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20 Unique Things to Do in Münster, Germany

Welcome to Münster! Here are all the best things to do in Münster, Germany.

There’s only SO MUCH you can do in a village of 100,000 people – most over the age of 55 – so I’m always pushing for day trips to nearby cities from my husband’s hometown of Düsseldorf.

I was pleasantly surprised about how much I loved this university city, with its eco-friendly bike culture and popping nightlife. I was lucky enough to experience the last Christmas markets of the year as well on December 23rd so be sure to check them out in the city center!

Whilst Münster isn’t as big or busy as neighboring Düsseldorf, it’s definitely worth taking a day trip or a weekend trip into town to reset from the hustle and bustle of big city life.

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1. Wochenmarkt (Weekend Market)

Who doesn’t love wandering around a market when they’re overseas? This amazing market in the heart of Münster takes place every Wednesday and Saturday in front of the beautiful St. Paulus-Dom Cathedral.

a girl walking through Münster, Germany

With plenty of local vendors and trades at each market, you can pick up a bite to eat, find a souvenir or two, or see something you’ve never seen before. 

If you’re interested in what’s on at the Wochenmarkt, they even have a market map online that they update with new vendors and positioning. You can click on each vendor to see what they sell and what their booth looks like so you don’t miss them when you visit!

2. Have a Picnic on a Pedal Boat on Lake Aasee

Looking for a place to kick back and relax while you’re in Münster? Well, do what the locals do and head to the beautiful Lake Aasee. It’s no secret that Germans love spending time in nature, and this man-made lake and park is located within easy reach of the city center.

Raid the local market or supermarket before you set off with all your favorite picnic essentials, bring a blanket and set up for a relaxing picnic, surrounded by nature. After you’ve enjoyed your lunch, why not hire a pedal boat and hit the lake?

As you explore this Münster staple, you’ll get amazing views back towards the shoreline and be able to soak up all those tranquil vibes. Of course, this is a great thing to do in the summer months or when the sun is out. Winter is not the vibe for this particular activity!

3. Enjoy Live Music and Cheap Drinks at Gorilla Bar 

Now, I love a dive bar every once in a while. Relive those student days and hit up Gorilla Bar for some awesome local live music, and deliciously cheap drinks all night long.

As Münster is a university city and most of the people who live here either attend or work at the university, the nightlife scene has to be affordable and up to standard!

Gorilla Bar is a staple with both locals and students thanks to its no-frills interiors and blend of cool bands and music acts with cheap booze. It’s unpretentious and a great spot if you want to have a fun night out without breaking the bank.

It’s worth noting that some nights at Gorilla Bar might be ticket-only depending on who’s playing there, so check online before you visit. You’ll also need to visit an ATM before you hit up Gorilla Bar as it’s one of the last places that is completely cash only.

But with prices like these, you shouldn’t need a whole lot to have a great time! 

4. Get Weird at Coconut Beach with Locals

If you’re heading to Münster during the summer months, then you need to check out Coconut Beach. Here, you’ll find the pool, sand, and beach are provided, and all you need to bring are your sandals, and leave your self-respect at home!

Located in the restored Docklands area of the city, Coconut Beach is an artificial beach party club in the heart of Münster. With hardcore German techno club beats, plenty of cocktails, and tons of space to rave and dance, it definitely brings the summer vibes to this small university city in Northern Germany.

This is of course a seasonal thing to do in Münster, but it remains one of the weirdest, coolest, and most fun things to check out while you’re in the city. There are also food vendors here as well, so once you’re on the beach, you don’t have to leave until the small hours of the morning if you don’t want to.

Again, check the websites for tickets as some club nights and DJ sets are ticketed due to demand! 

5. Münster Prinzipalmarkt

It’s pretty much impossible not to head down Prinzipalmarkt while you’re in Münster as it’s actually the main street in the Old Town section of the city. With its cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture, it definitely feels like you’re stepping back in time, and if you’re on a walking tour, you’ll for sure make a stop here. 

This road is home to plenty of amazing cafes, restaurants, and shops, as well as some of the other major sites on this list. It’s the beating heart of the city and pretty much all roads will lead to Prinzipalmarkt in one way or another.

