Emden Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Emden in Lower Saxony, Germany, with this comprehensive travel guide. Find out about the best places to visit, hike, bike, eat, stay, and learn about the local culture and customs of this East Frisian port city.

Introduction to Emden

Emden is a picturesque, historic port city located in Lower Saxony, Germany. Situated on the River Ems Estuary, Emden has been an important trading hub since the Middle Ages, and thrived as a center of shipbuilding until the 20th century. Nowadays, Emden is a popular destination for tourists who are interested in its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural surroundings, and peaceful way of life.

List of Places to Visit in Emden

When you visit Emden, make sure to check out these top places to visit:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum: Discover the history and culture of East Frisia from prehistoric times to the present day through this museum’s vast collection of artifacts and exhibitions.

  • Kunsthalle Emden: This modern art museum is home to a significant collection of 20th-century artworks, including masterpieces by German Expressionist painter Emil Nolde.

  • Bunker Museum Emden: Explore the unique history of Emden’s bunker structures, which date back to World War II, and learn about the city’s role in the conflict.

  • Otto Huus Museum: Discover the life and work of Otto Waalkes, a famous comedian and actor who was born in Emden.

Natural Attractions of Emden: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Knock Nature Reserve: Take a stroll through this stunning nature reserve, which spans 350 hectares of marshland, meadow, and forest. Keep an eye out for rare bird species like the Eurasian bittern and pied avocet that call this place home.

  • Emder Wall: Explore the well-preserved city wall of Emden, which dates back to medieval times and provides panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside.

  • Emder Delft: This canal system is a great place to take a stroll and marvel at the historic canal houses.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Emden

Emden and its surrounding villages are well-suited for hiking and biking. Here are a few popular routes:

  • Hiking route along the Ems River: This route takes you along the River Ems and offers plenty of opportunities to see the city’s picturesque waterfront areas.

  • Biking route through the Wadden Sea: This route is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and crosses tidal flats, salt marshes, and dunes.

  • Hiking through the Leybuchtpolder: This route takes you through a beautiful, peaceful landscape of meadows, fields, and farmyards.

Best Things to Do in Emden: Activities and Tours

There is a lot to see and do in Emden. Here are a few of the best activities and tours:

  • Emden harbor tour: Take a boat tour of the bustling harbor area and learn about the city’s history as a prominent trading center.

  • Segway tour of Emden: If you want to see all of Emden’s sights in a short time, hop on a Segway and zoom around the city with a guide who will show you the best sights.

  • Guided city tour of Emden: This tour takes you around Emden’s historic landmarks, including the city’s many churches, the Town Hall, and the Kaispeicher.

Week-Long Itinerary for Emden

If you have a week to explore Emden and its surroundings, here’s an itinerary to help you plan your trip:

Day Activity
1 Arrive in Emden, check in to your accommodation, and explore the city center.
2 Visit the Ostfriesisches Landesmuseum and the Kaispeicher.
3 Take a boat tour of the harbor and explore the city’s canal system.
4 Go on a bike tour through the Wadden Sea.
5 Explore the historic village of Greetsiel.
6 Visit the Kunsthalle Emden and the Otto Huus Museum.
7 Hike through the Leybuchtpolder and enjoy a relaxing day in Emden.

Food and Drink Scene of Emden

Emden has a rich culinary scene, with plenty of local specialties to try:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Emdener Matjes: This is a type of salted herring that is caught in the North Sea and prepared in a traditional way with onions, apples, and cream.

  • Bohnsuppe: This is a hearty stew made with green beans and potatoes, flavored with bacon and smoked sausage.

  • Ostfriesentorte: This is a rich, layered cake made with sponge cake, whipped cream, and raspberry jam.

Local Beverages

  • Emder Biere: This is a type of beer brewed in Emden that is famous for its hearty, hoppy flavor.

  • Ostfriesentee: This is a strong black tea that is typically served with cream and rock sugar.

Where to Stay in Emden: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Emden has many options for accommodation, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Hotel Kronprinz: This hotel is located in the heart of Emden and features elegant, comfortable rooms and a restaurant that serves regional specialties.

  • Pension am Burggraben: This cozy guesthouse is located in the historic center of Emden and offers simple, comfortable rooms and a continental breakfast.

