Aachen is a city in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, near the German border with the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the westernmost city in Germany and has been inhabited since the Roman Empire. The healing powers of Aachen’s waters were known long before that; there is evidence of settled Celtic tribes here as early as the Iron Age and evidence of nomadic tribes since the Neolithic Era.
All of that means that your trip to Aachen must include some form of hot springs, and there are plenty of options in town. In the Middle Ages, Emperor Charlemagne made Aachen the capital of his Frankish Empire, which arguably put Aachen on the map. Aachendom, his cathedral in the centre of town, is unmistakable. In addition to the outstanding architectural significance of the cathedral’s octagonal dome and 16-sided ambulatory chamber, Charlemagne’s relics (which include Christ’s loincloth from his crucifixion and St. John the Baptist’s clothes from his beheading) draw thousands of Christian pilgrims. These are displayed every seven years (next in 2021). No matter when you go, it’s best to join a guided tour, otherwise you won’t see much.
Most of the hostel accommodation in Aachen can be found on the city centre ring road, which is within walking distance of all the tourist attractions. There are few hostels (“Jugendherberge” in German) and those that do exist are in old buildings. Don’t expect to find a modern backpacker hostel, but you will find cozy ones with a lot of character.
To get to Aachen, you can fly to Cologne or Maastricht (Netherlands). There are trains and buses from both regional airports. Aachen is also linked with Belgium and the Netherlands in public transport. If you prefer to have your own vehicle, you can hire a car and travel via the Autobahn from Cologne, Berlin or Frankfurt. From the cathedrals to the spirit and values of the people, Aachen embodies Europe in one small city.
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Aachen hostels. Welcome.