Sitting in what was once East Germany, Leipzig doesn’t always receive the same attention as other German cities like Munich or Hamburg. Leipzig, though, is actually an interesting and diverse city full of culture, history, and character just waiting to be explored. That is why you should allow at least two days to visit on your next Germany trip.
This Leipzig itinerary will guide you around the city and show you exactly what to do in Leipzig in 2 days. This guide includes not only the city’s main attractions, but also other useful advice to make your trip easier and more memorable.
Best Time to Visit Leipzig
Before your weekend in Leipzig, you’re going to want to consider the time of year you plan to visit. Weather and crowds of tourists can really change the experience of visiting a destination, so it’s best to be mindful of both.
The bad news about Leipzig is that it’s a city known for its cooler, rainier weather. This means that summers are mild but also see quite a bit of rain. Add in the fact that this is Germany’s busiest tourist period and the months of June to August aren’t exactly ideal. Winters aren’t all that great either, with things getting quite cold after Christmas.
Instead, the best time to visit Leipzig is during spring, both for its comfortable and generally drier weather. It doesn’t hurt that Leipzig is also quite a green city and looks very pretty when spring takes hold. Other times to consider are September for its good weather, and December to see the city’s excellent Christmas markets.
How to Get Around Leipzig
Making the most of your time visiting Leipzig will be much easier if you know the best ways to get around the city. While finding your way around the city’s historical center is pretty easy on foot, the attractions in Leipzig are rather spread out. You could potentially walk to most of them, but it’s unnecessary given the quality of the city’s public transport.
To get around Leipzig you can use the buses, trams, and suburban trains known as S-bahn. Chances are, you won’t find much need for the S-bahn while in town, other than to head out to the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. Most of the time you should find trams that get you where you need to go, and failing that the many city buses will work too. The standard public transport ticket in Leipzig is a one-hour ticket with unlimited transfers which costs €2.70.
Recommendation: Another great way to get around for tourists is on the hop-on hop-off bus. Take a commented, 2 hour city tour through Leipzig which brings you to all important sites. Enjoy the freedom of interrupting your trip at any of ten stops as the mood suits you and then continue the journey again. You can buy your hop-on hop-off bus tickets here.
Where to Stay in Leipzig
Choosing your accommodation is always one of the most important elements of planning any trip. The right accommodation in the right location is sure to enhance your visit and your enjoyment of a destination, which is why we want to show you where to stay in Leipzig. Ideally, you want to be as close to the city center as possible, to make both sightseeing and transport easier. Failing that, try to find somewhere close by to the south, or the east, as those areas are quite interesting as well.
To say that the Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof Leipzig is one of the best places to stay in Leipzig just doesn’t do it justice. This exquisite luxury hotel has the perfect location in the city center with beautifully appointed, spacious rooms. Guests also have access to its exclusive spa, fitness center, bar, and restaurant.
Those looking for comfort without breaking the bank will want to try INNSiDE by Meliá Leipzig. This four star hotel offers guests big rooms, a central location, and plenty of amenities, while still being reasonably priced.
Backpackers and budget travelers will want to turn their attention to Five Elements Hostel Leipzig. Sitting right in the heart of the city, with dorms and private rooms available, it’s great value, especially with breakfast included.
For more accommodation options in Leipzig check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect 2-Day Leipzig Itinerary
As one of the more interesting large cities in Germany, there’s little doubt that the best of Leipzig will keep you entertained while you’re there. With 2 days in Leipzig, you’ll have plenty of time to thoroughly explore the historical center of the city. Beyond that, you can also see what neighborhoods like Plagwitz are like, not to mention outer attractions such as the Monument to the Battle of the Nations. To find all these attractions right around the city, you’ll need this Leipzig travel itinerary to show you around.
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Now that you’re properly prepared for your trip, it’s time we get into the best things to do in Leipzig. With so much to do, you’ll have no trouble keeping yourself busy during your 48 hours in Leipzig.
Leipzig Itinerary: Day 1
With your first day, start with many of the best places to visit in Leipzig, since there’s no sense in waiting. For that, you’ll need to head into the historical center of Leipzig.
Recommendation: If you want to learn more about the history of Leipzig, we highly recommend you book a guided walking tour. On this walking tour you will visit the most important sights in the Old Town, all of which are also mentioned here below. You can book a guided walking tour here.
A natural starting point for any big European city is the main square, which in Leipzig is simply known as der Markt. This open marketplace has long been at the core of the city’s Old Town and still fills up with market stalls during the weekend. Of course, in winter it takes on a slightly different role when it’s home to the city’s bustling Christmas Market. Around the square you’ll find a mix of historical and modern buildings, but the square’s focus is easily the grand Old Town Hall which dates from the 16th century.
Museum of City History Leipzig
While the exterior of the Old Town Hall is quite nice to look at, things get even more interesting when you step inside. That’s because the building now hosts the Museum of City History Leipzig, which explores Leipzig’s history all the way back to its Slavic origins. But the museum covers much more than just ancient history, with sections dedicated to the city’s musical talents and the city’s role in the 1989 Peaceful Revolution, which led to the reunification of Germany. On the lower floor of the museum you also have the pleasure of seeing the original interior of the Town Hall.
