Jun 24, 2022
Given the rich cultural heritage and modern attractions of this historic city, there is a plethora of things to do in Leipzig for holidaymakers and tourists of all persuasions. Plan a memorable trip to the city with our ultimate guide to Leipzig. Use our guide to learn fun facts, find out about the best time of year to visit, discover activities and attractions that are not to be missed, put yourself in the know about where to eat and drink, become better acquainted with transport options, and much more.
Our guide covers:
Let’s explore this fascinating city! The guide can be downloaded below and taken with you wherever you go!
Before we dive into the top attractions and the best things to do in Leipzig, we’ll share a few fun facts and interesting things to know about the city.
Leipzig is home to Europe’s oldest coffee shop
Having opened in 1720, Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum is Europe’s oldest coffee shop. In addition to serving up delicious coffee, local cakes and pastries such as Leipziger Lerche (shortcrust filled with marzipan), light meals, and alcohol, this venerable institution also has a free small museum where you’ll find more than 500 artefacts related to the history of coffee in Saxony.
Two famous musicians were born in Leipzig
The beloved Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Leipzig, and he later became the city’s musical director as well as the choirmaster of St. Thomas’ Boys Choir. The other famous musician who calls Leipzig his hometown is Till Lindemann, lead singer of industrial metal band Rammstein.
Leipzig has more bridges than Venice
The Parthe, Pleisse and White Elster rivers flow through Leipzig, so it makes sense that the city has more bridges than Venice. Leipzig has 427 bridges versus Venice’s 400.
Leipzig’s Old City Hall was built in nine months
Standing in front of Leipzig’s Old City Hall, one of the most beautiful Renaissance town halls in the whole of Germany, you’d never say that it was built in a mere nine months. It was – builders completed the work in that period in 1556-1557.
The Porsche factory is in Leipzig
Yes, it’s true. The Porsche factory really is in the city. If you are a petrolhead or have a need for speed, touring the factory is one of the best things to do in Leipzig. Take the experience up a notch by taking one of those beautiful machines for a test drive!
Here are a few travel tips that you might find handy when you visit Leipzig.
If you need to exchange currency, do it in a bank: Most banks don’t charge fees for currency exchange, so if you need to exchange currency, do it in a bank. If you go to a currency exchange office, you may need to pay as much as 10% commission.
If you see the word ‘ab’ on a price tag, find out about the item’s actual value immediately: ‘Ab’ indicates the minimum value of the item, but that amount can increase due to hidden charges.
Most shops are closed on Sundays: Most shops in Leipzig open at 9am and close between 6pm and 7pm, Monday through Friday. They’re only open for half the day on Saturday, and they’re closed on Sundays. Stock up beforehand if you need any supplies.
Leave a tip in cafes and restaurants: While Germans tend to tip moderately, they do make a point of tipping serving staff in cafes and restaurant. Round up your bill by one or two Euros to tip your server in a small café or restaurant. If you’re in an upmarket restaurant, tip 5-10% of the total amount.
Book taxis by phone or find a taxi rank: It can be tricky to flag down a taxi in the street, so if you want to use one, we recommend the LeipzigMove App which you can use to find a public transit connection, call a taxi, rent a TeilAuto, and rent a NextBike. Alternatively, head to the nearest taxi rank.
The best time to visit the city is in the summer months between May and October. The weather is pleasant, temperatures range from 59F to 77F (15C to 25C), and you’ll find plenty of things to do in Leipzig, such as attending some of the great events that happen in summer, such as the Street Music Festival.
The winter months of November through April can be bitterly cold and very wet, even though the city still has its charms. If you visit Leipzig at that time of year, be sure to bring winter clothes and a raincoat.
Do you love urban vibes and experiences? Check out our pick of the top things to do in Leipzig for city lovers.
Visit the Battle of the Nations Monument: Europe’s largest war memorial, the Battle of the Nations Monument (Volkerschlachtdenkmal) is sight worth seeing. Impressive and imposing, the monument is one of the finest examples of the Wilhelmine school of architecture. The structure was completed in 1913 as part of the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon at the 1813 Battle of the Nations in Leipzig. Head to the viewing platform for a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
Hear the music of Thomas Church: J.S. Bach’s final resting place, Thomas Church is a must-visit attraction in the city, especially if you’re a music lover. While the choir section of the church was built in 1212, most of the rest of the building dates to alterations made over the following centuries. Martin Luther preached in the church in the 16th century, and it was converted from a Catholic place of worship to a Protestant one. Still a functional place of worship, Thomas Church also hosts regular musical performances and other events.
Explore the Forum of Contemporary History: Learn more about daily life in Germany between the end of the Second World War and the country’s reunification after 1989’s peaceful revolution at the Forum of Contemporary History (Zeitgeschichtliches Forum). Exhibits feature objects, photographs, films, recorded accounts, and thousands of artefacts.