One of the interesting things about this part of the Old Town is that most of it was destroyed in World War II, but the city opted to try and rebuild the street using the same historical and architectural styles as before, so it feels centuries old, even if most of the area was built in the 20th century!

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6. St. Paulus-Dom (Münster Cathedral)

Perhaps one of the most impressive buildings in Münster is St. Paulus-Dom, otherwise known in English as Münster Cathedral. Harking back to the 1200s, this historical icon was beautifully designed in the Romanesque and Gothic styles, giving it a striking appearance, and making it an architecture lover’s dream place to visit in Münster!

If clockwork and engineering are more your thing, you’ll be interested in the astronomical clock that was added to St. Paulus-Dom in the 16th century. Not satisfied with having just any clock, this cathedral is home to the only clock in the world, from that time period surviving today, that spins counter-clockwise instead of clockwise!

You can learn all about this impressive house of worship, including all about the architecture, history, and culture of the cathedral on a tour of the building. Of course, it’s also an operating place of worship, so be respectful of anyone who is praying or worshipping inside.

7. City Museum of Munster

Want to learn all about the history, culture, and people of Münster? Well, you’re in luck with a visit to the City Museum of Münster. Having been operational since 1979, this small museum packs a big punch and serves as the perfect introduction to this lesser-known German city.

In fact, the City Museum of Münster covers around 1200 years of history, which is kind of insane! Learn about the art and architecture of this area before diving into history, politics, and culture.

If you’re curious about Münster but don’t want to take a dedicated history or culture tour, a visit to the City Museum of Münster means that you can learn all about this historic city at your own pace, and avoid any potential bad weather outside! 

8. Historic Town Hall of Münster

Located just off Prinzipalmarkt, you’ll find the stunning 14th-century town hall of Münster. Otherwise known as the Rathaus in German, this beautiful building was painstakingly restored in the 20th century after it was severely damaged in the war. 

Historically speaking, Münster’s Rathaus has been a symbol of peace with many international treaties and agreements being signed here over the centuries. The most significant is probably the ending of the Thirty Years’ War, bringing peace and relative stability between the Netherlands and Spain.

Today, you can take tours of the Rathaus on dedicated days, and learn more about the history of Münster and the wider European impact that this small city has had over the centuries. You’d be surprised at how involved Münster was in European affairs from the 14th century onwards! 

9. St Lambert’s Church

Do you love bloody European history and Gothic architecture, all bound together by a beautiful church? Well, St Lambert’s Church needs to be on your Münster itinerary!

Not only is this huge place of worship full of beautiful design details and Gothic architecture from when it was built in the 1200s, but it also holds a darker secret.

The main attraction of St Lambert’s Church is the giant tower. Now, it’s not the tower itself that draws people to this church, but the curious metal baskets that sit on the outside of the structure.

The purpose of these baskets became famous following the Münster Rebellion.

That’s because the bodies of the tortured rebellion leaders, Jan van Leiden, Bernd Krechting, and Bernd Knipperdolling, were put in these cages for all to see, publicly torturing them for their role in the rebellion. It’s bloody, it’s brutal, and it’s well worth a visit on your next trip to Münster. 

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10. Erbdrostenhof

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love having a snoop around historic grand houses? I know I love a mansion tour or two! Well, that’s exactly what you get with a visit to Erbdrostenhof, home to one of the foremost Baroque architects in Münster, Johann Conrad Schlaun.

Basically, if you see a 1700s Baroque building in Münster, chances are pretty good that Schlaun had a hand in the design. While the Erbdrostenhof isn’t in the best condition after being damaged in the war, there are a whole host of events and exhibitions that now happen in the space.

You can take tours around this grandiose mansion, which is still full of art, and architectural marvels, and see how the other half would have lived way back in the 18th century. Go on, live out your European Enlightenment fantasies!  

11. Museum for Lacquer Art

Who likes niche artworks and art styles? If that sounds like you, then this niche Münster museum is going to be right up your street. The Museum for Lacquer Art or Museum für Lackkunst, is completely dedicated to the use of lacquer in the art world.

