German cities close to French borders

German cities close to French borders

Germany is a central European country that borders many countries. German cities border Denmark on the north, Poland and Czech Republic on the east, Austria and Switzerland on the south, and The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France on its west side. For this blog, I will discuss about the German cities close to French borders. Germany is quite big not only in terms of land area, but also in terms of economic aspects. This country is also rich in history, which has deep roots in the various German tribes that lived in the North centuries ago, the Roman invasion of the country, the Protestantism Reformation, up to the roles Germany played during the World Wars I and II. Nowadays, Germany is a modern country that has the largest economy in Europe, houses modern sciences, and ranks third in terms of the large number of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

View of the road on the way to Baden-Württemberg region.

Germany is one of our most traveled countries because it is very close to our home in the Netherlands. If interested, see for example my blog on the German cities close to the Netherlands. Or if coming from Germany and you want to visit Dutch cities close to German border, see my blog in this link. Some of these cities are also our favorite places to visit because of its relatively cheap costs (from Dutch point of view), beautiful scenery, and richness in cultural and culinary experience. See the map below for the German cities, which I will discuss below, close to the French borders.

The map of the German cities close to French borders.

German cities close to the French border

1. Saarbrücken

Saarbrücken, which comes from the French word Sarrabrucca, meaning a bridge across the river dating from the Roman times (, is the capital of Saarland in the southwest of Germany. Saarbrücken is a favorite vacation place of many Dutch family because of its vibrant culture, which
combines French and German ambiances, while at the same being only a few hours drive from the Netherlands. Being only 6 kilometers away (10 minutes drive) from the border of France, other French cities such as Metz, Nancy, and Strasbourg can be reach from Saarbrücken. Top places to visit when in Saarbrucken includes the UNESCO World Heritage site Völklingen Ironworks, Saarbrücken castle, Ludwigskirche church, Rathaus St. Johann Town Hall, Historical Museum Saar, and St. Johanner Markt Square.

Rathaus Saarbrücken by
Ludwigskirche, Saarbrücken by 2. Kaiserslautern Germany

Kaiserslautern is less than 70 kilometers (48 minutes drive) to the east of Saarbrücken. This city was once a prehistoric settlement at least 800 BC years ago. Celtic tombs, which dated 2500 years ago, were discovered in a town just 30 kilometers away from Kaiserslautern. Kaiserslautern was also a favorite hunting place of famous leaders in the history such as Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Emperors Frederick Barbarossa (Frederick I) and Rudolf I. The ruin of the castle of Frederick, which was built in 1152-1160, can still be found in the Rathuis (city hall) of Kaiserslautern. Famous places to visit in Kaiserslautern include Gartenschau (a state garden show), Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern (a museum of art), Japanischer Garten (Japanese Garden), Burg Hohenecken (remains of a fortress castle), Humberg Tower (an observation tower) and Kaiserbrunnen (a bronze and sandstone sculptural work).

Kaiserslautern by 3. Mannheim Germany

Mannheim is a city 60 kilometers to the east of Kaiserslautern and is an hour drive from the French city of Wissembourg. Mannheim is second largest city of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the Southwest of Germany. Mannheim is a beautiful city that offers various attractions which ranges from parks, arts, gardens, and architectures. Top places to visit when in Mannheim include the Mannheim palace (2nd biggest baroque palace in Europe), Mannheim Water Tower ( a baroque style architecture good for having picnics with family and friends), Luisenpark gardens (a beautiful park with rose and Chinese gardens), Reissinsel (Reißinsel island), and exhibits in Technomuseum and Plannetarium Mannheim.

4. Heidelberg Germany

Heidelberg is another city in Baden-Württemberg and is less than 20 kilometers from Mannheim. From Heidelberg you can reach the French town of Lauterbourg in less than an hour. Heidelberg is home to the oldest university in Germany and the world’s oldest surviving university, the Heidelberg university. Heidelberg is a beautiful city to visit because it is rich in old architectures situated in scenic nature areas. Top places to visit when in Heidelberg include the Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg castle), Altstadt (The Old Town of Heidelberg), The Old Bridge (Karl Theodore’s bridge), Konigstuhl Funicular (Bergbahn), Philosopher’s Walk or Schalengenweg (a steep cobblestone path leading to the old bridge), the MArket Square, and the Church of the Holy Ghost. Interested to know more about Heidelberg? Check out my blog about Heidelberg: Five reasons that make it worth a visit.

Heidelberg castle.
A view of Heidelberg castle from a distance.
Selfie on the front side of the Heidelberg castle.

5. Karlsruhe Germany

Karlsruhe is 50 kilometers in the South of Heidelberg and is just 22 kilometers (29 minutes drive) from the French town Lauterbourg. Having a unique circular spokes design built during the time of Karl III Wilhem, Karlsruhe obtained its name “The Fan-shaped City”. Karlsruhe is considered as one of the warmest cities in Germany which visitors and locals can enjoy, especially during summer. Top places to visit when in Karlsruhe include the majestic Karlsruhe Palace, ZKM or Zentrum fuer Kunst en Mediem (Cultural exhibitions for arts and media), Zoo Karlsuhe, State Museum of Baden, Karlsruhe Botanical garden, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe (old building museum), and Turmberg (a trip to the mountain with rewarding nature views).

Karlsruhe Germany by 6. Baden-baden Germany

Want to experience an ultimate relaxation in one of the famous spa in Europe? Then it is time to visit Baden-baden. This town is just 40 kilometers to the south of Karlsruhe (30-40 minutes drive) and less than 60 kilometers to the east of Strasbourg in France (about 50 minutes drive). Baden-baden is included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage site for the category “Great Spa Towns of Europe”. Places to visit in Baden-baden include Hohenbaden Old Castle (and Ruins), Lichtentaller Allee (Nature garden which streches several kilometers in the Oos river), Merkur Bergbahn (going up the funicular and climbing the observation tower), Merkur Mountain, Geroldsau Waterfall, Casino Baden-baden Spielbank, and Museum Fridar Burda.

7. Freiburg im Breisgau Germany

Freiburg im Breisgau is more than 100 kilometers to the South of Baden-baden, Germany and is just 35 kilometers away from the French border (around 30 minutes drive). This city is the fourth largest city in Baden-Württemberg next to Stuttgart, Mannheim and Karlsruhe. Freiburg is a rich and diverse city, has a medieval old university, and considered as one of the most sustainable cities in earth. Top places to visit in Freiburg im Breisgau include Freiburg Minster (a Romanesque cathedral), Münsterplatz Freiburg (a historical monumental site which serves as a market place everyday), Historical merchant’s hall (Rennaissance inspired style market building), Augustiner Museum (former Augustinian monastery), Schwabentor (Freiburg’s two medieval gate), Rathauser (Freiburg’s new and old town halls) and Schlossberg (gives a panoramic view of the Freiburg).

Climbing Schlossberg.
Mountain view with tram cables in the background.
Comments are closed.