A major challenger to the Berlin crown from cosmopolitan cool, Leipzig is no stranger to visitors looking to explore its rich history, stunning architecture and unbeatable Michelin-starred cuisine. There’s also no shortage of passion for fashion in this stylish city, where elegant boutiques seem to line every passage and the sprawling traditional flea-markets offer hidden treasures for the retail adventurer.
Leipzig’s constellation of four- and five-star hotels gives luxury lovers plenty of variety to choose from. Perhaps the brightest star of the city’s hotel scene is the Hotel Fuerstenhof (Troendlinring 8), a multi-pillared colossus close to the Museum of Fine Arts with a 200-year-old pedigree and a tradition of fabulous service. The edgier Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof (Salzgässchen 6) caters for high-budget visitors with modern tastes, while affordable Parkhotel Diani (Connewitzer Strasse 19) is set within leafy surroundings in Leipzig’s southern suburbs. With a selection of clean and comfortable hostels on offer, it’s easy to see the city on a strict budget – stay centrally with the Sleepy Lion Hotels, Youth Hotel & Apartments (Jacobstrasse 1).
From elegant arcades to boutique-lined passages, Leipzig’s shopping scene oozes class at every turn. The Promenaden Hauptbahnhof is where you’ll find the standard high-street shops and department stores, but if it’s designer labels you’re after then head to Mädler Passage. This historic mall is an incredible architectural mix of baroque, Renaissance and art nouveau styles, and it’s where the city’s most exclusive boutiques have set up shop. The refurbished arcades in Specks Hof and Barthels Hof are fabulous for leisurely window-shopping, and on most days you’ll find a jumble of market stalls in the area around Leipzig Central Station. The antique and flea market that takes place on the first weekend of the month on platform 24 is particularly worth attending.
This sociable city is riddled with pubs and coffee houses. Start your day with a brew up at Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum (Kleine Fleischergasse 4), the second oldest coffee house in Europe. Dating back to 1694, it has hosted famous figures such as Wagner, Bach and Grieg – if you’re keen to discover more about its history, there’s a fascinating museum squirreled away on the third floor. Aside from coffee, Leipzig’s speciality brew is the ‘Leipziger Gose’, a fermented beer that is best consumed in the buzzy Drallewatsch pub district. Taverns such as Altes Rathaus (Markt 1) also serve comforting traditional pub grub, but the city’s culinary crown goes to two-Michelin-star Falco (Gerberstrasse 15), where chef Peter Maria Schnurr whizzes up creative dishes within the confines of a skyscraper restaurant.
Historic Easter Fair
The countryside comes to Leipzig in April for five days of historic celebrations. Expect to see Easter lambs, jugglers, actors and musicians in traditional dress, and discover how people in Germany used to do trade.
Held at the beginning of every August since 1995, this lively summer festival focuses around a stage in front of Opera Leipzig at the Augustusplatz. It features live music, recordings and plenty of stalls selling scrumptious local produce and takeaway food.
The life of Leipzig native Felix Mendelssohn is celebrated in this annual event, which comprises a series of concerts, exhibitions and workshops across the city.
Rub shoulders with the Leipzig glitterati at the annual Leipzig Opera Ball, an all-out extravaganza which attracts over 2,000 guests and sees famous politicians, sportspeople and entertainers jet into the city from all over the world.
Leipzig Christmas Market
More than 250 stalls grace the city’s historic market square during the run-up to Christmas. Expect fairy lights, singing choirboys, organ music and all the usual festive razzmatazz.