Sparrenburg Castle stands proudly above Bielefeld, a defining landmark that glimpses at the history that can be discovered in this old city. From here there are views onto 13th century Gothic churches, fabulous market squares and architecture that celebrates the design of old-world Germany. Located between Dortmund and Hanover in the west of Germany, Bielefeld delights with its range of sights and soothing atmosphere. It’s a popular stop on overland tours through Germany and a perfect place to explore the artwork of the German Middle Ages.
Both the castle tower and its catacombs can be visited, the overground and underground attractions dating to the time of Count Ludwig von Ravensberg in the 13th century. Altstadter Nikolaikirche is the oldest of the Gothic churches, and Neustadter Marienkirche is the largest, with iconic clocktowers and altarpieces amongst the region’s most visited sights. The cafes around the Old Market Square provide glorious views over Renaissance townhouses while the Old City Hall and Bielefeld Opera showcase hints of a much newer Jugendstil style. When staying in Bielefeld, it’s also worth visiting the excellent Kunsthalle art museum and the large botanical garden.
A network of underground and overground trains cross Bielefeld, linking the outer suburbs with the city’s historic core. Most of the old attractions can be connected on foot, although it can be a steep uphill walk to Sparrenburg Castle. Many visitors arrive by train as the city has good links with larger nearby cities such as Dortmund. Bielefeld Airport is not used by commercial aircraft. The closest international airport is Hannover Airport.
Bielefeld has enjoyed recent fame for the Bielefeld Conspiracy, a satire of conspiracy theories that went as far as claiming that Bielefeld is just an illusion. It is now part of the city’s allure and an indication of its independence and alternative style.