Blessed with Germany's sunniest climate and wooded hills that virtually rise out of a picture-postcard Altstadt, FREIBURG – officially Freiburg im Breisgau – is an immediately likeable place. Its accessible size makes it easy to explore and the sizeable university helps make it an upbeat, lively place. Though the town centre is quickly covered, the city's role as a regional transport hub makes Freiburg a good base for a few days' exploration of the hills around the town and the southern Black Forest, putting the town's good cafés, restaurants and nightlife at your disposal after a day in the mountains.
The town also plays host to several lively festivals: Fastnet is celebrated with various fire rituals and particular gusto on the eve of Shrove Tuesday, and preceded by a jester parade the day before. Other celebrations fill the summer, with the late June and early July Internationales Zeltmusikfest, hosting many musical genres, but particularly jazz; while the late July Weintagen and mid-August Weincost both celebrate local wines. The city also has a big ten-day Volksfest as part of the May Frühlingsfest, and the October Herbstfest.
Freiburg's Altstadt was founded in 1091 and – despite suffering twenty minutes of bombardment in the war in which over eighty percent of the town was levelled – still preserves a quaint and historic feel. One curious feature that makes the place more interesting are its Bächle, little streams sunken into the pavement on most streets. Originally providing water for animals and fire fighters, today they're largely decorative, though plenty of people use them to cool their heels on a summer's day.
The Altstadt fans out around a magnificent Münster and focuses on a series of squares, which don't take much more than a morning to explore.
The 4 Star Hotel is situated in the small village of Freiburg, near the city centre and close to the forest. Over the years, Hotel Schwaers Loewen has been known in ...