Trier – Germany’s Oldest City

Trier is a beautiful small city near the border of Luxemburg. It is the site of an ancient Roman encampment, making it the oldest city in Germany. Despite this history, Trier is not a popular tourist destination for foreign travelers, and the city doesn’t cater to international tourism the way many of the larger, more popular cities would.

Walking Tour

There is only one English language walking tour per day, due to the lack off foreign visitors.  It costs 7 Euros per person and starts at 1300 daily. The tour is 75 minutes, and well worth it.

The Walking Tour gives an excellent overview of the city, from its origins in the Roman Empire through the medieval period and up until the present. The tour guide points out buildings that used to be part of medieval castles, explains the meanings of the statues in the square, and gives you a great deal of history on the oldest and most important structures.

The tour starts at the Porta Nigra (the Black gate) which was the original gate to the Roman City. It was heavily reinforced, and the structure actually formed two gates which formed a trap against invaders. As you stand in the center you can imagine how terrifying it would have been to be trapped inside, with nowhere to hide from the arrows and hot oil flowing from above.

Porta Nigra, Trier
Porta Nigra – The Black Gate

The next tour stops are St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s Cathedrals. The churches are attached in the center, and built in three different distinct architectural styles, Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque. It is very interesting to see the distinct styles and understand the approximate time periods each portion of the cathedral was built in. The tour also gives an excellent history of why the improvements were made throughout the ages (hint, it was mostly political)The walking tour is a must do for anyone with an interest in history, religion, and culture.

St. Peter's and St. Mary's
Joint Cathedrals of St. Peter and St. Mary

Roman Ruins

After the walking tour, we decided to check out some of the Roman Ruins. Unfortunately, during the fall the ruins are only open until 1700, so we wouldn’t have time to see all of them. We settled on the Kaiser Bathhouse, and were very pleased with our decision.

The bathhouse cost 3 Euro per person to enter. An advantage to it being near closing time was that it was fairly empty, so we had free reign to explore with little interruption. A large portion of the ruins are underground, resulting in tunnels that you can freely explore. It is quite an eerie experience.

Bathhouse ruins
Kaiser Bathhouse Ruins

We wanted to see the old Roman Amphitheater after the Bath House, but it was after 1700 so it was already closed. Instead, we decided to walk the path up the hill to the vineyards. The walk was a little difficult, as it was rather steep, but it was worthwhile. We could see the amphitheater from the top of the vineyard, so we didn’t have to be disappointed that we missed it. We also saw amazing views of the entire town. It was quite spectacular. There are a few benches up on the hill, so after you climb you can relax and take in the views. It was a wonderfully serene way to spend the evening.

Trier is also home to one of the most amazing restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience.  The English name is “the Potato Sack”. I seriously want to book a $1000 flight to Germany just to eat here again. It was so good!!  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t expect it to be as delicious as it was, and once I started eating there was no way I was going to stop for a photo!  Also, potato balls smothered in cheese probably aren’t the most photogenic entree in existence, so I’m sure the pictures wouldn’t do it justice.

Trier is a gorgeous city with a lot of history. It truly is a hidden gem, and its unfortunate that its overlooked by the Germany’s larger cities. It is definitely worth a visit.

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