Ulm Walking Tour in a German City with the Highest Church Spire in the World

The Ulm walking tour, detailed in this post, primarily explores the old town centre of Ulm. Located in southern Germany, the city of Ulm has a dual identity, comprising the historical old part and the contemporary new part.  Founded in medieval times, its old town centre has numerous exquisite historic buildings, including the Gothic Ulm Minster, the town hall with an early Renaissance façade, the charming Fishermen’s Quarter characterized by narrow alleys and timber-framed houses, not to mention the intriguing Leaning House.

In contrast to the historic centre, Ulm reveals its modern facet through structures like the Central Library, standing tall in the form of an imposing pyramid, the sleek Ulm Townhouse, and Art Gallery with a glass-walled foyer. The mix of medieval history and contemporary flair renders Ulm a fascinating destination for tourists

During our family’s southern Germany road trip, we allocated a day to explore Ulm, conveniently situated in proximity to other renowned locales like Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle. The journey from our Ettal hotel to Ulm took about two hours, placing us in the city around lunchtime. Hence, our initial quest before starting the Ulm walking tour was to find a delightful restaurant for a satisfying lunch.

The two towers of Ulm Minster;Ulm Walking Tour
Ulm old town; Ulm day trip; Ulm walking tour

Ulm walking tour route

Here’s a breakdown of our Ulm walking tour:

  • Lunch at the Modern Restaurant QMUH Ulm
  • Strolling through the Medieval Fishermen’s Quarter (Fischerviertel)
  • Sightseeing in the Historic Ulm Old Town by the Danube River
  • Observing the Architectural Marvels near the Market Square
  • Climbing up the Tallest Spire of Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster)
  • Wrap up the Ulm Walking Tour with a Relaxing Drink at the Townhouse (Stadthaus)

I’ve mapped out the cherished spots our family explored during the Ulm walking tour:

  • QMUH Ulm – A Modern Delight
  • Fishermen’s Quarter (Fischerviertel) – Medieval Magic
  • The Leaning House (Schiefes Haus) – A Quirky Marvel
  • The Oath House (Schwörhaus) – Witness to Tradition
  • Butcher’s Tower (Metzgerturm) – A Towering Presence
  • Central Library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm) – Modern Knowledge Hub
  • Fish Box Fountain (Fischkasten Brunnen) – Whimsical Water Delight
  • Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus) – Architectural Grandeur
  • Art Gallery (Kunsthalle Weißhaupt) – Creative Inspiration
  • Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster) – Reaching New Heights
  • The New Townhouse (Stadthaus) – Modern Elegance

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Lunch in the modern restaurant QMUH Ulm

To be as close as possible to the old centre, we strategically parked our cars at Parkhaus Deutschhaus (Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 8, 89073 Ulm), a mere stroll of a few hundred metres from the famed Fishermen’s Quarter.

As we meandered towards our destination, the inviting aroma of various restaurants tantalised our senses. Attracted by the silent outdoor seating places surrounded by trees, we chose to have a quick lunch in the QMUH Burgergrill Steakhouse Bar.

Beyond its delectable steaks, the restaurant offered a range of choices from hearty salads to tempting snack boxes and mouthwatering desserts. The generously portioned salads made for a perfect quick lunch, and the freshly baked Flammkuchen, originating from the Alsace region, proved to be a culinary delight.

Lunch in QMUH Ulm, Shrimp Salad
Lunch in QMUH Ulm, Chicken Salad

Strolling through the Medieval Fishermen’s Quarter (Fischerviertel)

Navigating the Schwörhausgasse, our initial venture on the Ulm walking route was in the charismatic Fishermen’s Quarter.

Fishermen’s Quarter

A historical nucleus, the Fishermen’s Quarter once housed skilled craftsmen, and today, after meticulous restoration, it hosts numerous restaurants, galleries, and quaint shops. Amidst the architectural ensemble, the striking Hotel Schmales Haus, with its slender façade, captures my immediate attention.

The narrow alleys exude charm, adorned with vibrant hues. The flower boxes outside the houses overflowed with the brilliance of geraniums, creating a tapestry of vivid colours. The entire atmosphere was idyllic and serene.

Leaning House (Schiefes Haus)

Within the labyrinth of half-timbered houses gracing the narrow alleys of the Fishermen’s Quarter, the Leaning House (Hotel Schiefes Haus Ulm, Schwörhausgasse 6, 89073 Ulm) is as a must-see spectacle. Holding the distinction of being the world’s most inclined hotel, it proudly secures its place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Oath House (Schwörhaus)

Continuing our journey from the Leaning House, we turned into Weinhof Street, leading to the Oath House (Schwörhaus). A site of significance, the mayor of Ulm delivers an annual speech from the balcony of the Oath House on “Oath Monday” (‘Schwörmontag’).

