In the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, around two hours from Munich by car, you can find the small town of Blaubeuren. It’s a perfect stop on a road trip through Germany, but it’s also well worth visiting on a day trip from Munich to see the Blaubeuren Abbey and the insanely blue lake Blautopf.
Plus, humans have lived in the caves around Blaubeuren for tens of thousands of years, meaning that you can discover lots of fascinating history during your visit.
Find out why you need to visit, what are the best things to do in Blaubeuren and how to get there in this Blaubeuren travel guide!
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Things to do in Blaubeuren
The highlight of Blaubeuren is, without a doubt, the Blautopf.
The word Blautopf translates as blue pot, and this pond behind the Blaubeuren Abbey is famous for its vibrant colour. The light reflects on millions of tiny limestone particles in the water, creating various shades of blue and green.
If you come after heavy rainfall, it might seem like the water is boiling and bubbling. That’s because the rainwater from the area collects in an extensive system of caves and tunnels and then comes back up to the surface at the Blautopf.
But even if it looks like the water is boiling, its temperature remains at around 7ºC (44 Fahrenheit) all year long.
While the Blautopf might seem like a small pond, it has a depth of around twenty-two metres. Scientists sometimes go for dives to explore the giant cave system we mentioned, but unfortunately, diving is not an option for visitors.
Walk around the Old Town
If you want to see a cute German town with lots of half-timbered houses, then you should walk around the Old Town of Blaubeuren.
You can find pillars with arrows and the word ‘Altstadt-Rundgang’. If you follow them, they take you past the most interesting buildings and allow you to discover the highlights of Blaubeuren during a short walk.
Make sure not to miss ‘Little Venice’. With its crooked half-timbered houses, this area next to a canal is one of the cutest in all of Blaubeuren.
Visit Blaubeuren Abbey and see the Bathhouse of the Monks
Very close to the Blautopf, you can find the Blaubeuren Abbey. The best way to explore it is by buying a ticket that gives you access to both the cloister and the bathhouse of the monks.
The church and the choir stalls both date back to the 15th century and are well worth seeing. You can also spend some time walking through the corridors and admiring the courtyard before leaving the building.
Next, head to the bathhouse of the monks, which you can find behind the monastery on the left side. It’s a short walk to get there, but it’s one of the highlights of Blaubeuren, so make sure not to miss it.
The monks used to take their baths on the ground floor of the building, and you can see the area where they transferred the hot water into bathtubs.
On the upper floor, you can admire paintings on the walls and the ceiling that date back to the early 16th century. This was an area to receive visitors. Take a close look at the intricate paintings, and you will see many birds hidden in there.
Visit the caves
Blaubeuren is not just a fantastic destination because of the Blautopf. It is also close to one of Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, the caves in the Swabian Jura.
One of the best things to do in Blaubeuren is to visit the Hohle Fels cave. Humans have lived in this cave as far back as 65,000 years ago. Archaeologists found many artefacts from the late Stone Age, including tools and the remains of at least five humans.
After walking through the cave, make sure to return to Blaubeuren to visit the URMU museum. In this prehistoric museum, you can see some of the most significant findings from the Hohle Fels cave. These include a Venus figurine, carved from mammoth ivory, which is around 40,000 years old.
Another highlight is the Geierknochenflöte, the vulture bone flute, which is the oldest instrument ever found in the world. Experts estimate that humans created it around 40,000 years ago, so at approximately the same time as the Venus figurine.
The museum is easily accessible as it is close to the Blautopf. If you want to visit the Hohle Fels cave, though, you need to leave the village behind.
The easiest way is to go by car. An alternative is to take a train to Schelklingen and walk the remaining two kilometres from there, which will take you around 20-30 minutes.
Try traditional Swabian food
During your trip to Blaubeuren, you have the chance of trying some dishes from Swabia. You might see similar food in Bavaria and other parts of Germany, but if you want an authentic experience, try to visit a traditional restaurant here in Blaubeuren.
The most classical dish is Maultaschen which are dumplings that usually have a spinach and meat filling. The legend says that monks from the Maulbronn Monastery invented the Maultaschen during lent when they wanted to eat meat. To prevent God from seeing the pork, they hid it in noodle dough.
The most traditional way of eating Maultaschen is in a soup-like broth. You might also see them topped with melted butter or incorporated into many other dishes.
Another traditional dish that’s also suitable for vegetarians is Käsespätzle. Spätzle are freshly made German noodles with an irregular shape. In Käsespätzle the noodles are layered with cheese and roasted in the oven. Fried onions make for a crunchy topping that contrasts nicely with the cheesy noodles.
Where is Blaubeuren?
You can find Blaubeuren in the heart of Swabia, just next to the city of Ulm. Munich is 170 kilometres away, Stuttgart around 80 kilometres and Frankfurt around 280 kilometres. If you’re coming from Berlin, it’s approximately 650 kilometres to get to Blaubeuren.
If you are travelling with children, you’ll be pleased to know that Blaubeuren is just 48 kilometres from Legoland Deutschland.
How to get to Blaubeuren
Munich to Blaubeuren
The easiest way to get to Blaubeuren is on a day trip from Munich. If you have a rental car, the highway A8 takes you to Ulm, from where you can then continue on regional roads. Depending on the traffic, you can make the trip in shortly under two hours.
If you prefer going by public transport, you need to first take a train to Ulm and then switch to a train to Blaubeuren. Train tickets can get pricey in Germany, and you will get a much better deal if you book early.
An alternative is to get the Bayern-Ticket which gives you free access to regional trains in all of Bavaria for up to five people. The ticket is valid until Ulm, where you then need to get a separate ticket to go to Blaubeuren.
Depending on the connections, it takes around two to three hours to get to Blaubeuren. This makes it a great day trip from Munich.
Frankfurt to Blaubeuren
Frankfurt’s airport is one of the biggest in Europe, making it a convenient entry point into the country.
If you’re coming from Frankfurt, you can choose between taking a car and going by public transport. The drive takes about three hours, which means it’s still possible as a day trip. You might consider staying overnight and exploring other sights in the area, like Ulm with its famous cathedral.
If you use public transport, you can catch a high-speed train to Ulm and continue by regional train from there. This option is a bit faster than going by car and should take you around 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Berlin to Blaubeuren
If you’re coming from Berlin, driving will take you around seven hours. You can easily integrate Blaubeuren into a road trip through Germany, though, and make a few more stops along the way.
Trains take about the same amount of time, so even if you catch a high-speed train, you won’t save much time.
Where to stay in Blaubeuren
There are numerous hotels and guesthouses in Blaubeuren and the surrounding towns. One of the most popular hotels in Blaubeuren is the 3-star Hotel-Restaurant Ocschen which is right in the historic centre of the town. > Click here for more info and prices.
When to visit Blaubeuren
The best time to visit Blaubeuren is in summer, from June to August, when you have the best chance of experiencing sunny and warm weather. If possible, try to avoid the weekends. Not many international travellers make it to Blaubeuren, but locals love to come here, and the area around the Blautopf gets crowded on weekends.
In winter, if you’re lucky, you can see Blaubeuren covered under a layer of snow. The Blautopf doesn’t freeze over, so the blue colour of the water contrasts nicely with the snow around it.
Whenever you visit, you will find an attractive town that offers plenty in the way of history, nature and good food.
About the Authors
Daniel and Ilona love going off the beaten path, learning about other cultures and discovering local food. On their website Top Travel Sights, they share travel advice and stories from all around the world.