This might sound like a very weird thing to dedicate a museum to, but lacquer art has been used and found all around the world for around 2000 years, so there is a wide range of exhibits, styles, and displays on show in the Museum for Lacquer Art.

There are guided tours that you can choose to take, or if you want to explore at your own pace and in your own language, you can grab an audio guide with your ticket and learn all about the wonderful world of lacquer art! 

12. Art Museum Pablo Picasso

Fans of the absolutely masterful Pablo Picasso are going to be in their element at the Art Museum Pablo Picasso, otherwise known as Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso. Opened in the 1990s, this beautiful museum is entirely dedicated to Picasso’s work with some of his most famous pieces being on display here. 

With a revolving door of temporary exhibitions that have included works by Chagall and Andy Warhol, the Art Museum Pablo Picasso is an ideal place to visit if you love modern art and want to see some of the most famous pieces of modern art, without having to visit a huge museum.

Housed in a historic 18th-century building, this museum feels cozy and intimate. So, steer clear of the crowds at Europe’s larger museums and galleries, and check out this Picasso-filled wonderland in the center of Münster.

13. LWL – Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History

Otherwise known as the Museum für Kunst und Kultur, the LWL – Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History is one of the biggest museums in Münster, and 100% well worth visiting while you’re in the city. 

With halls upon halls of amazing artwork, including tons of Gothic artwork and mix-media artwork, there is a little something for everyone to enjoy on a visit to LWL – Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History.

Some days there are even events and musicians playing in various rooms around the museum which brings a cool layer of ambiance to the place.

If you’re visiting Münster on a budget or just want to get more bang for your buck, you’ll be pleased to know that on the second Friday of every month, the museum offers free admission from 6 pm to midnight!

14. Freilichtmuseum Mühlenhof

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to German history, culture, and life in general, you need to head over to the Freilichtmuseum Mühlenhof. This unique tourist attraction is actually an open-air history museum, so you can really get a feel for how people lived and worked in years gone by.

Location-wise, the Freilichtmuseum Mühlenhof is easily accessible near the Münster Zoo and Lake Aasee, so it’s super easy to combine this with other popular local attractions for a full day out and about. 

Most of the buildings and scenarios in the Freilichtmuseum Mühlenhof are from between the 17th and 19th centuries and definitely take advantage of the beautiful countryside around the local area. It’s a cool and interactive way to get into German history, and great if you’re traveling with kids! 

15. Schloss Münster

What’s a trip to a European city without an excursion to a historic and opulent castle or palace? Well, that’s where Fürstbischöfliches Schloss Münster comes into play.

More often referred to as simply Schloss Münster, this gorgeous palace harks back to the mid-1700s.

Originally, it was designed and built for a Duke-Bishop, showing the power that the church had in Münster at the time. This Baroque-style palace is a beautiful place to visit if you love art, culture, and history all in one gorgeous package. 

With a visit to Schloss Münster, you actually get to check out two amazing Münster hotspots in one fell swoop, as it’s also home to Münster’s Botanical Gardens, but more about that in just a minute. 

16. Botanical Gardens

Okay, so around the back of Schloss Münster, you’ll find the Münster Botanical Gardens which actually belong to the University of Westphalia as a teaching garden. However, it’s still open to the public if you’re in need of relaxation, beauty, and some much-needed nature therapy.

Originally, the Münster Botanical Gardens opened in 1803, as a way to share and preserve different flora and plantlife with their patrons who often resided in Schloss Münster. Nowadays, access is open to all so that you can learn more about these amazing plants and their origins!

If you don’t know a tulip from a rhododendron, you can also jump on a guided tour with a local ecologist or even one of the gardeners. This gives you a unique insight into the different plants in the gardens as well as the environmental impact that they’re having on a long-term basis. 

17. Port of Münster

In need of some relaxing blue spaces? Head down to the bustling waterfront that is the Port of Münster.

While it’s not exactly the hive of shipping activity that it used to be when it opened in 1899, it’s still worth checking out this historic and tranquil part of the city.

Located behind the Münster train station, you’ll find a whole host of great restaurants and cafes that take advantage of the relaxing setting and are definitely a vibe in the warmer summer months. 

