Bamberg is an idyllic Bavarian town that you won’t want to miss when you travel to Germany. Justin and I find that we tend to fall in love with the enchanting villages over the hectic cities. While we do enjoy major city jaunts, it’s often the tiny towns that capture our hearts. Bamberg was one of those places. As it turns out, there are lots of amazing things to do in Bamberg that will easily fill a day or two.
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Why Visit Bamberg?
So, why Bamberg? We chose to travel here for a few reasons. First, Bamberg has made countless lists featuring picturesque villages that you must visit. It simply looked so charming from the photos and I couldn’t resist adding it to our plans.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that wasn’t damaged very much during World War II, so it’s largely in tact. It boasts the biggest, preserved old town center in Germany.
Next, it’s easy to travel there by train. It’s accessible from Munich, Nuremberg, and countless other spots. We reached Bamberg after visiting Salzburg, Austria with one stop in Munich to transfer trains. I recommend traveling from Munich to Bamberg for a day trip or a small town diversion for a couple of days.
Third, it’s possible to see much of Bamberg in a full day. As we only had two weeks in Europe this time, we added Bamberg to the list while hopping around to multiple other places along the way.
With that said, we stayed for two nights in Bamberg and needed one full day to give the town the attention it deserved. We highly recommend that you spend at least one night here, if not two.
Here’s our Bamberg one day itinerary to help you plan your time effectively and wisely. Spend a couple of days here if you can because there are lots of fun things to do in Bamberg. However, if you’re only able to see Bamberg in a day, that’s also fine.
Getting to Bamberg
We traveled from Salzburg to Bamberg by train. It’s easy to navigate and pay online to reserve your seats in advance. When traveling by high speed trains in Europe, I recommend booking your tickets ahead of time to ensure you get on the train. Also, you usually get a better price by booking in advance. Train tickets generally open up around five to six months ahead of time.
When you get to Munich, make sure you get off at the right station. We were supposed to depart at Munich Hauptbahnhof, and I guided us off the train at a different Munich station before that one. Oops. I didn’t know there was more than one Munich stop on our trip. Thankfully, we took a regional train to the correct station at no additional cost and somehow didn’t miss our connection.
When we reached the Bamberg train station, we took a taxi from the train station to our guest house. Take some time to settle in to your accommodations. Enjoy a lovely dinner and a beer at one of the bars, breweries, or beer gardens. Walk around as much as you can.
Where to Stay in Bamberg
We stayed at Sonnenblumenhaus Bamberg, a holiday rental apartment in the heart of the downtown region. The guest house is steps from Little Venice and the Old Town Hall. Being able to walk everywhere from our accommodation was a huge plus.
Our apartment is fully equipped with a kitchenette, and it’s a comfortable place to sleep. The cheerful room is decorated with sunflowers everywhere, so much that even the toilet seat has a sunflower on it. There are photographs of the town in the kitchen, which offer a glimpse into some of the wonderful things to do in Bamberg. At only 60€ for the first night and 50€ for additional nights, it’s a bargain.
Looking to stay elsewhere in town? There are lots of charming hotels and apartments in Bamberg Germany. Take a look!
How to Spend One Day in Bamberg
While you can easily visit Bamberg on your own, I highly recommend that you book a walking tour with a local guide. In fact, one of the best things to do in Bamberg is to start your visit with a walking tour. There are so many intriguing historical facts about the city that we could never grasp by staring at the buildings and monuments by ourselves. We spent a couple hours in the morning walking all over the town, wandering around the main sights and a few hidden attractions.
If you’re a history buff, you might want to invest in the Bamberg Card. With this card, you’ll gain entrance to seven different museums for up to three days. There are museums devoted to history, ceramics, literature, religion, and even a Levis Strauss Museum all about jeans!
Bamberg Old Town Hall
The most iconic sight of the city is its Old Town Hall. It sits in the middle of the Regnitz river, across two bridges. Legend has it that the bishop of Bamberg didn’t grant any land to the citizens to construct a town hall, so they made their own island in the middle of the river to build one. One of the top things to do in Bamberg is to admire the Old Town Hall. You can’t miss it!
On one side of the Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus), there’s a half-timbered building. On the other side, there are impressive frescoes painted across the length of both walls. Walk across the bridge and explore all angles of this historic structure. It’s certainly one of the main Bamberg tourist attractions.
