We visited Trier, Germany in May of 2016, and I am finally writing about it almost a year later! Better late than never, right?
I didn’t know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by Trier. It’s a great place to visit in Germany with children, especially if you enjoy history. Though some areas of town were marked as having been destroyed during World War II and subsequently rebuilt, Trier has an impressive amount of ancient Roman ruins.
For this trip, we opted to stay in a hotel, the Mercure Hotel Trier Porta Nigra, because of its impossible to beat location. It stands in the shadow of the Porta Nigra, the Roman-built city gate built around 180 A.D.
Travel tip! Because we wanted to see the Porta Nigra and many of the other ancient sites, we purchased the Antikencard at the Trier Tourist Information Center (next to the Porta Nigra). There are a few Antikencard options that are worth checking out if you plan to visit two or more of the ancient Roman sites during your visit. They can be purchased at any of the Roman sites, the Tourist Information Center, or the Rheinisches Landesmuseum.
In addition to the Porta Nigra, we visited the Roman Amphitheater, the Kaiserthermen (Imperial Baths), and the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier (Archaeological Museum). These were all cool to see. I am always amazed to see places and artifacts like this that have stood the test of time, surviving regime changes, wars, and Mother Nature.
Our son enjoyed the sites as well, especially the amphitheater, but he was pretty exhausted and over it by the end of the day. We walked to all the locations, and the Porta Nigra and the Amphitheater are on opposite ends of the old part of the city from each other. That’s a lot for a six-year-old. We were sure to reward him with some gelato, and me with a hot pretzel (one of my favorite snacks!), in the Hauptmarkt (Main Market).
Another nice place we found to take a rest was the Palastgarten (Palace Garden) outside the Electoral Palace. We did not go into the Palace, but we admired its unique pink color from the outside! The Gardens extend from the Kaiserthermen, around the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, to the Palace and beyond on one side. There are many lovely sections including a pond, fountains, a good-sized playground, play fountains for kids, and lots of grassy areas for picnicking or just enjoying the day.
The Kornmarkt Square is another nice place to have a seat and rest. Our son enjoyed playing in the interactive water features of the fountains there.
I love visiting old churches and we went to three in Trier. The Trier Cathedral, the Liebfrauen-Basilika, and the Konstantin Basilika (Roman Imperial Throne Room). All three were beautiful in their own way, and strikingly different from each other.
The Trier Cathedral is a Gothic style church, large and ornate, emitting a coldness from the stone, as many of the old European cathedrals I have visited do. The most striking difference between it and the Liebfrauen-Basilika, also Gothic, was color. The latter seemed to have more stained glass windows than the former, and the colors were strong and bright. Deep reds and blues and purples were strongly filtering in when I entered, giving off much more warmth than I felt in the Cathedral.
The Konstantin Basilika, which unfortunately did not allow photography inside, was entirely unadorned. It was massive and open and had beautiful, clear light. It was stunning in size, which was enhanced by its stark lack of embellishment.
I was really excited to eat authentic German food in Trier. We had some great meals! For dinner on our first evening, we went to Paulaner in Zurlauben, a Wirtshaus serving Bavarian food. The weather was perfect for dining outside, so we ate in their outdoor area with a great view of the Moselle River. It was so nice to sit, relax, and enjoy the spring weather as we watched boats and cyclists go by.
Dinner the next evening was at Kartoffelrestaurant Kiste, a restaurant specializing in all things potato. How could you go wrong? Again, we ate outside and enjoyed people-watching as the restaurant sits in the heart of the pedestrian zone.
Lunch on our second day was a brief departure from German cuisine. We found a great Greek restaurant near the Kaiserthermen, Restaurant Hermes.
Trier was the first stop on a week-long trip. It was a wonderful introduction for me to Germany. I enjoyed our time there and certainly recommend it to travelers, including families. From there, we drove along the Moselle River to Koblenz, enjoying the sights along the way!