Living in Freiburg

Freiburg is most commonly known as the capital of The Black Forest and is located in one of the most scenic corners of Southern Germany, situated between the borders to Switzerland and France.

Freiburg is here for you! Here in the Black For&shy;est, the perfect mix of urban excitement and natural beauty awaits you and your entire fam&shy;ily! Whether you&rsquo;re looking to enjoy the old town&rsquo;s culinary delights, practice extreme sports in the forest or relax outdoors, Freiburg has it in store! Visit <em></em> to find out which tourist attractions are available. We look forward to your visit!

Freiburg: what are you waiting for?

Freiburg is here for you! Here in the Black For­est, the perfect mix of urban excitement and natural beauty awaits you and your entire fam­ily! Whether you’re looking to enjoy the old town’s culinary delights, practice extreme sports in the forest or relax outdoors, Freiburg has it in store! Visit to find out which tourist attractions are available. We look forward to your visit!

Freiburg is a very young and lively city with a highly intensive cultural scene. The town with its approximately 230,000 inhabitants is characterized by 25,000 students at the University of Freiburg, 15% among from abroad, half European and non-European, which adds to the international flair of the town.

Freiburg’s climate gives the town an almost Mediterranean touch. The local cuisine of Baden adds to this Southern charm and is crowned with numerous first class restaurants in and around Freiburg.

The towns world famous symbol is the Cathedral with its characteristic tower, which can be seen from afar and is the only gothic Cathedral to be constructed in the Middle Ages. The town itself was founded in 1120 by the Dukes of Zährin­gen, who also founded Bern and Basel in Switzerland.

The cultural life of Freiburg is also very diverse. A big concert hall, several theaters, and many clubs offer events on a regular basis. During the summer time, various open air concerts and festivals take place, the Zeltmusikfestival (ZMF) being one of the biggest. Football fans can enjoy first division matches at the grounds of the SC Freiburg.

Freiburg is also famous as the Green City, reflected through the large network of cycle paths and the many solar panels on public and private buildings. In the South of Freiburg, the dis­trict Vauban was built as “a sustainable model dis­trict” on the site of a former French military base, providing space for more than 5,000 inhabitants and 600 jobs. All houses are built to a low energy consumption standard and private cars mainly remain outside the district. Vauban attracts architects and town planners from all over the world.

Residents and visitors alike agree that the quality of life in and around Freiburg is one of the best in Central Europe. Climate, location, scientific diversity and culture, make it a particularly attractive town. Freiburg ranks third on Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2022” list of the top ten city destinations.


Depending on your budget and your preferences find here a comprehensive overview on how to commute in Freiburg.

Public transport

The company VAG Freiburg covers the whole city with trams and buses. Shortly after your arrival you will likely rely on public transport. You can download the Route map of Freiburg in high resolution here.

At the moment, you can buy following tickets:

  • Short distance ticket (“Kurzstrecke”), valid one-way, three stops from the boarding stop (which is not included in the three stops): € 1.60
  • Single ticket, valid one-way, 1 h maximum: € 2.25
  • 2x4-journey ticket, e.g. 8 single tickets: € 18.00
  • One Day City Ticket for individuals and groups

Monthly tickets:

  • RegioKarte Basis, only valid for yourself, starts on the 1st day of the month: € 62.50
  • RegioKarte Übertragbar, anybody with the card can use it, not personalized, valid from the day of purchase for 30 days and on Sundays, as well as public holidays, another adult and up to four children at no extra costs can travel: € 68.

Single tickets can be purchased from a machine in the tram/bus or from the driver. The other tickets can be bought at ticket machines or in the VAG shop at Bertoldsbrunnen and in corner shops. Search for points of ticket sale here: (go to: Fahrkarten & Tarife » Fahrkarten kaufen » Verkaufsstellen & Automaten).

There is also the VAG app for smartphones (iOS & Android). It gives access to schedules, routes, route maps, and even allows for mobile ticket purchases (bank account, VISA card, Master card, AMEX card needed). Here, the only catch is that your phone must have enough battery for the duration of your trip to prove you purchased a ticket. The app is available in English. 

TIP: The RegioKarte covers travels with bus, tram, regional trains in the zones A, B, C – a quite extended area of the region (including Breisach, Titisee, Schluchsee, Staufen etc). 

IMPORTANT: If you do not have a valid ticket with you during one of the frequent ticket checks, you will be required to pay a € 60 fine.

