Leipzig

Leipzig is the largest city in the German federal state of Saxony, with a population of approximately 550,000. It is the economic center of the region, known as Germany's "Boomtown" and a major cultural center, offering interesting sights, shopping possibilities and lively nightlife. Oper Leipzig is one of the most prominent opera houses in Germany, and Leipzig Zoological Garden is one of the most modern zoos in Europe and ranks first in Germany and second in Europe according to Anthony Sheridan. The Neuseenland district outside of Leipzig forms a huge lake area.

Understand

Leipzig skyline
Leipzig is well known for its large parks and the Neuseenland (Sea Area) outside the city centre

First documented in 1015, and endowed with city and market privileges in 1165, the city of Leipzig has fundamentally shaped the history of Saxony and of Germany. It was founded at the crossing of two ancient trade routes, Via Regia and Via Imperii. Leipzig has always been known as a place of commerce and still has large trade fairgrounds and exhibition halls known as the Leipzig Messe and located north of the city. Before it became common to dedicate a specific area to trade fairs, they took place in the city itself. Which is why many of the historical buildings were constructed by merchants, as well as Leipzig's unique system of arcades and courtyards.

Other forms of exchange soon followed the trade of goods. The University of Leipzig (Latin: Alma mater lipsiensis) was founded in 1409, which makes it the second-oldest university in Germany. University facilities are scattered throughout the city, and you cannot miss the central campus at Augustusplatz. Leipzig acquired the nickname Klein Paris ("Little Paris") in the 18th century, when it became a center of a classical literary movement largely lead by the German scholar and writer Johann Christoph Gottsched.

The city is also the home of the Nikolaikirche (Church of St. Nicholas) – the starting point of peaceful demonstrations against the communist regime which led to German Reunification. The collapse of communism hit Leipzig's economy very heavily (as did communism itself), but after being on the mend for over twenty years, it has emerged as one of the success stories of the "New German States".

Traces of Leipzig's history are everywhere: the ring of streets around the city center marking the former course of the city wall, the city trade houses, abandoned and repurposed industrial buildings in Plagwitz, small town structures in the outskirts where surrounding towns were incorporated during phases of rapid growth, the battlefields of the Napoleonic wars in the south and southeast of the city, and much, much more.

Tourist Information

Get in

Leipzig is a transportation hub in Saxony and offers fast connections by rail, road and air throughout Germany.

By car

Leipzig can easily be reached by car, as it is very well connected with the Autobahn highway system. The nearest Autobahn highways are A14 (North, Northeast), A9 (West) and A38 (South).

By bus

Long distance buses connect Leipzig with several major German cities. Buses stop at Goethestrasse, off the southeastern corner of the Central Station (between Central Station and Opera house) and/or at the airport railway station. Bus operators include MeinFernBus.de,Flixbus and Berlin Linien Bus GmbH among others.

By train

An IC train at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof

Leipzig was one of the most important travel hubs in Germany as early as the 1830s when the first long distance railway in continental Europe linking it to Dresden was built and it has regained this position after German reunification. Once the Leipzig Nuremberg route is fully built in 2017 Leipzig will have high speed ICEs traveling to every direction, making Leipzig main station one of the most important in the German train network. Leipzig's Hauptbahnhof is the largest terminal railway station in Europe with 26 platforms (18 plus two tunnel platforms still operating), and also includes a large shopping mall, a tedious way to waste away an hour or two between connections.

Deutsche Bahn operates regular train service between Leipzig and nearby cities such as Halle (€9, 25 minutes), Magdeburg (€20, 75 minutes), Erfurt (€28, 60 minutes), Jena (€24, 60 minutes), Weimar (€25, 60 minutes), Dessau (€11, 50 minutes), Lutherstadt Eisleben (€13, 80 minutes), Lutherstadt Wittenberg (€12, 30 minutes), Potsdam (€47, 2 hours), and Berlin (€43, 80 minutes). High speed express trains are available to major cities in Germany including Frankfurt (€72, 3.5 hours), Munich (€89, 4.5 hours), Hamburg (€93, 3 hours), and Dresden (€20, 90 minutes). Prague (€50, 4.5 hours) can be reached with a transfer in Dresden. If you book well in advance reduced-fare (limited refunding, set date and train) tickets are available starting at 29€ (21,75€ with Bahn card 25, no Bahn card 50 discount). Your best chance on reduced fares are off-peak hours on weekdays. Even if you buy your ticket one day prior to departure on an ICE, you have a good chance of finding a reduced fare that is cheaper than the full prices (called "Normalpreis" in German) quoted above. However unlike with the Normalpreis you will have to use the train you booked and can't change it. If you aren't traveling alone, it might make sense to see whether there is a discount for the second person traveling the same route or for groups. For more on the price system of German trains see rail travel in Germany

By plane

Leipzig/Halle Airport railway station

Leipzig/Halle Airport (IATA: LEJ) , sometimes called Schkeuditz Airport, is 22 km northwest of central Leipzig. The airport is the second biggest airport in Eastern Germany after Berlin. Trains run between the airport and the city every 30 minutes; the trip takes 14 or 18 minutes and costs €4.20. When arriving at the main station from the airport you have to go up the stairs for connecting services. The tram network is also directly reachable from the City-Tunnel with departure times clearly marked on displays at the exit to the trams.

