Trier — Germany’s oldest city — was once known as the second Rome. Signs of man populating the area dated back to the Neolithic periods, but it was when Julius Caesar founded the city (then known as Augusta Treverorum) that it truly flourished. A stadium and amphitheatre were built. Several Roman emperors enjoyed staying in the city so much that it earned its credentials as the second Rome.
Today, Trier is one of Germany’s top destinations to visit. It was the home of the father of communism Karl Marx and houses the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, which is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Other than many historical landmarks, Trier is also a great place to sample wines from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region, particularly their Rieslings.
For a fine approach to dining in Trier, head over to Schlemmereule. The ambience is elegant and the dishes are excellent, taking inspiration from France, Luxembourg, and other parts of Europe. Try out the beef tartare with marinated white asparagus, or a gently-cooked quail with pear and port-wine sauce.
If you prefer a more relaxed setting, head on over to Brasserie Trier where you can have a meal of quiche lorraine and roast beef in a red wine sauce. The rustic restaurant is sophisticated without being stuffy and serves up French-infused local cuisine. Sample the region’s wines at Kesselstatt, a wine bar that serves only Rieslings from the nearby vineyards alongside traditional German food.
View the city of Trier from the higher ground when you check in to the Hotel Villa Hugel. This gorgeous, sprawling Art Deco hotel boasts elegant rooms with a large balcony to take in the view. Despite its location on higher ground, it’s within walking distance to most of Trier’s historical attractions.
Yet, don’t think that everything in Trier is historical and old — there are contemporary hotels in the city too, including Becker’s Hotel & Restaurant. Nestled amidst the valley of the vineyards, the hotel almost blends into its surroundings thanks to the exterior made out of stone and wood. Dine in the in-house gourmet restaurant Gault Millau, which has a two Michelin star and adjourn to Becker’s Weinhaus for a taste of Becker’s own wines and more international ones.
How can one visit Trier and not visit its historical attractions? Head first to Porta Nigra — the “black gate” — which is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is the only one out of the original four city gates that is still standing. Then, head to the Cathedral of Trier, which was originally built by Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor. It is the oldest church in all of Germany and houses several holy relics, including the alleged robes worn by Jesus when he was crucified.
Other historical sites worth visiting are the Imperial Baths, the largest surviving Roman baths outside of Rome, and the Trier Amphitheatre, which dates back to the second half of the third century. Fun fact: its underground cellars are still perfectly intact. Should you be a fan of Karl Marx, you can’t give his house a miss. The Karl Marx House is his birthplace back in 1818 and has since been turned into a museum displaying some rare editions of his writings.