SaarbrückenSaarbrücken is the capital city of Saarland, one of the federal states of Germany. At 200 000 inhabitants, it is at the lower end of Germany's long Großstädte (large city) list, and is perhaps the least prominent state capital, at least from the tourist's point of view. That said, Saarbrücken has an impressive history of over a 1000 years, with its predecessors dating back to ancient Roman Empire. It does not only possess architectural heritage to prove that, but it is also picturesquely located over the bends of the river Saar, serving as the gateway to this underrated region of Germany.
Saarbrücken AirportThis small international airport is located from the city center. Regional bus R10 travels once an hour from the airport to the main railway station and takes 28 minutes. A single ticket costs €2.30.
Apart from flights to holiday destinations, the airport has only four, albeit frequently-operated, connections. The shortest - and most often the cheapest - is the Luxair flight to Luxembourg Findel Airport, code-shared with Lufthansa. It is one of Europe's shortest flights, lasting just 30 minutes over just 100 km. The price is accordingly reasonably low. Some of the Luxair planes continue from Saarbrücken to Hamburg and Berlin-Tegel and back. You can connect to selected European destinations of Luxair from Luxembourg, but there are no options to continue your Luxair flight from Saarbrücken via Berlin or Hamburg on another airline. Luxair, although an affiliate of Lufthansa, is not a Star Alliance member and the Luxembourg airport has no intercontinental connections.
That said, flying to Luxembourg on Luxair or any other airline and travelling the remaning 79 km by bus is perhaps the cheapest way.
Frankfurt AirportLufthansa provides a shuttle between Saarbrücken Dudweiler Bus Station and Frankfurt Airport, which is their largest hub for European and intercontinental flights. The shuttle is actually bookable as a Lufthansa flight (destination code for Dudweiler Bus Station is SDA), earns Miles&More participants miles and counts as a flight stretch, and can be combined with most Lufthansa flights to/out of Frankfurt. SDA appears as an available destination only when booking directly with Lufthansa. The flight numbers for the bus shuttles are LH348x-LH349x and there are multiple shuttles at different times of the day. The bus journey lasts around 2 hours and costs EUR 27 one way when booked on its own, and as a part of a connecting flight it usually incurs minimal price hike vs. flights to Frankfurt only.
There are direct regional trains to Frankfurt that stop at Frankfurt Airport.
Frankfurt-Hahn AirportThe so-called Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) in Hahn, likewise in Rhineland-Palatinate, is yet another close airport. There are no direct connections from this airport to Saarbrücken. One of the possibilities you have is to take the Airport Shuttle Mosel (RegioLinie 750) from the general bus station 500 meters from the airport to Bullay and switch to the regional train to Saarbrücken.
By carAutobahn A6, near the France border. About 2 hours from Mannheim.
Saarbrücken Central Stationis on the Paris-Frankfurt high-speed route, served by the superfast ICE and TGV trains of Deutsche Bahn and SNCF (French Railways), respectively. There are 5 such trains a day in each direction calling at Saarbrucken, and you can purchase tickets on all of them both from DB and SNCF, as they operate under a mutual ticketing agreement. The journey to Paris is actually shorter (1h50mins) than to Frankfurt (2h30mins).
Frankfurt can also be reached by regular, regional trains, which take not much longer than the ICE (2h50mins), but often aren't any cheaper either. The benefit of those is that there is at least one train per hour, even at nighttime, between Saarbrucken and Frankfurt. Other important difference is that ICEs don't stop at Frankfurt Airport, while the regional trains do.
Other destinations with direct express trains to Saarbrücken include Stuttgart (2.5h), Ulm (3.5h), Munich (4.5h) and Salzburg in Austria (6.5h) and some minor stations on that line. Regional trains calling in Saarbrücken can carry obviously carry you around Saarland, but they also reach out to many cities of Rhineland-Palatinate, as well as Lorraine in France (including Metz). Travelling to other destinations generally requires changing trains in Mannheim, Frankfurt or Paris for long-distance express trains or night trains, or procuring a more intricate combination of small stretches from one of the more minor stations closer to Saarbrücken.
By busCFL, Luxembourg's railway company, offers a bus connection between Luxembourg Gare (railway station) and Saarbrücken Busbahnhof (bus terminal). Multiple buses a day are coordinated with trains from Luxembourg to Brussels and from Saarbrücken to Mannheim and Frankfurt, as the other city does not have a direct connection with those destinations - thus the bus bridges the gap in the railway network. One-way ticket costs €9 as of 2014.
Saarbrücken has a decent public transport system. It has city buses and a tram line.
