The best things to do in Trier

Last Updated on June 16, 2024 by Ingrid & Alex

It was a blooming spring when we decided to spend one month in the Moselle Valley, minutes away from Trier. That’s how we got to know the city and find the best things to do in Trier.

We were traveling with our small daughter (who was six months old), so we walked a lot and chose child-friendly places.

Germany’s oldest city, Trier, was founded by the Romans and is packed with history. Additionally, the city was one of the four capitals of the Late Roman Empire. Constantine the Great ruled from here and left his mark on the city’s landmarks.

Much later, the famous philosopher Karl Max was born in Trier.

Having this background, Trier has plenty of attractions and things to do. No matter if you are visiting for a day or longer, you certainly won’t get bored in Trier.

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Where to stay in Trier

Even though the city is not so large, choosing the best place to stay when visiting is essential.

We suggest you stay close to the center to fully experience the city’s vibes.

Here are two of our favorite options in Trier:

Romantik Hotel Zur Glocke

This superb hotel is in the Old Town Center, offering a perfect location. The rooms are tastefully decorated with nice furniture, and previous guests have appreciated the hotel’s breakfast.

Most importantly, you must know that the building doesn’t have a lift. So, if you are traveling with heavy luggage or a stroller, you might want to request a room on the lower levels.

See availability and prices here!

Park Plaza Trier

We passed by this hotel on each visit and decided it would be the perfect choice for us. It is located steps away from the pedestrian streets in the city center and has an SPA and wellness center.

Moreover, the hotel is perfectly located if you plan to visit for the Christmas Market.

See availability here!

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Things to do in Trier

In order to have a clear view of the city and its attractions, we created this map.

Things to do in Trier

As you can see, most of the attractions are concentrated in the Old Town. Consequently, you can easily get around on foot without missing a thing.

Additionally, we included a few coffee places and restaurants we liked a lot during our visits.

Without further ado, here are the top attractions in Trier.

Hauptmarkt

Trier Hauptmarkt
Trier Hauptmarkt / Ingrid

The Main Square in Trier is the perfect starting point for your visit as it is the city’s center and in the old town.

Colorful buildings with interesting architecture surround the market, and you can choose from the many cafes and terraces to sit at. The area is pedestrian-only, and during summer, you can find a popular wine stand in the main market.

Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra Trier
Porta Nigra / Ingrid

We would go as far as to say Porta Nigra is the main attraction in Trier, one you should definitely not skip.

Basically, Porta Nigra is a massive Roman city gate dating from 170 AD. Additionally, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As we stepped below the impressive gate, we could not help but imagine how people used to live here so long ago.

Another fun fact about the gate is that we still don’t know its original name; its current name dates back only to the Middle Ages.

Certainly, the best way to learn about the city’s history is on a walking tour with a local specialist.

Domfreihof

Domfreihof Trier

During one of our visits to Trier, the city had a jass festival in the Domfreihof. We stopped on the bench under the beautiful trees and listened to the tranquil music.

The lovely pink Palais Walderdorff sits on the southern part of the square and hosts the Walderdorffs Bistro. Here, you can enjoy a delicious meal or cocktails while admiring this chic palace’s interior.

Trier Saint Peter’s Cathedral

Trier Saint Peter's Cathedral
Trier Saint Peter’s Cathedral

The Trier Saint Peter’s Cathedral, also known as the Trier Dome, is the oldest church in Germany.

Although its current structure has been “designed” over the years, the central part of the nave, made of Roman brick, dates from the early fourth century.

You should also step inside the dome and admire the impressive Romanesque naves with Gothic vaulting.

Although it is difficult to choose what impressed us the most, we particularly loved the Gothic cloisters connecting the Cathedral to the Liebfrauenkirche.

The Liebfrauenkirche

The Liebfrauenkirche in Trier
The Liebfrauenkirche / Ingrid

Right next to the Trier Dome, you will find the famous Liebfrauenkirche.

This is considered to be the earliest church built in the French High Gothic style outside France, and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Konstantin-Basilika (or the Aula Palatina)

Konstantin-Basilika Triet
Konstantin-Basilika

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is located only minutes away from the Liebfrauenkirche.

The impressive Aula Palatina (lit., the Palace’s Hall) dates from Constantine the Great’s time. It was where the famous Emperor held court before he moved to his new capital, Constantinople.

In the Middle Ages, it served as the residence of the Bishop of Trier. Lastly, the basilica became a church in 1856.

Unfortunately, the city was bombed in 1944, destroying the church’s historical inner decorations dating from the 19th century.

