*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links on making your trip to Jena or Germany easier.
Last Autumn I traveled to Jena, Germany. A gorgeous university town that is located in East Germany just a couple hours south of Berlin. We initially traveled by train but decided to take a bus on the way back to Berlin. My colleagues and I took FlixBus which was cheaper and the travel time was similar to that of the train. So I would recommend taking the bus from Berlin to Jena.
I did receive a semi-culture shock as I am not used to carrying cash. Many places in this part of Germany did not accept cards, only cash. This included sit-down restaurants. We stayed at this hotel called- Gasthof Zur Schweiz. Which was extremely cozy and inviting. They also had a breakfast buffet that was included in the cost. Well worth it, I think. It was also within walking distance to the old city and wall.
1. Visit the Jena Tower
While walking around Jena it is easy to see how the city has grown throughout the centuries. For instance on the same street, you can see the existing part of the medieval wall, the housing architecture from a later period and a modern tower. The modern tower, called JenTower has a sight tower on the top floor of the building. If you are looking for a birds eye view of the town then this is where you need to go. It is 128 meters tall that boasts restaurants, a shopping area and offices.It is a small price to go up the elevator to the observation desk, about 3 euros. It was worth the trip!
2. Stadtkirche St Micheal
Located in the center of town is a late Gothic church that you can see in one of the previous photos. It’s claim to fame is having Martin Luther’s original gravestone. It took nearly 130 years to finish, and it has stayed in its present form since 1506.
3. Take a look at the original medieval wall and tower
In the center of town, there is a sight from the medieval ages. It is disconnected now but in the medieval ages the two towers were connected and formed the city wall. So, anything outside would have been the country and farmland. However, you can still admire the remnants of them . According to my friend, you are not allowed to walk under the main tower, or you will not graduate.
4. Enjoy the main square and have a beer in front of the Rathaus
Rathaus translates to city hall but it is unique in itself. It was built in 1377 and has an astronomical clock on the baroque tower. The unique thing is that at every hour ‘Hansfried’ comes out to chase a golden ball.
Yes, you read that right. It is literally a gigantic cuckoo clock but without the ‘cuckoo’ sound.
At night, this square comes alive with several pubs and food stands. So grab yourself a beer, if you are keen. You do have to pay a couple of euros for the glass (to rent) in addition to the drink but you use that drink for the rest of the night. Then after you’re down you can return it and receive the rental payment back, or you can keep the glass as a souvenir.
Any Final Notes?
If you take the train from Lepzig, take a look out the window. You will see a lovely castle, which has been turned into a burger restaurant.