Bamberg is a town in southern Germany, in the Franconian region of Bavaria. It was first written about in 902. The Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich II, and his wife Kunigunde, are prominent figures in the town's history as they established it as a separate diocese in 1007 and for a brief time the town was the power seat of the Empire. Bamberg, like Rome, is set on seven hills, each with a church atop it. The center of the town is set on an island, made by the splitting of the Regnitz river. The town escaped the blitz bombing of the Second World War consequently much of the Medieval character is intact. Parts of Bamberg were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
1.The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)
Legend has it that the bishop of Bamberg refused to allocate land for the residents to build a town hall so they drove stakes into the Regnitz river to create an artificial island and erected the building there. When it was built in the 14th century, the architectural style was Gothic. Changes in the 1700s added Baroque and Rococo touches. Large frescoes adorn some of the multi-story walls, with elements of 3D sculptures protruding from them. The building is accessible by two pedestrian bridges, one from each river bank. The Ludwig collection is housed there.
Obere Brücke, 96047 Bamberg, Phone: +49-95-12-97-62-00
2.Cathedral of St Peter and St George
© Takashi Images/stock.adobe.com
The Cathedral land was consecrated in 1012 but the current structure was built in the mid 13th century, after the first two cathedrals burnt down. The Romanesque and Gothic styles reflect the length of time it took to rebuild the cathedral. It is still a Roman Catholic Church and the seat of the Bishop of Bamberg. It is named after St George, representing the Holy Roman Empire, and St Peter, representing the Pope. The tombs of Heinrich II and his Empress, Kunigunde, are beautifully carved. The Bamberg Horseman statue is also in the cathedral. The Diocesan museum and shop are on the premises.
Domplatz 2, 96049 Bamberg, Phone: 09-5-15-02-25-12
3.The New Residence
The 'new' residence of the prince bishops of Bamberg was completed in two stages. The initial structure was completed in 1604 and two additional Renaissance-style wings were added, circa 1700. There are more than 40 state rooms and the interior is decorated with frescoes and chandeliers. Furniture and fittings date back to the 16th and 17th centuries. The Emperor Hall is home to 16 larger-than-life portraits of emperors through the ages. It is situated on the cathedral square and houses the state library and the state gallery. It is open all year but times change with the seasons. Guided tours operate throughout the day.
Domplatz 8, 96049 Bamberg, Phone: 09-51-51-93-90
4.Schloss Seehof Restaurant Cafe
© Edler von Rabenstein/stock.adobe.com
The Schloss Seehof was built in the late 1600 as the summer residence of the prince bishops of Bamberg. The cascading water feature in the castle grounds incorporates several Romanesque statues. The castle park is 21 ha which includes an orange plantation. The restaurant uses the fruit to make marmalade. The orangerie was used to help young plants through the winter and is now available for hire for private functions. German cuisine is the order of the day. Groups need to book ahead and are served a set menu. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and between Christmas and mid-January.
Schloss Seehof 14, 96117 Memmelsdorf, Bavaria, Phone: +49-95-14-07-16-40
On the highest of Bamberg's seven hills, sits Altenburg Castle. It was built before 1109 as a place of refuge for townsfolk if danger threatened. It was used as the residence for Bamberg's bishops from 1305 to 1553, when it was burnt down during a war. It remained derelict until 1801 when a local physician bought it and set about restoring it. In 1818, it was handed to the Altenburg Society, the current custodian. The castle is open for tours and visitors can climb the tower. There is a restaurant on the premises and the Knights' Hall is available for hire for private functions.
6.Schlenkerla - Smoked Beer Brewery
© Schlenkerla – Smoked Beer Brewery
The brewery predates 1405 when it was first mentioned by name as the 'House of the Blue Lion'. Through the centuries, coopers and brewers have occupied the premises. Barrels and beer are often found together. Since 1866, the business has been in the Trum family. Currently, the sixth generation is in charge. The beer is made according tradition, begun when long winters necessitated drying the grains for the beers over an open fire. The brewery is open year round but the beer garden is open from Easter to October only, weather permitting. Brunch and hot meals are served and there is a shop selling beer and memorabilia.
