Münster is a cycling city. Anyone who drives a car here has only themselves to blame. The cycle paths are – in contrast to our home town of Berlin – superbly developed. There are bicycle traffic lights everywhere, bicycle parking spaces and I have never experienced such bicycle-friendly drivers.
Why isn’t that the case everywhere?
As soon as we arrive at the station, I am amazed by the crowds of bicycles parked at the side of the road.
But as it turns out, that’s nothing. Underground, there is a huge bicycle parking garage. Here, for a small fee, bicycles can be parked safely and protected from the weather in numbered parking spaces. I even discovered extra spaces for bicycle trailers.
Those who prefer to travel a little more economically will find huge two-storey bicycle stands on the forecourt and under the pedestrian subway. Here you can park your bike for free if you find a free space. There are certainly the odd “bicycle corpse” here, but the city regularly announces parking bans in sections and takes the “wrong parkers” to a collection station. You can then pick up your bike there.
We were lucky enough to get rental bikes at our hotel. This made discovering the city twice as much fun. And the great thing was that we could really leave our bikes everywhere without having to think about 3 different locks. In Berlin, you tend to think twice about where you leave your bike – preferably with visual contact. Here there are bicycles everywhere, so you hardly notice one more.
So get on! Get on your bike and discover Münster!
Fürstbischöfliche Schloss Münster
Our first port of call on the short bicycle tour across Münster was the Prince-Bishop’s Palace.
The castle was built from 1767 to 1787 in the Baroque style for Prince-Bishop Maximilian Friedrich von Königsegg-Rothenfels.
Numerous damages occurred during the Second World War. In the meantime, the British occupation forces even considered demolishing the castle.
After strong protests, reconstruction began in 1946. Since the university buildings in the city were almost completely destroyed, the reconstruction planned to accommodate the administration and lecture rooms in the castle. The university still uses the castle today.
I was in Münster a good 10 years ago. At that time, there was a public festival in front of the castle, obscuring the magnificent façade on the main side. Unfortunately, I had no luck this time either. Everything was already set up in front of the castle for the evening open-air cinema. Once again, it was not possible to enjoy the view 100%. But all good things come in threes and so I will go to Münster again and hopefully have more success. But I think the view from the castle garden is also very beautiful.
The Botanical Garden in Münster is located behind the castle. It was founded in 1803 by the Westphalian Wilhelms University and serves as a scientific institution. I particularly like the fact that visitors can visit the botanical garden free of charge.
We parked our bicycles in the small bicycle parking area and escaped the heat at over 30 degrees into the Botanical Garden.
You can take a leisurely stroll here and discover a wide variety of plants. The plantings are arranged thematically and very well labelled. Shady spots invite you to linger, and especially the small lake was wonderfully relaxing.
The Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 am. The closing of the grounds is announced by a bell ringing.
From the Botanical Garden we cycled to the Aasee. The route was quickly mastered and we were able to park the bikes at bike racks right by the lake. Cycling around the lake is not allowed, so we walked around part of the lake.
The Aasee is an artificial reservoir in Münster, it dams the Münstersche Aa. It is about 2.3 kilometres long and about 40 hectares in size and also serves as flood protection. In the 19th century, the site of today’s lake was a wetland that was regularly flooded. Sometimes it even flooded to such an extent that the old town of Münster was affected. In 1914, work finally began on a kind of basin that would not only contain the danger of flooding, but also secure the city’s drinking water supply. Initially, an area of about 21 hectares was converted into a lake area. In the course of the construction of the zoo in Münster, the area was expanded and additional walking paths and sunbathing areas were laid out.
At the northern end of the lake, the Aaseeterrassen were built with restaurants, boat rental and sailing clubs.
We walked around the lake and not only enjoyed the peace and the beautiful view over the lake. On the shore you can find numerous art installations, sometimes more or less arousing our interest. The sound installation under the bridge that crosses the Aasee is particularly beautiful.
The Aasee is an almost perfect recreational area for the city. The only disadvantage is that bathing is prohibited due to the poor water quality. But we enjoyed the walk to the full.
Our bicycle tour continues to the city harbour of Münster. In the past, this was still a goods transshipment point. Today it has become a trendy district. Office buildings, creative offices and art studios, restaurants and clubs enliven the area. When we arrived there, for example, a beach volleyball tournament was taking place (even with free entry).
Our destination was the harbour cheese dairy. They have very good cheese from their own production, which we couldn’t miss, of course.
Across the old town
Finally, our bicycle tour took us through the old town of Münster.
Via Prinzipalmarkt past the historic town hall. The Prinzipalmarkt is the heart of the historic old town. Here you will find 48 gabled houses (reconstructed after the destruction in the Second World War) and arcades invite you to stroll through the shop windows. In the evening, the Prinzipalmarkt is beautifully illuminated.
We drive across the Domplatz, past the cathedral. There is a large weekly market on Domplatz on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Here you can eat well and stock up on fresh fruit for the long visit to the city. We saved the visit to the cathedral for another visit to Münster.
Back we go past the Lamberti Church. The late Gothic hall church is one of the main attractions of the city. Hanging high above are 3 iron cages in which the bodies of the leaders of the Anabaptist movement were publicly displayed in the mid-16th century. Something special is also the Türmerin of Münster, who has her workplace here and whom we are allowed to visit in the evening. I will report on this in a separate article.
We make a detour to the Kiepenkerl monument. The Kiepenkerl is the emblem of the city of Münster. Kiepenkerle are travelling merchants who carry the traditional Kiepe on their backs. They used it to transport goods and also news from place to place.
After a short detour, we pass the Liebfrauen underwater church and finally stand in front of the antiquarian bookshop Solder, the film location of the detective series Wilsberg.
A little discovery on the side…
Did you know that Münster also has a Walk of Fame? In a small side street I discovered many shiny stars on the ground. The names on them are from committed blood donors. A great idea!
Münster is a great city…and there is still so much to discover.
Disclosure: We discovered Münster as part of a press trip. The reporting is based exclusively on our own experiences.