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What You Can Do if Only Have 3 Hours in Leipzig, Germany

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Leipzig, a smallish industrial city located just 150 kilometers south of Berlin in the former East Germany, isn’t a city I knew anything about until I visited last week.

Now that I’ve been, I recommend a visit – even if you only have three hours.

Why??

Because even though Leipzig is an industrial city, it’s a super livable city; in fact it was rated at one point as the most livable city in all of Germany, and may still hold that title. It’s energetic, youthful, vibrant, colourful, creative and musical. It’s also extremely walkable – and there seem to be as many bikes as there are cars. Getting around via public transit is also a snap. The food scene is excellent and there’s enough culturally to keep you busy for several days. But chances are you don’t have four or five days, the time I think you need to fully do the city justice.

But perhaps you have three hours – and that would be enough time to ditch your luggage at the railway station – the largest in Europe by the way – and head out on foot.

What I’ve shown in the photos below are images I caught on a three hour, unhurried walk. Pick up a map from the tourist info booth at the train station and ask anyone in the booth for directions to the central area. Then walk where the wind blows you.

"Looking through green space to the Leipzig train station"

Looking through green space to the Leipzig train station

"If these old buildings could talk"

If these old buildings could talk

"Run down buildings are actually few and far between in the core of Leipzig"

Run down buildings are actually few and far between in the core of Leipzig

"Train tracks to the main station in Leipzig"

Train tracks to the main station in Leipzig

"Walking towards the university"

Walking towards the university

"The Opera House in Leipzig"

The Opera House in Leipzig

"The University of Leipzig - with an erollment of about 29,000 students"

The University of Leipzig – with an enrollment of about 29,000 students

"You can feel the buzz and the energy around the University of Leipzig"

You can feel the buzz and the energy around the University of Leipzig

"Fantastic street musicians"

Fantastic street musicians

"Lots of fresh flowers for sale"

Lots of fresh flowers for sale

"Loved the art but don't know the significance of it"

Loved the art but don’t know the significance of it – perhaps a socialist salute?

"Lots of little parks scattered around Leipzig"

Lots of little parks scattered around Leipzig

"cafe in Leipzig"

Make time for a visit to a cafe

"Statue of Johann Sebastian Bach outside of The St. Thomas Church"

Statue of Johann Sebastian Bach outside of the St. Thomas Church

"Inside The St. Thomas Church - home to the St. Thomas Boys Choir and the Cantors dating back to 1254"

Inside The St. Thomas Church – home to the St. Thomas Boys Choir and the Cantors dating back to 1254

"The back side of The St. Thomas Church in Leipzig"

The back side of The St. Thomas Church

"Everywhere you look you will find at least on person riding a bike - but usually many more in Leipzig"

Everywhere you look you will find someone riding a bike

"Yet another peaceful park in Leipzig"

Yet another peaceful park in Leipzig

"I needed a tour guide to tell me the meaning of this plaque"

I needed a tour guide to tell me the meaning of this plaque

"The City - Hochhause, a 36 story skyscraper & the tallest building in Leipzig"

The City – Hochhause, a 36 story skyscraper & the tallest building in Leipzig

"The City-Hochhause was designed in the shape of an open book by Hermann Henselmann"

The City-Hochhaus was designed in the shape of an open book by Hermann Henselmann

"Untimely contemporaries by Bernd Göbel"

Untimely contemporaries by Bernd Göbel

"Richard Wagner - famous composer who I'm told had a habit of skipping out on his rent in Dresden"

Richard Wagner – famous composer who I’m told had a nasty habit of skipping out on his rent when he lived in Dresden

"Coming full circle back to the train station"

Coming full circle back to the train station

"Liked this poster - though unsure of meaning - perhaps roll up your sleeves and get to work ???"

Liked this poster – though unsure of meaning – perhaps roll up your sleeves and get to work ???

"Flower garden across from the train station"

Flower garden across from the train station

"Micheal Fisher's signature art on the Marriott Hotel"

Micheal Fisher’s signature art on the Marriott Hotel

"Close-up of Micheal Fischer's art"

Close-up of Micheal Fischer’s art

"Raining flower petals"

Raining flower petals

"Lilac lined streets in the vicinity of the zoo"

Lilac lined streets in the vicinity of the zoo

"Colourful entrance to this area near the zoological gardens"

Colourful entrance near the zoological gardens

I hope you’re curious about Leipzig now that you’ve seen some photos. I have a lot more to share with you but you’ll have to wait till next week.