Dominikanerstraße 6 - 96049 Bamberg, Phone: +49-95-15-60-60
7.Franconian Brewery Museum
© Franconian Brewery Museum
The Brewery Museum is situated in the vaults of the former Benedictine monastery brewery which was first mentioned in 1122. It was established in 1979 and seeks to preserve and promote the beer culture of the region. There are 1850 exhibits over five levels. The entire beer making process is explained from sourcing ingredients to bottling and drinking it. Among the exhibits is an extensive collection of beer mugs. Tours, tastings, presentations and seminars are conducted on the premises. There are regular events and outings for members. The museum is open from April to October but closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Fränkisches Brauereimuseum, Michaelsberg 10f, 96049 Bamberg, Phone: +49-95-15-30-16
The consensus among visitors seems to be that this row of fishermen's cottages on the east bank of the Regnitz River does not look like Venice. The half-timber houses, built in the 15th and 16th centuries are all different and distinctly German. They are cantilevered over the river bank and are accessible by boat. The illusion continues however with gondolas-for-hire floating by, a good vantage point from which to view the houses. In spring and summer the balcony gardens blossom and swans, geese and ducks swim in the river, adding to the photogenic scene. There are apartments for hire within the houses.
Klein Venedig, Am Leinritt, 96047 Bamberg
9.Market Gardeners's District
For centuries there has been urban market gardening on the fertile alluvial soil in Bamberg. Famously known as 'onion treaders', the area is renowned for its onion sets and liquorice. Many varieties of vegetables are grown today and sold daily at the market or at the farm gate. A route has been laid out through the district which takes visitors past the cottages, through the allotments and to the museum. A small house and garden have been preserved to demonstrate what life and work was like for the market gardeners, without modern conveniences. Since 2013, the Bamberg Heritage Garden has been reintroducing local vegetable varieties from heirloom seeds.
Gundelsheimer Str. 51, 96052 Bamberg
The old Courtyard was the 'old' residence of the bishops of Bamberg. Buildings have been on the site since the 11th century. The current Renaissance-style structure is the third on the site and was erected in the 15th century, alongside the cathedral. The chapel and the palas are still evident. There are picturesque dwellings in the courtyard which are festooned with flowers blooming on their balconies in season. The historical Bamberg museum is in the complex. The history of the Jewish people in Bamberg is told there. There are other hands-on programs in the museum and events such as birthday parties are catered for.
Alte Hofhaltung, Domplatz 96049 Bamberg, Phone: +49-9-51-87-11-42
© Aposto Bamberg
There are 13 Aposto restaurants in Germany, specializing in innovative Italian cuisine. They pride themselves on their unorthodox menu, with such toppings as pulled pork and Tandoori chicken. The drinks range from iced tea to cocktails and wine. Diners can enjoy a sit-down meal in the urban atmosphere or have take-out. Happy hour last for three hours every day and there are daily specials such as Colossal pizzas and cocktail casinos. Aposto in Bamberg is open every day from 11:30 till after midnight.
Geyerswörthstr. 5A, Bamberg, Germany, Phone: +49-9-51-91-70-04-81
This restaurant is situated on a bridge across the Regnitz River. Patrons can choose to dine indoors in the modern Franconian interior, where the fire glows in winter, or on the terrace with the river flowing by. Traditional Bavarian dishes are served with new twists. The emphasis is on fresh, seasonal produce procured locally. The restaurant partners with market gardeners, fishermen, vintners and brewers to offer an authentic Bamberg culinary experience. They have a 'create your own' breakfast menu and treats on Sunday. For patrons needing overnight accommodation, Eckert's sister-company, Hotel Nepomuk offers 4-star hospitality in the heart of the city.
© Spezial Brewery
This brewery was first mentioned in 1536 and has been in the Merz family since 1898. Current brewmaster, Christian Merz is the 4th generation to carry on the tradition of handcrafting smoked beer. Only regional products are used in the brewing process. This small brewery produces around 6000 hl per annum of beer, including amber lagers, dark malty beers and a strong Christmas beer which contains 7% alcohol. The brewery has established a 15-room guest house in another old brewery which was extensively renovated. It is centrally situated and within walking distance of downtown Bamberg and transport links.
Brewery Special, Upper King Street 10, 96052 Bamberg, Phone: +49-95-12-43-04
© Altenburg Restaurant
The Altenburg Society took over the running of the castle by the same name and made concession for a restaurant to operate on the premises. The Lippel family has been running the Altenburg restaurant, the beer garden and Knight's Hall since 1972. Classic German cuisine has been subjected to modern, regional and seasonal variations. The beers and wines listed complement the food on offer. The castle is set on Bamberg's highest hills so the views are breathtaking. The restaurant is closed on Mondays and between lunch and dinner. The Knight's Hall is available for private and corporate functions.
