Top left: Pinsa; Top right: Shopping bags; Bottom left: Man fishing; Bottom Right: Foot on soccer ball

Collage of images of things you can do in Neunkirchen ()

Located 40 minutes west of Kaiserslautern is Neunkirchen, Saarland’s second largest city after Saarbrücken. The name translates to “nine churches” and there you can find three Catholic and six Protestant churches. It is also believed that the name derives from the phrase, “An der neuen Kirche” which translates to “by the new church.”  If seeing historical churches isn’t your thing, there is so much more you can do in Neunkirchen.

Go to the zoo: I first discovered the Neunkirchen Zoo when I decided to brave ten-degree weather to check out their on-site Christmas market. The weather is much more favorable for a visit now. There are over 700 animals on-site, with 120 different animal species spread across 20 hectares. The zoo has been in the area since 1926. Feed the giraffes and meerkats and catch the twice-daily falcon flights. There is a variety of food selections on-site: burgers, waffles, crepes, coffee, regional cuisine and more.

Get in some shopping: Bring your credit cards and euros and get ready to shop until you drop at the largest shopping center in Saarland, the Saarpark-Center. There are 115 specialty stores for you to peruse across 35,000 square meters. While there, see if you can spot Sammy Spencer Freiherr von Shoppinghausen, their meerkat mascot. They have 13 different food spots, so there is something for every appetite. The mall is open Mon-Sat, and their next shopping Sunday is October 29.

Visit history: World War II and history buffs will want to make their way to the Spitzbunker Neunkirchen. This bunker was used as protection during World War II. Up to 600 people could find shelter here according to when the town was bombed.

Go back to the city’s iron roots with a tour of Altes HüttenAreal where you can tour the old factory and iron works.

Catch a football game: Cheer on Borussia-Neunkirchen as they take on their opponent of the week. They have players of all ages on the field, with youth, men’s and women’s teams.

Enjoy the great outdoors: Do some fishing or people watch at the  Bliespromenade. On August 3, catch the last concert of the City Musiksommer 2023 series at the promenade. Continue to enjoy the sunny weather at Hüttenpark. Throughout the park, you can see hints of its industrial past with old machine parts scattered about. What was once an industrial wasteland is now a haven for children’s playgrounds, walking areas and open-air events.

Grab a bite to eat: No matter how you choose to spend your day in Neunkirchen, you will definitely get hungry at some point. Stumm’s Brauhaus promises to bring you some great local fare. There is home-brewed beer, Moselle wine, bread from the local bakery and game from the Oberthal Hunting Ground. They also serve German classics such as Flammkuchen and Käsespätzle. You can eat here Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. For those into Italian food, Neunkirchen has Pinseria Villa Medici featuring a variety of pasta and pinsa (not pizza) dishes.

Fun fact: The difference between pinsa and pizza is the resting time, shape (oval rather than circle) and dough ingredients. Pinsa dough can rest up to 120 hours before preparation according to

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Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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