St. Johanner MarktA pedestrianized square with bars, restaurants and frequent markets (see below).
phone: +49 681 9380916address: Rathausplatz 1The Neo-Gothic town hall from 1900 was designed by Georg J. von Hauberrisser, the architect who was also responsible for the town halls in Munich and Wiesbaden. There is a tourist information office in this building.
address: Cecilienstraße 2Neo-Gothic church.
phone: +49 681 906880address: Gerberstraße 31A church erected around 1754.
phone: +49 681 52524address: Am Ludwigsplatz
SchlossplatzThe Baroque Ensemble
phone: +49 681 5061313address: Schlossplatz 1
phone: +49 681 9964234address: Am Schlossberg 6The church holds a museum.
phone: +49 6898 9100100address: Rathausstraße 75-79, VölklingenIt was one of the most important Ironworks in the world. It was closed in 1986. Now they are the only intact example, in the whole of western Europe and North America, as such they have been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are museum and Multimedia displays bringing the site to life. It also includes a display celebrating a convicted war criminal who used forced labour in the Ironworks during World War II.
Music and Performing Arts
phone: +49 681 30920address: Schillerpl. 1Opera, theatre and dance performances, symphony and chamber concerts and more.
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken KaiserslauternA radio orchestra dating back to 1937. The current form was established in 2007 due to a merger of the public broadcasting corporations with nearby Kaiserslautern.
HFM University of MusicThe music conservatory (established in 1947) has public concerts.
Max Ophüls PreisThis film festival takes place end of January and shows a wide range of short, medium and long movies.
Jazz-FestivalA jazz festival organized by Jazz-Syndikat. Usually around November.
Urwald vor den Toren der StadtA nature reserve ideal for hiking. Maps are available online. They can also be picked up for free at the tourist information at city hall. One way to get there is to take the tram to stop "Heinrichshaus", which is also marked in the bottom left corner of the map with an "S".
Saarbrücker Bauernmarktaddress: St. Johanner MarktFarmers market where regional products are sold.
Europa-Galerieaddress: Trierer Straße 1A large shopping centre serving the region. Partially housed in a elegant late 19th-century historic building of Bergwerksdirektion Saarbrücken, the erstwhile mining enterprise. Otherwise less exciting, holding the usual chain stores.
A Saarlandish specialty is Schwenker, a steak prepared on a special grill where the grilling rack is swung by the cook over a fire. It is often served at festivals and Biergärten.
Sander Bakeryaddress: Försterstraße 29Local bakery with one of the best croissants in town. Come early as they might be sold out quickly.
phone: +49 681 95818348address: Blumenstraße 10Restaurant that specialises in Flammkuchen and French wines at reasonable prices.
phone: +49 681 8579266address: Im Almet 63Restaurant with savoury and sweet Flammkuchen. They also brew their own beers. An all-you-can-eat Flammkuchen option is available for around €15-16.
phone: +49 681 94004770address: Fröschengasse 18-22Italian restaurant spread over several floors of an old building. They also have an open-air roof terrace. Reserving a table in advance is recommended (especially for the terrace).
address: Saarstr. 15
address: Bahnhofstr. 38
address: Triererstr. 14
phone: +49 681 374360address: Nauwieser Str. 19Comfortable, casual restaurant with nice outside seating and daily specials
address: Straße des 13. Januar 35
phone: +49 681 9066876address: Berliner Promenade 17-19Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurant. Maxium stay is 2 hours. You place your orders via tablets.
address: Mainzerstr. 95
Hashimotoaddress: Cecilienstr. 7
address: Mainzerstr 26
Rizzoaddress: Fröschengasse 1
phone: +49 681 936450address: Am Stiefel 2Brewpub and restaurant serving local dishes.
Bar Centraladdress: Nauwieser Str.The only smoker's café/bar in the inner city.
address: Katholisch-Kirch-Str. 1Small Irish pub with a great selection of (mostly Scottish) whiskies.
phone: +49 681 95812454address: Mainzer Straße 8Criminal tearoom (afternoon) & pub (evening). British/Irish beers, on Sundays all-you-can-eat English breakfast.
phone: +49 681 68894101address: Kappenstraße 9Pub/restaurant with a big selection of Belgian beers.
phone: +49 681 33040address: Meerwiesertalweg 31A youth hostel located between the city and the university.
phone: +49 681 93270address: Mainzerstraße 10
address: Hafenstr. 8
- Saarschleife (Saar loop) — Take the regional train to Mettlach and then walk for about 5 km along the river upstream. There is also a lookout ("Cloef") which can be reached within about 1 hour from the bottom of the hill. Make sure you are on the left side of the river if you want to reach the lookout (you have to cross the river once when coming from the train station). You can also easily go to the Saar loop by bike from Saarbrücken (60 km one way).
- Luxembourg — Easily reachable by bus (direct connection: 1 hour and 30 minutes).
- Strasbourg — Easily reachable by regional train (direct connection: 1 hour and 45 minutes).
- Trier — Porta Nigra, nice old town center, etc. Easily reachable by regional train (direct connections between 1 and 1.5 hours).
- Metz — French city with the modern art gallery Centre Pompidou-Metz, Cathedral, food market, etc. Easily reachable by regional train within about 1 hour (some direct trains are available). Consider the special DB regional train ticket "Saar-Lor-Lux" for the entire trip, especially if you are travelling in a group.
- Nancy — A cheap option to go there is to buy a Saar-Lorraine-Tarif ticket (only available at the train station; return tickets can only be bought at the counter).