Is Leipzig Worth Visiting? Finding the Allure for All Travellers

Leipzig, a gem nestled in the Saxony region of Germany, has long been whispered about in travel circles, leaving many to ponder the question, “Is Leipzig worth visiting?”

As a seasoned traveller and connoisseur of unique destinations, visiting Leipzig while living in Berlin was on my radar.

I wanted to visit Leipzig Germany, a city synonymous with classical music, art, architecture and culture. I wanted to uncover what is Leipzig famous for. From the city’s rich history of Bach, the world’s oldest operating coffeehouse, the high concentration of Art Nouveau architecture, its renowned international book fair, and the Spinnerei, a former cotton mill turned art hub.

In this article, I’ll share some intriguing facts about Leipzig Germany that will prove this city worth visiting.

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Quick Facts about Leipzig Germany

what is leipzig famous for? its town square, tall buildings with red roof tops
  • Leipzig, Germany has roots dating back over a millennium with its first documented mention in 1015
  • Leipzig has evolved into a powerhouse of music, notably as Johann Sebastian Bach’s residence from 1723 until he died in 1750
  • The Battle of Leipzig in 1813, a turning point in the Napoleonic Wars, is commemorated by the imposing Monument to the Battle of the Nations, completed in 1913
  • Leipzig further cements its literary legacy with the annual Leipzig Book Fair, a tradition since 1632, making it one of the world’s oldest book fairs
  • The city’s coffee culture also thrives with the venerable Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, operational since 1694, claiming the title of the oldest coffeehouse globally
  • The Spinnerei, a former cotton mill converted into an artistic hub is one of the top visited attractions in Leipzig
  • Bayerischer Bahnhof holds the distinction of being the oldest railway station pub in Germany. It has been serving patrons since 1842
  • Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, or Leipzig Central Station, is one of the largest railway stations in Europe in terms of floor area. It covers a vast space of about 83,460 square meters

Is Leipzig Worth Visiting?

public square with town hall in yellow and orange building is one of the facts about leipzig germany

Yes, it absolutely is! Leipzig is worth visiting as it is a city that appeals to a diverse array of travellers, each finding their unique reasons to fall in love with this enchanting German city.

Not to mention, this is one of the best day trips by train from Berlin you can take in less than an hour!

Let me unravel the reasons why Leipzig is not just worth visiting but a destination that caters to the specific interests and passions of every type of traveller.

For the History Buff

yellow building home to bach museum is what leipzig is famous for

With its first documented origins in 1015 to evolve into a medieval trading hub by the 15th century, Leipzig has an interesting history to uncover.

The Renaissance period brought cultural and educational prosperity, witnessed by the founding of the University of Leipzig in 1409 and hosting the pivotal Leipzig Disputation in 1519 during the Protestant Reformation. The 18th century marked a musical era with Johann Sebastian Bach’s residency from 1723 to 1750, and the city’s pivotal role in the Napoleonic Wars was sealed by the Battle of Leipzig in 1813.

Leipzig thrived as an industrial center in the 19th century, hosting renowned trade fairs, but endured the challenges of World Wars I and II in the 20th century. Unlike some other German cities like Berlin and Dresden, the overall damage was not as extensive. The aftermath of World War II saw Leipzig falling under Soviet influence until German reunification in 1990.

History buffs, why not take an Old Town guided tour taking you to iconic landmarks while learning about its history?

For the Music Afficiando

bronze statue of music composer bach with church in background answers for me the question of is leipzig worth visiting

If you’re drawn to classical music, Leipzig is a haven. Visit St. Thomas Church, where Bach composed and performed. Nearby, the Bach Museum gives you a glimpse into his home and life while living in Leipzig from 1723-1744.

Wander through Clara Zetkin Park, and you’ll discover a tribute to Richard Wagner, born in Leipzig, immortalized in bronze. Felix Mendelssohn, another musical giant, lived in Leipzig, and his former residence is now the Mendelssohn House Museum. The former residence of Robert Schumann, the Romantic composer, is now a museum dedicated to his life and works.

