Check Out These Great Things to Do in Münster, Germany!
Is Münster, Germany worth checking out? We say absolutely yes! We got to explore the historic German city again and this time we wanted to write about all about what we got up to. If you’re unfamiliar with Münster, (it’s understandable) here are some great Munster facts: It’s centuries old, it has a younger vibe, it’s very bike-friendly, it has an artificial lake, and it is home to great festivals and events!
We really like Münster. Lisa – being German and familiar with the area – makes it easy to explore that region of the country. And Münster, a small city, seems to be drawing us back again and again. We said this about Bremen, too – but we can honestly see ourselves living in Münster.
While there are plenty of larger cities nearby like Cologne, Dusseldorf, or Dortmund, Münster should definitely not be overlooked! So, if you are looking for things to do in Münster for the weekend, as a couple, or with kids, check out our “Things to do in Münster”-tips.
If you want to see what Münster looks like, we’re creating a video as we speak (so watch for that). If you are planning a trip to Germany, check other Germany planning posts!
Things to Consider When Visiting Münster
If you are considering checking out Münster, you will need to plan your visit to make the most of this pretty city. So, from getting there to getting around, here are a few thing you should know. And just in case you absolutely love the city, we’ll even help you with where to stay!
How to Get to Münster
Münster is located in the northwestern part of Germany close to Bremen and Bielefeld. If you are renting a car, the drive to Münster is relatively simple. We saw lots of signs for parking downtown/in the city centre but since we took the train we can’t comment on ease of parking!
Another great way to get to Münster is to take the train. If you are new to Penguin and Pia, you’ll know that we love the German train system and take it OFTEN. Münster has a central station that is about a 10/15 minute walk to the heart of the old town. You can check the schedules at the DB Website – we use it (and the DB app) for trip planning basically every week.
One last way that you can get to Münster is by taking the bus. For this, the coach bus you will be looking for is Flixbus. We’ve taken the Flixbus around Germany (and other parts of Europe, for that matter) loads of times and love it. They always have good connections to get to many places (even smaller cities) in Germany. You can check the bus schedule on the Flixbus website.
Getting Around in Münster
Okay so you are now in Münster – great job. To get around, you can very well walk. The city is very flat with the only potential issue being cobblestones in the old town. Walking is nice since there are loads of green spaces you can pass through – it’s a pretty refreshing/healthy city if that makes sense.
Another way to get around – and this would definitely be a “local’s way” – is by bike. People bike everywhere – and the biking infrastructure is excellent. Dedicated lanes, traffic signals, you name it – bikes definitely share the roadways.
There are bikes parked in massive clusters all through the city centre which is nice to see (see the above photo). There’s even a great bike path that basically circles the Old Town (called The Promenade – see below) which you follow for just a pleasant ride.
If you need to get to places farther out or you have a mobility issue, you can also use public transit. The system in Münster is made up of buses. There’s a bus route that runs RIGHT through the centre of the Old Town so that should be convenient! You can check prices and transit routes for Münster Transit here.
If you are visiting Münster and want to go “full-on tourist” then you should check out the Münster Card. It’s basically your transit pass for 1 or 2 days and also gets your free or reduced admission to top attractions or museums (many of which are listed below). We haven’t used it but saw it on the side of the Münster bus and thought that it might be a good deal! You can learn more about the Münster Card here.
Where to Stay in Münster
Münster is a small city so finding a great place to stay that is centrally located and close to all the sights is fairly simple. When it comes to accommodation styles, there are more hotels and apartments than anything else. You can check here for Munster accommodations.
If you are looking for a specific hotel recommendation, we walked by H4 Hotel Münster a few times and it looks really nice! It’s a modern hotel that’s located super central in the old town – just a short walk to shopping, cafes, and the old town sights.
Top Things to Do in Münster, Germany
Alright, so now that we’ve covered the basics about Münster, let’s dive into the top sights, attractions, museums, and things that you can do and see in general. We did quite a few things the time we’ve visited – but there is certainly room for more exploration!
The city is beautiful and just so relaxing that honestly sitting in the sun by the lake or in a market square with a coffee in hand is perfect enough!
If you are just arriving in Münster, the place to begin is the historic city centre/old town. It’s likely what you’ve been seeing in photos of the city! The main street through it is called Prinzipalmarkt.
Interesting Fact: Much of the historic city centre was destroyed in World War II so it’s been heavily rebuilt in the years following the war. That said, many buildings were built to the exact specifications/style as before! It’s here in the centre that you will find many top attractions as well as shops, cafes, and more.
