Bamberg – Germany’s Medieval City on Seven Hills
Bamberg, Germany is an old German town on the banks of the river Regnitz. It is one of the few places in Europe where the spirit of the Middle Ages still lingers, and people lead as unhurried a life as they did centuries ago.
Bamberg is a Bavarian city in central Germany. It stands on the river Regnitz. Covering an area of 54.58 square kilometers. Its population is 70,000 people. The city is 230 km from Munich, 62 km from Nuremberg, 81 km from Würzburg.
The city was named after the area on which it stands – on seven hills. For the same reason Bamberg is often called the “German Rome”.
The city is known as one of the centers of brewing in Bavaria (the oldest brewery was opened in 1533 and is still in operation) and is the location of Otto Friedrich University – the oldest university in Bavaria.
Bamberg is unique in that it is one of the few European cities that survived World War II. In 1993 it was put on the list of specially protected sites in Germany. By the way, there is an interesting legend connected with the amazing luck of the city during the war. The locals believe that St. Kunigunda (Bamberg’s patron saint) wrapped the city in thick mist during the raids, and that’s why it didn’t suffer.
Even if Bamberg isn’t as popular as Munich or Nuremberg, you can still see lots of tourists who don’t want to see buildings that were rebuilt after the war, but the real architecture of the 17th and 19th centuries.
In our list – the best sights of Bamberg in Germany, which you can visit in one day.
As mentioned above, the Old Town of Bamberg has been preserved in its original form: narrow streets between houses, cobblestones, lush Baroque churches, small stone bridges connecting different parts of the city and three-story houses of local residents.
Most of the houses of local residents were built in the traditional for Germany style of half-timbered architecture. The main feature of such buildings are wooden beams, which simultaneously make the structure both more durable and more attractive.
Public buildings are built in the Romanesque style. They are built of dark stone and there are no decorations on the facades of the buildings.
The old town hall is the main attraction of the city of Bamberg in Germany. It is located in the city center and is quite different from most European town halls. The building reminds something between a church and a house. Such an unusual style is due to the fact that the town hall was rebuilt several times. Originally it was quite a simple building, to which, in the 18th century, was added another building in the Baroque style. After that were added Rococo elements.
It is interesting that the landmark was erected on an artificial island (and the case took place in 1386) and it is surrounded on both sides by bridges. This unusual location is explained by the fact that both the bishops and the city authorities wanted the landmark to be erected in their territory. In the end, a compromise had to be made and a building had to be erected on a site that was not part of anyone’s domain.
Now the town hall is a museum, whose main pride is the rich collection of porcelain donated to the city by the Ludwig dynasty.
- Location: Obere Muehlbruecke 1, 96049 Bamberg, Germany.
- Opening hours: 10.00 – 17.00.
- Price: 7€.
The Imperial Cathedral of Bamberg is one of the oldest surviving churches in Bavaria. Was built in 1004 by Henry II the Holy.
The exterior of the building was built in the style of Gothic and Romanticism. The temple has four tall towers (two on each side), on one of which hangs the main city clock.
Interestingly, it is one of the longest cathedrals in Bavaria. According to the emperor’s idea, the long corridor that leads from the entrance to the altar should symbolize the difficult path that every believer takes.
The interior decoration of the cathedral is stunningly beautiful and rich: a mass of carved sculptures, golden bas-reliefs and plaster figures of saints. On the walls at the entrance there are 14 paintings depicting the Way of the Cross. In the center of the attraction is an organ – it’s quite small, and you can’t call it incredibly beautiful.
Pay attention to the Nativity altar, which is located in the southern part of the building. Also check out the west side of the cathedral. Here you will find the tombs of the Pope and one of the local archbishops.
Interestingly, in the interior of this Bamberg landmark, you can see images of monsters (the style in which they are painted is characteristic of the Middle Ages). According to historians, such unusual paintings appeared on the walls of the temple because of the greed of one of the archbishops: the painters, who were strongly underpaid for the work, decided to take revenge.
- Location: Domplatz 2, 96049 Bamberg, Germany.
- Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (however, locals note that the cathedral is often open outside business hours).
