A day in Trier

Market in Trier
Market in Trier

A day in Trier

by Tamala Malerk
Stripes Europe

Just over an hour’s drive (and less than a two-hour train ride on the RE1) from Kaiserslautern is Germany’s oldest city, Trier. Originally called “Augustus Treverorem,” Trier was founded in 16 B.C.E. by the Roman emperor Augustus and briefly spent time as a capital in the Roman Empire. In its over 2000-year-old history, it has belonged to the Roman Empire, France, Prussia and Germany. Today, Trier is filled with delicious food, shopping opportunities, museums and history, and makes a great day trip.

The top of my list for visitors is Porta Nigra, the largest Roman gate north of the Alps. Visitors can walk around the exterior of this 2nd-century gate for free, but I highly recommend paying the price of admission to walk up and around the interior for some of the best views of the city and mountains. Serving as a city gate was not its only purpose over the centuries, as you’ll find out during your visit. The ANTIKENCARD Trier card will provide you with admission to several Roman artifacts/museums across Trier for as cheap as €12.00 per adult with up to four children under age 18 included in the ticket price.

Located across from the Landesmuseum, is the gorgeous Electoral Palace. Before getting up-close and personal with the palace, we chose to eat a delicious breakfast outside at the museum’s cafe, Café Zeitsprung, and just admire the view of the tiny pond and ducks and the palace’s exterior. Keep in mind that access is restricted, but you can schedule guided tours of the foyer, courtyard and “Baroque Room.” After breakfast, I recommend going to the Landesmuseum itself where you can view exhibits inspired by over 200,000 years of German history and culture.

My delicious breakfast at the cafe | Photo by Tamala Malerk

If you are looking for some indoor educational opportunities, I highly recommend the birthplace of Karl Marx: The Karl Marx Haus. Be warned that this is an unassuming house museum and my spouse and I walked right past it two or three times before we found it. This museum not only looks at the life of Marx but also the world surrounding Marx. The museum contains personal artifacts and writings/letters from Marx as well as art based on his life, including a captivating hourglass exhibit. Outside of the house, you can walk across the crosswalk to traffic lights shaped in Marx’s image.

Karl Marx traffic light
Karl Marx traffic light | Photo by Tamala Malerk

Don’t be fooled by the name, there is no need to bring your swimsuit to the Imperial Baths. You can marvel at ancient engineering techniques as you wander through underground tunnels and passages and view the aqueduct system that kept the baths functioning. The baths are one of nine UNESCO World Heritage sites that exist in Trier.

In the heart of Trier is the marketplace, the Hauptmarkt. This is where you can shop till you drop and then refuel at one of the many restaurants, cafes and coffee shops to then shop some more. My spouse and I found an outdoor cafe where we ordered food and drinks and participated in one of our favorite activities of people watching, which included seeing a line of people singing in a foreign language. When the weather is favorable, you may also find yourself in the middle of an outdoor market.

No matter if you want indoor educational or shopping experiences or ancient outdoor adventures, Trier has something for singles, couples and families of all ages.

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