Although the Old Town of Leipzig isn’t as well-preserved as others in Europe, it’s still a fascinating place to explore. As you wander you’re bound to see buildings from all sorts of different eras, including those built before WWII and ones built in the days of East Germany. One of the grander sights is the Old Stock Exchange from the 17th century which sits behind the Old Town Hall. Another nice spot worth finding is the Mädler Passage, an old arcade full of boutique shops.
St. Thomas Church
Next, find your way over to the impressive St. Thomas Church where you’ll find a large statue of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach outside. The mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture makes this 15th century quite a pretty sight, it’s ties to Bach are what it’s known for. Bach was the music director at the St. Thomas Church for 27 years before his death in 1750 and his remains have been held there since. The church also has ties to Martin Luther who preached there, as well as other famous composers like Richard Wagner and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.
While on the subject of Bach, pop over the road from the church to the city’s Bach Museum. There, through interactive exhibits, you can learn all about the man, his life, and his achievements. Although born in Eisenach, Leipzig likes to claim Bach as one of their own, having spent such a large part of his life in the city. The museum includes some of the composer’s original manuscripts, instruments, and audio recordings of everything he ever composed.
Stepping out to the eastern edge of the city’s historical center we come to another main square in Leipzig; Augustusplatz. At first glance it may not seem all that important, but this square is surrounded by a myriad of interesting landmarks. The most obvious is the stately Leipzig Opera, but look around and you’ll soon see several unexpected sights here. Those include the old-fashioned clock tower of the Egyptian Museum, the gorgeous Mendebrunnen fountain, the debatable charms of the Gewandhaus concert hall, and the futuristic design of the University Church.
To enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of Leipzig, make your way to the City-Hochhaus Leipzig. This modern skyscraper features an outdoor panoramic terrace on its 36th floor which provides a brilliant vantage point across the city. Up there you’ll get to see landmarks in the Old Town in a new light, while also learning what lies beyond this part of the city. It’s the perfect way to set up your next day of sightseeing.
Recommendation: If you still have some energy left, consider booking this fun and atmospheric evening tour with the night watchman Bremme®. On this 1.5-hour tour, you’ll get to explore mysterious alleyways and passages in the old town of Leipzig and learn interesting and curious stories.
Leipzig Itinerary: Day 2
You still have plenty more of Leipzig to see on your second day, beginning again in the Old Town, before spiraling out to other parts of the city.
Museum in der Runden Ecke
As a communist country, East Germany employed the Stasi – a secret police force that spent decades spying on citizens. The history of the Stasi and East Germany is explored at the Museum in der Runden Ecke inside the city’s former Stasi headquarters. Nothing in the building has been altered since German reunification, making it a time capsule into life there. Unfortunately, much of the information provided is only in German, but it’s still quite eye-opening.
New Town Hall
Having seen the Old Town Hall you may as well complete the set and pay a visit to the New Town Hall as well. Found at the southern edge of the Old Town, this fanciful building has been the seat of local government since 1905. While its architecture is quite eye-catching, even more impressive is the view you get from its tower when taking a guided tour.
Finally, venturing away from the Old Town, take a gentle stroll out to the expansive Clara-Zetkin Park. While only one of many parks that make up this green city, the Clara-Zetkin Park is probably the prettiest, thanks to its small lakes, outdoor venues, and bridge over the verdant banks of the Elsterflutbett River.
To see what Leipzig’s alternative and bohemian side is like, you’ll want to head out to the district of Plagwitz. A former industrial area of Leipzig, it’s been taken over in recent years by the city’s creative community to great effect. Karl-Heine-Straße is the main street running through the area where you’ll quickly get a sense of the place.
One of the most popular places to go in this part of the city is the Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, often just called the Spinnerei. Once the largest cotton mill in continental Europe, this massive industrial site is now home to all sorts of art studios and galleries. Then there’s the Karl-Heine-Canal, a local waterway through Plagwitz which you can explore by kayak or on a cruise. You can book your sightseeing cruise here.
Before Plagwitz was the trendy corner of Leipzig, that honor belonged to Karl-Liebknecht-Straße in Südvorstadt. That will become pretty clear as you walk down the street past countless bars and cafes, not to mention all the street art. One place to stop by is Feinkost, an old brewery-turned-cannery that now hosts flea markets, a beer garden, and even an outdoor cinema during the summer.
In terms of Leipzig’s connection to music, the presence of Johann Sebastian Bach tends to loom over other composers who called the city home. One such composer is Felix Mendelssohn who lived in Leipzig for several years before his death in 1847. This house just outside of the Old Town was his last residence and is the only one that remains today. It now houses a museum related to the life and work of Mendelssohn, as well as an exhibit on Fanny Hensel, his sister who was also an accomplished composer herself.
Monument to the Battle of the Nations
Saving the best for last, head to the colossal Monument to the Battle of the Nations out to the southeast of the city. Regardless of its location, this is one landmark you’ll want to make the effort to see. Upon arrival you’ll find yourself standing in front of a great long reflecting pool that leads to a huge stone monument.
Built in 1913, the monument commemorates the defeat of Napoleon during the 1813 Battle of Leipzig. Besides seeing the many statues in and around this stone temple, visitors can also enjoy a fantastic view from its outdoor viewing terrace.
That’s really all there is you need to know to see the best of Leipzig in 2 days. Clearly, Leipzig is quite a diverse city with a nice mix of attractions, meaning it has something for everyone.