The new residence is the place where the archbishops of Bamberg lived and worked. The original location was the Geierswerth Castle, but this building seemed too small to the church officials, so the construction of the New Residence was begun (completed in 1605). The building was used for its intended purpose until the 19th century.
Now in the New Residence is a museum, which contains world famous paintings, porcelain and antique furniture. In all, tourists can visit 40 rooms, the most notable of which are:
The Bamberg State Library, which is located on the west side of the New Residence, is also worth checking out.
A favorite destination for locals is the rose garden, which is located near the residence. In addition to beautiful flowerbeds and hundreds of species of roses, the garden features sculptures, fountains, and a plaque on which you can read the names of all those who created this beautiful place.
- Allow at least 4 hours to visit this attraction.
- Location: Domplatz 8, 96049 Bamberg, Bavaria.
- Opening hours: 10 am – 5 pm (Tuesday – Sunday).
- Cost: 8 euros.
Since there are not many theaters and philharmonic societies in Bamberg, in the evenings tourists and locals like to come to the Theater of Shadows. The average performance lasts 1.5 hours, during which the audience will be told an interesting story about the creation of the city, show how people lived in different times and immerse the audience in an atmosphere of mystery.
Tourists who have already visited the performance are advised to come to the Theater of Shadows in advance: before the performance you can examine the scenery and puppets close up, visit a small museum of props and talk to the artists-decorators.
- Location: Katharinenkapelle | Domplatz, 96047 Bamberg, Germany.
- Opening hours: 17.00 – 19.30 (Friday, Saturday), 11.30 – 14.00 (Sunday).
- Price: 25 euros.
Little Venice is often called the part of Bamberg, which is located on the waterfront. Tourists say that this place does not look like Venice, but it really is very beautiful.
The locals like to just walk here, but it is better to rent a gondola or a boat and take a ride through the canals of the city. Also don’t miss the opportunity to take some beautiful pictures of Bamberg in Germany.
Location: Am Leinritt, 96047 Bamberg, Germany.
Altenburg is a medieval fortress in Bamberg, located at the top of the city’s highest hill. For centuries knights fought here, and after the castle stood abandoned for almost 150 years. The restoration of the castle took place only in 1800.
Now in the fortress there is a museum, the entrance to which is free. Note the so-called bear’s corner – there is a stuffed bear, which lived in the castle for more than 10 years. Also in the castle there is a cafe and restaurant, but they work only during the warm season.
Tourists who have been in Altenburg, advise to rent a cab or take the bus – on foot here is better not to go, because there are very steep slopes.
Be sure to look at the observation deck of the attractions – you can take beautiful pictures of the city of Bamberg.
- Location: Altenburg, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany.
- Opening hours: 11.30 am – 2 pm (Tuesday – Sunday), Monday off.
Where to stay
Bamberg is a small city and there are less than 40 hotels for tourists. Accommodation should be booked in advance, as this Bavarian town is very popular among travelers.
The average price for a room in a 3* hotel for two people per night during the high season ranges from 120 to 130 dollars. This price includes a buffet breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and all the necessary appliances in the room. Most hotels have facilities for people with disabilities. Many 3* hotels also have saunas, spas, and cafes.
5* hotels in Bamberg are willing to take tourists for $160-180 per night. This price includes a good breakfast (rated “excellent” by tourists), free access to the gym and spa.
Remember that all attractions in Bamberg are not far from each other, so there is no sense to overpay for a room in the heart of the city.
So, even in such a small German town like Bamberg you can find both simple 2* hotels and expensive 5* hotels.
Meals in the city
Bamberg is a small student town, so expensive restaurants are few. The most popular among tourists enjoy a small cozy cafes in the city center and breweries (about 65 in total).
Travellers who have been to Bamberg, recommend visiting the old brewery Klosterbräu, where beer has been brewed since 1533. Despite the popularity of the place, the prices here are not higher than in neighboring breweries.
|Dishes and drinks||Price (euros)|
|Herring with potatoes||8.30|
|Bratwurst (2 sausages)||3.50|
|McMeal at McDonalds||6.75|
|Piece of strudel||2.45|
|Slice of Black Forest Cake||3.50|
|Cup of cappuccino||2.00-2.50|
|Large mug of beer||3.80-5.00|
The average bill for lunch per person is around 12 euros.