While the restaurants are flocking to the Port of Münster area for its cool and relaxing atmosphere, there are also cultural things to do in the area, including a few theatres and event spaces that are making this an artsy hub of Münster.

18. Allwetterzoo Münster

If you’re visiting Münster with kids in tow, then a zoo is normally a surefire hit to keep everyone amazed and entertained. The Allwetterzoo Münster, or all-weather zoo, is located on the far side of Lake Aasee, so it’s a great place to visit after a picnic and a paddle as a family.

With tours about conservation, the chance to meet your favorite animals, and plenty of talks and expert feedings to watch, it’s an ideal day out for the entire family. With elephants, monkeys, gorillas, giraffes, and more there is definitely something for everyone to enjoy. 

Spend a full day wandering around the Allwetterzoo Münster and settle down for a bite to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants before continuing through the different terrains, zones, and regions of the natural world. Let your inner Attenborough out!

19. Cycle down the Promenade

You might think of a promenade as a beachfront stretch of sidewalk or footpath, but in Münster, this is actually a huge cycle and pedestrian-friendly path that encapsulates the Old Town. Lined with beautiful trees and well-kept greenery, it’s the ideal spot for a relaxing walk or cycle.

Pretty much anything in Münster can be found by going around the Promenade in one way or another. Think of it like an eco-friendly ring road that gets everyone where they need to go, but also doubles as a relaxing green space where visitors and locals alike can stretch their legs.

It’s super important to remember that there are two paths on the Promenade – one for pedestrians and one for cyclists. Make sure you’re on the right one otherwise, you might get run over by a local or annoy a load of students who are out for a wander.

20. Burg Hülshoff

Sometimes you just need a day trip outside of the city, and when that happens you should head to Burg Hülshoff, otherwise known as the Water Castle. With such a magical name, I know I’ve already piqued your interest!

Located just a short 40-minute cycle away from Münster or a 20-minute drive through the picturesque German countryside, it’s the perfect place to visit outside of the city limits. Located on floating islands and surrounded by a moat, this place feels like it’s sprung right from a fairytale.

Inside, the Burg Hülshoff is now a museum dedicated to a well-known German poet who used to live in the castle, called Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.

After you’ve explored the various exhibits and grand rooms, make sure you spend some time in the extensive parkland all around and come back to the city feeling refreshed and relaxed!

How to Get to Münster

First things first, how can you get to Münster from around Germany and wider Europe? Let’s dive in and check out your travel options.

By Air

If you’re flying, then the closest airports are going to be Bremen, Dortmund, and Dusseldorf. Bremen is definitely the closest, but it is a lot smaller than Dusseldorf Airport. You can also fly to Cologne Airport and transfer to Münster by train in around an hour and a half. 

Coming from further afield like the US or Asia? Your best bet is to fly into Frankfurt or Hamburg, The transfer time will be longer, more around the three-hour mark, but it’ll be easier than changing onto a regional flight after a long-haul journey.

By Train

In my opinion, the best way to get to Münster is by train. The German rail system is famous around the world for good reason. It’s really easy to get around on the German trains and there are plenty of apps and route maps that can help you find your way.

If you’re unsure about routes, I’d recommend using a site or app like Omio or Trainline which shows train and bus routes all around Europe. You can even book them online and get digital tickets if you’re nervous about buying them at the station, or you’re short on time and don’t want to queue.

You can get trains from neighboring Bremen, Cologne, Dortmund, and Dusseldorf with relative ease, and these all connect into wider, cross-continental routes into Amsterdam, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, and beyond. 

By Bus

If you’re on a budget and aren’t pushed for time, you can also get the bus to Münster. Bus companies like Flixbus commonly connect cities throughout Europe and are a cost-effective way to explore different countries.

Seriously, bus tickets on Flixbus start as low as 2.99EUR and you can bring one large piece of luggage with you for free. Many of the buses have charging points and (sporadic) WiFi, so it’s relatively comfortable on board.

One of my favorite things about the Flixbus website is the route map. You can drop in your starting location and it’ll show you everywhere you can go directly from that destination. It’s great for day trips and spontaneous budget-friendly adventures.