Marvel at the Markt and the Old City Hall: As mentioned in the fun facts above, the 16th-century Old City Hall (Rathaus) is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in Germany. The exterior details are incredibly Instagrammable. Inside, you’ll find a museum offering a glimpse into the city’s history from the Middle Ages onwards. After your explorations, pop into the shops under the arcade outside. Try to go on a Tuesday or Thursday, so you can browse the Farmer’s Market that takes place on the old market square outside the Old City Hall.
Go shopping in Mädler Passage: A historical shopping arcade developed in 1910, Mädler Passage is an architectural delight and a shopper’s paradise located between Grimmaische Straße and Neumarkt. The arcade doesn’t look like much from the street, but step inside, and you’ll find an airy space four storeys high and 140 metres long. Spend a few hours exploring the 40 speciality shops, restaurants, and cafes, and be sure to pop into the extension of the Auerbachskeller, a wine tavern that goes back to at least 1438.
Leipzig is a beautiful and a special place for a romantic getaway or a longer holiday with your beloved. Discover a few of the top romantic things to do in Leipzig.
Stroll or go boating along the Karl-Heine-Kanal: The 3.3km manmade Karl-Heine-Kanal is one of the city’s most magical yet unassuming attractions. Stroll along the bank and be delighted by mother nature’s beauty in any season. Spring and summer offer flowers, greenery, and birdlife, autumn ushers in a palette of oranges, reds, rusts, and yellows, and winter brings ice gleaming on the surface of the water. Alternatively, take a leisurely boat ride on the canal, where you’ll also see historic villas and modern loft apartments in former industrial buildings.
Tour the Gohlis Palace: The 18-century Rococo-style Gohlis Palace (Gohliser Schlösschen) is one of Leipzig’s most romantic spots. Tour this immaculate country house and its beautiful grounds before enjoying a meal with your partner in the café or restaurant. Elevate your time at the home by checking the calendar of events and attending a performance or musical recital in the stunning setting it provides.
Explore Leipzig Zoo: Ranked as Germany’s best zoo and widely regarded as the “zoo of the future,” Leipzig Zoo is nothing short of a wonderland. The zoo houses approximately 850 species in its 27-hectare grounds. Spend a day with your partner exploring six different themed worlds that provide appropriate habitats for the animals in them. Two highlights include Pongoland (housing primates) and Gondwanaland, the world’s second largest indoor rainforest hall.
Relax in Clara-Zetkin Park: Looking for somewhere to spend some quiet quality time together? Head to Clara-Zetkin Park. This beautiful, forested space offers shady trees and sunny lawns, fountains and ponds, a lake with wooden bridges, a historic bandstand, a Schubert monument, and an open-air café.
Visit the Floating Church Vineta: The site of many a Leipzig wedding, the Floating Church Vineta on Störmthaler Lake is both romantic and unusual. Enjoy an excursion to the lake, visit the church, and then head to one of the restaurants on the shores of the lake to enjoy a romantic meal together.
Heading to Leipzig for a holiday with your partner and children? Here’s our pick of fun things to do in Leipzig with the family.
Wander through the Asisi Panometer: A former gasometer, the Asisi Panometer now is one of Leipzig’s most popular tourist attractions. The visual panorama on display will take you on a virtual tour of the current theme. With pictures that are almost 105 metres in circumference and 30 metres high, the visuals are astounding – and they’re accompanied by sound and other effects. While there, make your way up to the visitor’s platform for a closer look at some of the details of the images.
Explore Leipzig Botanical Garden: Germany’s oldest botanical garden and one of the oldest in the world, Leipzig Botanical Garden makes for a fun family outing while on holiday. Spread over 3.5 hectares with open-air plantings and greenhouse collections, the gardens feature themed areas. See plants from the steppes of Eastern Europe and Asia, northern hemisphere forests and prairies, regional marshes and ponds, alpine and other mountainous regions, the Mediterranean, Africa, Central and South America, and Australia.
See the view from City-hochchaus: Located on Augustusplatz, City-hochchaus offers more to visitors than an unusual design that looks good in photos. Take your partner and children up to the viewing platform and enjoy one of the best views of the city. The view’s particularly gorgeous in the evening, when the city twinkles with millions of lights. There’s a restaurant at the top, so why not enjoy a family lunch or dinner there?
Let the kids have fun at Belantis: Open from April through October, Belantis – The Adventure Kingdom is one of Leipzig’s most popular seasonal attractions. There are all sorts of rides, shows, and other attractions for the family to enjoy, such as a rollercoaster and the Hurricane, as well as restaurants and stores.
