Leipzig Travel Guide
Sitting on two trade routes in the medieval era, Leipzig has long been an important economic centre. Today, it is the largest city in Saxony, with more than 600,000 residents. However, this place is most famous for being the home of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of history’s greatest composers.
Here is what you should see while in Leipzig.
Start your visit to Leipzig by visiting the Völkerschlachtdenkmal. Standing almost 300 feet high, this massive monument dominates the surrounding area. Local authorities completed this structure in 1913, in time to honour the 100-year anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.
In this clash, Allied forces dealt Napoleon his final defeat. In 1945, it was also where the Americans defeated Germany’s final Nazi battalion. Upon arrival, get an audio guide to establish a proper sense of place. After that, climb to the top, where you can get fabulous views of the countryside.
Next, head back into Leipzig city where you’ll find St. Thomas Church. Around since the 12th century, it’s not immediately obvious why this place is significant. Here’s how – back in the 18th century, famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach served as its music director.
It was a position he held until his death in 1750. Two hundred years later, local authorities relocated the composer’s remains here. Apart from that, this church’s highlights are its artworks and its organ concerts.
Learn more about the life of Johann Sebastian Bach at the Bach Museum. Here, you’ll find artifacts related to the composer’s life, including his manuscripts. However, there’s no doubt that its multiple listening stations are the most popular, as they bring his pieces to life. To make the most of your visit, be sure to get an audio guide at reception.
Not all of Leipzig history is bright. In the Museum in der Runden Ecke, you’ll learn about the activities of the Stasi, which were the security services of the GDR. In its exhibits, you’ll learn about the spycraft they employed to keep Leipzig citizens in a suspended state of fear.
Art lovers will want to make time in their schedule for the Leipzig Panometer. This attraction focuses on showing off panoramas on the inside of a former natural gas tank. Paired with visual and sound effects, it is an experience quite unlike anything you’ve seen before. The entry fee of 11.50 EUR is a bit on the high side. However, if you’re into art, the price is worth it.
If you’re travelling through Leipzig as a family, make time for a trip to Zoo Leipzig. Spanning over 67 acres, you’ll find 850 species of animal throughout this expansive facility. These include ultra-rare specimens like the eastern quoll, Chinese Pangolin, and the Siberian Tiger.
This facility is broken into various sections, like the Tropical House and the Elephant House. Now, far more locals visit there versus foreign tourists. However, as you walk through these areas, plaques translated into English will make it easy to understand what is going on.
Get a widespread view of the Leipzig area by going up Panorama Tower. With over 36 storeys, this skyscraper is the tallest building in the entire city. On the 30th floor, this building has an observation deck accessible to the general public.
To access it, you’ll have to pay an entry fee of 3 EUR. For the incredible panoramic views available, though, it is a price worth paying. After you get all the pictures you can handle, have a nice meal at the restaurant inside.
Lastly, take time out of your schedule to people watch in Markt, or Market Square. Here, you’ll find a twice-weekly farmer’s market, and at other times, the beautiful buildings that surround the square draw locals. At Christmas, this space is where the Leipzig Christmas Market takes place, so drop by during the holidays.
What To Eat
Germany is notorious for its animal-heavy dishes. However, Leipziger Allerlei, the signature dish of Leipzig is surprisingly vegetarian-friendly. It traces its origin to the Napoleonic era, when households prepared it to create an image of poverty. As a result, tax collectors would under-assess, benefiting the homeowner.
Today, cooks make this dish with vegetables like asparagus, carrots, and peas. However, some restaurants prepare this meal with crayfish tails. If you’re vegetarian/vegan, ask about this dish’s contents before ordering.
Keep things local at dinner by pairing your dish with a Gose. This isn’t a beer brand so much as a beer type (although you can find Gose-branded beer). This beer is distinct by the fact that brewmasters use salt and coriander in the brewing process. This crisp drink does best when served with seafood and light poultry meals.
End your day on a sweet note by having some Stollen. This sweet bread is most easily found around the holidays. In it, you’ll find dried fruit and marzipan, and on top, it’s often dusted with powdered sugar.