Renting Cars

Finally, if you feel like road-tripping across Germany or just hiring a car for a few days, it’s largely affordable with many of the big rental brands represented at the various airports and in the city centers. 

Parking in Münster is pretty easy as there are a ton of car parks in the downtown part of the city. However, remember that, like in any city, parking can come at a premium, and driving at rush hour in an unfamiliar city is super stressful.

Many locals use public transport or cycle into the city, so parking and traffic isn’t a huge problem, but it’s definitely still there about the peak times. 

Getting around Münster

Once you’re actually in Münster, you have three main ways to get around the city.

  • Walk
  • Cycle
  • Bus

Honestly, cities don’t come much more walkable than Münster. Everywhere is super flat and the only terrain difficult comes when you get to the Old Town areas where there are cobblestones. That being said, unless you’re in stilettos, this shouldn’t bother you.

However, if you want to explore Münster like a local, you need to jump on a bike. There are bike hire places all around the city, and the infrastructure and setup of Münster are made with cyclists in mind.

Much like many European cities, Münster has its own dedicated cycle lanes, cycle paths, and huge bike racks all around the popular spots.

If you have mobility issues or don’t fancy wearing out your legs, you can explore Münster by bus. This is the only public transport network that runs within the city (the trains are only to connect to other cities). 

The bus system is super simple and even runs through the heart of Old Town. If you’re going to be in Münster for a couple of days and want to hit up some museums or galleries, it might be worth investing in the Münster Card, which is your standard tourist pass.

The Münster Card gets you reduced entry into tons of popular sights, but it also allows you unlimited access to the local buses while you’re in the city. Check out your itinerary and weigh up the cost of paying as you go versus getting one of these handy tourist transit passes! 

Where to Stay in Münster

Since I was staying nearby with family, I wasn’t able to sample any local hospitality hotspots. Nevertheless, I would recommend staying as close to the city center as possible since there are really only buses that provide public transportation to and from. 

A quick Google on Expedia will show you various options and I would choose anything that is less than 0.5 miles from the city center (i.e. Domplatz). AirBnBs are also well affordable so there are plenty of options!

With Münster being such a walkable city, you definitely don’t want to be too far away from the action and have to rely on buses all the time or burn up your legs on a bike. There are a whole host of options in the Old Town as well as near the major museums, galleries, and green spaces.

Price-wise, it’s pretty affordable to stay in Münster, especially if you compare it to other larger German cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, or Frankfurt. If you’re looking for a relaxing few days in a smaller city with plenty of charm, Münster is going to be the perfect place for you. 

The Weather in Münster

I visited in December so the weather was pretty cold (3C), but the weather varies during the year. As with anywhere in Germany, the weather can turn pretty quickly, so packing a reliable waterproof and a sunhat simultaneously is always a good idea!

Overall, the best times to visit Münster are May, June, July, August, and September. As with many spots in Germany, the summers are warm but not roasting so you can still enjoy exploring the city.

With many of the university students heading home for the summer break, it can feel a lot calmer in the summer, contrary to a lot of European city break destinations. 

Of course, Münster being in Germany, mid-November into December is ideal if you want to experience the Münster Christmas Markets. They’re not as big as some of the others in Germany, but they’re easy to walk around, the crowds aren’t too annoying, and they’ll definitely get you in a festive mood!

the temperature in Münster

Final notes on visiting Münster

Culturally, Münster is quite open and you can happily wear whatever you want, whenever you want. Whether that’s more or less – whatever you feel most comfortable in – you’ll always feel at home in Münster.

It’s a beautiful, historic town that never feels stuffy or overly pretentious thanks to the youthful, studenty vibe that means affordable fun is always around the corner!

Well, there you have it! The perfect recipe for a day trip through Münster! If you don’t know anyone in the area, I think a long weekend or a day trip would be the ideal amount of time to holiday in Münster.

If you’ve just moved to Münster and you’re looking to make friends, why not try MeetUp? It’s an easy way to make local friends with similar interests as you! Be brave, be bold, and be you <3

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More Photos!

a statue fountain in Münster, Germany
a church and a Christmas tree in Munster, Germany
a street in Munster, Germany
a church in Munster