Take a day trip to Burg Stolpen Castle: Located 160km from Leipzig, Burg Stolpen looks like a fairy tale castle. Treat the family to a guided tour of this impressive fortress, on which you’ll learn about the imprisoned Countess Cosel, explore corridors, chambers, and towers, and even visit a torture chamber. If you’re not all castled out by the end of the tour, consider visiting nearby Rammenau Baroque Castle or Weesenstein Castle.
Leipzig has an average of 254 m² green space per inhabitant, making it one of Germany’s greenest cities. As can be expected, there’s plenty for lovers of mother nature to see and do. Check out some of the best things to do in Leipzig for nature enthusiasts.
Take a motorboat tour of Leipzig Riverside Forest: Situated on the banks of the White Elster, Leipzig Riverside Forest is a nature reserve and one of Central Europe’s largest lowland riparian forests. While you can explore parts of the forest and its waterways and marshy areas on foot, a far more interesting way to see it is a motorboat tour. Some tours will take you from the harbour to the Connewitz lock, from which you’ll travel on the Pleiße through the riverside forest. Expect to see an abundance of flora and fauna, and to learn interesting facts about the flood plain.
Relax in Agra-Park, Markkleeberg: Head to the affluent southern suburb of Markkleeberg, where you’ll find Agra-Park, an English-style landscaped garden. You’ll be enchanted by the place from the moment you step through the 19th-century wrought iron gates on Raschwitzer Straße. Once the estate of consul and newspaper publisher Paul Herfurth, the park boasts meadows, ponds, bridges, water features, temples, a pergola, trees, winding paths, and a villa inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.
Discover the Apothekergarten: Planted in 2001, the Apothekergarten is a medicinal garden in which you’ll find more than 300 plants used in the pharmaceutical industry, herbalism, and folk healing. While some of the plants in the garden are innocuous enough to use in cooking and arts and crafts as well as medicine, others are extremely poisonous. See plants in a new light by visiting this garden.
Stroll through Wildpark Leipzig: A free wildlife park in the floodplain forest, Wildpark Leipzig is home to 250 animals of 25 different species that live or have lived in Central Europe or that naturalised in the region. You’ll see red and fallow deer, and mouflon in a huge common enclosure, deer, wild boar, moose, and bison in large enclosures, and lynx, otter, wildcat, raccoon, mink, red fox, and European mink in beautiful open enclosures. If you work up an appetite or a thirst, pop into the tea house in a former Russian block house, the park restaurant, or the snack bar.
Get active at Markkleeberger See: What was an open-pit coal mine was flooded with groundwater in 1999 to create Markkleeberger See, a lake that has become a popular destination for recreational activities. Spend time walking along the shores, hop on a boat for a tour of the lake, or get your adrenalin pumping at Markkleeberg Canoe Park. The pump-powered artificial white-water course offers white-water rafting, power-rafting, duo-rafting, bodyboarding, pro wave surfing, white-water kayaking, hydrospeed, and a dragon boat and canadier.
Leipzig is steeped in art and culture. Here’s just a smattering of the many things to do in Leipzig for lovers of the arts and cultural activities.
Tour the Museum of Fine Arts: Leipzig’s Museum of Fine Arts (Museum der bildenden Künste) has an eye-popping collection of approximately 3,500 paintings, 1,000 sculptures and 60,000 graphic sheets. The collection includes works from the Late Middle Ages to the present. Spend a few hours (or a day) appreciating the talents of artists such as Frans Hals, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Caspar David Friedrich, Andreas Achenbach, Max Klinger, Max Beckmann, Werner Tübke, Bernhard Heisig, Wolfgang Mattheuer, Neo Rauch, Daniel Richter, Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet.
Visit the Mendelssohn House: The only preserved residence of the composer Felix Mendelssohn, the 1844-built Mendelssohn Haus was restored according to the original plans. Inside, you’ll find a collection of the composer’s personal items as well as exhibits about his life and work.
Spend a couple of hours at Kunstkraftwerk: A former heating plant, Kunstkraftwerk is Germany’s first museum dedicated to multimedia arts and digital experiences. Whether the installations are sound and music extravaganzas about classical painting or provocative modern sculptures, the experience won’t fail to make an impression on you.
Explore the Baumwollspinnerei: Also known simply as the Spnnerei, Leipzig’s Baumwollspinnerei was continental Europe’s largest cotton mill until it was decommissioned in 1992. The site is now home to artist studios, an art-house cinema, exhibition halls, galleries, and shops. If you’re looking for incredible contemporary creativity in the city, the Spinnerei is where you’ll find it.
Dine in Leipzig’s oldest restaurant: Dating back to 1454, Thüringer Hof is Leipzig’s oldest restaurant, and it counted Protestant Reformer Martin Luther among its patrons back in the day. Dine on Saxon-Thuringian delicacies such as Thuringian bratwurst and sauerbraten. Alternatively, head to the city’s second oldest restaurant/tavern, Auerbachs Keller, which was immortalised in Goethe’s Faust as being the first place Mephistopheles takes Faust on their travels.
