11 Football-Related Places to Visit in Southwest Germany
© SMG, Foto: Martina Denker
UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany
Incredible football facts And Amazing Football experiences
Nobody knows who will win UEFA EURO 2024. Only one thing is certain: Southwest Germany will be one of the emotional hotspots of the UEFA European Football Championship. Between 16 June and 5 July 2024, the Stuttgart Arena will host five matches: four group stage matches (including one involving the German team) and one quarter final. Good vibes are guaranteed. However, Stuttgart is not the only place in Baden-Württemberg worth seeing for football fans.
We present eleven surprising football destinations across Southwest Germany.
Visiting a Football Legend's Favourite Café
Café Melange in Freiburg
It’s not a football café at first glance. Not even at second glance. No pennants. No screens. No football posters. Even the staff have nothing to do with football. Perhaps that's why former German national team coach Jogi Löw chose Café Melange as his regular café. At third glance, you can spot him in photographs on the wall. Löw, who was served an espresso at every interview during his time in charge, appreciates a perfect hot drink. Regulars claim that the espresso at Café Melange is the best north of the Alps. If you're lucky, you'll meet the former national coach there. When he still lived in Freiburg, he was a regular almost every day.
Vibrant Football Culture in a Historic Neighbourhood
Spiegelfabrik Housing Estate in Mannheim
German national coach legend Sepp Herberger was born here: in the terraced houses of the historic workers' housing estate in Mannheim-Luzenberg. The housing estate, which dates back to the early days of industrialisation, is a listed building. Not because of Herberger, but as a kind of industrial monument. In the north of Mannheim, football is still as original as it is alive today. It is the home of SV Waldhof Mannheim. The old stadium ‘am Alsenweg’ is just a short walk away. Definitely worth a visit: the Spiegelschlöss'l Pub right next to Herberger's birthplace. The pub owner, a former SV Waldhof player, has decorated the pub with all kinds of memorabilia from his footballing days.
A Slightly Different World Cup Preparation
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten at Lake Schluchsee
Among German football fans, Lake Schluchsee is called ‘Schlucksee’, which means ‘booze lake’. That’s because the German national football team stayed at the Vier Jahrezeiten Hotel while preparing for the 1982 World Cup in Spain. A smart hotel manager had convinced the German Football Association (DFB) that the altitude of the Black Forest Highlands would have a positive effect on the players’ fitness. The fact that altitude training only makes sense above an altitude of 1500 metres was apparently not known to the DFB. But there was another kind of training instead. Cab drivers earned a lot of money by taking the German players to a well-known discotheque in Lörrach every day. Moreover, unimaginable today, the players were ordinary hotel guests among many others. Only with a somewhat tougher fitness programme.
Enjoy like the English Football Celebrities
Garibaldi Restaurant in Baden-Baden
During the 2006 World Cup, the English national team stayed at the ‘Schlosshotel Bühlerhöhe’, not far from Baden-Baden. The players' wives were accommodated at the ‘Brenner's Parkhotel’. Along with them came lots of representatives of the British yellow press. The Italian restaurant ‘Garibaldi’ became the meeting place for Mrs. Rooney and Mrs. Ferdinand, Mrs. Lampard and Mrs. Terry. The ‘WAGS’ (wifes and girlfriends) left a very positive impression on the bar staff. Nobody misbehaved, the tips were generous and the drinking was worthy of a World Cup.
Inconspicuous Location with a Well-Known Background
'Joes's Getränkelädle' at Eselsberg Hill in Ulm
Few people have left as many traces in German football as Uli Hoeneß. He grew up in the house that is now home to ‘Joe's Getränkelädle’, a small beverage store. It used to be a butcher's shop and home of the Hoeneß family. Little Uli often helped out at the till – only when there was no football training on the shedule, of course. It's worth walking from Ulm’s city centre up to Eselsberg Hill. From there, it's not far to the Hasenkopf Viewpoint and the botanical gardens of Ulm University.
Cult Figures from the Black Forest
Tipp-Kick Table Football Game from Schwenningen
Perhaps the smallest outlet in Southwest Germany. The Mieg Company is the place where the legendary figures for the ‘Tipp-Kick’ table football game are made. They are all painted by hand – and apart from a few changes, they still look the same as they did when they were invented. By the way: Tipp-Kick is celebrating its 100th anniversary during the 2024 European Championship. If that's not reason enough to visit the company in Schwenningen. It will be interesting to see what the ‘Tipp-Kickers’ come up with. Maybe even ‘Die Toten Hosen’, a German punk band, will play there. Singer Campino is one of the biggest Tipp-Kick fans between heaven and earth.
Accommodation in a Stunning Natural Setting in the Schwäbisch-Fränkischer Wald Nature Park
Hotel Sonne-Post in Murrhardt
Perhaps the hills of the High Tatras were on the minds of the Polish delegation when they decided to stay at the Sonne-Post Hotel in Murrhardt during the 1974 World Cup. The hotel had been recommended by former German national coach Sepp Herberger, especially for its good accommodation and cuisine. The Poles' stay was extremely successful. The underdogs remained in the competition until the very last day. As they stayed longer than planned, the hotel manager Erika Bofinger had to cancel numerous bookings, including that of the then Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg.
Triple Surprise in the Swabian Alb
Voith-Arena in Heidenheim
Germany's highest-altitude Bundesliga stadium, the Voith-Arena offers three surprises. At least. The first is how to get there. It is worth walking from the city centre all the way up to the stadium. The view from Hellenstein Castle is breathtaking. Secondly, it is worth attending a game there. The surprise team of the 2023-24 Bundesliga season plays outstanding football. Thirdly, the ‘Feuerwurst’. Liko's kiosk below the opposite stand serves a legendary hot spicy sausage. The kiosk already existed when 1. FC Heidenheim was still playing in the sixth division. It is now a listed football monument.
International Visit to a Charming Small Town
Wangen im Allgäu
Hard to believe, but true: the 2006 World Cup kicked off on Wangen's marquet square. The team from Togo had chosen the city in the Allgäu region as their team base. The West Africans were the first participating country to officially arrive at the World Cup with their entire team. The welcome on the market square was broadcast live on television. From the market square in Wangen, the message went out across the country: The World Cup has finally started! Unfortunately, Togo was also the first team to be eliminated from the tournament. However, this did not affect the good relationship between Togo and the Allgäu region: It is still maintained intensively today.
Feasting in a Football Legend's Restaurant in the Host City
Vhy! Restaurant in Stuttgart
Timo Hildebrandt is considered a football legend in Stuttgart. The goalkeeper lifted the German championship trophy during VfB Stuttgart's last championship, back in 2007. The cup looks like a bowl and is also known as the ‘salad bowl’ among football fans. As we all know, tastes are different and debatable. Today, Timo holds fresh salad bowls in his hands every day – as the owner of the city's vegan hotspot. The vhy! Restaurant serves fusion cuisine and classic Swabian food, all vegan. With the fresh salad bowls and pasta dishes, there's no arguing about taste. Everything tastes delicious, say the critics. The restaurant is well frequented, and it is advisable to reserve a table in advance.
An Alternative Type of Football at Lake Constance
Seepark Golf Course in Pfullendorf
Why is football so popular? Because almost only people who could do better themselves watch it. If only they were allowed to play. At the Seepark Golf Course in Pfullendorf anyone can show how good their feel for the ball really is on a unique football golf course. The aim is to find the hole with as few kicks as possible. You have to play 18 holes on the course. Sprinting and stamina are hardly needed. It's all about your feet. Ideal for young and old, for midfielders and defenders, for couch potatoes and all the other wannabe football heroes.