Normally we have been travelling to Mallorca for years at the beginning of July. Due to Covid-19 this holiday fell into the water and an alternative was needed. Rather coincidentally Bamberg was booked. So we went from Friday to Sunday for 48 hours to Bamberg. So much in advance – it was worth it. Bamberg is an incredibly hip and beautiful city, which could keep its own medieval charm.
What did we experience during the 48 hours of our weekend trip?
Bamberg – the Rome of Upper Franconia
Bamberg is also called the “Franconian Rome”, because the city was built on seven hills like Rome. We stayed mainly in the old town, on the Stephansberg and the Domberg.
Arrival and accommodation
Bamberg is connected via the A70 motorway. To Nürnberg or Würzburg the driving time is about 1 hour. From Frankfurt you can reach Bamberg in 2 hours by train.
As a Unesco world cultural heritage and secret beer capital of Germany, the city is a popular tourist destination. Accordingly, the offer is large.
We had chosen the Hotel Alt-Ringlein*. It is located in the middle of the pedestrian zone, not far from the well-known party mile Sandstrasse. For about Euro 100 per night for the room you are right in the middle of the action. The room was tidy and the restrictions of Covid-19 kept within limits. Breakfast is served in a 1 hour window and you have to tell us your food wishes the evening before. There are 2 points to consider:
- The hotel is located in the middle of the old town – accordingly loud
- Parking is difficult – our tip: The parking garage at the Welcome Hotel Residenzschloss in Untere Sandstrasse. With a daily flat rate of 13 Euro it is cheaper than the parking garage of the Alt-Ringlein and the underground car park is within 10 minutes walking distance.
What can you do in Bamberg – our Bamberg tips for a weekend
Bamberg’s old town
The pivotal point is the old town of Bamberg. It is the largest contiguous old town in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If your hotel is also centrally located, then start your tour in Sandstrasse and walk through the alleys to Bamberg’s landmark, the Old Town Hall. Since the bishop at that time did not allow the people of Bamberg to build a town hall on his property, the resourceful citizens built their town hall on an artificial island in the Regnitz. This small island now connects the old and new town by the Upper and Lower Bridge. The Old Town Hall was built in the 15th century and was converted from Gothic style to Baroque style in the 18th century. Inside you will also find one of the largest porcelain collections in Europe.
River cruise on the Regnitz
The lifeline of Bamberg is the river Regnitz and the Rhine-Main-Donau Canal. The Regnitz is also home to the next highlight: “Little Venice”. The nickname is derived from the gondolas, with which you can make a great tour.
Especially worth seeing are the half-timbered houses opposite the former fishing settlement. Located directly on the Regnitz river with pretty tiny gardens, they are an eye-catcher. The half-timbered houses are almost all from the middle ages. Below the old town hall you can board a sightseeing boat, which will take you across the Regnitz to the Main-Donau Canal and back in 90 minutes. A great experience, which we enjoyed.
Bamberg and its breweries
Bamberg is considered the secret beer capital of Germany. Eleven family-run breweries in the Bamberg city area alone and around 60 breweries in the nearby Bamberger Land produce over 400 different beers. A very good overview can be found on the page Beer Culture City Bamberg. The variety of beer in Bamberg – from Rauchbier, Franconian Kellerbier, Ungespundetes or Lagerbier to Bockbier – is grandiose. You can enjoy it in the many traditional restaurants of Bamberg.
We have done this as part of a “beer tour“. You walk through Bamberg in 90 minutes and learn a lot about Bamberg and its beer tradition. The tour ended with a beer tasting in the Ambräusianum – a relatively young brewery, of course with a tasting of the famous smoked beer.
To make a long story short – the taste reminds of a plate of ham or peaty whisky. There are better alternatives!
( Here you can buy Rauchbier*)
The Romanesque Bamberg Cathedral of St. Peter and St. George belongs to the German imperial cathedrals and with its four towers is the dominant building of the World Cultural Heritage Bamberg Old Town. You reach the cathedral after a short walk. Founded by Emperor Heinrich as the seat of a bishop and lord, the cathedral is an impressive building. It is worth a visit and you also have a wonderful view over Bamberg.
Going out in Bamberg
Bamberg, as a university town and tourist centre, is gastronomically perfectly positioned. The hotspot is the Sandstrasse in the old town with its pubs and breweries. Traditionally, beer is drunk in the alleyway at bar tables – popularly known as “Stehgammler”. Due to current COVID regulations, however, it was forbidden to serve beer in the streets after 8 pm and “last order” in the pubs was at 11 pm. We can recommend the following restaurants and breweries:
The Schlenkerla – the historic brewery house, famous for its smoked beer. Very famous and extremely crowded
The Ambräusianum – right next door. New modern and it has a great cellar beer
Mahrs brewery – about 1 km from the centre. Good beer in a nice beer garden ambience and a great Schäufela
Der Zapfhahn – a classic pub on the edge of the old town with tasty burgers
The Hofbräu – surrounded by art galleries, to see and be seen
The Brasserie – a sports bar in the middle of the old town.
The TFL Bamberg Conclusion
A worthwhile city trip to a great city with flair. Bamberg is not Mallorca but “repetition guaranteed”.