All prices on this page are for July 2019.
View from Altenburg Hill
- If you want to visit the Altenburg fortress, try to come in summer – in winter it is very difficult to get there because of the snow, and the observation deck is not working.
- Because Altenburg Fortress is located on the top of a hill, it is always very windy here.
- Tickets to the Theater of Shadows must be purchased in advance, as the place is very popular.
- If you get hungry, tourists are advised to look into the restaurant Franconian cuisine “Kachelofen”. The menu has a wide selection of traditional German dishes.
- Christmas gifts are best bought in the small store near the Old Town Hall. Here is the largest selection of Christmas decorations and souvenirs.
- To explore the city and feel its atmosphere, it is better to come to Bamberg for 2-3 days.
- The best way to get to Bamberg from Munich is by bus (runs 3 times a day) Flixbus.
Bamberg, Germany is a cozy Bavarian town that deserves no less attention than the neighboring cities.
See the video “What to see in Bamberg in a day”.
Author: Maria Protasenya
Updated: 14 Nov, 2019 Tossa de Mar, Spain is an old resort town in Catalonia,…
Updated: 27 May, 2019 Duisburg, Germany – a city with a rich history and…
Updated: 22 May, 2019 Erfurt, Germany – an old college town in the heart of…
Updated: 19 June, 2019 Magdeburg, Germany is one of the greenest cities…
Bamberg, Germany – detailed travel guide to the city with photos and videos. Information about popular attractions in Bamberg with a map.
Bamberg City (Germany)
Bamberg is a city in Germany in the federal state of Bavaria in the historical region of Upper Franconia. The city is distinguished by charming medieval charm, beautiful architecture, interesting monuments and attractions in the Gothic and Baroque styles. Bamberg is a city on seven hills on the banks of the river Regnitz, which has earned the nickname “German Rome” and whose historical center has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Bamberg in winter
How to describe Bamberg in a nutshell? It’s a city that constitutes the true historical heritage of Germany. A survivor of the world wars, it offers an immersion in an authentic medieval atmosphere, gives you the opportunity to see ancient sights and enjoy the beer tradition. Overall, Bamberg is as interesting as Munich, Nuremberg and Regensburg, Bavaria’s main tourist centers.
A brief history of the city
Already founded in the 7th century from a fortress on the Cathedral Hill, Bamberg in the early 10th century came under the rule of the ancient Frankish Babenberg family. In 1007 the city becomes the capital of the bishopric principality and remains so for about 8 centuries until 1802.
In the first half of the 15th century, during the Hussite wars, Bamberg bought off looting. At the same time there was a rebellion against the power of the bishops, but to no avail.
The old streets of Bamberg
Bamberg suffered greatly during the Thirty Years’ War with the Swedes and was taken during the Seven Years’ War and the Napoleonic Wars. The greatest cultural boom came at the end of the 17th and mid-18th centuries. At that time the old town acquires interesting baroque features. In 1802 the bishopric was annexed to Bavaria and lost its independence. During the world wars the city hardly suffered any damage. After World War II and until 2014, Bamberg was home to the American garrison.
How to get to Bamberg
Bamberg can be reached from Munich and other major cities in Bavaria and Germany. The distance from the capital of Bavaria is 202 km. There are trains and buses. Travel time is 2.5 to 3 hours. The most economic way to travel by bus Flixbus (from 10 euros). You can find timetables and buy tickets here – https://www.goeuro.de
Bamberg Beer Gardens
The beer in Bamberg is no less of a sight to behold than the historic cityscapes. They offer a cozy atmosphere and a glorious tradition. Many of them brew their own beers.
Bamberg’s most interesting beer hall:
- Fässla Obere Königsstraße 19-21 96052 Bamberg
- Keesmann Wunderburg 59 6050 Bamberg
- Spezial Obere Königstraße 10 96052 Bamberg
- Greifenklau GmbH Laurenziplatz 209 6049 Bamberg
- Braumanufaktur und Malzfabrik Weyermann®B Brennerstraße15-19 96052 Bamberg
- Gasthausbrauerei Ambräusianum Dominikanerstraße 10 96049 Bamberg
- Brauereigasthof Kaiserdom & Hotel Gaustadter, 26 96049 Bamberg
- Mahrs-Bräu Bamberg GmbH Wunderburg109 6050 Bamberg
For a beer lover it’s possible to book tours and tastings at the local tourist office.
