Perched on the banks of the Elbe River, Magdeburg is one of Germany’s oldest cities. It was founded more than 1200 years ago and is home to the country’s very first Gothic cathedral. Finished in 1520, it stands tall to this day, and now houses a fantastic collection of antiques, modern art and medieval relics.
The downtown atmosphere is fabulous, with an eclectic mix of beer gardens, bars and restaurants lining the riverside promenade. The historic districts of Hegelstrasse and Hasselbachplatz offer a fascinating glimpse at Magdeburg’s medieval past, while the Gruson-Gewächshäuser botanic gardens, Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve and Magdeburg Zoo are always popular attractions.
Magdeburg sits to the south-west of Berlin, with the drive taking just under two hours. The short distance makes it an easy day trip from the capital, though most visitors choose to stay a night or two. The city is served by its own train station, offering connections to a string of German cities.
For architecture buffs, Magdeburg is endlessly fascinating. Not only is it home to Germany’s oldest Gothic cathedral, but it also features modern feats like the whimsical Green Citadel, designed by legendary architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Jahrtausendturm Millennium Tower is another of Magdeburg’s postmodern attractions, stepping up as one of the highest wooden towers in the world.