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Germany,  Leipzig

12 Free Things To See & Do In Leipzig

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Last Updated On 14th May 2022 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World

Looking for the most awesome free things to see and do in Leipzig? I’ve got you covered!

Leipzig is an awesome little city in eastern Germany, about 1 hour south of Berlin by train. It’s really easy to get to Leipzig by public transport, so it’s great for those on a budget. Leipzig has the largest railway station in Germany AND Europe! You can also get there by bus. Once you’re there, you can walk everywhere within the city centre and venture further out using Leipzig’s handy tram and railway network.

Leipzig is a city rich in history, culture and quirkiness, so there is something for everyone to enjoy! From monuments and museums, lakes and canals, abandoned buildings and modern masterpieces of architecture – Leipzig has it all and more!

In this post, discover 12 of the best free things to see and do in Leipzig. To help you find all these awesome things to do, I have created a free map for you with them all pinned! Plus, find out more free and cheap things to do in Leipzig with suggestions of great tours and other activities. I also share how to get to Leipzig and provide recommendations of where to stay, particularly for those on a budget.

Is Leipzig Worth Visiting? 4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Leipzig

Yes! Leipzig is worth visiting! Here are four reasons why you should visit Leipzig:

Firstly, Leipzig is a city in eastern Germany, so it has a history of being in the former GDR. You can see evidence of this everywhere, from the architecture to the museums. This makes Leipzig a really interesting city to visit to learn more about what east Germany was like after World War II. There are many free museums where you can learn more about the history of Leipzig under the GDR and since Germany’s reunification.

Secondly, before World War II, Leipzig had a rich cultural history. There are many statues, monuments and different architectural styles to admire – from the Middle Ages to the early 19th century. Unlike neighbouring city Dresden, Leipzig was not massively destroyed during WWII so it retains many of its historical buildings.

Thirdly, Leipzig is also a university town with a big student population. Therefore, Leipzig has a lot of cool districts, cafes and nightlife.

Lastly, Leipzig is a nice city. I found Leipzig to be a very relaxed and enjoyable place to visit. Leipzig is a safe city to visit in Europe and I felt very comfortable there as a solo female traveller. Plus, I learned a lot during my visit and I saw a lot of cool, unusual things!

How Many Days Should You Spend In Leipzig?

If you are short on time, you can get the most out of Leipzig in one day. It’s possible to enjoy Leipzig on a day trip from Berlin or as part of a larger cross-Europe trip. If you have longer, then I would suggest that two to three days would be a sufficient amount of time to see the best that Leipzig has to offer.

The Best Free Things To See & Do In Leipzig 🇩🇪

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Free map of all the best things to see and do in Leipzig – including monuments, museums, architecture, lakes and tours! Open in Google Maps and save to look at later! 🗺️

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1. Join The Free Leipzig Walking Tour – FREE

free walking tour meeting point leipzig mende fountain augustusplatz square horses concert hall gewandhaus free things to do leipzig
The meeting point for the Free Walking Tour is at the Mende Fountain in Augustusplatz in front of the Gewandhaus (Concert Hall)

Joining a walking tour is a great way to get orientated to a new city. Many cities in Europe offer free walking tours that allow you to donate the tour guide at the end.

Free Tour Leipzig does a 2-hour tour in English every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 am. An extra tour is on Saturdays at 3 pm. The meeting point for the free walking tour is Augutusplatz (besides the large fountain with the horses). From there, the tour goes around the Zentrum area of Leipzig.

There are also free walking tours that can be delivered in Spanish and German.

I joined the Free Tour Leipzig and I highly recommend it as one of my top free things to do in Leipzig! Our guide was very friendly and informative. Plus, I learned a lot of interesting and unusual things about Leipzig along the way.

Check out Free Tour Leipzig for more information about the walking tour.

2. Visit St Thomas Church & Bach’s Statue & Grave – FREE

bach statue leipzig st thomas church
Bach Statue at the St Thomas Church, Leipzig

World-famous composer Johann Sebastian Bach was born in 1685 in Eisenach, but in 1723 he moved to Leipzig. Bach worked at St Thomas Church (Thomaskirche) in Leipzig for 27 years! He instructed students in the choir and composed many songs as well as taught at a local college.

Bach died in 1750 and he was buried inside the church. Inside St Thomas Church you can visit his tomb (gravestone on the floor of the church).

In the square outside the church, there are often street performers playing Bach’s songs. There is a large statue of him there dedicated to his memory.

