The Ulm walking tour described in this post mainly covers the Ulm old town centre. Located in southern Germany, the city of Ulm has two parts today, the old part and the new part. Founded in medieval times, its old town centre has many beautiful historic buildings, such as the Gothic Ulm Minster, the town hall with an early Renaissance façade, the narrow alleys of the Fishermen’s Quarter lined with half-timbered houses, the Leaning House.
In contrast to the historic centre, Ulm has many modern buildings as well, such as the Central Library in the form of an imposing pyramid, the Ulm Townhouse, and Art Gallery with a glass-walled foyer. The medieval history and modern time of Ulm make the city an interesting tourist destination.
Ulm is quite close to other famous places in southern Germany, such as Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle. We spent one day there during our family’s southern Germany road trip. It is about two hours of driving from our hotel in Ettal to Ulm. Therefore, when we drove there, it was already around lunchtime. So, the first thing we did before our Ulm walking tour was to look for a restaurant for lunch.
Ulm walking tour route
I break down the itinerary of our Ulm walking tour into the following sections:
- Lunch in the modern restaurant QMUH Ulm
- Walking around the medieval Fishermen’s Quarter (Fischerviertel)
- Sightseeing of the Ulm old town next to Donau river
- Watching the buildings near the market square
- Climb up the highest spire of the Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster)
- Complete the Ulm walking tour by having a drink inside the Townhouse (Stadthaus)
On the Ulm walking tour map, I have marked all places our family has visited:
- QMUH Ulm
- Fishermen’s Quarter (Fischerviertel)
- The Leaning House (Schiefes Haus)
- The Oath House (Schwörhaus)
- Buther’s Tower (Metzgerturm)
- Central library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm)
- Fish Box Fountain (Fischkasten Brunnen)
- Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus)
- Art gallery (Kunsthalle Weißhaupt)
- Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster)
- The new Townhouse (Stadthaus)
Lunch in the modern restaurant QMUH Ulm
To be as close as possible to the old centre, we parked our cars in Parkhaus Deutschhaus (Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 8, 89073 Ulm). It is only a few hundred metres away from the famous Fishermen’s Quarter.
Along the way, we passed several restaurants and decided to have a quick lunch in QMUH Burgergrill Steakhouse Bar. Ulm has many restaurants which offer all kind of cuisines, from the local specialties to international food.
We were attracted by QMUH’s silent outdoor seating places surrounded by trees. The interior of the restaurant is very fashionable. Other than the steaks, It also offers such as salad, snack boxes, dessert. The salad portion is big enough as a quick lunch. The fresh-made Flammkuchen, a type of oven-baked pastry originated in the Alsace region, is super delicious.
Walking around the medieval Fishermen’s Quarter (Fischerviertel)
Followed the Schwörhausgasse, the first place on our Ulm walking route is the Fishermen’s Quarter.
The Fishermen’s Quarter represents the most significant part of the historical city centre. It used to be the home of skilled craftsmen. Now, after being restored, the quarter boasts numerous restaurants, galleries, and small shops. Among those houses, the Hotel Schmales Haus with its narrow front is quite eye-catching.
The loving narrow alleys are filled up with vibrant colours. Especially, the flower boxes outside the houses were overflowing with especially geraniums, so bright and colourful. Besides, the whole area was so idyllic and silent.
Leaning House (Schiefes Haus)
Among those half-timbered houses lined along the narrow alleys of the Fishermen’s Quarter, the Leaning House (Hotel Schiefes Haus Ulm, Schwörhausgasse 6, 89073 Ulm) is the must-see site. It is the most leaning Hotel in the world. Therefore, it is also in the Guinness Book of Records.
Oath House (Schwörhaus)
Then, from the Leaning House, we turned into Weinhof street. The street passes the Oath House (Schwörhaus). Every year, on the “Oath Monday” (‘Schwörmontag’), the mayor of Ulm delivers a speech from the balcony of the Oath House.
Sightseeing of the Ulm old town next to Donau river
At the cross of the Weinhof and Mohrengasse, we first walked along the Mohrengasse and then turned right to the Postgasse. Further on, we crossed the Kronengasse and arrived at Metzgergasse. The Metzgergasse passes more restaurants and hotels, ends next to the Donau river. In this area, steel and wooden bridges replace some of the narrow alleys.