While we didn’t choose to venture inside, you can enter the building to discover the Rococo Hall and the Ludwig Collection. The half-timbered house over the river is what initially grabbed my attention and ultimately led us to visit Bamberg. It’s the most photographed place in town, so get out there and capture your own picture of it.
Little Venice of Bamberg
Visiting Bamberg is like walking through a fairy tale. There’s even a little section of Old Town called “Little Venice.” It’s a row of half-timbered homes along the waterfront, originally belonging to fishermen in the 19th century.
I suggest that you walk a full loop from the bridges at Old Town Hall. Walk through Old Town and by the river. Eventually, you’ll reach another bridge just past Little Venice and you can walk right to the other side and back around. Exploring Little Venice is one of the best things to do in Bamberg Germany.
Old Town Bamberg
You can’t visit Bamberg without spending time in its old town. It’s one of the best things to do in Bamberg. Not only are there stunning old buildings and murals, but there are excellent shops, pubs, and restaurants. We went shopping for souvenirs and found lots of unique gifts and mementos. Visitors to the local pubs and beer gardens carried their pints of beer around the cobblestone streets. Many locals gathered on one of the bridges in the early evening to enjoy a cold beer with friends.
Most homes were covered in sprawling vines, colorful flowers, and usually had a bicycle or two out front. Justin and I walked through Old Town on several occasions, never growing tired of the scenery. It’s definitely one of the top Bamberg attractions that makes it a lovely small town to visit.
Outdoor Art in Bamberg
Bambergers are huge fans of public art. Often, when there is an art piece on display that the citizens collectively love, they raise money to purchase it for the town. For instance, the “Lady with Fruit” statue is a bronze sculpture that residents bought together, and it’s now the first piece on Bamberg’s sculpture trail.
Polish artist, Igor Mitoraj, created the Centurione I sculpture that stands proudly on display near the Old Town Hall. It looks like a classical work of art, but it has intentional damage to the work.
This installation by artist, Wang Shugang, features eight red men crouching in a circle. There’s even one in the nearby inside the Hotel Bamberger Hof Bellevue. One of the most brilliant things to do in Bamberg is to follow the sculpture trail and discover them all.
Scenic Views of Bamberg
Speaking of the Hotel Bamberger Hof Bellevue, there’s an amazing view from the rooftop patio of this hotel. Our local walking tour guide asked the receptionist if we could wander up there for the view. I’m not sure if anyone can casually wander through the hotel at their own leisure, but it might be worth staying at the hotel for this scenic outlook.
New Residence Rose Garden
Go here for the roses, stay for the view. One of the most lovely things to do in Bamberg is spend some time at the rose garden on the hill. There’s a sea of flowers outside the New Residence building at the Rose Garden. When we visited in June, the roses were fully in bloom. Walk to the back wall of the rose garden for a brilliant panorama of Bamberg.
While we didn’t go inside, we stumbled upon the Bamberg Cathedral (Bamberger Dom) on our walking tour. It’s a historic church dating back to 1237, with two previous structures from the years 1012 and 1139 destroyed by fire. The church, as well as the Old Court, are main focal points of the Cathedral Square. The Bamberg Cathedral is one of the most iconic things to do in Bamberg, whether you’re taking a look from the exterior or the interior.
Visit Bamberg: Wander and Explore
Wandering around on your own or on a walking tour is the best way to see Bamberg. We walked along the river, marveled at the detailed architecture, and discovered monuments and murals. Observe everything as much as possible and travel as far as your feet will take you. When you have just one day in Bamberg, walk around and explore all day long if you want.
While much of Bamberg is preserved, it wasn’t completely unscathed by the destruction of World War II. There are vacant lots where buildings used to stand. If a home or structure is rebuilt, it must be constructed in a completely modern style as not to mimic any old architectural styles.
Bamberg Beer Culture & History
Beer lovers rejoice! One of the best things to do in Bamberg is to try the local beer. There’s a rich beer history in Bamberg, dating back 1000 years to the first written evidence of beer in the city. The cathedral canon Ouldaricus’ dying wish was to supply all Bambergers with free beer.
Later in 1489, Bamberg was among the first to write new purity laws for beer, 27 years before the Bavarian Purity Law (only water, hops, and malt are ingredients for beer).
Today, there are ten privately operated breweries and over 50 different selections of local beer in Bamberg. The town is famous for its smoked beer, which is brewed according to centuries-old traditions. For a full listing of breweries and beer cellars, I suggest that you pick up a brewery map from your hotel or the tourism office.