There are 16 museums and exhibitions in the relatively small Bamberg. The most interesting of these are:
- Expositions of the Cathedral
- City library with ancient manuscripts
- Bishops’ Museum
- State Gallery
- New Residence
- History Museum in the Old Palace on Cathedral Square
- Franconian Brewery Museum
The Old Town of Bamberg has a lot to offer: Old sights and monuments, narrow winding streets with a romantic medieval atmosphere, cozy inns and restaurants.
One of the most interesting and picturesque places in Bamberg is the artificial island on the river Regnitz with its old half-timbered houses, souvenir stores and a beautiful view of the “Venice of Bamberg”.
The island’s main attraction and one of Bamberg’s calling cards is the Old Town Hall. There is a legend that the local bishop did not allow the construction of this public building on city land. So the townspeople drove piles into the River Regnitz and erected it on an artificial island. The first references to the town hall date back to the end of the 14th century. The current appearance it acquired most likely in the second half of the 15th century. The old town hall is one of the most prominent monuments in the historic center of Bamberg.
Old Town Hall
The Old Town Hall is connected to the rest of the city by two bridges, the Lower and Upper.
Near the lower bridge is a sculpture in the style of historical antiquity with elements of postmodernism Centurion. The bronze sculpture is made by Polish sculptor Mitoraj in 1987.
Bridge over the River Regnitz
The Green Market is located in the old Bamberg square and offers fresh fruit and vegetables. It is open from Monday to Saturday. The fountain of Neptune is also located on the square.
Bamberg Green Market
A must-see is Cathedral Square, where many of Bamberg’s main attractions are concentrated.
The cathedral square is one of the most impressive places in the city, which literally breathes history. It is a mixture of architectural styles and historical periods from Romanesque and early Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque.
The Old Palace is one of Bamberg’s most impressive and oldest buildings. Founded in the early 11th century, it served as the main residence of the bishops for a long time. The splendid German Renaissance and Gothic buildings as well as the half-timbered houses create a fascinating historical atmosphere.
The cathedral of St. Peter and St. George is one of Bamberg’s main attractions. It is the legacy of Emperor Henry II. The church was founded at the beginning of the 11th century. This beautiful Gothic building with Romanesque details and four tall towers is the architectural dominant feature of the Cathedral Square. Emperor Henry II, King Conrad III and Pope Clement II (the only pope who is buried north of the Alps) all found their last rest here. Beautiful portals decorated with bas-reliefs lead to the cathedral. The interior of the cathedral has many ancient elements.
The new residence is an impressive Baroque structure in the historic center, which served as the abode of the archbishops until 1802. The beautiful state rooms with antique furniture and stucco work, as well as the German paintings attract many connoisseurs of art and architecture.
New residence in Bamberg
The Convent of St. Michael is a former monastery of the Benedictine monks founded by Emperor Henry. The building with almost a thousand years of history will amaze you with its strong neo-Gothic and baroque buildings as well as its beautiful garden. On the monastery slopes there are vineyards from which wine is made.
St. Michael’s Monastery
Of Bamberg’s religious buildings, the Church of St. Jacob is also of interest. This ancient church was built in the 11th and 12th centuries and in spite of its baroque facade it has preserved its purely Romanesque interior.
Church of St. Jacob
Other churches in Bamberg:
- The Parish Church of Our Lady – Bamberg’s only purely Gothic church, built in the 14th century
- St. Stephen’s Church – the city’s main Protestant church of the early 19th century.
- Elisabeth Church – a small chapel in the old town.
Seehof bei Memmelsdorf bishop’s castle – impressive baroque castle-park complex with a cascading fountain. The most beautiful summer residence of the prince-bishops at the end of the 17th century.
Route to Bamberg’s main sights on the map
€95 per tour
Nuremberg through the Ages
Hear the history of the most interesting places in the Old Town and get valuable advice from locals.
€110 per excursion
On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin
Be absorbed in the history of the capital and see its key sights for 3 hours