Visiting Strasbourg

One of my favorite places that I visited during my time in Germany was Strassbourg, which lies just within the borders of France. Strasbourg is a very interesting city because it has been passed back and forth between France and Germany many times over its lengthy history. Because of this unique history, there is a strange and wonderful cultural blend between German and French cultures. Although they are a part of France, and French is the official language, it isn’t hard at all to find someone speaking German in Strasbourg, or as the Germans spell it, ‘Straßburg’. This was definitely an advantage for me, as my French skills were virtually non-existent. Strasbourg is pretty touristy, so it wasn’t hard to find menus in English, but it’s always possible to run into a language barrier.

While visiting Strasbourg, I would definitely recommend climbing the tower of the cathedral. While entering and viewing the inside of the cathedral is free, climbing the cathedral is not. Luckily, most places in Strasbourg offer a significant student discount. While the view from the top of the cathedral is not necessarily the most amazing in Europe, it does offer a nice view over the tops of the low buildings that make up most of Strasbourg.

I would also recommend stopping for a glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee in ‘Petite France’. This part of the city is very old and historical. From here you can also take a boat tour along the picturesque canals of the city.

Overall, Strasbourg is an amazing city and deserves a visit, especially if you’re studying in Western Germany or Northern France.

A Rhein-Main Region Travel Guide


Frankfurt am Main is the fifth largest city in Germany, and the largest city in Hesse. Frankfurt has a historic center, neighbored by skyscrapers in the Central Banking District. Frankfurt is also home to the European Central Bank. Frankfurt has several malls including MyZeil, a large shopping district with restaurants and businesses. Transportation is easy in Frankfurt. Frankfurt public transport includes the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and the Straßenbahn (Tram). Frankfurt is also home to two long and beautiful riverbanks lined with riverboat tours and bridges that offer excellent panoramic views of the city and the Main River. Frankfurt also has a zoo and botanical gardens.


Wiesbaden sits about half an hour west of Frankfurt, and offers a small city feel. Wiesbaden features a nice inner district that hosts many festivals and markets. The architecture of the buildings along Bahnhofstrasse is beautiful. The center of Wiesbaden also offers a casino and a large park with a pond that’s great for warm weather get togethers.


Mainz is a decently sized university town with an active nightlife and a well connected train station. If you find yourself in Mainz, I’d definitely recommend a stop at Eisgrub-Brau to share a five liter tower of beer with some friends. Mainz is also home to a massive cathedral and the Gutenberg museum.


Oestrich-Winkel is a small wine growing town on the northern shore of the Rhein. It is also home to one of the schools that UofL has an exchange with, EBS Universität für Wirtschaft und Recht. Oestrich is a quaint city with many wineries and wine stands. The specialty of this region is Riesling.


About ten minutes by train from Oestrich-Winkel, Rudesheim is a touristy town with many restaurants and shops where you can buy souvenirs and trinkets. Rudesheim also has very steep vineyards and a cable car that takes you up above the vineyards to the Niederwalddenkmal, a massive statue monument that memorializes the foundation of the German Empire in 1871. From the Niederwalddenkmal you can see across the Rhein to the city of Bingen am Rhein and the endless rows of vines. I recommend following one of the trails behind the memorial to one of many structures along the high hills that line the bank of the Rhein.

Bingen am Rhein

Bingen lies across the Rhein from Rudesheim. The easiest way to get between these two towns is the ferry that runs several times an hour. Nestled on a hill in the middle of Bingen sits a castle. The tower that protrudes from the top of the Bingen Castle is free to climb, and offers an excellent view of the surrounding city and the river. Bingen also has a lively main-street type area for shopping, ice cream, or wine tasting.



Between Bacharach and Bingen am Rhein are at least four ancient castles that sit high up on the steep hills that line the Rhein. Bacharach itself is a very interesting city, and is featured on many travel guides that claim that it is one of the most ‘well-preserved medieval cities in Germany’. I recommend the castle that perches on a high hill behind the city and the main street. There is even a tiny and cheap ice cream shop that will let you try Riesling-flavored ice cream.


Runkel an der Lahn

Runkel is the most remote town on this list, but also one of the most untouched and beautiful. Like many of the other cities and towns on this list, Runkel sits on a river with high, towering hills that line both banks. Runkel sits and the Lahn river, which also runs through nearby Limburg. The river in Runkel is picturesque and going down to a small part on the river bank allows you to have a magnificent view of the castle that stands high above the opposite bank. Exploring the castle isn’t free, but it is one of the most untouched and authentic castles that I have ever visited, and there are several vantage points that offer excellent views.


Overall, I found the Rhein-Main region to be one of the most beautiful and peaceful regions in Germany. The Rhine Valley is excellent for a drive, if you’re able to travel through it by car or by train.


*Note: Rhein is the German spelling of ‘Rhine’


Berlin für Anfänger (Berlin for Beginners)

My trip to Berlin was the first time that I traveled away from my host university. Getting a break from the small village I live in was a relief. A few of us decided to make a quick weekend trip to Berlin. FlixBus is a cheap option for traveling across Europe, but the ride was about 6 hours (when it wasn’t delayed). Overall, I think Berlin is a must-see for anyone in Central Europe.

Here are a few of my recommendations for things to see (Sehenswürdigkeiten):

1. Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral):

Located in the “Mitte” district of Berlin, this Cathedral is beautiful. If you have a student ID you can get a discount for entry and go up to the top of the cathedral. ~€5

2. Museum Island:

In the middle of the Spree River there’s an island with many museums.

3. Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie is very tourist-y but worth a visit. The actual checkpoint is just a shack but still worth the walk.

4. Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)

This famous Berlin sight is on the doors of the U-Bahn (Subway), on the Euro, everywhere. Must see.

5. East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery is a long stretch of the Berlin Wall that is covered in urban-art pieces and is the entrance to the old East-Berlin. While you’re there, I recommend crossing the river to visit the popular burger joint “Burgermeister”.


Overall, Berlin remains one of my favorite spots to visit if you get the chance.