Since there is a ton of history to learn about just in the historic centre alone, you can just walk about taking in the sights and signs that you see. There is a Tourist Centre located behind the Town Hall (Address: Syndikatplatz 3) which might help you gather information. Here is more information about the Tourist Centre.
Keep in mind that in the high-season they also run an info desk in the Town Hall along with the main desk located at Syndikatplatz 3. When it comes to learning about history, it’s generally better to learn about dates and stories from a live guide so we’d suggest checking in with the Tourism Centre for tours in English. Munster is on the smaller side so the demand might be lower depending on the time of year!
We had a coffee and ciabatta at Inpetto – a great restaurant/cafe with loads of seating right in the old town at the foot of the pedestrian mall (Ludgeristraße). Our ciabattas were actually SO good.
We were just expecting a quick bite of something generic from a cafe that is centrally located – but it ended up being amazing. Lisa had a tomato mozzarella and Eric had a salami mozzarella. We also had coffees and the servers were nice as well.
Having said that, there are places to sit out all over the place in the Old Town. Feel free to explore the town for other places – you can basically chase the sunshine if it’s a beautiful day in Münster.
As we said, you can just wander about – there are shops, alleyways, smaller sculptures, fountains, and other things scattered all over the place. Who knows what you might find?!
Address: Prinzipalmarkt, Münster, Germany
Historic Town Hall of Münster
Also known as the Rathaus, you can’t walk through the city centre without noticing this gorgeous building showing its beauty. Built back in the 14th century, it was badly damaged in World War II and was one of the buildings meticulously rebuilt. The building is known for it’s massive “gable” (the front facing decorative piece that you see when you look at it straight on).
Throughout history, the building has played important roles – like the “Hall of Peace” being one of the places for the signing of treaties that formed the “Peace of Westphalia” and ended the Spanish-Dutch fighting and the Thirty Years’ War (that’s a big deal).
Today, you can visit the inside of the Town Hall. There is a desk for visitor information and different halls (the Hall of Peace) can be visited (times change based on events going on). Right beside the Town Hall (to the north) is the Ratskeller Restaurant (housed in the Stadtweinhaus which is the city’s wine cellar!). You can learn more about visiting the Town Hall here.
Address: Prinzipalmarkt 10, 48143 Münster, Germany
St. Paulus-Dom (Münster Cathedral)
Also known as St. Paulus-Dom, the Münster Cathedral is a beautiful place of worship. Built back between 1225 and 1264, the Cathedral you see today is actually the third building of Münster’s cathedrals. It was done mainly in Romanesque style with a bit of Gothic influence – and has many areas like a central courtyard and tombs.
We went inside (it’s free to just wander inside) and it’s very pretty. Overall, it’s actually quite simple inside although grand – and that’s what makes it so nice to be in. Fun Fact: in the Cathedral there is an Astrological clock which was built between 1540 and 1542. It’s one of the only clocks (from that era) remaining in the world that spins counter-clockwise! You can learn more about the Cathedral here.
The square/ public area outside the Cathedral is called Domplatz. It is here where you can find a weekly market (called Wochenmarkt Münster). We actually saw the market in full swing on an earlier trip to Munster and it was great to see fresh produce and other things for sale. Honestly, it felt like the whole city was out and buying local!
Address: Domplatz 28, 48143 Münster, Germany
St Lambert’s Church
Also known as St. Lamberti-Kirche, this massive church is definitely a highlight to check out if you visit Münster. The stone Gothic church you see today was built back in the 1270s but the history of the church dates back earlier. Over the years, it’s been renovated, changed, restored, and even repaired after World War II. The church is easily seen if you walk along Prinzipalmarkt.
While the church is beautiful inside, it’s most famously known for the Gothic Tower. If you notice – there are three iron baskets/cages hanging from the tower. Why? Well, back in 1536 these were used to show the bodies of Jan van Leiden, Bernd Krechting and Bernd Knipperdolling. They were tortured in public and killed in the city centre for leading the Münster Rebellion! You can learn more about this famous church here.
Address: Lambertikirchplatz 1, 48143 Münster, Germany
Art Museum Pablo Picasso
Also known as the Kunstmuseum Pablo Picasso Münster, this museum right in the city centre is dedicated to the world-famous artist Pablo Picasso. The museum – opened in the late 1990s – is in an old historic building that served as Aristocratic estates back in the day.