Restaurant Altenburg, Altenburg 1, 96049 Bamberg, Phone: 0-95-15-68-28
15.Hofbrau - Bar and Restaurant
© Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
Situated in the center of old town, the Hofbrau restaurant offers home-style Franconian cooking as well as Mediterranean and more exotic dishes. The menu is seasonal, based on what is available at the market. Every attempt is made to source ingredients locally for the regional recipes. Patrons can enjoy hearty meals or light snacks and there is an extensive drinks menu. The house pianist provides live entertainment on Monday evenings. The owner of the restaurant is a drummer and often accompanies him. Every year, the special Christmas and New Years dinners echo the festive spirit of the old town.
Karolinenstrasse 7, 96049 Bamberg, Phone: 0-95-15-33-21
16.Restaurant Komblume - Cornflower
© Restaurant Komblume / Cornflower
This restaurant is a small establishment, tucked in the suburbs of Bamberg, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center. There is inside seating and a beer garden outside in the walled garden, under large shady trees. The menu has several options for vegans and vegetarians but also serves meat and seafood dishes. Each quarter, corresponding to the seasons, Cornflower restaurant has a musical celebration. The restaurant is open for dinners only, except for Sunday when lunch is served. It is closed on Tuesdays. They also offer a catering service.
Restaurant Cornflower, Kapellenstraße 22, 96050 Bamberg, Phone:09-51-91-41-91-20
17.Brauhaus zum Sternla
© Brauhaus zum Sternla
The brewery restaurant is set in what is believed to be the oldest inn in Bamberg. The regional food is in served in the form of hot dishes and snacks. German favorites like sausage, schnitzel, dumplings and potato salad will stick to your ribs. Besides the house brand beer, there are other local brands and a range of coffees and juices to drink. The brewery has revived a very old tradition, first practised in the 1700s, of minting their own beer currency. There are special events organized such as murder mystery dinners and monthly music evenings. The establishment is closed on Mondays.
Lange Strasse 46, Bamberg, Phone: +49-95-12-87-50
The brewery at Klosterbrau was first mentioned in1333. From 1533-1790, it brewed the bishopric's own brown and black beer. These recipes have been recreated and bottled for modern beer enthusiasts to enjoy. There is ample seating at Klosterbrau in a range of settings. For example, the dark wood-paneled room seats 40, the vaulted cellar seats 120 and the barn, 220. Outside, patrons can sit on the terrace next to the cobblestone street or in the beer garden, next to the river. The restaurant serves regional food. There is a museum on the premises which highlights the old and new methods of beer making.
Obere Mühlbrücke 1-3, 96049 Bamberg, Phone: 0-95-15-22-65
18 Best Things to Do in Bamberg, Germany
- The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), Photo: LianeM/stock.adobe.com
- Cathedral of St Peter and St George, Photo: Takashi Images/stock.adobe.com
- The New Residence, Photo: LianeM/stock.adobe.com
- Schloss Seehof Restaurant Cafe, Photo: Edler von Rabenstein/stock.adobe.com
- Altenburg, Photo: fotovarvara/stock.adobe.com
- Schlenkerla - Smoked Beer Brewery, Photo: Schlenkerla – Smoked Beer Brewery
- Franconian Brewery Museum, Photo: Franconian Brewery Museum
- Little Venice, Photo: rudiernst/stock.adobe.com
- Market Gardeners's District, Photo: whyframeshot/stock.adobe.com
- Old Courtyard, Photo: rudiernst/stock.adobe.com
- Aposto Bamberg, Photo: Aposto Bamberg
- Eckerts, Photo: FomaA/stock.adobe.com
- Spezial Brewery, Photo: Spezial Brewery
- Altenburg Restaurant, Photo: Altenburg Restaurant
- Hofbrau - Bar and Restaurant, Photo: Africa Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Restaurant Komblume - Cornflower, Photo: Restaurant Komblume / Cornflower
- Brauhaus zum Sternla, Photo: Brauhaus zum Sternla
- Klosterbrau, Photo: Klosterbrau
- Cover Photo: Scanrail/stock.adobe.com