Rich in history and architectural splendor, Trier is widely recognized as one of Germany’s most significant Roman cities and, in fact, was one of the four capitals of the Roman Empire!

Germany’s oldest city is a treasure trove of ancient architecture and fascinating history. Here’s a guide to the top things to do in Trier and insider tips to help you make the most of about 24 hours in Trier.

Trier makes a fantastic day trip from the Rhine or from Luxembourg City. We hit Trier on a road trip through Alsace, France and Reinland-Pflaz, Germany.

Things to do in Trier, Germany

You can’t miss the bewitching remains of Roman grandeur. There are 6 key Roman ruins to visit in Trier, so I’ll start with those.

The Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra, or the “Black Gate,” is one of the best-preserved Roman gates in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to around 170 AD and was once part of the city’s outer fortifications. Visitors can climb to the upper floors for stunning views over Trier.

If you chose to stay on the ground, make sure to walk through the inner corridor and get a view from both sides of the gate.

The stones were originally a grey sandstone but medieval pollution turned it black.

Trier Things to Do Porta Nigra

Amphitheater

Constructed around 100 AD, the amphitheater once hosted grand spectacles for up to 20,000 spectators. From gladiatorial contests to wild animal hunts, the arena was a center of entertainment and social gatherings.

For the young ones, the amphitheater is a giant playground where history comes alive. They can run around the arena, climb the ancient steps, and let their imaginations run wild. They might even start a pretend gladiator fight.

My boys loved guiding us through the underground passages ways that would’ve been the “backstage” holding area for animals, prisoners, and set props.

It costs just a few euros to enter. You can also check the schedule to see if any reenactments are scheduled during your visit.

Trier Things to Do Amphitheater

Imperial Bath: Kaiserthermen Ruins

Dating back to the early 4th century AD, these sprawling Roman baths were once a hub of social activity and relaxation. Today, they stand as monumental ruins, telling tales of a time when togas were the height of fashion, and a good steam was the ultimate status symbol.

While this structure was originally intended as a grand bathhouse, the project was never finished and instead, was repurposed as a cavalry barracks.

These monumental remains are all that’s left of a sprawling late antique Roman bathhouse turned cavalry barracks. The east-facing orientation is a standout feature. Although only the skeleton of the original structure stands today, this remains one of the top things to do in Trier. You can still get a sense of the logistics it takes to build a bathhouse to support a city of about 80,000 people. Any one with at least a moderate income would be using the facility daily.

Trier Things to Do Baths

Imperial Bath: Barbarathermen Ruins

This Roman bath complex that once served as the ultimate hangout spot for ancient Romans. Built in the 2nd century AD, this colossal bathing facility stretches over a whopping 42,000 square meters.

The “Barbara Baths” are free to explore on a raised walkway with informational placards placed throughout that reconstruct and explain the bath house element you’re standing over.

The fenced walkway was enough to keep my kids nearby and the fun facts on the information placards helped to hold my 5 year old’s attention as we explored.

Trier Things to Do Baths

Basilica of Constantine

Also known as Aula Palatina, the Basilica of Constantine is a grand Roman palace turned Protestant church. Its massive dimensions and impressive architecture make it a must-see.The single room is the largest of its kind still preserved from Roman times. It’s quite the spectacle, plus it is free, making it one of the top things to do in Trier.

The building’s excellent acoustics make it a popular venue for concerts, so check if any performances coincide with your visit.

Trier Things to Do Constantine Basilica

Roman Bridge

The Römerbrücke spans the Moselle River. It is the oldest standing bridge in Germany, dating back to 144 CE.

Trier Things to Do Bridge

Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier

Learn more about the city’s past at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier. Here, you’ll be better able to connect the dots of the Roman remnants you’ve seen scattered amidst the modern city.

One of Germany’s top archaeology museums, the Rhineland Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts from prehistory to the early Middle Ages. Highlights include the world’s largest Roman gold coin hoard and several well-preserved Roman mosaics.

The museum offers a free audio guide that provides fascinating insights into the exhibits.

Family ticket (Two adults, up to four children up to age 18) 16.00 €

Electoral Palace

Right next to the Rheinisches Landesmuseum is the immaculately gardened Electoral Palace. Regarded as one of the most beautiful Rococo palaces in the world, the Electoral Palace is a sight to behold.

Trier Things to Do Palace

For the kiddos, the palace garden, known as Palastgarten, is sure to be a hit. East of the Palace you’ll find a wonderful playground and a sports field aside an ancient city wall.

Meanwhile, you can soak up the tranquility and maybe even sneak in a picnic.

The Electoral Palace is conveniently located near the Constantine Basilica and less than a 10-minute walk from the central Hauptmarkt so it’s a must on your list of things to do in Trier.

Trier Things to Do Playground near Palace

Saint Peter’s Cathedral

Also known as “Trierer Dom,” this is a must do when it comes to things to do in Trier. Considered the oldest bishop’s church in Germany, the Trier Cathedral is a blend of architectural styles as it was built and refurbished over several centuries. It houses many valuable artifacts, including the Holy Robe, said to be the tunic Jesus wore before his crucifixion. Don’t miss the beautiful cloister and the treasury.

Trier Things to Do Dom

Liebfrauenkirche

Adjacent to the Trier Cathedral, the Liebfrauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, is one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Germany. Its circular design and beautiful stained glass windows are particularly worth checking out. Look up at the ceiling to see the star-shaped vaulting.

Trier Things to Do Church

Hauptmarkt

The Hauptmarkt, or Main Market, is the vibrant heart of Trier. This square is home to colorful half-timbered houses, charming cafes, and the impressive Market Cross that signifies the city’s rights granted by Emperor Constantine. You’ll regularly find market stalls here, but there are the most on Saturday mornings.

We spent a good part of our afternoon here while our kids enjoyed the giant bubbles and my husband and I took turns perusing shops and buying local foods.

Trier Things to Do Hauptmarkt

St. Gangolf Kirche

Unmissable from the market square is the spire of St. Gangolf’s. This Roman Catholic church, dedicated to St. Gangulphus, proudly stands as the second oldest church in Trier after the iconic Trier Cathedral.

It’s worth a quick look inside.

Trier Things to Do Church

Othello Coffee

Othello Coffee welcomed my kiddos warmly which always makes for an unforgettable first impression. My fair trade coffee was crafted which such love and care and it was absolutely delicious.

The barista spoke perfect English and gave us some great tips on exploring the city.

Twice a week, they still operate their Barista Bike on the Viehmarktplatz.

Trier Things to Do Amphitheater (2)

Karl Marx House (Museum)

This unassuming birthplace of Karl Marx, one of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century, now serves as a museum dedicated to his life and works.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx is best known for his two most influential works: “The Communist Manifesto” and “Das Kapital.”

Trier Things to Do Karl Marx

Notice the Artistry in the Doors

I’m a door person and admit this isn’t the first city for which I created one of these collages. My kids had fun helping me spot the most interesting and ornate doors all over Trier. Sharing in case this kind of thing floats your boat well.

So, while you’re walking between all the other things to do in Trier on our list, snap pictures of some of the most impressive doors you pass.

Trier Things to Do Doors of Trier

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