The Leaning House (Schiefes Haus)
Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster)
Fish Box Fountain (Fischkasten Brunnen)

Sightseeing in the Historic Ulm Old Town by the Danube River

At the crossroads of Weinhof and Mohrengasse, we initially strolled along Mohrengasse, veering right onto Postgasse. As we continued, we passed Kronengasse and reached Metzgergasse. This charming lane is dotted with more restaurants and hotels, eventually ending by the banks of the Danube River. In this vicinity, some of the narrow alleys have been replaced by sturdy steel and wooden bridges.

Turning right onto Unter der Metzig, we reached the end where the imposing Butcher’s Tower (Metzgerturm) stands. A relic from Ulm’s historical fortifications, this 36-meter high tower, erected on ground once marshy, leans 2.05 meters in a north-west direction.

The Butcher’s Tower is connected to the remaining stretch of the city walls. Outside these fortifications, along the picturesque Danube River, a well-arranged walkway summons. Given more time, it would have been a pleasant stroll to explore.

A narrow alley and restaurant corner in Ulm old town; Ulm walking tour
Scene of the Fishermen’s quarter, Ulm walking tour; Ulm day trip

Observing the Architectural Marvels 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

The glass-walled central library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm) takes its place at the crossroads of Unter der Metzig, Kronengasse, and Vestegasse, presenting itself as an imposing pyramid on 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. The fountain served not only as a water source but also as a hub for information exchange in times when newspapers and digital communication were non-existent.

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Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus)

Directly behind the Fish Box Fountain is the Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus). The Ulm City Hall is an outstanding monument with a renaissance façade and a fascinating astronomical clock dating back to around 1520, located on its eastern front.

Art Gallery (Kunsthalle Weißhaupt)

Heading north from the market square to the Hans-und-Sophie-Scholl square, we saw another modern structure, the Art Gallery (Kunsthalle Weißhaupt). Situated next to the museum society Ulm, this building with a striking red frontage adds a contemporary touch to the heart of Ulm.

Ulm City Hall (Ulmer Rathaus); Ulm walking tour
Central library (Stadtbibliothek Ulm); Ulm day trip

Climbing up the Tallest Spire of Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster)

As we strolled from the Art Gallery, the grandeur of the Ulm Minster appears before us at Münster Square (Münsterplatz). The Ulm Minster’s claim to fame lies in its soaring spire, which, at 161.53 meters, is the tallest church spire in the world.

With its foundations laid in 1377, this architectural marvel reached completion in 1890 after undergoing various construction phases. Remarkably, despite a devastating air raid during the Second World War that inflicted considerable damage on the medieval town centre, the church was barely damaged. Today, the towers, intricate decorations, and the brick-made façades of the nave and choir continue to captivate both local and international visitors.

Investing a few Euros, we ascended the 768 steps leading to the highest observation platform at 141 meters. As we approached the top, the stairs progressively narrowed, building anticipation for the magnificent view of Ulm that awaited us at the pinnacle.

Wrap up the Ulm Walking Tour with a Relaxing Drink at the Townhouse (Stadthaus)

While I explored the church, my mother patiently waited at the cafe shop in the Townhouse. The ultra-contrast design of the new Townhouse, created by a New York architect, stood just opposite the Ulm Munster. After ascending and descending, my legs were trembling, and a deep thirst had set in. I decided to order two drinks each at the Cafe Restaurant inside the Townhouse.

The Cafe Restaurant catered to breakfast, lunch, coffee and cakes, and dinners, with several outdoor seating options in the summertime. Diners could enjoy a panoramic view of the entire church from the restaurant. It proved to be the perfect spot to conclude our Ulm walking tour.

By the way, the tourist information centre in the Townhouse offers plenty of useful materials for travellers. Conveniently, the Townhouse is also situated not far from the Ulm central rail station, adding to the overall visitor convenience.

Where to stay in Ulm

The city is wonderfully compact for a leisurely exploration on foot. You could consider spending a night or two in the city. The Hotel Schmales Haus in the Fishermen’s Quarter., aptly named Narrow House in English, has a mere width of 4.63 meters and a length of 16 meters. Located amidst a vibrant array of cafés, bars, and restaurants, this traditional hotel is conveniently located less than a 2-minute walk from the banks of the River Danube.

How to reach Ulm

By train

The railway station (Hauptbahnhof) sits conveniently in the heart of the town, a mere 10-minute stroll from the iconic church (Ulmer Münster). Ulm is well-connected, approximately an hour from Stuttgart and 1.5-2 hours from Munich.

For potential travel deals or group arrangements, it’s advisable to explore special offers on the Deutsche Bahn website.

By plane

The closest airports you can take the ICE or IC train to get to Ulm are:

  • Munich International Airport, situated 150 km from Ulm, translating to approximately 2 1/2 hours by train.
  • Stuttgart Airport, a closer option at 90 km from Ulm.

By car

Ulm is conveniently located near the intersection of the A7 and A8 highways. Simply follow the local roads B10 or B28 for a straightforward journey.

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