Job ticket (public transport)

The job ticket is an annual ticket for public transport in Freiburg, which the Institute subsidizes. If you receive a job ticket, you will receive an additional € 28.00 per month with your salary. The application process takes place in two steps: 1. To apply for the job ticket within our Institute, please contact . 2. After approval of the job ticket in our Institute, you will receive an access for the application of the job ticket at the VAG (Freiburger Ver­kehrs AG) from the Institute’s ‘Reisestelle’. This requires that your employment must continue for at least one year from the date the job ticket is ordered from VAG. The application must be made by the 10th of the month.


Using a bicycle for individual mobility is very common in Freiburg. At the Institute you will find bike racks and many streets in Freiburg have bike paths, which makes biking the easiest and a very convenient way to get around in the city.

You might get the cheapest second hand bikes at a flea market or at many bike shops selling second hand bikes that are checked for roadworthiness. You should invest in a good bike lock and avoid leaving your bike out on the street overnight. If you don’t want to invest in your own bike, then you can also rent one. There are quite a few bike sharing providers in Freiburg

  • FREIBURGbikes
  • LastenVelo (rental of cargo bikes for free)
  • Frelo (a cooperation between VAG & nextbike; they cover the whole city with 400 bikes at 55 stations at reasonable price (approx. € 1,-/30min) for spontaneous trips as well as commuters)

Some of the apps for bike/car sharing/car rental require a German cell phone number.

Car sharing

There are currently two car sharing companies in Freiburg. They vary significantly in their price structures and services:

  • Grüne Flotte offers more than 250 cars at 100 car sharing locations in the city of Freiburg and surrounding area
  • Stadtmobil offers 230 cars at 130 car sharing locations in nearly 28 communities in Freiburg and surrounding area

For both options you will have to bring the car back to its original parking slot/station after rental.

Some of the apps for bike/car sharing/car rental require a German cell phone number.

Car rentals

You will find several well-known car rental firms in Freiburg. Below we list their addresses.

St. Georgener Str. 7
79111 Freiburg

Lörracher Straße 10
79115 Freiburg

Lörracher Straße 10
79115 Freiburg

Lörracher Straße 49
79115 Freiburg

B.-Ottenstein-Str. 4
79106 Freiburg

Some of the apps for bike/car sharing/car rental require a German cell phone number.

Freiburg expat communities

An expatriate (shortened to expat) is someone who is residing in a nation that isn't their native country. In many loca­tions around the world where there is a high concentration of expats, a like-minded community is established. Here you can find several Freiburg expat communities:


Freiburg’s surroundings

The unique location of the city is highlighted by its surroundings. The Black Forest is one of Germany’s highest moun­tain ranges, ideal terrain not only for nature lovers, hillwalking and other outdoor activities, but also for skiers, mountain bikers, and paragliders.

Within the last 50 years, the upper Rhine valley has undertaken a tremendous change from a rural area, narrowed by borders, to the heart of Europe, with Milan and Paris being closer than the German capital Berlin. Since August 2013, a TGV train directly connects Freiburg and Paris, in 3.5 hours. Nearer neighbors to Freiburg are Basel in Switzerland and Strasbourg in France. Today, living in one country and working or shopping in another has become normality. All this contributes to a highly international flair of the upper Rhine valley, but still preserving its regional character.

The region, rich in culture and nature attracts many tourists. More than 9 million overnight-stays are counted each year and besides Basel, Freiburg and Strasbourg, many hidden treasures wait for the curious to be discovered. The Black Forest, flanking Freiburg in the East, has lots to offer, besides the characteristic cuckoo clocks and traditional costumes. The Feldberg, 30 minutes from Freiburg, invites for hiking in summer and skiing in winter, the small town Triberg attracts visitors with the biggest waterfall in Germany. And the open-air museum Vogtsbauernhof in Gutach is a highlight for children. Optimal sports opportunities for hiking, SUP, mountain biking, paragliding and many other activities can be found here and in many other places.

In the French region of Alsace, Colmar is the closest town (35 km) to Freiburg. Its medieval city center, the famous Isen­heim Altarpiece, painted in the early 16th century, and excellent shopping opportunities, make Colmar always worth a visit. Just a few kilometers next to Colmar is the village Riquewihr, which is crowned as one of the most beautiful vil­lages in France, because of its almost completely preserved historic village center, dating back from the 16th century.

From Freiburg, the door to Switzerland is Basel. Many museums reside in or next to the Swiss city, e.g. the Foundation Beyeler, the Kunstmuseum Basel, and at the German side of the border the Vitra Design Museum. Basel is also called the “pharmaceutical city” since the headquarters of various pharmaceutical companies are located here. From there, some of the most prominent Swiss mountains like the Eiger and the Matterhorn as well as many other more hidden treasures of nature can be reached easily.

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