Tübingen

Tübingen is a small university town, located near the geographic center of Baden-Württemberg, roughly 30km southwest of Stuttgart.

Understand

Tübingen's population of about 89,000 people is a mixture of students, researchers and academics, medical specialists and "Gorgen". (The Gorgen are people whose families have been there since forever. They used to grow wine berries on the hills around the town. "Gorge" ~ cork.) The university and its network of hospitals are its economic lifeblood (and the biggest employer in southern Württemberg); Eberhard-Karls-Universitaet, founded in 1477, is reputed to be one of the top 5 German universities for studies in German, medicine and law, and Tübingen serves as a regional medical service hub (they even have a malaria clinic).

About 20,000 students fill Tübingen's pubs, cafe patios and university lecture halls during "lecture time" (mid of October until mid of February and mid of April until mid of July). Meanwhile, the high concentration of educated folks with lots of free time means that there are plenty of things to do for the size of the town - 16 choirs; 3 theatres; a fine little art gallery; special lecture series at the university; and, of course, constant parties hosted by the student associations of the various departments (it's almost a competition to see whether the chemists or the anthropologists do it better). The town does get quiet, though, in the breaks between semesters (Feb 15 - Apr 15, Jul 15 - Oct 15).

The city dates back to 1078 A.D. and is remarkably well-preserved; only one bomb fell in World War II - on the house where Goethe lived (or was it Schiller?). The "old town", which lies along the Neckar river, looks much as it would have in the 1600s - its crooked, cobblestone streets will have you walking in circles, when you're not climbing up and down the stairs built into the sidewalks! The Arts campus of the university lies nearby, while more modern science faculties and student residences perch on the large hills that surround the centre of town. Everywhere you go, there are signs of those who went before, sometimes literally ("Dr. Alzheimer worked in this building"), sometimes less so - you can find Tübingen's traces in the writings of Hesse and Hoelderlin...

Tübingen has fairly good weather compared to the rest of Germany (slightly worse than Freiburg, though). Sudden changes in the weather can make your ears pop heading up into the hills by bus, or just sitting in the marketplace in the centre of town! The medieval architecture, the students' joie de vivre, the 40% of residents who vote for the Green Party, the absurd charm of the constant festivals that wind through the streets...it's a unique little spot.

Get in

Interior of Stiftskirche St.Georg (St. George Collegiate Church)

By plane

The Stuttgart airport in Echterdingen is only 33km from Tübingen. From there, the easiest way into Tübingen is the 828 Sprinter bus, which runs hourly and takes approx. 48 minutes to about an hour. For bus schedules see or check at www.naldo.de Mini-Fahrpläne 828. Alternatively, take the train to Herrenberg, and then the S-Bahn train from there to the airport. For more information to the airport see the Stuttgart page.

If coming from Frankfurt Airport, it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours with at least a change in Stuttgart and sometimes in Mannheim as well. See prices and timetables at Deutsche Bahn.

By train

The train from Stuttgart takes about 45min by IRE train or around 1hr by normal train. If you arrive at the main station of Tübingen, don't let the ugly and uninviting surroundings of the train station put you off. Just leave the station behind and keep going (north) and after 10min. walking you'll be right in the old town center. If you are using regional trains the Baden Württemberg Ticket (23€ for one person 4€ more for every additional person up to five) might be a good option as it allows unlimited travel within one day (from 9am to 3 am of the next day) within Baden Württemberg. (not valid on ICE, IC and EC trains)

By bus

The long-distance bus market is exploding in Germany, since a new law deregulated the market in 2013. There are dozens of daily services from most major cities, which are often significantly cheaper than trains. Most buses offer amenities like Wi-Fi and power outlets and some can even transport bicycles. The best resource for checking connections is this German website. All buses leave from the   Central bus station (ZOB). next to the train station. MeinFernbus and DeinBus offer routes to e.g. München, Konstanz, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf. For more information, see long distance bus travel in Germany.

By car

With Tübingen's terrible traffic system, lots of one-way streets and some very eager ticket officers, it is best to park your car as soon as possible and then explore the city on foot, bus or bicycle. Finding a spot to park you car can be quite a pain, especially close to the center of the city. Almost every street there may only be used by residents at night, and during the day there are parking meters. Be sure to check the signs how long you are allowed to park there, and if you are not sure, look for another spot. Ticket officers are very quick in Tübingen. If you need to park your car near downtown, you can use parking garages, but be advised, they are not cheap.

Get around

the best way to get around Tübingen and its surroundings is by bicycle, just like thousands of Tübingen's students. Just don't forget to lock your bike!

Tübingen has a solid bus system, and a day pass gets you unlimited rides from 8:30AM. As of January 1, 2008, day passes cost 4€ for 1 person or 7.50€ for 2-5 people. After the buses stop running on Thursday through Friday nights, certain night bus routes are available throughout the city (check the posted schedules at the respective bus stops to see which bus routes stop where and when). On other nights, it is possible to call for a very inexpensive ride on the shared cab service (Sammel Anruf Mietwagen, or SAM) (page in German only).

Bus tickets can be bought on board every bus (with coins or GeldKarte/ATM Cards only - no paper bills accepted) from the machine behind the driver, or at machines at selected bus stops (but only with a GeldKarte). The machine on the bus is rather non-intuitive, so be prepared to ask friendly looking passengers for help. Note that if you already have a ticket, you can board a bus through any of the doors, as the driver does not inspect tickets upon boarding; rather, fare inspectors patrol the buses at random points during the route. If caught without a valid ticket, fares are a hefty 40€.

Time tables and maps are available from Stadtverkehr Tübingen.

See

Market place Tübingen

Tübingen's scenic location between the forests, the Swabian Jura (Schwäbische Alb) and the river Neckar make it a beautiful stop in south-west Germany. Its flair is comparable to cities like Heidelberg or Freiburg, although Tübingen is smaller than those cities. The primary attraction is the unspoiled Altstadt (city centre) and the lively student population.

Do

Events

Learn

Buy

Eat

Delivery

There are a few places that deliver food, which may come in handy if you choose to stay here for any length of time.

At night, there are only a few places where you still can get something to eat: "X" near the marketplace, McDonalds Drive-Through on the road to Reutlingen, Burger King at the train station, a small Italian take away in Mühlstrasse, a Döner Kebap next to the Epple-Haus (central bus station) is opened until 4AM on the week-ends, and of course any fuel station.

Drink

Best time to visit Tübingen is late spring or summer. Many of the pubs and cafes in the city center then have places to sit outside and hundreds of students populate the central market place until late at night, usually with beer from the nearby chip shop.

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, September 22, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.