Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.
In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.
“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.
It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”
“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”
‘Not cooler than Berlin’
Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.
“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”
Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.
The lakes are glorious, beautiful city center, many students and artists are creating a wonderful atmosphere, a sense of possibility can (still) be felt throughout town 🙂
— Robert Lepenies (@RobertLepenies) October 11, 2021
Great city! Years back the NY Times did the same (saying Berlin was over and Leipzig was the new cool kid), and most people in Leipzig didn't want the acclaim. Prob the same this time round. 🤣
— cherriesberies (@cherrysberries) October 11, 2021
Best railway station in Europe…. And competition is fierce for that honour.
— Simon Hunter (@SimonHunterfilm) October 11, 2021
Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.
I like Leipzig, a lot, but there’s not that much to do here tbh. And I wouldn’t say there’s amazing scenery. Some nice parks and man-made lakes but yeah. I can think of far better places in Germany to travel to! https://t.co/55x7Z2tDOF
— Chris Barrett-Molloy (@cr15b) October 11, 2021
Lonely Planet needs to go touch some grass 😁 no city vacay will ever hold a candle to Eibsee, or Königssee, or a Hüttenwanderung…
— Caitlin Hardee (@Vnlasteamer) October 11, 2021
Lake Constance wins silver
Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.
The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”
A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle
Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third.
“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.
Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.