The Electoral Palace (Kurfürstliches Palais)

Kurfürstliches Palais | Electoral Palace Trier
Kurfürstliches Palais | Electoral Palace Trier

As soon as we saw the Electoral Palace, we knew this place would make it high on our list of things that should not be missed in Trier.

The palace has charming architecture, but what we liked most was its tranquil garden.

We strolled around the small pond and looked at the tall statues lined up on each side. Inside the garden, there is a coffee shop, and we suggest you try it if you want a few minutes of relaxation.

The palace itself was the residence of the Archbishops and Electors of Trier from the 16th century until the late 18th century. Today, various federal government offices are here, so you cannot visit the interior.

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier (Rhineland State Museum)

This is one of the most important archeological museums in Germany, where history lovers can gain insights into Trier’s Roman past.

Kaiserthermen (The Imperial Baths)

Kaiserthermen

No Roman metropolis could have functioned without proper bathing facilities, and Trier was no exception.

Emperor Constantine built the Imperial Baths during his rule in the 4th century AD.

Here, you can see the network of underground passageways and imagine how the Romans of old used to bathe and relax in the hot pools.

The place was transformed into a castle in medieval times.

Barbara Baths

From the Imperial Baths, walk through the small park and see the older Barbara Baths.

The baths are part of the UNESCO World Heritage and are the largest of their kind north of the Alps.

Unfortunately, only the foundations and the underground service tunnels have survived the passing of time.

The Roman Bridge (Römerbrücke)

the Roman Bridge in Trier
The Roman Bridge

A few steps away from the Barbara Baths, you can see the oldest Roman bridge in Germany. Built over the Moselle River in the 2nd century AD, it is now a museum.

Do like the Romans and toss a coin from the bridge into the Moselle River. It is considered to bring good fortune.

Karl Marx House

The famous economist and political thinker was born and raised in Trier. You can visit his former residence, which is now a museum.

Inside the museum, you can learn about Marx’s life and writings, as well as the history of communism.

To be fair, we haven’t visited it, but we had the chance to experience the real-world applications of Marxism in our country of birth. We weren’t impressed, to say the least.

Trier Amphitheater

Step inside the place where Romans held gladiator events and animal shows.

Mariensäule

Located on the hill, the Mariensäule offers a panoramic view of Trier.

If you would rather eat something or enjoy a drink, head to the Villa Weißhaus restaurant.

Spielzeugmuseum Trier

Trier Toy Museum is the perfect place to visit when traveling with kids and for your inner child.

The museum offers a diverse collection of dolls, trains, construction sets, board games, and much more.

Best coffee in Trier and where to eat

Balott Coffee & Factory, Trier
Balott Coffee & Factory, Trier

No matter how much time you spend in the city, you will surely want to eat something and drink a strong coffee.

Alex loves Asian food, and Ingrid is a coffee snob, so you can trust us with these choices.

CAO Trier is a Vietnamese Restaurant that serves authentic and delicious food. We had wonderful pho here, but we also tried the won-ton soup and some Vietnamese appetizers. Nothing disappointed! Its location is also great since it is steps away from the famous Porta Nigra.

Balott Coffee & Factory is a cool specialty coffee cafe located in the city center. We tried their flat white, which did not disappoint.

Have more time? Here are some cool attractions close to Trier

If you have more time in the region and have a car, here are a few other cool things to do close to Trier.

Stay in a unique cloister hotel

I saved Boutique Hotel Kloster Pfalzel because as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be an amazing place to stay close to Trier.

The hotel is located inside a former monastery on the Moselle River. Imagine yourself in this quiet location, savoring a glass of local wine in the hotel’s restaurant, which is also in the former chapel.

Visit a Roman Villa

The Römische Villa Urbana is located 20 minutes outside the city, and if you are passionate about Roman history, you should not miss it.

Part of the villa has been reconstructed, so you can get a glimpse of how the wealthy Romans used to live.

A few kilometers away, there is the Römervilla Mehring, so you can see both on a day trip from Trier.

Go on a Riesling Tasting Tour

Even though Italy and France are better known for their wine production, the Mosel Valley also produces some amazing wine.

We were pleasantly surprised by the white wine in the region, and if you love it as much as we do, you should not skip a Riesling Tasting Tour.

Echternach, Luxembourg

Yes, from Trier, you can visit another country, Luxembourg.

Of course, you should not skip Luxembourg City, but Echternach is closer to Trier and is very charming.

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Things to do in Trier

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