Aachen city breaks
Aachen holidays and city breaks
Situated on the borders of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, the atmospheric spa town of Aachen has drawn visitors for two millennia. Its name partly comes from the Old High German word “ahha” (water) – 3.5 million litres of sulfurous water runs through here every day. The Romans came to bathe in the area’s mineral-rich natural hot pools, and it became the imperial capital under Charles the Great (who was laid to rest here). Its medieval structures, restored Gothic facades and ornate cathedral attract more than a million visitors per year. Culture-buffs will enjoy wandering the narrow, winding streets; foodies will love popping into the many bars, outdoor restaurants and cafes below pretty pastel-painted buildings; and those looking for a restorative trip can dip into some of the hottest thermal springs in Central Europe.
Things to see and do in Aachen
Aachen’s main attractions are in its pedestrian zone, including the Aachen Cathedral – Northern Europe's oldest UNESCO World Heritage Site – envisioned by Emperor Charlemagne and constructed in 805. Forty-three German kings and queens have been crowned under the cathedral’s octagonal dome and gold-decorated halls. The light streaming in from 1,000m² of stained glass is a sight to behold.
Aachen Town Hall
Steps from the cathedral, the majestic Rathaus looms over the market square. Visitors can tour the interiors under vaulted ceilings and detailed frescos. Don’t miss the striking White Hall with gold paintwork and antique chandeliers.
Baths of Carolus
After a day of sightseeing, do as the Romans did and soak in Aachen’s steamy therapeutic waters. The Carolus Thermen spa has an expansive sauna lake and beach, 15 saunas and steam baths and free aqua gymnastics.
Best places to eat and drink in Aachen
Aachen’s weekly market is the place to rub shoulders with the locals, peruse the colourful produce, and sample local bratwurst and fries. Aachen is also considered the sweet capital of Germany, so no trip is complete without tasting Aachener Printen (similar to gingerbread) and the region’s handmade chocolates. Locally brewed beers are readily available at restaurants and bars.
How to get to Aachen
Thalys is becoming Eurostar, bringing you more routes and easier connections to Aachen. Now you can book direct tickets to Aachen from France or travel to Germany via Brussels.
Address: Bahnhofplatz 2A, 52064
Phone number: +49 305 8602 0930
Facilities: Car park, bike park, luggage lockers, free wifi
Lost and found: If you’ve lost something on your journey please see the advice here.
Public transport: On Eurostar’s trains across Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany you can buy your ticket for public transport at the Eurostar Café, at the same price as buying a single ticket at the ticket desk. Search for details of your onward journey using public transport.
Connecting trains: Check timetables in real time for your connecting trains
Airport connections: Maastricht Aachen Airport
Book a taxi & pick-up service: My Driver