared in the post.

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  12. 8 UNESCO sites 😮 I think this is one of the first places that I’m gonna go when I get to Germany! Also Christmas markets is one more compelling reason!

    Reply
  13. I was born in Bremen and any post about Germany makes me unexpectedly happy! I have heard of Trier but never been there. Next time I am in the country, maybe I should!

    Reply
  14. You have made German’s Oldest city an inviting place to be. I loved the country side and sure the Christmas market along with those historical ruins. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  15. Another day, another thing I learned, the oldest town in Germany! At the beginning, I didn’t realize which city was Trier, then when I saw the latin name I understood, basically because in Italian is very similar, Treviri.

    Reply
  16. Well, you kinda had me at ‘there are 8 UNSECO heritage sites here’ 😀 And I can see why! The architecture is stunning, especially of the Cathedral and Church, and the scenery is beautiful: great photography! I also had never considered visiting Trier, but certainly will after reading this 🙂

    Reply

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