St Thomas Church is located in Leipzig city centre near the Thomaskirche transit stop.

3. See Leipzig’s City Skyline From The Monument To The Battle Of The Nations – FREE

monument to the battle of the nations leipzig germany
Monument to the Battle of the Nations, Leipzig, Germany

Just outside Leipzig city, there is a giant war memorial called the Monument to the Battle of the Nations (Völkerschlachtdenkmal). The monument was built in the early 20th century to commemorate Napoleon’s defeat at Leipzig when armed forces from Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden joined together to fight against Napolean and his allies.

During the Third Reich years, Hitler used the monument as a venue for his meetings! He also used it as storage space for SS soldiers, ammunition and supplies during the last days of World War II.

Visiting the monument for free, you can climb the 500 steps on the outside that lead to a viewpoint. From there you will get a nice view over Wilhelm-Külz-Park and a glimpse of the Leipzig city skyline.

It is possible to visit the museum inside the Monument of the Battle of the Nations too. It costs €8 and you can buy tickets at the office.

You can travel to the monument by train S1, S2 or S4. The trains leave every 15 minutes from the city centre/Leipzig Hauptbahnhof to the Leipzig Völkerschlachtdenkmal stop. It takes about 10 minutes and 5 stops. The monument is then a 10-15 minute walk from the tram stop through the Wilhelm-Külz-Park. Have a look here for information on Leipzig’s public transport system.

Visit the Monument to the Battle of the Nations website to learn more.

4. Explore the Marktplatz Leipzig – FREE

marktplatz architecture market square leipzig germany
Marktplatz in Leipzig, Germany

The Marktplatz is a market square in the centre of Leipzig and is a wonderful place to see architecture. The public square is a perfect meeting place and there are many cafes and shops to explore. There is also a museum in the Old Town Hall (charge) which features the local history of Leipzig. In the winter the Marktplatz is transformed by the beautiful Leipzig Christmas Market!

5. Visit St Nicholas Church & The Protests Memorial – FREE

Plaque commemorating the events of 9th October 1989. The footprints represent the people who gathered there. st nicholas church leipzig germany
Plaque commemorating the events of 9th October 1989. The footprints represent the people who gathered there.

St Nicholas Church has an important history not only in Leipzig but in Germany. On the 9th of October 1989, thousands of people gathered in St Nicholas church and the surrounding streets. They were protesting against the rule of the GDR in East Germany. From then, the protests grew and grew in numbers and locations across East Germany. They became known as the Monday demonstrations. This pressure on the government eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9th November 1989, exactly one month later.

In the square outside the St Nicholas Church in Leipzig, there is now a memorial dedicated to this event. One is in the form of a pillar and there is also a plaque on the ground. Visiting this place you will be touched by the community and commitment of the protestors. It was such an important turning point in history!

The architecture of St Nicholas Church is also very beautiful and worth admiring.

St Nicholas Church is located in the centre of Leipzig towards the east of Zentrum.

6. See The Statue Of Goethe – FREE

Statue of Goethe in Leipzig
Statue of Goethe in Leipzig

Poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a student in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768. Goethe rewrote the folktale ‘Faust’ into a tragic play and it is considered to be one of the greatest works of German literature.

To celebrate Goethe and his life in Leipzig, there is a statue of Goethe in the Naschmarkt, in front of the Old Exchange Building. Goethe is also said to have lived in one of the apartment buildings lining this square.

Naschmarkt is located in the centre of Leipzig, very close to the Marktplatz.

7. Visit Auerbachs Keller & Statue To Faust – FREE

auerbachs keller sign leipzig free things to see and do leipzig
Auerbachs Keller sign in Leipzig

While living in Leipzig, Goethe liked to hang out at the Auerbachs Keller, then a cellar wine bar and now one of the oldest and most famous restaurants in Leipzig. At the Auerbachs Keller, Geothe saw paintings of the legend Faust. Faust is about a man who sells his soul to the devil for all the knowledge in the world. Goethe was inspired by this story and wrote a play about it. Auerbachs Keller is featured as a location in his play and is where Faust first meets the devil called Mephistopheles.

Visit Auerbachs Keller and you can see two statues there relating to Faust and scenes that happen within Goethe’s play.

Auerbachs Keller is located in the shopping centre opposite Naschmarkt. Go through the Madler Passage.

8. Visit The Former HQ Of The East German Secret Police – FREE

things to do in leipzig - round corner runde ecke museum
Museum in der “Runde Ecke”, Leipzig

For 40 years, the GDR had its secret police headquarters in Leipzig. They were located in the building called the “Runden Ecke” meaning “Round Corner”. The name refers to the rounded corner of the building where the main entrance was located.

