You can get a very good first overview of the city on a city tour of Magdeburg. It’s not a tour where you can hop on or off at will, but a leisurely drive through the city.
There are several options you can choose for your city tour: bus only, ship only or bus and ship combined. We opted for the combination of bus and ship and enjoyed another wonderful trip on the Elbe.
The tour starts right next to Magdeburg’s Old Town Hall at the monument to Otto-von-Guericke. The bus, a double-decker, had the upper deck closed because the weather was quite fresh. But that didn’t matter, we chose a nice spot at the top and it was really good to look out of the windows.
The tour is accompanied by an audio guide, which was heard over loudspeakers during our tour. For children, there is a “children’s tour” that can be heard through headphones. On our tour there were children who listened enthusiastically and at times entertained the whole bus with their comments. They obviously had fun!
Before the bus set off, there was a lot of information about the Old Market Square with its town hall and, of course, about Otto von Guericke. Then the bus set off and drove for about 50 minutes, criss-crossing the city. I would like to briefly introduce some of the places here.
Old Market and Old Town Hall
The Old Market Square with its Magdeburg Horseman, the Magdeburg Roland and the Eulenspiegel Fountain has been preserved in its original form to this day. The Old Town Hall is one of the city’s well-known sights.
If you would like to know more about this interesting place, you should read our article “Old market place in Magdeburg – small and big discoveries“.
Otto von Guerike Monument
Who was this Otto von Guericke? The politician and scientist had a lot of influence in Magdeburg and his traces can be discovered all over the city. Probably the most famous experiment, the Magdeburg hemispheres, deals with the subject of vacuum. We took a closer look at Otto von Guericke. If you like, you can find out more about him in our article “Otto City Magdeburg – who was the second Otto?“.
St. John’s Church
Near the town hall is Magdeburg’s St. John’s Church, which the Magdeburg city tour passes. This beautiful church is now an event venue and those who are good on foot can climb up one of the two towers. The view over the city is great.
We were on the tower of the church and in our report “Dreamlike view over Magdeburg from St. John’s Church” you can learn more about the church and the view.
The bus drove past Ullrichplatz. At a later point we walked to the square again to have a closer look at what we had been told during the city tour of Magdeburg.
Originally, the church of St. Ulrich and Levin stood on Ullrichplatz. Today, a bronze replica commemorates the sacred building.
After the Second World War, Magdeburg’s city centre was almost completely destroyed. The church had survived the hail of bombs quite well, but was completely burnt out. The walls and towers rose up among the rubble.
With the reconstruction of the city, which was carried out according to socialist guidelines, the Ullrichplatz was to be used in the future as a central square for festive events and demonstrations. The church stood in the way and was blown up in 1956 despite the protests of the people of Magdeburg.
Museum of Cultural History
I put the Magdeburg Museum of Cultural History on my “Magdeburg we’ll be back” list. The original Magedeburg Horseman stands in the Emperor Otto Hall. A visit to the museum should be worthwhile, as was emphasised several times during the city tour of Magdeburg.
From there, the bus drove through the city’s Wilhelminian quarter and we were able to discover some beautiful buildings. Over the Sternbrücke we went in the direction of Rotherhornpark.
Albin Müller Tower
The bus made a short detour to the Albin Müller Tower. The observation tower stands next to the old town hall and from there one has a beautiful view of the city. The viewing platform can also be reached by lift, but then you miss an interesting exhibition that can be seen along the stairs. More information about the tower can be found here.
Back over the Sternbrücke, the bus continued towards Fürstenwallpark and the Bastion Cleve. This is the south-eastern end of the former Magdeburg fortress. From the cathedral, you can reach this exciting place in just a few steps. You should definitely take a look at the large model that impressively depicts the fortress.
Cathedral Square with Cathedral and Cathedral Museum
The next stop on the city tour of Magdeburg was the cathedral square. Here we learned a little about the cathedral museum, which I highly recommend. Of course, there was also a historical insight into Magdeburg Cathedral. My tip – go to the cathedral shortly before 12 o’clock and experience the midday prayer. I found it very relaxing to just listen for 15 minutes and take a deep breath.
The Green Citadel is also easy to see from Domplatz. The Hundertwasser building with its golden spheres on the roof is unique and is one of the most popular sights in the city.
From the cathedral square, we walked along the banks of the Elbe towards the Jerusalem Bridge. The bus took us across this bridge to one of the city’s largest parks.
Elbauenpark with millennium tower
The city tour of Magdeburg takes you along the grounds of the Elbauenpark. The park, which was redesigned as an amusement park after the Federal Garden Show, is the region’s local recreation area. From the climbing park to the summer toboggan run or a visit to the millennium tower, here you can be active all day or just lie in the sun on the meadow. We spent several hours in the Elbauenpark and I particularly enjoyed the exhibition in the millennium tower.
After about 50 minutes, the bus arrived at a jetty on Petriufer. For the Magdeburg visitors who had booked the combination bus and boat, they now continued on to the ship of the White Fleet Magdeburg. Everyone else went back to the starting point of the bus tour.
The White Fleet ship is quite large and of course also catered. Here you can enjoy a relaxed cruise on the Elbe below deck or on the sun deck. Of course, they also explain what can be seen on the riverbank. Some of the sights we had already seen from the road we could now see from the water.
At first, the ship went against the current and made slow progress due to the strong flowing speed of the water. Of course, this has the great advantage that you can enjoy the ride and there is enough time to take photos if necessary.
Old lift bridge
The lift bridge spans the Elbe and the ship also passes under this bridge during the city tour of Magdeburg. In 1848 the bridge was built as a railway bridge, today only pedestrians can use it.
In 2001, the lift bridge had to be shut down due to a defective lifting device, and it was locked in the raised state. Trains had not crossed the Elbe at this point since 1998, but since the structure is a listed building, it could not simply be dismantled.
At first, temporary stairs were built to allow pedestrians to pass. After the neighbouring bridge was put into operation in 2005, the lift bridge was completely closed. The people of Magdeburg raised a lot of money to renovate the lift bridge and since 2013 it can be used again. We also walked across the bridge, which offers a great view of the old town.
At the tip of the Rotherhornpark, where the Alte Elbe joins the Elbe, the ship turned around and the trip now went much faster with the current towards the boat landing. After a total of 2.15 hours, our Magdeburg city tour ended at the Petriförder jetty. The tour was very varied and just the right start for a nice time in Magdeburg.
The city tour was an item on the programme of a research trip to Magdeburg.