The Gewandhaus Orchestra is one of the world’s oldest symphony orchestras, with many of the renowned composers, including Wagner and Mahler, conducting their works here. A hub for opera and classical music is the Leipzig Opera House hosting performances that continue the city’s tradition of musical excellence.

For the Art and Culture Enthusiast

If you’re into contemporary art, you’ve got to check out Leipzig’s Spinnerei, it’s amazing! This former cotton mill turned into a hotbed of creativity, housing cool art galleries, studios, and cultural spaces.

Get ready to dive into the avant-garde vibe, wandering through open studios, chatting with resident artists, and getting a front-row seat to the creative process. The industrial-chic setting, with its exposed brick and high ceilings, adds a vibe like no other to the diverse artworks on display. Leipzig’s Spinnerei isn’t just a place; it’s an experience that screams artistic coolness. Come see it for yourself—you won’t be disappointed.

For the Book Lover

woman at bookshop looking at books on visit leipzig germany trip

For my fellow bookworms, Leipzig is a haven for us! The Leipzig Book Fair is like stepping into literary history—it’s one of the oldest in the world, no less.

A visit to Hugendubel is a book paradise right in the historic center. And for those who are always on the hunt for rare books head to Antiquariat. These places aren’t just bookstores; they’re gateways to Leipzig’s rich literary legacy. Seriously, if you’re enchanted by books, Leipzig is calling your name.

For the Architecture Admirer

tall art nouveau building with elephant heads, tile details and curved top in a coffee shop is what leipzig is famous for

Leipzig is like a living canvas of different types of architectural styles, like the Old Town Hall built in the historicist style, combining elements of Gothic and Renaissance architecture.

But what really caught my eye the most was Art Nouveau. If you love the whimsical style as much as I do here are some stand-out houses to seek out and admire:

  • Riquethaus (Riquet House) on Katharinenstraße 17
  • Gohliser Schlösschen at Menckestraße 23
  • Stadtbad (Municipal Bath) at Bernhard-Göring-Straße 152

For the Coffee Connoisseur

visiting leipzip to coffee museum with fountain

Hey coffee enthusiasts, Leipzig’s coffee game is on point (well according to my husband it is)! It’s so good that Leipzig’s claim to fame is to be the only German city to rival Vienna’s coffee culture.

On my list was to check out the historic Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum, only to find out it’s now closed. But you can still visit the museum.

You can’t go wrong with Café Kandler, they are so popular they have multiple locations in Leipzig. We went to Cafe Riquet, I admired the architecture while my husband sipped his coffee.

For the Nature Seeker

pond with tree in autumn on a while visiting leipzig germany

With its expansive parks and green spaces, Leipzig offers a couple of peaceful spots to take a break from sightseeing.

From the picturesque Clara Zetkin Park to leisurely boat rides on the Karl-Heine Canal, the city seamlessly blends urban vibrancy with natural tranquillity.

I recommend this boat tour which takes you through the various canals while sipping on a cup of mulled wine.

For the Hidden Gems Explorer

in courtyard with yellow buildings with and red roofs is reason to answer is leipzip worth visiting

Explore the distinctive charm of neighbourhoods like Plagwitz and Connewitz in Leipzig, where vibrant street art, unique shops, and a relaxed ambiance create a bohemian atmosphere.

Don’t miss the hidden treasures like the train museum in Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, offering a nostalgic journey through locomotive history. Bayerischer Bahnhof is another gem, not just for its historical appeal but also as the home of Gose, Leipzig’s oldest beer tradition also located in the central train station.

Another off-the-beaten-path and interesting place is Kunstkraftwerk, a former power plant turned art space, which invites you to experience multimedia exhibitions and immersive art.

For the Foodie

Foodies take note, Leipzig will not disappoint!

You’ve got to try the “Leipziger Lerche” (Leipzig Lark). This pastry is a local specialty which is a small, sweet pastry filled with a mixture of crushed almonds, nuts, and marzipan. I got one to take home from Café Kandler, and my only mistake was only getting one!

Looking for a great lunchtime spot, head to Mädler Passage Courtyard. Tucked away in this historic passage, you’ll discover a tranquil courtyard providing an ideal setting for a leisurely lunch.