The following airlines operate service to/from Leipzig/Halle Airport according to the timetable winter 2013/14:

Aegean Airways (Rhodes) - Air Berlin (Antalya, Arecife, Djerba, Enfidha, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Heraklion, Hurghada, Korfu, Kos, Lamezia Terme, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Marsa Alam, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South) - Air Via (Varna) - Atlasjet International (Antalya) - Austrian Airlines (Vienna) - Bulgarian Air Charter (Varna) - Cairo Air (Hurghada) - Condor (Agadir, Antalya, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Heraklion, Hurghada, Kos, Larnaca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Marsa Alam, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes, Tenerife-South) - Croatia Airlines (Dubrovnik, Split) - Darwin Airlines (Amsterdam-Schiphol, Paris-Charles de Gaulle) - Freebird Airlines (Antalya) - Germanwings (Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart) - Germania (Antalya, Fuerteventura, Heraklion, Moscow-Domodedovo, Rhodes) - Hamburg Airways (Antalya) - Lufthansa (Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich) - Neos (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) - Nouvelair (Djerba, Enfidha) - Onur Air (Antalya) - Pegasus Airlines (Antalya) - Ryanair (Faro, London–Stansted), Malaga, Pisa, Rome–Ciampino, Trapani) - Sky Airlines (Antalya) - SunExpress (Antalya, Gazipasa), Hurghada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Luxor, Marsa Alam, Santa Cruz/La Palma, Sharm-el-Sheikh), Taba, Teneriffa) - TUIfly (Antalya, Fuerteventura, Heraklion, Rhodes) - Tunis Air (Djerba, Enfidha) - Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) -

Berlin's airports (IATA: TXL, SXF) are just two hours away by train and offer more options. As an intercontinental flyer you should also consider Frankfurt (IATA: FRA). During daytime, hourly direct trains take you from the airport station Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof to Leipzig Hauptbahnhof in about 4 hours for €74 (book in adavance and you can get tickets for as little as 29€). Many (but not all) airlines flying to/from German airports offer rail&fly for more on that see rail air alliances

Get around

Public transport

The primary means of public transport is the tram. LVB operates trams and buses in Leipzig. Most lines run every 10 minutes during the day and at least hourly at night. A single-trip ticket costs € 2.40. A full day bus & tram ticket, valid until 4am the next morning, costs € 6.00; a day ticket for 2 - 5 people traveling together costs € 8.90 - € 17.60. A weekly pass costs € 21.10. After 8pm, you must enter buses through the driver's door and show/purchase your ticket.

The tram network is structured like a star with a circle in the center. Tram lines generally lead from the outskirts into the city, which they half-circle on the ring, and continue to someplace else in the outskirts. Bus lines provide additional direct connections that often do not touch the center.

Trains ("S-Bahn") are crossing the city center in north-south direction though the city tunnel, connecting Hauptbahnhof and Bayerischer Bahnhof via underground stations at Markt and at Wilhelm-Leuschner Platz. From both ends of the tunnel lines branch off into several directions towards Leipzig suburbs like Connewitz, Stötteritz, Thekla, fair area and Miltitzer Allee and beyond. Please note that the city tunnel provides fast connections north - south, but is not of great help in the east - west direction.

Tickets

LVB is part of the regional integrated transport network MDV. Tickets to nearby towns and cities (e.g. Halle) are available at LVB ticket offices and vending machines. They are valid for all participating means of transportation. The fares quoted above are for MDV fare zone 110, which is more or less identical with the city. A single-trip ticket includes transfers to other lines. You have to complete your trip within one hour. Buy tickets from:

Stamp your ticket after boarding the first bus or tram on your itinerary, or on the platform when using a train. Week tickets are issued for 7 days from set date, month tickets for calendar months. Day and week tickets are valid until 4am the next day after their validity has ended; month tickets until noon the day after their validity has ended.

Ticket and service offices:

Leipzig Card

Leipzig tramway is the second biggest in Germany, after the Berlin tramway network

A ticket with benefits is the LEIPZIG CARD. You can buy it at the LVB ticket offices listed abov, at tourist information, or online. At a price moderately higher than the respective LVB tickets, in addition to unlimited rides, the LEIPZIG CARD offers discounts at a number of tourist attractions. The LEIPZIG CARD is available in three versions:

A leaflet listing all the benefits is available online.

Night Bus Network

Regular services operate until around midnight. A network of Nightliner bus lines (N1...N10) takes you around at night. All Nightliner buses start from Hauptbahnhof at 1:11am, 2:22am, and 3:33am. They service most parts of the main tram network, but on different routes. Each line makes a loop, returning to Hauptbahnhof at the end. Check the blue network plans at stops or inside trams.

By taxi

Plenty of taxis are available. They wait for customers in various designated locations around the city. You can also wave a taxi on the street if its sign is lit up. To order a taxi to your current location call 4884. Pubs, restaurants and hotels will be happy to do that for you if you are their customer. Expect a fare of €15–20 for a trip from the outskirts to the center or vice versa.

