The capital with an edge, Berlin has long captured the interest of free-spirited travellers, history buffs and party animals. Despite its ‘Grey City’ nickname, Berlin roars with urban life. But between the constant buzz of noise, littered streets and inevitable crowds, Berlin may not be the best city to unwind in…
So for now, we’ll say bye to Berlin and introduce you to the Saxony city you will not want to miss out on. Leipzig, or as the locals call it: ‘Hypezig’, has everything you might hope to find in Berlin without feeling like a carbon-copy. On the contrary, this East-German gem has plenty of qualities that give the city a special touch. From gorgeous monuments to avant-garde attractions, there are several reasons to see up-and-coming Leipzig for yourself. Here are just a few.
It has an exciting art scene
If you want to feel inspired on your travels, then Leipzig might just be your muse. As a relatively cheap place to live, Leipzig has attracted flocks of artists who have transformed the city with their creativity. Soviet-style warehouses breathe new life in the form of art galleries and novelty hotels.
Most iconic of these would be the Baumwollspinnerei (Cotton Mill Leipzig); what was once the largest cotton mill in Europe is now the hub of 100 art studios, 14 galleries, and even a cinema and theatre. With so much artistry and innovation to admire, you could easily spend a day or two exploring just this area alone!
Whether you choose to see this unique destination independently or on a guided tour provided by the Cotton Mill Leipzig (for a small fee), you will come away from here with a new spring in your step.
(The Cotton Mill Leipzig is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm).
Leipzig knows how to have fun
You know what they say: work hard, play hard. Between its status as a student city and the variety of bars and clubs, a city break to Leipzig means you are spoiled for choice when it comes to how to spend your evening. Check out clubs like Distillery or Institute für Zukunft for a wild night spent dancing to house or electronic music.
If leisurely evenings are more your scene, then not to worry, as Leipzig is home to first-class restaurants.
Visit Ratskeller or Wagners Restaurant & Weinwirtschaft for a taste of traditional German food at a reasonable price-point. Leipzig is also home to plenty of international restaurants, so if you find yourself longing for dishes like curry or phở, then the Indian Crown and Hà Nôi Cuisine will fulfil these cravings. Finally, stop by the authentic and quaint Restaurant Alfa to eat Greek for cheap.
Old Meets New
Leipzig may feel like a young city, but it was not born yesterday. Much of its surviving architecture dates back to the Renaissance era, including the city’s old town hall. Not to mention Leipzig’s literary connections; whose second oldest pub (Auerbachs Keller) is internationally acclaimed as the first destination in Goethe’s play Faust (1808).
Music lovers will be intrigued by the Bach Museum, which holds many of the German composer’s original manuscripts. Open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 6pm, this intricate and intimate museum will cost you € 10 to explore.
Military history buffs will want to see Europe’s greatest monument, the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. This sight can be visited everyday from 10am to 4pm. Similarly priced, this magnificent site was inaugurated in 1913 to celebrate 100 years since the defeat of Napoleon on German soil. You can even go inside and, if you feel up for a challenge, climb your way to the top of this monument. 500 steps may sound like a lot, but great ambition is the passion of a great traveller.
When planning a city break, the last thing you want to be worrying about is how to get from point A to B. Fortunately, the international Leipzig/Halle Airport (LEJ) is international — making it easy for travellers to get to.
If you cannot find a flight going from your current destination to LEJ, then the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) is a good alternative. With regular buses and trains going from here to Leipzig, this option will get you into the city within 1.5 to 2 hours.
Where to stay
Whether you prefer to travel cheap or extravagantly, Leipzig has you covered.
The 5Elements Hostel Leipzig is an excellent choice for those wanting a more sociable experience. Between its gorgeous interior and convenient location in the city centre, it is hard to believe that a bed only costs €13 a night. This accommodation is not only practically equipped with laundry facilities, but also with fun activities like a gaming room and a rotating cocktail menu.
If you want to stay somewhere more fancy, then the 4-star INNSiDE Leipzig Hotel screams sophisticated-chic. Enjoy a cocktail in the panoramic Sky Lounge, or break a sweat in the hotel’s own gym. For €139 a night, these rooms come with a King-sized bed, mini-bar and a flat-screen TV.
For an unconventional experience, why not stay at the Baumwollspinnerei? Spend day and night surrounded by Leipzig’s artistic spirit when you stay in one of the four apartments available at the Meisterzimmer (from €90–140 a night). With huge windows and a minimalist design, these contemporary apartments capture everything to love about Leipzig’s light and breezy feeling.