  • Jugendherberge Emden: This youth hostel is located in a peaceful area of the city and offers simple, affordable accommodation for travelers who want to explore Emden on a budget.

What to Buy in Emden: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

If you’re looking for authentic, locally-made souvenirs and gifts, here are a few recommendations:

  • Emdener Matjes: Bring home a jar of this delicious, traditional herring as a tasty reminder of your trip to Emden.

  • Tea and tea accessories: Emden is well-known for its tea culture, so consider buying a selection of local teas and tea accessories to serve at home.

  • Hand-painted porcelain: The city of Emden has a long tradition of producing beautiful, hand-painted porcelain, so consider buying a unique, one-of-a-kind piece as a special gift.

Local Culture and Customs of Emden

Emden is a friendly, respectful community that values its cultural heritage and traditions. The people of Emden are proud of their port city, and you’ll find many festivals and celebrations throughout the year that celebrate their culture, including:

  • The Ostfriesland Festival: This is a five-day cultural festival that takes place in Emden every two years and features music, theater, and art from the region.

  • Kaiserfest: This festival celebrates the founding of Emden by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I in 1495, and features historical reenactments, markets, and live music.

Best Time to Visit Emden

Emden is a great place to visit year-round, but the best time to visit is during the warmer months, from May to September. During this time, you can enjoy the city’s many outdoor attractions and take advantage of the warmer weather for hiking, biking, and water sports.

Do’s and Don’ts of Emden

If you’re visiting Emden, here are a few helpful do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Do take part in local traditions and festivals: Emden’s festivals and traditions are an important part of its cultural heritage, and participating in them is a great way to experience the local culture.

  • Do try the local cuisine: Emden has a rich culinary tradition, and trying the local specialties is a must-do for any foodie.

  • Do dress for the weather: The weather in Emden can be unpredictable, so be sure to check the forecast and bring appropriate clothing for rain or sun.


  • Don’t litter or damage historic landmarks: Emden is a beautiful, historic city, and it’s important to respect the city’s buildings and landmarks.

  • Don’t be loud or disruptive at night: Emden is a peaceful, quiet city, and it’s important to be considerate of others, especially at night.

Safety and Health

Safety in Emden

Emden is a safe city to visit, but it’s always important to take precautions when traveling. Here are a few tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: Like any city, Emden has certain areas that can be less safe after dark, so be sure to stay in well-lit areas and to avoid suspicious-looking activities or people.

  • Keep your valuables secure: Always keep an eye on your belongings and don’t leave them unattended, especially in crowded areas.

Health in Emden

Emden has a well-developed healthcare system, but it’s still important to take care of your health while traveling. Here are a few tips:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, especially during the warmer months, to prevent dehydration.

  • Protect yourself from the sun: Use sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

Getting to Emden: Transportation Options and Logistics

Emden is easily accessible by a variety of means of transportation. Here’s how to get there:

Airports Near Emden

The closest airports to Emden are:

  • Bremen Airport: This is the largest airport in the area and is located about 120 km from Emden.

  • Groningen Airport Eelde: This airport is located in the Netherlands and is about 70 km from Emden.

Bus Stations Near Emden

Emden has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses and trains. Here are a few options:

  • Emden Hauptbahnhof: This is the main train station in Emden and is located in the city center.

  • Flixbus: This bus line operates several routes to and from Emden and is a convenient and affordable option for travelers on a budget.

Other Options

  • Car rental: If you prefer to have your own transportation, car rental is available at both Bremen and Groningen airports.

How to Get Around in Emden

Emden is a small, compact city that is easy to navigate on foot or by bike. The city also has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses and trains.

Where to Go Next from Emden: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you’re looking to explore more of the surrounding area after your trip to Emden, here are a few nearby destinations that are worth a visit:

  • Greetsiel: This historic village is located just a short drive from Emden and is home to many local restaurants and shops.

  • Norden: This charming town is just 20 km from Emden and is famous for its historic architecture and quaint streets.

  • Aurich: This picturesque town is located in the heart of East Frisia and offers many cultural attractions and outdoor activities.


Emden is a beautiful, historic city that offers a wide range of cultural, natural, and culinary attractions. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s history, hiking in the surrounding countryside, or trying the local cuisine, Emden has something to offer every traveler. Plan your trip to Emden today and discover the charm of this small, welcoming city for yourself.