One of the most famous breweries is the Schlenkerla, right in the centre of Old Town. It’s home to the original smoked beer. We didn’t end up going inside as it was quite busy, but you might want to stop here for a drink.
Instead, we mainly tried local beer with our meals at restaurants. We tasted beer by Mahrs Brau, Brauerei Keesmann, and Brauerei Spezial.
Justin and I watched the sun go down from the beer garden, Spezial-Keller where we tried Brauerei Spezial’s Rauchbier (smoked beer) for the first time. Let’s just say that it had a very interesting taste. I could best describe it as beer meets campfire. I really liked it at first, and I enjoyed it less and less the more I drank of it. It’s definitely an acquired taste!
If you’d like to sample a few different beers, you should consider taking the Bamberg Self-Guided BierSchmecker Tour. You’ll receive four vouchers to try four different beers, an authentic beer stein, and other beer-related goodies. If you’re looking for what to do in Bamberg, you should definitely try the beer…but trying a few beers on your own tour sounds even better.
Vegan Restaurants in Bamberg
One of my favorite things to do in Bamberg is…eat! Vegan options are easy to find and plentiful in Bamberg. While there weren’t many vegan joints, plant-based choices were clearly marked on several restaurant menus. Here’s a small sampling of what you can expect to find. If you’d like to read more, check out my vegan guide to Bamberg.
More Things to Do in Bamberg
Needless to say, we fell in love with the medieval town of Bamberg. It’s the town that has it all: a preserved history, a scenic waterfront, and delicious food and drink. While we didn’t have time to venture outside of the city, there are gorgeous landscapes to discover in the Franconian countryside, such as the Steigerwald Nature Park and the Steigerwald Forest Treetop Path (dying to do this!).
Although we walked past a farmer’s market in the street, we never had a chance to explore the Market Gardeners’ District. The market gardens are on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. You can buy fruits and vegetables directly from the market gardens, including rare and local varieties of potatoes (the Bamberger Hornla potato is a local specialty). Discovering the local market gardens is one of the top things to do in Bamberg Germany.
It’s a great cultural city with 14 museums and collections, musical performances by the Bamberg Symphony and Bavarian State Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Bamberg State Library (it holds several important medieval manuscripts). There’s no shortage of Bamberg attractions if you’re looking for what to do in Bamberg Germany. We could have spent at least two or three days in Bamberg to see it all.
|Essential Germany Travel Guide|
|Getting There: Germany has numerous international airports and major train stations. We flew directly to Frankfurt because we were able to find cheap flights to the city. The national airline of Germany is Lufthansa, although we flew with budget carrier, Condor.|
Getting Around: I highly recommend traveling by train throughout Europe. It’s an easy and stress-free way to travel. While you don’t need to book train tickets to some regional trains in advance, I recommend booking all high speed train tickets ahead of time. You can easily buy train tickets to Bamberg online in advance. If you’d rather travel by car, you can compare car rental prices in Germany to get the best rate.
Fast Facts: Euro is the currency. Power voltage is 230 V 50 Hz using Power Sockets F.
SIM Cards & Mobile: You can rent a portable Wi-Fi device with unlimited data that works in 130+ countries worldwide. We’ve used our portable device all over the world and love how we’re always connected!
Where to Stay: In Bamberg, we stayed at a cute and cozy apartment in the heart of old town, Sonnenblumenhaus Bamberg. It’s a lovely place, though it’s always a good idea to browse a full listing of Bamberg hotels and apartments to see what’s out there.
Travel Safety: Don’t forget to get travel insurance before your trip. Whether you have an accident, have a flight delay, experience a theft, or need to return home sooner than anticipated, it’s always best to cover your bases. Get a travel insurance quote now for the best rates.
|Browse all of our Germany photos and read more of our Germany travel blog posts.|
Even still, I’ve just scraped the surface of what Bamberg has to offer. I think you should visit and explore this delightful city for yourself. By spending one day in Bamberg, you can explore the city like we did. It’s likely that you’ll be able to see most of the Bamberg tourist attractions that we saw if you’re there for a day. Set aside two or three days if you’re adding museums or performances to the mix.
Although we only visited Bamberg for a day and a half, we’re already itching to return to this gorgeous Bavarian town. Interested in other German towns? Check out our travel guides for Heidelberg, Tubingen, and Frankfurt. Looking to extend your Germany trip? Explore more of the country in this Germany 1 week itinerary.
Thanks so much to Germany Tourism for hosting our stay.