Ulm:  ½ to ¾ Day

Ulm is a city of 169000 that straddles the Danube River.  The river also splits the city into two states: Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.  Ulm has two claims to fame.  It is home to the world’s tallest cathedral (Münster).  You can climb the cathedral tower, a mere 768 steps.  Ulm is also the birth place of Albert Einstein, although he lived here for only one year.

Also of interest is the city hall (Rathaus) with an interesting façade and astronomical clock.  You can also walk along the Danube on top of the old city walls.  Between the river and the cathedral is the old Fisherman’s Quarter (Fischerviertel); a quaint section containing houses, shops and restaurants nestled in and around the Blau River.

There are two ways to get to Ulm.  The fastest route (about 1 hour each way) is to take the A81 and A8 autobahns.  You can also take the slower but more scenic B28 highway through Tübingen and the Schwäbische Alb.  Also along the route in Metzingen are a cluster of outlet stores.  The highlight is the Hugo Boss (headquartered in Metzingen) outlet where you can find some great deals on men’s suits.  Also present are outlets for Joop! (another European designer clothing store), Tommy Hilfiger, Bally shoes and many others.

Plan at least 4 hours to drive the fast route, see the cathedral and stroll through the town.  Taking the scenic route will add 1 hour each way and isn’t recommended at night. Add more time for shopping or a meal.

For other interesting sights on the way to Ulm, see the Zwiefalten tour.

Opening Times and Fees:


Nov-Feb Mar Apr-Jun Jul-Aug Sep Oct
9:00a-4:45p    9:00a-5:45p    8:00a-6:45p    8:00a-7:45p    8:00a-6:45p    8:00a-5:45p

The tower closes 1 hour earlier than the church.  Entrance to the church is free.  Climbing the tower costs €3.

Map 1

Map 2

The fast route:

At the Herrenberg entrance to A81, get on the A81 in the direction to Stuttgart.

North of Böblingen, keep right and follow signs to the A8 in the direction to München.

Exit the A8 at the Ulm exit.

The scenic route:

At Herrenberg entrance to A81, go straight toward Tübingen.  From this point you are following highway B28 all the way to Ulm.

In Tübingen, follow the signs to Reutlingen.

In Reutlingen, follow the signs to Metzingen.

In Metzingen, follow the signs to Bad Ulrach.  The outlet stores will be on your right.  There is a parking garage at the Hugo Boss outlet.

In Bad Ulrach, follow the signs to Blaubeuren, Blaustein and/or Ulm.

Map 3

Once in Ulm

Follow the signs to the center city (Zentrum or Stadtmitte).

Park in one of the parking garages near the cathedral.

The cathedral is in the center and should be easy to find.  The city hall is a red building one block from the cathedral in the direction towards the river.  Keep going to the river to find the river walks.  The Fisherman’s Quarter is off the river a little way and a little to the west.