Saarland – The Hidden Gem in Germany

Saarland – The Hidden Gem in Germany

The Saarland is in the middle of Europe, yet little visited. Wrongly, because this region is a paradise for gourmets and lovers of nature and culture. I’ll show you what I have discovered in the Saarland and which highlights you should not miss:

1. Cultural Mix at the French Border

The Saarland being located between France and Luxembourg is reason enough to find its culture appealing. You will feel this once you’re sitting outside in one of the magnificent restaurants of Saarbrucken in summer. Also while shopping downtown, you will inevitably hear French. What is more, the architecture is often reminiscent of the close neighboring country. Bilinguality – German and French – is quite common. Even the room numbers might be in French only here:

Signposting in a hotel
French labelling of a hotel room

There is baroque architecture at its best, the so-called “Stengel Baroque”. Friedrich Joachim Stengel was a famous architect of the Baroque period. His most important creative period was in Saarbrucken in the 18th century. The Lugwigskirche is one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Germany:

Baroque church in Saarbrucken
Ludwigskirche Saarbrucken

Last but not least: industrial culture. The Völklinger Hütte are shut-down iron- and steel works. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the works are not longer in operation, you can just enjoy the impressive monumental architecture.

Shut-down ironworks in the Saarland
Völklingen steel- and ironworks

In the Völklingen Ironworks, the so-called “European Centre for Art and Industrial Culture”, there are regular exhibitions. Currently there is a Buddha exhibition and a photo exhibition on the Himalayas. The exhibition rooms, like the old “Gebläsehalle”, represent a fascinating setting for art.

2. Scenic Landscapes

Although I’ve been to the Saarland often, I have not managed yet to go hiking there or ride a bike. I saw the scenery from the car and the train. But  the beauty of the Iandscape has caught my eyes already. Therefore, I’ve not been able to take landscape photos so far. But is absolutely on the list.

3. Saavoir Vivre

In the Saarland chances are high to get high quality food. Usually served with some French baguette. Why sticking to heavy traditional food? I don’t eat meat and I have   Saarbrucken as vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. Most restaurants are happy to serve you traditional dishes as like Hoorische or Dibbelabbes as vegetarian meals.

classic meal of the Saarland
Hoorische – traditional plate

Before that a  glass of Crémant …This is called Saavoir-vivre and it’s pure enjoyment.

High quality food in the Saarland
Living well in the Saarland

4. Saarbrücken – lots of culture, lots of atmosphere, much hipness

Saarbrucken at the French border is a vibrant city. Although it has only about 180,000 inhabitants, there is an incredible variety of restaurants, culture and shopping. Some locals call their city “Saarbrooklyn”. In summer, I find it very chilling to sit outside in one of the many restaurants or cafes of the “St. Johanner Markt” or in one of the surrounding lanes.

Sitting outside at the Sankt Johanner Markt
Outdoor cafes in Saarbrucken

The hip neighbourhood “Nauwieser Viertel” especially appeals to me. The locals use to call it “Das Viertel” (The neighbourhood). We stayed there at an Air BnB and experienced the local lifestyle. There are many little boutiques and pubs, where is no curfew. For me it was a bit like Berlin, but without stress.

Neighbourhood restaurant in Saarbrucken
Restaurant in the Nauwieser Viertel
tea for breakfast in a Saarbrucken hotel
Choice of tea in a “Neighbourhood” hotel

Enough reasons pay the Saarland a visit.

This post is also available in de_DE.

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