Thursday, December 27, 2012

Travel Guide: Muenster, Germany

A wonderful place to visit is the city Muenster, Germany. It is the epitome of a medieval urban, trendy environment!

Known for having an excellent University, Muenster balances a blend of college students and growing families. Luckily for most locals, the tourists are primarily Dutch and Germans from other Regions. The city has a 'center' with branches of mini-cities surrounding it.

I was an exchange student in Muenster, Germany for one year, and it was the best year of my life! The beauty of the city, the lush environment, refreshing weather, and great night life made my year there unforgettable! I would highly recommend visiting and living there for a unique life experience. Not to mention that Muenster won the 'most livable city' International Livcom Award in 2004!

Located in Northwest Germany, it neighbors bigger cities and is a train ride away rom Cologne, Hamburg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Beautifully warm in Summer with the average high around 75-80 degrees, and pleasantly cold in winter with a 32 degree average high, it fits everybody's needs! Muenster is one of the greenest cities in the world - economically and with nature. 

Muenster is the bike capital of Europe! For 400,000 people, there are around 2 million bikes! When I lived in Muenster with my host family, each person had their own bike plus an extra. Needless to say, it would be recommended to rent a bike while visiting, because there are so plentiful bike paths through gorgeous green landscapes [or snowy ones during winter] with countless beat of trails to little canals, fields full of flowers, or even isolated villages.

A good place to rent bikes is simply through the City of Muenster. It is relatively cheap too! If you are opposed to it, you can rent Bus Tickets for less than 10 Euros/day that travel all throughout the city and neighborhoods. I lived off a bus pass during the winter months! I would suggest renting bikes in Summer and wander around the city. Nearly everyone can speak English, so if you get lost, someone can help. However, buses are preferable in Winter! [hello snow and icy roads!]

The highlight of Muenster is Prinzipalmarkt. Here you see extraordinary architecture that transports you hundreds of years back. Cobblestone streets colonnades are usually filled with people enjoying a cup of coffee, shopping, or biking through a shortcut. Depending on the time of year, there will be festivals, camera crews filming for Tatort [Germany movie series], or Christmas Markets! There is so much to do in the city center! I would suggest Cafe Kleimann [the outdoor cafe pictured above] to take in the essence of Muenster, but if you are on a budget, Cafe Extrablatt on the street Salzstrasse is a great option as well. 

Fun Fact: The Church to left is about 1,200 years old! It is one of the only structures in Muenster that wasn't destroyed in WWII. The British mostly occupied Muenster during the war, and used the tower as a lookout! However, most of the buildings around it were destroyed and were rebuilt after the war. 

If you peek up at the top, there are three cages on the tower that once held criminals. The city removed the bones within the last 20 years. 

Endless activities will be presented to you when you visit Muenster! 

Ride your bike or take a walk down the Promenade [the path that surrounds the city center where the walls once stood.] It's about 3 miles around with branches into neighborhoods, parks, schools, and restaurants!

Visit the Hafen [the harbor] during the day for amazingly delicious food and night time for a great party scene! Coconut Beach [the fake sandy beach] is a great place to relax, sip on a drink, and then walk to a few feet to a popular nightclub called Heaven to dance the night away! [best time to go is a Wednesday or Saturday night!]

Head over to the Schloss [castle] where the vast gardens and stunning architecture can make for some beautiful pictures. If you go to the back of the castle, there are very large Botanical Gardens with greenhouses, ponds, and other wonderful things to explore.

If you are in Germany in December, you can not miss the Christmas Markets! These booths hold roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, accessories, and my favorite part - Gluehwein! Gluehwein [Glowing Wine] is a spiced wine served warm! They are located several times within one section of the market, so you will not have trouble finding it. It will be a magical experience, especially if it snows! Look how festive it looks! 

Muenster is a fabulous place to experience, and you will not regret it! If the weather channel says rain, it will rain. Prepare yourself for showers periodically, as well random temperature changes. If you dislike smoking, ask around for a smoke-free restaurant. A great smoke-free bar is called Peacock in the Altstald. Transportation is easy, the scenery is magical, and the culture is captivating!

HAVE FUN IN MUENSTER! I encourage you to let me know if this was helpful or not, or if you have suggestions!

I wonder who this person is celebrating Karnival? :P

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3Picture 4Picture 6,7, Picture 8, 


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