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A Day Trip to Trier, Germany’s Oldest City

Trier is Germany’s oldest city, founded in 16 BC by the Romans. The city is known for its well-preserved Roman sites, beautiful churches, and festive Christmas Market. Spend a day in Trier getting to know the city’s history with this day trip itinerary.

I visited Trier as a day trip from Kaiserslautern, Germany. Despite the city’s incredible Roman history, it’s not on many travelers’ bucket lists, and I had never heard of it until my brother moved to Kaiserslautern.

But now that I’ve been, I can say that there are so many amazing things to do in Trier! The city has such a well-preserved history, beautiful architecture, and you won’t want to miss it.

Trier has 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a day in the city might not be enough to see them all, but it’s a pretty good start! Here are my top things to see in Trier in just one day.

Hauptmarkt in Trier, Germany

1 Day in Trier: Top Things To See

1. Porta Nigra

Porta Nigra in Trier, Germany

The Porta Nigra is Trier’s most famous landmark and is an emblem for the city. It was one of four city gates, built around 170 BC, of the Roman city then called Augusta Treverorum.

It is the only city gate of Trier still remaining, and it is the best preserved Roman city gate north of the Alps. So it’s no wonder that this is one of Trier’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

You can go inside the Porta Nigra and climb to the top of the monument for an unparalleled view of the city.

2. Trier Cathedral (High Cathedral of St Peter in Trier)

Trier Cathedral

Trierer Dom (the High Cathedral of St Peter in Trier or Trier Cathedral) is the oldest cathedral in Germany. It’s also the oldest structure in Germany to continues to served uninterruptedly its original purpose as a bishops church.

You can see Trier Cathedral’s Roman roots in the original walls of the nave rising to a height of 86 ft (26 m) and a huge fragment of granite column next to the entrance to the Cathedral.

Trierer Dom is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admission to the Cathedral is free.

3. Aula Palatina and Electoral Palace (Konstantin-Basilika und Kurfürstliches Palais)

Electoral Palace and Aula Palatina in Trier, Germany

The Aula Palatina, also known as Konstantin-Basilika (the Basilica of Constantine) was a Roman palace basilica commissioned by emperor Constantine I at the beginning of the 4th century, used as an imperial throne room. It is the largest single room to survive from antiquity, not supported by columns, measuring 90 ft (27 m) wide, 108 ft (33 m) high, and 220 ft (67 m) long.

Today, it is used as the first and oldest Protestant church in Catholic Trier. The Aula Palatina is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admission to the church is free.

Connected to the Konstantin-Basilika is the Kurfürstliches Palais (the Electoral Palace). This residence for the archbishop was added in the 18th century in the vogue rococo style.

The Palace is now used as an administrative building, so visiting the courtyard, foyer, staircase, and Baroque hall are only possible on certain days. In the meantime, you can admire the exterior and the replica sculptures in the Palace Garden.

4. Trier Imperial Baths (Kaiserthermen)

Trier Imperial Baths

The construction of the Kaiserthermen (Trier Imperial Baths) began in the 3rd century, planned as a gift from the Emperor to the people of Trier. However, the public baths were never completed.

The ruins then had a long life serving various roles. The site was used as a reception or parade hall, a barracks, then as Alderburg Castle for a noble family, and finally as the church of St Gervasius and St Agnes convent.

The Kaiserthermen is a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can visit and explore the ruins and subterranean passageways designed for the baths. This was one of my favorite parts of visiting Trier!

5. Trier Christmas Market (Trierer Weihnachtsmarkt)

Trier Christmas Market

If you’re visiting Trier in the winter, you won’t want to miss the Trierer Weihnachtsmarkt (Trier Christmas Market). Booths are set up at Hauptmarkt (Main Market), a beautiful Medieval town square, as well as in front of Trierer Dom.

The Trier Christmas Market is complete with decorated wooden booths, Christmas goods and gifts for sale, delicious traditional eats like Bratwursts and potato pancakes, and the all-important collectable mug of Glühwein.

There’s no better way to celebrate the Christmas season than with a Christmas Market in Germany’s oldest city! This was such a special way for our family to spend Christmas.

Tours for your day in Trier

Trier Mural

I recommend taking a guided tour of Trier to get the most out of your visit. You’ll learn the history of this remarkable city from a professional local guide who will make sure you see as much of the city as possible. Check out the best tours for your day trip to Trier:

  • Trier Private Tour — Visit the most important historical sights of Trier on this private 2-hour tour.
  • Tailor-Made Trier Tour — This tailor-made private tour is offered in three languages and takes you on an exciting adventure through Trier’s history.
  • Trier Private Walking Tour — Discover Germany’s oldest town on this 2-hour private walking tour of the city.
  • Trier Christmas Market Tour — Learn all about Germany’s Christmas traditions as you explore Trier’s beautiful Christmas Market with a professional guide.

Read next: Top 5 Tourist Destinations in Germany

Visiting Trier in One Day FAQ

Is one day in Trier enough?

With 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and thousands of years of history, one day is Trier is definitely not nearly enough time. A visit to Trier in one day is a good start, don’t get me wrong, but I would have loved to spend a lot more time in this incredible city.

Is Trier worth visiting?

Trier is definitely worth visiting. You can explore thousands of years of history, Roman ruins, incredible architecture, delicious food and wine, and so much more.

Is Trier the oldest city in Germany?

Trier is considered the oldest city in Germany, with its founding dating back to 16 BC by the Romans.

How do I get to Trier?

You can get to Trier via train, bus, or car. The closest airport to Trier is Luxembourg Airport.

Is Trier walkable?

The central area of Trier is very walkable with plenty of historic sites, restaurants, and shops. You’ll have no problem walking around the city on your day trip.

One Day in Trier Map

Ready to spend an amazing day exploring Trier, Germany? Use the map below to plan out your day trip.

I hope you have a wonderful day in Germany’s oldest city!

More Germany Itineraries

Ready to visit Trier, Germany? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
  • Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Trier using
  • Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.



A Day Trip to Trier, Germany's Oldest City

Have you taken a day trip to Trier? Let me know your favorite things to do there in the comments!

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  1. You are taking me back to one of my favorite European trips! We spent a couple of days in Trier and I absolutely loved it! It didn’t feel like I was even in northern Europe anymore, there was such a historical vibe that was totally different than the nearby cities we visited. Thanks for sharing your tips and great pictures!

    1. I wish we could have spent a couple days in Trier! There was so much history that I wasn’t expecting as I didn’t know anything about the city before we visited.

  2. Germany is a stunning country, and that is why it is on my bucket list, and I will definitely visit it on my next trip to Europe. Thank you for sharing.

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