By car

Leipzig suffers from the same traffic problems as all cities of its size. Access to the city center is restricted, so don't plan to go anywhere inside the inner ring of main streets.

If you still like to use a car within the city, be prepared to pay a fee for parking around the center. Car parks are available at Hauptbahnhof, Augustusplatz, Burgplatz, and several other locations. A parking guidance system is installed on the main streets. Around the inner ring, signs point you to the different car parks and display the current number of unused parking spots. Signs are color-coded, each color representing a car park location. Since the city center is pretty compact, for most purposes it won't matter much where you leave your car. When you visit the Gewandhaus or the opera, the car park underneath Augustusplatz is the most convenient option with exits to both buildings.

Watch for the trams when making turns. They are stronger than your car and sometimes come from behind beside the street. At marked tram stops, if the driving lane is to the right of the track, you have to wait behind a stopping tram and let passengers get on and off. After everyone is off the street, you may pass slowly.

Most of the city of Leipzig is a designated low-emission zone (Umweltzone). Cars operating within the limits of the city have to comply with strict emission standards. Many modern cars do, but to enter the zone your car has to show it by exhibiting a green badge (Feinstaubplakette). If you enter the city without this badge, or with a yellow or red badge, you risk a fine.

Neues Rathaus - New Town Hall

See

Altes Rathaus - Old Town Hall at the Market Square
Goethe and Schiller still have a large "presence" in this part of Germany.

Churches

Bach's grave in the floor of the altar in the Thomaskirche

Museums

Famous houses

Fair-houses and passages

Mädlerpassage. The sculpture shows a scene from Goethe's Faust and marks the entrance to Auerbachs Keller
Speck's Hof − Messehaus and the oldest passage

Unique to Leipzig is its number of passages in the city center. Some have big entrances, while others may look from the street just like a gate left open. Some belong to historical buildings, some have appeared only a few years ago.

Architecture

Völkerschlachtdenkmal, largest monument in Europe

Other sights

Reichsgericht
View over Leipzig Zoo, one of the most modern in Europe

Do

If you understand some German, get a copy of the monthly city magazine Kreuzer or use the event calendar on their website to get information on upcoming events. You can buy the Kreuzer for €2.50 in press shops and bookstores throughout the city.

Sightseeing tours

Boat Tour at the Karl-Heine-Kanal

Concerts

Festivals

Outdoors

Lakes

Leipzig is surrounded by the Neuseenland, a huge lake district

Leipzig is surrounded by several lakes , resulting from former open-cast lignite mining and now developed into places for various outdoor activities. You can spend a day on the beach, ride a canoe, or go fishing or scuba diving just 10 km from the city center. The closest lakes are:

Riverside woods and parks

A green ribbon of woods and parks crosses the city following the rivers Elster, Pleiße, Parthe, and Luppe. From the Cospudener See in the south through the Clara-Zetkin-Park, west of the city center along the Elsterflutbecken, and to the northwest between Leutzsch and Möckern you'll find a landscape that sometimes makes you forget you are in a city.

Other activities

Inside the Zaha-Hadid-designed Central Building of the BMW plant in Leipzig

Buy

There are lots of shops in the inner city (city center), mostly frequented by pedestrians. Leipzig and Germany souvenirs can be found at shops around the Old City Hall. There are many independent retailers unique to Leipzig in Südvorstadt; with many interesting clothing stores, food places, and cinemas.

Eat

Specialities

Lerchen

Try specialities of Leipzig:

Budget

For breakfast or for a snack during the day, turn to one of the many bakery shops you'll find all over the city. Most are open 7 days a week, typically from 6am to 6pm (or from 7 to 6 on Sundays). 5€ buy you a sandwich, a pastry or a piece of cake, and a cup of coffee.


Mid-range


Splurge

Drink

Karl-Liebknecht Strasse, Leipzig has a vibrant night life

You can find a lot of pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants and also some smaller dance clubs along the international Karl-Liebknecht Strasse ("Karli"). The street starts in the south of the inner city and leads you to Südvorstadt and Connewitz (student and alternative quarters). Many bars can also be found on Barfussgaesschen Street.

Cafés

Leipzig has a long and lively coffee house tradition. Although many of the old cafés have disappeared, this tradition lives on. Besides Zum Arabischen Coffee Baum (listed under Museums above) a number of cafés give you a place to relax and have a cup of coffee during the day.

Bars and pubs

Clubs

Sleep

When planning your visit to Leipzig, do note that it is a major trade fair location, and occupation and rates at hotels may starkly rise during fair periods. Consult the calendar at the website of Leipziger Messe for their dates.

Budget

Camping

Hostels

Hotels

Mid-range

Splurge

Cope

Go next

Routes through Leipzig

Dresden Riesa  Dresden  Frankfurt  Naumburg Erfurt
Dresden Riesa  Dresden  Köln  Halle Magdeburg
Berlin Lutherstadt Wittenberg  Berlin  München  Jena Nürnberg
END  Leipzig  Hamburg  Lutherstadt Wittenberg Berlin


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 31, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.