Turn right to the street Unter der Metzig, at the end of it is the Butcher’s Tower (Metzgerturm). The Buther’s Tower was part of the Ulm´s fortifications. Being built on ground that was originally a swamp, the 36-meter high tower leans 2.05 meters in a north-west direction.
The Butcher’s Tower links to the remaining section of the city walls. Outside the walls, along the Donau river, the walkway is well arranged. It would be a nice walk if we had time.
Watching the buildings near the Market Square
The central library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm)
At the crossing of the street Unter der Metzig, Kronengasse, and Vestegasse is the glass-walled central library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm) in the form of an imposing pyramid. The library is at the edge of the market square.
Fish Box Fountain (Fischkasten Brunnen)
Opposite the library is the Fish Box Fountain (Fischkasten Brunnen). It has a column with three knights and the shields representing the coat of arms of the empire and the imperial city of Ulm. In addition to its water supply function, in the past time, when no daily newspaper or digital communication was available, people walked to the fountain to exchange the information. There are several historic fountains in the centre, one other example is the one in front of the Ulm Minster.
Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus)
Direct behind the Fish Box Fountain is the Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus). The Ulm City Hall is an outstanding monument consisting of several elements, such as its renaissance façade and an astronomical clock. The astronomical clock on the eastern front of the building dates from around 1520.
Art Gallery (Kunsthalle Weißhaupt)
North of the market square is the Hans-und-Sophie-Scholl square. In the heart of Ulm, here we saw another modern building, the Art Gallery (Kunsthalle Weißhaupt). It is next to the museum society Ulm, a building with red frontage.
Climb up the highest spire of the Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster)
From the Art Gallery, we could already see the Ulm Minster at Münster Square (Münsterplatz). The Ulm Minster owes its fame to its spire, which, at 161.53 meters, is the highest church spire in the world.
Since the first stone, the foundation stone was laid in 1377, after several construction phases, the church was finally complete in 1890.
During the Second World War, most of the medieval town centre was damaged in a devastating air raid, but the church was barely damaged. Today, not only the towers and all decorative elements but also the façades of the nave and choir, which were made of brick, attract both domestic and international visitors.
Paying a couple of Euros, we climbed the 768 steps to the highest observation platform at 141 meters. The stairs get narrower as we approached the top. The view of Ulm from the top is magnificent.
Complete the Ulm walking tour by having a drink in the Townhouse (Stadthaus)
While I was inside the church, my mother was waiting in the cafe shop from the Townhouse. The ultra-contrast new Townhouse designed by a New York architect is just opposite the Ulm Munster. Having climbed to the top and then walked down, our legs started shivering. Besides, we felt so thirsty that we ordered two drinks for each person from the Cafe Restaurant in side the Townhouse.
The Cafe Restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, coffee and cakes, and dinners. It has several outdoor seating in the summertime. Since the entire square has only one building, the Ulm Minster, guests could see the entire church from the restaurant. It was the best place to end our Ulm walking tour.
By the way, the tourist information centre in the Townhouse provides many useful materials for travellers. The Townhouse is also not far from the Ulm central rail station, which is very convenient for the visitors.
Where to stay in Ulm
The city is small enough to explore on foot. To experience Ulm, you could stay for a night or two. In the Fishermen’s Quarter, we noticed the charming half-timbered Hotel Schmales Haus. Hotel Schmales Haus ( Narrow House in English), has a width of only 4.63 m and a length of 16 m. The traditional hotel is in the middle of numerous cafés, bars, and restaurants. And, It takes less than a 2-minute walk from the banks of the River Danube.
How to reach Ulm
The railway station (Hauptbahnhof) is in the town center, about a 10-minute walk from the church (Ulmer Münster). Ulm is about an hour from Stuttgart and 1.5-2 hours from Munich.
Check the Deutsche Bahn website for some special offers or group offers.
The closest airports you can take the ICE or IC train to get to Ulm are:
- Munich International Airport, which is 150km from Ulm, about 2 1/2 hours by train.
- And Stuttgart Airport, which is 90km from Ulm.
Ulm is near the intersection of the A7 and A8 highways. You can follow the local road B10 or B28 goes.