Today, the space has been renovated to showcase Picasso’s works – as well as the works of other artists – on multiple exhibit levels. Check out the website for the Pablo Picasso Museum here.
Address: Königsstraße 1, 48143 Münster, Germany
Visit the Many Other Churches
Münster is jam-packed with churches – many of which are in the city centre. We ended up walking around, passing a handful, and genuinely not knowing if it was the same beautiful tower we had photographed minutes earlier. Here are a few (besides St. Lambert’s) that we checked out/photographed!
St. Clemens’ Church
Also known as Clemenskirche, this stunning church was built between 1745 and 1753. Done in Baroque architectural style by the famous architect Johann Conrad Schlaun, it’s surrounded by a little green garden. The church has a signature rotunda and was refurbished in recent years.
We sat on a bench in the garden that surrounds the church and just enjoyed the quiet space. It’s great considering how centrally located in the city centre the church is! It was lunchtime in Münster when we visited so it was nice to see others using the space, too.
Address: An der Clemenskirche 14, 48143 Münster, Germany
On the path from the Munster Cathedral towards the Schloss, you will pass over a small stream and be led right beside this church. Called Überwasserkirche, or Liebfrauen-Überwasser, this Gothic church is super pretty among the trees in this small open square area. If you want to learn more, check out the website here.
Address: Überwasserkirchpl. 4, 48143 Münster, Germany
St. Ludgeri at Marienplatz
If you are passing through/by Marienplatz, you will undoubtedly see the tower of St. Ludgeri Church. It’s a Catholic church with a tower that (we think) looks kind of similar to the church above! It’s one of those things you go and check out for the impressive architecture but don’t need to spend a whole bunch of time there. There is also a metallic sculpture in Marienplatz which you can check out.
Address: Ludgeristraße 40, 48143 Münster, Germany
City Museum of Munster
Also known as the Stadtmuseum Münster, this small museum is meant to walk you through the long history of the city of Münster. Founded in 1979, this museum covers 1200 years of history – focusing on art, history, culture, and architecture.
Located just inside the city centre (very close to the central train station), admission is free and the museum has audio guides in English which you can rent for a fee. You can also call ahead to get a live tour guide in English if you are super into learning about Münster! You can learn all about visiting the City Museum of Münster here.
Address: Salzstraße 28, 48143 Münster, Germany
LWL – Westphalian State Museum of Art and Cultural History
Also known as the Museum für Kunst und Kultur, this museum is a very popular stop in Münster! Originally formed in 1908, the museum has a pretty large collection of Gothic artwork. In addition, you can find exhibits on specific movements (like Expressionist art).
The museum puts on events (there’s actually a small musical artist that Eric really likes playing there soon) and they also have a restaurant/bar/cafe where you can eat at. You can learn more at the Museum website!
Address: Domplatz 10, 48143 Münster, Germany
Also known as the Freilichtmuseum Mühlenhof in Münster, this open-air history museum is located over by the Zoo on the shores of Lake Aasee. With buildings dating back between the 17th and 19th century, this museum is a great way to literally walk through history and imagine what the German countryside looked like back then.
Admission is quite cheap – and you can spend as much or as little time there as you want! If you want to visit the open-air museum for a bit of history, you can learn more here.
Address: Theo-Breider-Weg 1, 48149 Münster, Germany
Schloss Münster + Botanical Gardens
Schloss Münster, officially Fürstbischöfliches Schloss Münster, is officially a palace built to be a residence of a Duke-Bishop. Built back between 1767 and 1787 in a Baroque-style, the building is now owned and used by the University of Münster.
You can pop inside to check it out but there’s not too much going on. It’s just very pretty to look at – and the square in front of the building (Schlossplatz) is very well landscaped and sometimes used for events.
Address: Schlossplatz 2, 48149 Münster, Germany
Behind the Schloss is the Botanical Garden of the Westphalian Wilhelm University. Created in 1803, it’s primarily a place for teaching but is open to the public to just come and enjoy. The grounds are beautiful and full of glass greenhouses and even a gorgeous cafe! They also run tours of the gardens if you are interested in learning more about the plants and ecology! You can learn more here.
Address: Schlossgarten 3, 48149 Münster, Germany (Right behind Schloss Münster)
Walk/Bike The Promenade
We’ve mentioned The Promenade a few times now in this post – so it’s probably a good time to explain what it is! This green “loop” is a large walking/biking path that circles the entire old town/city centre.
Not only is it a nice place to walk and enjoy nature, but the path makes getting around on bike or foot very simple! If you are walking, make sure you are on the right path – bikes come out of nowhere fast if you aren’t careful!
