Whenever we travel, we like to have no real plans and no exact schedule. But sometimes plans are not so bad, even though someone else does the travel planning for you. I guess we would never stop in Aachen, which we visited as an invite from the German Tourism Board.
The city of Aachen is historically extremely rich, but even though it is still trendy. This feel and mixture must be because of a large student population – students alone represent 20% of all the people living in Aachen.
Aachen convinced us also because it was not too crowded with tourists. But more we managed to explore, more often did we ask ourselves, how come it is so overlooked comparing to other German towns. After all, Aachen has so much to offer.
If you are keen of history, you must be aware that the city is mostly known for the Charlemagne – the father of Europe. His throne is not impressive only because it was his, but also because 600 years other German kings were coroneted on it.
The city of Aachen is not all about the Charlemagne. Aachen was already popular during the Roman Empire, when thermal water has been found. Did you know that the name Aachen came from the word »Aaha«, meaning water. The influence of water can still be seen today.
One of the most recognizable tourist attractions in Aachen is it’s city’s cathedral. The cathedral, which is the oldest in North Europe, was in fact the first German sight on the UNESCO world heritage list.
During the WW2 Aachen was almost completely destroyed, but on the other hand, this was also the first German city, which was captured by the allies.
With no doubt Aachen is the perfect place for everyone interesting in Europe’s history. Strolling around the old town, wined with narrow streets, small shops and unique looking cafés and patisseries makes you feel good.
Simon and I are both into sweet things, so we of course could not leave Aachen before buying some ginger bread cookies, named Printen. The shops/bakeries selling them looked like we would be visiting Aachen just before Christmas – so shinny and glossy. Oh and the Printen were not bad either.
3 things you have to do in Aachen:
- Visiting cathedral
- Taste the thermal water
- Try the Printen (ginger bread cookies)
Last but not least, if you really want to impress locals, make sure to learn the Aachen greeting. All you have to do is wave with your pinkie up in the air. The greeting came from the Aachen industry, where they once produced sewing needles, which were sold all over the world. Because the sewing needles were small, they used children to remove the bad ones from the good ones. To do that, they used their little fingers and that is where, the Aachen greeting originate from.
Some useful travel tips:
- Coffee: 2,00-2,50€
- Mono cakes: 2,50-3,50€ (the perfect place to be is the Van den Daele Cafe)
- A bag of Printen: 6€
- Lunch: 8-14€/main dish
- Accommodations: We would suggest you to find your hotel near the old city center. Having only steps from the hustle and bustles is something you will enjoy for sure. We stayed in a beautiful Mercure Hotel Aachen am Dom, just steps away from all the major sights.