In the former office buildings of the Stasi, there is an excellent free museum where visitors can learn all about the secret police. This quirky museum has an interesting array of exhibits, such as comical disguises in the form of wigs and fake moustaches, propaganda posters, and secret listening and surveillance devices.

Admission to the museum is free, however, all the displays are in German only. I enjoyed this museum without the audio guide, but they are available in a variety of languages (Polish, English, Chinese etc.) for a charge of €5 per person.

Museum in der Runden Ecke is located to the west of Zentrum on Dittrchring.

Visit the Museum in der Runden Ecke’s website here.

9. Relax By The Lakes – FREE

Kulkwitzer See lake near leipzig germany
Kulkwitzer See Lake near Leipzig, Germany

Leipzig is surrounded by beautiful lakes which are easily accessible and great fun on a sunny day.

The biggest and most popular lake to visit is Cospudener See (nickname: Cossi) located south of Leipzig. I visited Kulkwitzer See (nickname: Kulki) located to the west of Leipzig. I got there by taking tram number 1 to Lausen. The lake is then just a short walk from the tram stop. This is a free activity but you will have to pay the price of the tram ride! Have a look here for information on Leipzig’s public transport system.

The lakes are lovely to swim in so make sure to take your swimsuit or just a towel! Don’t be surprised if you see naked bathers at the lake – it is quite popular in Germany!

10. Forum Of Contemporary History Leipzig (Zeitgeschichtliches Forum) – FREE

forum of contemporary history in leipzig statue outside free things to do leipzig germany
Statue outside the Forum of Contemporary History Museum in Leipzig

Another great free thing to do in Leipzig is the Forum to Contemporary History in Leipzig (Zeitgeschichtliches Forum).

Entrance to the permanent exhibition (Dictatorship and democracy after 1945) is free and looks at the modern history of Leipzig since WWII. Many information signs are in English, but you can still enjoy looking at the displays. In the exhibition, you can see 2,000 objects, photos and films about the history of divided Germany and the time after reunification.

The museum also offers an online audio guide which can be accessed for free through their website. The museum has free Wi-Fi.

The Zeitgeschichtliches Forum is located opposite the Naschmarkt in the centre of Leipzig.

Find out more about the Forum to Contemporary History museum on their website here.

11. Admire Leipzig’s Amazing Architecture – FREE

Paulinum - Aula und Universitatskirche St. Pauli Leipzig University architecture
Paulinum – Aula und Universitatskirche St. Pauli (Leipzig University)

Leipzig has lots of interesting architecture from many different periods. You can enjoy wandering around the city and observing the beautiful buildings. Here is a list of unusual and attractive buildings which you may want to take a look at while visiting Leipzig:

  • Paulinum – Aula und Universitatskirche St. Pauli (Leipzig University – award-winning modern glass design with gothic features built in 2007)
  • Gewandhaus (Concert Hall – interesting design from the 1980s)
  • Oper Leipzig (Opera House – elegant 1960s building)
  • Stadt Leipzig (New Town Hall – beautiful building. Look for the little snail on the door handle!)
  • Landgericht Leipzig (Courthouse)
  • Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Federal Administrative Court – huge, stunning building built in the 19th-century)
  • Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig (Leipzig University Library)
  • Stadtgeschichtliches Museum/Altes Rathaus (Local History Museum/Old Town Hall)
  • Alte Borse (Leipzig Stock Exchange – 17th-century baroque building)
  • Marktplatz Leipzig (Historical market square with Middle Ages architecture)
  • Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church – 12th-century church inspired by French classicism)
  • Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church – Grand Gothic church)
  • Mortizbastei (Renovated ancient fortifications – now a Cultural Center)
  • Museum der Bildenden Kunste (Modern Art Museum in a giant glass cube building)
  • Völkerschlachtdenkmal (Monument to the Battle of the Nations)
  • Spinnerei (A huge former cotton mill in Plagwitz)

For the locations of all these buildings, see this Google Map I have created with them all pinned on. They are all the yellow icons!:

12. Explore The Trendy Plagwitz District & The Karl-Heine-Canal – FREE

leipzig plagwitz canal
Photo by Abenteuer Albanien on Unsplash

Enjoy an afternoon wandering around the neighbourhood Plagwitz. Formerly an industrial centre in Leipzig, Plagwitz is currently experiencing a modern renaissance. The abandoned red brick factories, cobbled streets and leafy canals are all part of the charm.

