Bamberg Germany: The Ultimate City Guide

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Bamberg is Germany’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the third-largest in Europe. Only Venice and Prague are larger. In my opinion, it’s also the prettiest city in Bavaria with a whopping 2500 historic buildings!

A large part of its charm is due to how much of the medieval city is still intact. Only 4% of Bamberg was bombed during WWII.  This is in stark contrast to many other German cities like Dresden in which tragically 90% of the city center was bombed.

Half-timber houses

Where is Bamberg, Germany?

Bamberg, Germany is located in northern Bavaria and is located where the Regnitz and Main rivers diverge. Bamberg is divided into 3 sections, each representing a different part of the city. The Noble section is where the Cathedral is located as well as other buildings that represent authority. The Urban section is where the markets and residences were located as well as some residences. The residential section is the largest of the three and includes the “Market Gardens” which are worth a visit.

Besides these wonders, Bamberg, Germany also sports some great palaces and castles that are a must-see.

The town hall, the most famous building in Bamberg, Germany.

Related Reading: Munich City Guide

The Best Places To See in Bamberg Germany

Bamberg is a great place to have on your itinerary when visiting Germany. It offers so many different things to do and did I mention that it is home to 11 of its own breweries. There is so much, so here are some of my favorite sites:

The Bamberg Cathedral

Construction on the original cathedral was started in 1002 but fell victim to fire twice. The cathedral that stands now is the third construction. The Cathedral is a beautiful building that is a must-see when visiting Bamberg in Germany. It is home to the tomb of the holy imperial couple Kunigunde and Heinrich II and the papal tomb of Clemens II. The Cathedral is open to visits during the official hours in the week. For guided private tours, you will need permission from the Cathedral Administration and a small fee is applicable. You can check for all the relevant details here.

The Alt Stadt Rathaus (town hall)

The Alt Stadt Rathaus is beautiful and unique. The building has some great frescoes that are worth spending some looking at. If you’re lucky you will find the anomaly, a cherubs leg which protrude from the wall. The Alt Stadt Rathaus is built on a small man-made island in the middle of the Regnitz River. You can access the town hall over a cobblestone bridge.

Access to The Old Town Hall is granted on one of the oldest cobblestone bridges in Europe. It dates back to the 12th century but was rebuilt in the 15th century.It is a great experience that you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Bamberg, Germany. There are some great legends involving the building of the town hall so make sure to catch a tour to find out more.

Related Reading: 10 Things To Do in Cologne

Little Venice

Gondolas can be hired for a tour of little Venice. Surprisingly, the prices are quite reasonable.

Little Venice is a must-see. It was once a small fishing village on the banks of the Regnitz river. The houses are built in a medieval style propping each other up. They all have beautiful little gardens which create a stunning atmosphere. I could easily have spent more time just enjoying the views. Enjoy a river cruise in the area where you can really enjoy it.

Neues Residenz

The Neues Residenz was built in 1604 and was once the seat of the Bamberg prince-bishops. The residence has a great collection of art and tapestries from the 17th and 18th century as well as an amazing Stucco ceiling that you don’t want to miss seeing. The exterior has one of the most beautiful rose gardens I have ever seen.

The rose garden is a great place for views of the huge monastery.

The rose garden is an excellent time to spend some relaxing time in and it offers some amazing views of Bamberg, Germany. The old courtyard or Alte Hofhaltung is worth a walkthrough as you can still see the original walls from the 11th Century. The old courtyard also houses the Bamberg’s historical museum.

Old stables were used in the movie The Three Musketeers starring Orlando Bloom. Sadly he didn’t make an appearance during my visit.

The Breweries of Bamberg

Bamberg is famous for its smoked beer. It’s been said that the beer has a slight bacon flavor. It sounds odd but the beer is famously popular. There are a total of 11 breweries in Bamberg which can make it impossible to choose just 1 to visit. The most popular choice of breweries is Brauerei Schlenkerla. It was first established in 1405 and has been run by the same family for 6 generations. It is the home of the famous smoked beer and they still serve beer the old way, from wooden barrels.

Related Reading: Schwäbisch Hall: A Charming Town to Visit in Germany

View of Bamberg from the Rose Garden.

Klosterbrauerei is the oldest brewery in Bamberg Germany. It was started in 1333 by the Prince Bishops. They specialize in 5 beers that have original recipes. There is an excellent beer garden where you can enjoy the brew.

The Market Gardens

The Market Gardens are located in the residential section of Bamberg, Germany. The gardens are behind housing facades and were once used by traders to grow produce that was often exported out of the city. They would grow onions, grapevines for wine and licorice.

Narrow streets and colorful houses are Bamberg’s signature.

The Market Gardens are unique to Bamberg and many of them are still used by residents today. Exploring this section is a perfect way to spend a day.

Altenburg Castle

Altenburg castle is located on the top of one of the 7 hills of Bamberg, Germany. It is first mentioned in 1109 and during the 14th and 15th Century it served as a richly furnished residence for Bambergs Bishops. The castle is a great way to spend some time while in Bamberg. The views are great and you can enjoy a good German meal and of course a beer at the Castle restaurant which is a popular place for visitors to go.

Related Reading: Trier, Germany: All You Need To Know Before You Visit

The bridge to the town hall overlooking little Venice.

Where to Stay in Bamberg, Germany

The Hotel Nepomuk is a 4-Star hotel located on the riverside. The hotel is situated in a historic timber building and guests are given a choice between the historic building and the modern annex. The property is well located and guests can enjoy meals on the terrace where there are great views.

Best Western Hotel Bamberg is a 3-Star hotel that is highly rated. It is located on the edge of the Bamberg Old Town and features warm and comfortable rooms. Guests can enjoy the terrace during warmer months and a great buffet breakfast.

There’s no doubt that Bavarian towns can be incredibly charming, like Burghausen for example, but Bamberg is something extra special.

I’m just kicking myself that it took me so long to visit.  Bamberg really should be on the “must-see” list for anyone visiting Bavaria, Germany.