Address: Around the Old own/City Centre – follow the trees!
Port of Münster
If you want another popular waterfront area to check out, you will need to head slightly away from the city centre. Somewhat behind the central train station is the small Port of Münster. Also known as Stadthafen, the port was opened originally in 1899 – but the area has lost its roots as an “imports” port and is now mainly a cultural hub for Münster.
The port has been redesigned to become more of a public space with bars and cafes lining the water. While the area has become a hot spot for restaurants, there are other things to check out – like theatres. If you want to learn more about visiting the area, you can find more information here.
Address: Hafenplatz, 48155 Münster, Germany
If you want a tranquil place to relax, then Lake Aasee is for you! This man-made lake is a highlight for locals and visitors to Münster. It’s pretty large – and long – so the walking paths around the outside make for great exercise. On the day we visited, there were sailboats and so many paddle boats (which you can rent) out on the lake.
There were people laying on the grass in the sunshine everywhere we looked, and there are cafes and restaurants that line the lake shore so you can have dinner and/or just a coffee break by the lake, too! You will find more green spaces, museums, and the Zoo at the end furthest from the city centre – you can even take a boat to the Zoo. Basically, if you want to feel like a local, head for the lake on a sunny day!
One of the top attractions that Münster is known for is the Allwetterzoo or literally “All Weather” Zoo. Located at the end of Lake Aasee at the tip away from the city centre, the origins of the zoo date back to 1875. They have quite a few animals onsite and is a great stop for families with children – given that there are other attractions very close by.
We’re usually up in the air when it comes to promoting zoos because we aren’t too sure how we feel about them. That said, we want to provide you with useful information for your experience and since its highly reviewed, we decided to included it here. You can learn more about visiting the Münster Zoo here.
Address: Sentruper Strasse 315, 48161 Münster, Germany
LWL – Museum of Natural History with Planetarium
Also known as the Museum für Naturkunde, this museum is full of exhibits dedicated to learning about natural history. From animals, and dinosaurs, to geology, space, and beyond (they have a planetarium, you know) the museum is a family-friendly thing to do in Münster.
It’s located towards the end of Lake Aasee near the Zoo, but not quite as far. There’s even a nice little cafe on site! If you want to check out the Planetarium, you can learn more here.
Address: Sentruper Strasse 285, 48161 Münster, Germany
Museum for Lacquer Art
Also known as the Museum für Lackkunst, this museum (just a short walk from the main train station) is dedicated to the use of lacquer – the paint-like substance used in art across the globe for over 2000 years. In the museum, you can find objects from Europe, Asia, and the Islamic World done in this style.
They offer guided tours on certain days (admission price varies by day, too) but they also have audio guides that you can borrow for a deposit. We just like the building because of the stairs out front when you walk by! You can learn more about visiting here.
Address: Windthorststraße 26, 48143 Münster, Germany
If checking out Baroque-style mansions is more your thing, then you will need to check out the Erbdrostenhof. Located just inside the city centre (actually quite close to the Stadtmuseum), this mansion turned museum was also created by that famous Baroque architect Johann Conrad Schlaun. Honestly, what Baroque building in Münster DIDN’T this guy design?!
Built back between 1753-1757, the palace was badly damaged in World War II. These days, it’s used to house historical items (like instruments) and for functions with such a beautiful interior space. You can visit the foyer at select times and days and even do a guided tour if you give enough notice. If you want to check it out, you can learn more here.
Address: Salzstraße 38, 48143 Münster, Germany
Bonus: Burg Hülshoff
If you are looking for an activity or sight to visit that is outside the city (whether by bike or car) you definitely have a few historical places to choose from! The countryside surrounding Munster is loaded with castles, palaces, and other places of historic interest. One of the closest (and most popular) is Burg Hülshoff.
This “water castle” – called that since it’s on islands and has a moat – was first mentioned back in the 11th century, and has been restored a number of times since. Today, it is a museum that is most known for the fact that is was the birthplace of the famous German poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff! If you want to plan a visit to Burg Hülshoff, check out the website here.
Address: Schonebeck 6, 48329 Havixbeck, Germany
And there you have it – our list of some of the best things to do in Münster. As we said, there are quite a few things to check out if you plan a short visit. That said, Münster is definitely more of a city you head to for a bit of relaxing since there are so many opportunities to be outside in nature! We love the city – so let us know what you think if you visit!
As always, Happy Münster Waddlin’,