The area has a strong artistic community and many of the factories have been converted into art galleries. Check out the Spinnerei art gallery in a huge old cotton mill.

The Karl-Heine-Canal runs through Plagwitz and features 15 bridges. If you want to see the city from a different perspective, take this Canal Cruise (from €15 per person).

While you are in Plagwitz, don’t miss seeing the quirky full-size GDR plane outside the De Capo Museum!

You can get to Plagwitz on the no. 1 tram from Leipzig-Zentrum to Leipzig-Plagwitz. It takes about 30 minutes. Have a look here for information on Leipzig’s public transport system.

Free Map Of All The Best Free Things To See & Do In Leipzig 🗺️

Free map of all the best things to see and do in Leipzig – including monuments, museums, architecture, lakes and tours! Open in Google Maps and save to look at later!

More Free & Cheap Things To Do In Leipzig

Travelling to Leipzig and want to find other awesome things to do? Check out these options:

Motorboat Canal Sightseeing Cruise – CHEAP

I recommend this popular and highly rated tour in Leipzig – 70-minute Motorboat Canal Sightseeing Cruise. Tickets cost from €15 per person. This is a relaxing tour where you can admire Leipzig’s architecture and historical buildings. You will see the city from a different perspective as you travel by boat on Leipzig’s various waterways. Book the canal boat tour here on Get Your Guide*.

Leipzig Combo Tour: Guided City Tour & City Sightseeing – CHEAP

Join the highly popular Leipzig Combo Tour: Guided City Tour & City Sightseeing. Tickets are from €19 per person. This 2.5-hour tour will take you to all the best sights in Leipzig city and the surrounding areas. You will go on a guided tour on foot around the old city and then onto a modern bus tour to explore cultural sites such as the Gohlis castle. See more details and more on this combo tour here on Get Your Guide*.

Evening Tour Of Leipzig With The Night Watchman – CHEAP

Explore Leipzig by night on the evening tour of Leipzig with the Night Watchman (from €14 per person). On this 1.5-hour tour, you will explore Leipzig at night. Visit mysterious alleyways and passages in the old town. Your guide will tell you interesting and curious tales along the way! Learn more about this tour and book tickets here on Get Your Guide*.

How To Get To Leipzig Using Public Transport

Leipzig is located in the east of Germany. It is around 190km from Berlin in the southwest direction. Dresden is another major city close to Leipzig. Dresden is about 120km from Leipzig in an east direction.

Travelling To Leipzig By Bus

Leipzig is an easily accessible city in Germany. The easiest and cheapest way to travel there is by FlixBus*. I traveled to Leipzig from Berlin using FlixBus. The journey was quick and comfortable. It takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to get from Berlin to Leipzig travelling by bus. You can get a ticket for as low as €6 one-way. It took about It was also very cheap! You can search for tickets and book online. Click here to check for prices and journey times on Flixbus to and from Leipzig.

Travelling To Leipzig By Train

It’s also possible to travel to Leipzig by trainRail Europe* is a great website where you can organise your train tickets. You can get a ticket from Berlin to Leipzig for around €20 one-way. It takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes on the fastest trains to get from Berlin to Leipzig. Click here to check for prices and journey times on Rail Europe to and from Leipzig.

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Where To Stay In Leipzig

Here are my recommendations of where to stay in Leipzig. I haven’t stayed at these myself, but I would be happy to book them! These hostels and hotels get awesome reviews and they are great for budget travellers who don’t want to compromise on comfort and style.

Recommended Hostels In Leipzig

Recommended Hotels In Leipzig

  • Spirit Lodge Leipzig: A small hotel located in the heart of Leipzig’s cultural scene. Spirit Lodge’s decor is bright with pastel-coloured walls and spacious wooden beds. There is a shared kitchen so you can save money on eating out. There is a communal room where you can relax or do some yoga. Fabulous 8/10 reviews from guests.
  • Luga Homes – Stadthaus: Centrally located in Leipzig, Luga Homes has lovely modern rooms with shared bathrooms. They have luxury apartments with full kitchens and private bathrooms. Free WiFi. Very good 8/10 reviews from guests.

Click here to check reviews, prices and availability for hotels in Leipzig on Booking.com.

Search For Accommodation In Leipzig

The Best Free Things To See & Do In Leipzig – Thanks For Reading!

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

I hope you have an awesome time exploring Leipzig! 😊

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