Have you been to Leipzig?

Other posts related to my recent trip to Germany you might enjoy:

Leigh McAdam

HikeBikeTravel
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Author Hike Bike Travel

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 27 Comments

  • Jenna says:

    I would go there even if I had just 3 hours! I love visiting small cities in Europe and seeing how the local people live. Leipzig looks like a very nice city.

  • I absolutely loved this whirl-wind tour of Leipzig and wow, you certainly covered a LOT of ground in three hours! Your photos are exquisite!!

  • I have loved seeing some of your photos on FB but these are even more beautiful photos of Leipzig. I have never heard of it until your visit. What a delightful town full of great architecture and art. Love that university building. The poster is of “Rosie the Riveter”. It was an American wartime propaganda poster also known as “We Can Do It!” but also used to promote feminism.

    • @Mary I think I’d heard of the city but that was it. I knew nothing about it, even where it was located until I started my research and actually went. It is a fantastic city – and along with Dresden would be a great family destination.
      Interesting what the different takes are on the poster in the comments. I loved it for the woman’s bulging muscles.

  • Francesca says:

    Now that you’ve gotten a bigger picture of the city, next time you have three hours in Leipzig you should try a food tour! The guide can explain the history and culture behind what you’re seeing – like that plaque and the statue – and you’ll also get a delicious idea of some of the city’s most classic flavors! Here’s where you can find more info: http://www.eat-the-world.com/en/leipzig.html

    Also, I can give you a bit of help with that Rosie the Riveter poster – it does say “Roll up your sleeves” (the small text says “Better for Leipzig”) and it’s an ad for the FDP, a political party. Elections for seats in the European Parliament are coming up at the end of May. :)

    • @Francesca Fortunately I did have an opportunity to do an abbreviated food tour one evening. It was part food, part walking tour. I also had an evening at Spinnerei. But I did miss out on some of the culture on my own walking tour.

      Thanks for all the great info in your comment Francesca.

  • Sophie says:

    Looks like a very pretty and lively city. I plan to visit in September. Thanks for the advance look.

  • noel says:

    That was a fun tour, I love informal tours to just walk and discover a place – it is a very colorful place and I love mixing the old and new into the architecture

  • I never would have guessed that Leipzig was such an interesting city! Love the diverse architecture – particularly the University building and the Opera Hall. Seems like it must be a city with an interesting musical history as well.

  • Corinne says:

    I have not yet been to Leipzig, but your photos are gorgeous and now I want to go…I’m looking up the drive right now!

  • Hi Leigh,
    Wow, you certainly did see a lot of interesting sight in 3 hours! Didn’t know much about Leipzig myself, so I really enjoyed this photo tour of the city. The university looks amazing. I thought it was a church before I read your caption. I love the diversity of architecture that you captured as well as the vibrant art scene. If you see this much in 3 hours, what more if you were there for several days? Where did you go from here? Can’t wait to hear.

  • Nancie says:

    Love all the sculpture and the art work. Looks like a great city to spend a few hours or a few days! Looking forward to hearing about the food!

  • Freya says:

    I have never been to Leipzig but added it to my list now. Looks really interesting. WoW incredible what you can do in 3 hours.

  • Jörg says:

    Interesting photo walk you took :) About the statute you were wondering… it is the Jahrhundertschritt (century step) by grand GDR artist Wolfgang Mattheuer (1927-2004). It depicts a person torn between a hitler salute and a communist salute. It’s standing directly in fornt of the contemporary history museum.
    Also it always surprises me to hear people talking of Leipzig (530.000 people) as a small city (i grew up in a 20.000 people city) but then again if someone comes from a 10 mio metropolis the perspective is certainly different ;)

    • @Jorg I love to get a feel for a city by walking or cycling it. A bike would have been even better. Thanks for the background behind that interesting piece of artwork.
      And you’re right about city size. It all depends on your vantage point. I have lived in several million plus cities so Leipzig seems like a very reasonable size to me.

  • Jens says:

    The statue is called “Der Jahrhundertschritt” (century step). It symbolizes National Socialism (Hitler Salute) and Communism (fist).

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