While in Leipzig look for traditional Saxon dishes on the menu like Leipziger Allerlei (a vegetable medley featuring a mix of peas, carrots, asparagus, and whatever is in season). Or I recommend the hearty and warming dish of Sächsische Kartoffelsuppe, a Saxon potato soup. Quarkkeulchen is quark pancakes (type of flour) or fritters served with applesauce or fruit compote.

I love taking food tours, and recommend this 3-hour sightseeing food tour stopping at 5 or 6 stops.

For the Animal Lover

The Leipzig Zoo, renowned for its conservation efforts and immersive exhibits, appeals to families and all those who love wildlife. Engage with over 800 species and witness the zoo’s commitment to preserving endangered animals.

The gem of the Leipzig Zoo is Gondwanaland, a tropical rainforest housed in a massive glass hall.

Get your Zoo ticket in advance which includes a hop-on hop-off bus ticket.

For the Budget Traveler

Leipzig’s affordable luxury, from boutique hotels to local eateries, caters to the budget-conscious traveller.

It’s the kind of city where you will enjoy a high-quality experience without compromising your wallet, making Leipzig a destination that offers both value and authenticity.

Visit Leipzig Germany: How and When to Go

glass building with yellow trees on square is what leipzig is famous for

Where is Leipzig?

Nestled in the heart of Germany, Leipzig is situated in the eastern part of the country in the state of Saxony.

  • From Berlin to Leipzig: 190 km (118 miles)
  • Hamburg to Leipzig: 320 km (199 miles)
  • Munich to Leipzig: 360 km (224 miles)
  • Frankfurt to Leipzig: 400 km (249 miles)

How to Get to Leipzig

Leipzig benefits from efficient transportation networks. Leipzig/Halle Airport serves as an international gateway, connecting the city to major European destinations.

For those favouring train travel, Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, one of Europe’s largest railway stations, is a key hub providing excellent rail connections across Germany.

Berlin to Leipzig by Train: take the high-speed ICE trains with a travel time of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours

Or, perhaps you are craving a fun road trip in Germany. Another city worth visiting is Berlin. From Berlin, these are the day trips worth visiting that I recommend, and they also find themselves on the UNESCO Heritage list.

When to Go to Leipzig

Leipzig’s charm varies with the seasons, providing a delightful experience year-round.

Spring (April to June) and Autumn (September to October) offer mild temperatures and blooming landscapes with fewer crowds. Summer brings weekend festivals and infectious energy from all the people visiting the city. While December is a popular time to visit the Christmas markets.

Use this calendar of events to plan your visit to Leipzig.

  1. Leipzig Book Fair: one of the oldest and most prestigious book fairs globally
    • Date: March 21-24, 2024
  2. Bachfest Leipzig: annual festival classical music festival celebrating the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach
    • Date: June 7-16, 2024
  3. Leipzig Festival of Lights (Lichtfest): a spectacular display of lights celebrating peace, freedom, and democracy marking the peaceful revolution of 1989 and the fall of the Wall dividing East Germany and West Germany
    • Date: October 9, 2024
  4. DOK Leipzig – International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film: showcases the best in documentary and animated films from around the world
    • Date: October 28 – November 3, 2024
  5. Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt (Leipzig Christmas Market): get into the festive spirit at the enchanting Christmas Market
    • Date: November 27 – December 24, 2023 (2024 dates not announced)

Tips for Visiting Leipzig

  • Explore on Foot: Leipzig’s compact city center makes it a breeze to explore on foot
  • Attend Cultural Events: plan your visit and attend one of Leipzig’s local festivals and events
  • Book Accommodations in Advance: especially during peak seasons and events, book your accommodations in advance to secure the best options and prices
  • Pre-book tickets and tours: for a seamless experience, consider pre-booking entrance tickets to attractions to skip the lines and ensure your spot
  • How many days is enough for Leipzig: although a day trip will allow you to explore the Old Town quite easily, extending it to a 2 to 3-day visit is a far better experience

As a Holidaymaker

If Leipzig’s charm has ignited your wanderlust, don’t miss out on other travel experiences I can explore.