Leipzig’s social calendar is full of exciting happenings. Here are a few of the top annual events in Leipzig.
Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt: Dating back to 1458, the Leipzig Christmas Market (Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt) is Germany’s second-oldest Christmas market. In the midst of winter, the city centre comes to life with cultural and culinary seasonal goods, organ music and performances of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in churches, trumpet horn performances on the tower of the Old Town Hall, the Krystallpalast Varieté show, and the Fairy Forest and visits from Santa for children.
Wave-Gotik-Treffen: Held annually around Pentecost weekend (May/June), the four-day Wave-Gotik-Treffen is a celebration of Gothic rock culture and music, as well as associated genres such as gothic metal, EBM, industrial, noise, darkwave, neo-folk, neo-classical, medieval, experimental, deathrock and punk music. In addition to performances by more than 100 bands, you’ll find special guided tours at museums, as well as film premiers, literary events, picnics, Viking and Renaissance fairs, markets, discussions and lectures, absinthe brunches, and much more.
Bachfest Leipzig: An annual event that takes place in June, Bachfest Leipzig celebrates Bach as well as other composers such as Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. Each festival sees approximately 100 different events take place, with the grand finale being a performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the St Thomas Church.
Leipziger Jazztage: Held every October, Leipziger Jazztage (Leipziger Jazz Days) brings a host of performers and music lovers to the city. While jazz is the main attraction, the festival celebrates a wide variety of musical genres.
DOK Leipzig: Formally known as the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, DOK Leipzig was founded in 1955 as East Germany’s first independent film festival. The event offers contemporary international films, unique curated programmes and a rich programme for children and adults. Whether you’re a fan of documentaries or animated films, you’ll love DOK Leipzig.
Thanks to a variety of transport options, getting from the Leipzig Airport to the city centre is a hassle-free experience. Take a closer look at the options available.
Train: Take the S-Bahn train S5 or S5X from the station at the airport to the main train station in the city. Trains run every 30 minutes, and the journey takes approximately 15 minutes. The cheapest option by far, tickets cost €5.00 for adults and €3.00 for children from 6 to 14 years.
Bus: If you’re travelling from the airport to Schkeuditz or Delitzsch north of the city, take bus 202 or 206 from the bus stop at parking lot P3.
Taxi: You’ll find the taxi rank outside Terminal B at the airport. The cost ranges between €30 and €40, and the journey to the city centre takes approximately 30 minutes.
Car: If you’re hiring a car at the airport you can drive to the city centre in little more than 20 minutes. Take the S8a and get onto the A14, and then take B2 to Goerdelerring. Take Dittrichring to Thomaskirchhof.
Getting around Leipzig
Like all German cities, Leipzig has an excellent public transport system. You’ll also find other transport options. Let’s explore them.
S-Bahn: Leipzig’s overground trains are best suited for long-distance travel, such as making day trips or continuing your holiday in other cities. You’ll find the main station, Leipzig Hauptbahnhof at Willy-Brandt-Platz.
Tram: The tram network is at the heart of Leipzig’s public transport system. There are 13 lines and more than 500 stops across the city. Thanks to the tracks being separate from the roads, other traffic cannot delay the trams.
Bus: Numerous bus routes supplement Leipzig’s tram network. You can change between them to get to your destination.
Bicycle: Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around Leipzig, especially during the warmer months. The city has several bike routes, and bikes are allowed on most streets. Some pedestrian areas allow bike riding during certain hours. Outside of those hours, you’ll need to push your bike through those areas.
Car rental: Numerous car rental companies have offices in Leipzig, so if you’d prefer to rent a car for your holiday, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Parking in the city isn’t always easy to find, so if you’re visiting an attraction, park in one of the many covered carparks in the city centre.
Consider purchasing a Leipzig Card while you’re in the city. You can purchase a card valid for one or a few days. The card offers you unlimited travel on the public transport network within Travel Zone 110 (Leipzig city), including all tram, train (S-Bahn, RE, RB) and bus lines regardless of changes made. You can also enjoy discounts on walking, bike, bus, tram, and boat tours, half-price entry to museums, and discounts on various things to do in Leipzig, boat hires, theatre and events tickets, and at shops, restaurants, and leisure centres.
Choose Capri by Fraser Leipzig for your holiday accommodation. Our modern apartment hotel is a few steps away from the main train station, so you’re right in the heart of the Old Town. Stay in a comfortable serviced apartment in close proximity to some of the best things to do in Leipzig, fantastic attractions, a lively music and arts scene, excellent shopping, and vibrant cafes, bars, and restaurants.