A tour of Trier is like a walk through more than 2,000 years of history. Do you only have 24 hours? Don't worry! Get a first impression of Trier with our suggestions how to use your limited time and come back later. It's worth it!
The best place to start your visit in Trier is the Porta Nigra, the best preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps. Dating back to the second century, it is still the main gateway to Germany's oldest city.
Follow the pedestrian area from the Porta Nigra past the lively Hauptmarkt (main market), with its pretty buildings, market stalls, cafés and shops, straight to Trier Cathedral. The original building from 330 AD was the largest Christian church in the ancient world and around four times the size of the current cathedral. The Roman core is still preserved, with its original walls more than 25 meters high. Directly adjacent to the cathedral stands the earliest Gothic church in Germany, the Church of Our beloved Lady, built in the 13th century.
Pass the baroque Palais Kesselstadt and take another huge leap back in time as you come to the 4th century Basilica of Constantine the Great (UNESCO World Heritage), one of the greatest architectural creations of the ancient world. The rectangular hall is 71 meters long and 32 meters wide, a space of overwhelming size and simplicity, closed off from the outside world by 2.7-meter-thick walls. This monumental edifice was built for Emperor Constantine the Great, Roman emperor in Trier and champion of Christianity.
Continue to the Electoral Palace, one of the most beautiful rococo palaces in the country. Passing through the palace gardens, your journey through time takes you to the amazingly well-preserved Imperial Thermal Baths and, just a few minutes walk from there, to the amphitheater, where crowds of up to 20,000 spectators throng to watch the "Bread & Circuses" event, Germany's largest Roman festival.
Then it's a 25 minute walk in the direction of the Moselle to the Barbara Roman Baths, from where you have a view of the oldest preserved bridge north of the Alps. The Roman Bridge and its basalt pillars were built in the 2nd century AD and still spans the Moselle today.
The path along the river is a lovely place for a stroll, past the medieval cranes, and always keeping St. Mary's column, which towers high above the town, in view. The pretty restaurants on the sun terraces of the district of Zurlauben are a stylish place to end the day and enjoy a glass of fine wine while soaking in glorious views of the Moselle.
If you want to find out more about Trier's monumental buildings or the details of its proud Roman history, the Rhenish State Museum in the palace gardens is a must-see. No other museum in Germany provides such comprehensive information about the civilisation, economics, settlement, religion and art of the first four centuries AD.
After so many stone reminders of the past, you may fancy a little greenery. If that's the case, follow the Moselle Wine Route through the romantic river valley as it winds its way gently towards Koblenz, where the Moselle ends and flows into the Rhine.