Top 10 Reasons to Visit Bamberg, Germany: A Bavarian Beauty

Are you looking for an easy day trip from Munich or Nuremberg?

Featuring a UNESCO-listed old town and brewing the smokiest beers on the planet, Bamberg is one of the best places to visit in Germany. Furthermore, it’s easy to visit Bamberg on a day trip from Nuremberg or Munich.

I know because I’ve done it.

Discover how to make the most of one day in Bamberg, the best places to see and how to get there. There’s also a map that you can use as a self-guided walking tour.

medieval building on an island with a bridge on either sdie

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What is Bamberg Known for?

Beautiful Bamberg is known for its medieval old town, protected by Europe’s largest intact city wall. It is built over seven hills, earning it the name “Franconian Rome.”

Bamberg is also famous for its smoky brew, served in one of the city’s many beer gardens.

Planning Your Day in Bamberg

As its main sights are conveniently located within walking distance of each other, it’s a breeze to explore Bamberg in one day

Map of Bamberg’s Must-See Sights (Self-Guided Walking Tour)

If you like to map it out, here’s one that I prepared earlier. For an interactive map, simply click here or on the image itself.

a map of best things to see in bamberg germany

For a more structured itinerary, you can use this map as a framework for a Bamberg self-guided walking tour. The distance between the Bamberg landmarks on this map is just over one mile (2 km).

Why You Should Visit Bamberg

1. To experience one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns

Unlike Nuremberg just 40 miles to the north, Bamberg came out of the other side of World War II unscathed. As a result, its old town gives us an excellent picture of a medieval European town.

For this reason, Bamberg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993.

a group of medieval buildings in old town bamberg reflected in river

Bamberg Old Town comprises three historic districts:

The Episcopal Town on the hills – dominated by the cathedral, this is where the town’s churches and cathedrals were built as early as the 10th century.

The Island Town –  this island in the middle of the river was founded in the 12th century to house a market, homes and businesses.

The Market Gardener’s Town – urban gardening was practised in Bamberg from the 12th Century and the town expanded to include these gardens behind the houses occupying this district.

large cobblestoned plaza viewed through arch
streets with medieval houses that you see when you visit bamberg germany

Five churches, taking the form of a Latin cross, mark the layout of the town.

2. To visit Bamberg’s beautiful churches

exterior of st martins church in bamberg germany

The first of these churches is St Martin’s, located in Grüner Markt.

Consecrated in 1693, this is Bamberg’s only Baroque church. It was built as the university church and the church of the Jesuit College. 

It’s worth taking a peek inside at the magnificent trompe d’oeil dome by Giovanni Francesco Marchini, and an early 14th Century Pietà featuring the skinniest Jesus that I have ever seen.

painted dome of church with 3-d effect
pieta carving of mary with body of jesus

Grüner Markt sells mostly fruits and vegetables and vendors peddle their wares from Monday to Saturday.

Before you leave this square, take a look at the Neptune fountain (Gabelmann). Featuring the Roman god Neptune with a gilded trident, it was created by Johann Kaspar Metzner in 1698.

sculpture of the god neptune with a trident

3. To take in the view of Bamberg Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus)

Straddling the river is the Old Town Hall, Bamberg’s best-known building and most photographed landmark.

woman walking across bridge leading to medieval building with a tower

The story goes that the bishop of Bamberg refused the town’s citizens land to build a town hall. Undeterred, the townsfolk rammed stakes into the Regnitz River to create an artificial island, on which they built their half-timbered Altes Rathaus.

Its façade is covered in trompe d’oeil frescoes painted by Johann Anwander (1715 – 1770).

On one side of the Old Town Hall, these paintings are allegories of the four elements; on the other side, they represent the four seasons. Try to find the leg of a cherub that appears to be protruding out of the wall.

frescos painted on the outside of a building

Today, Bamberg Old Town Hall is used for City Council meetings and official receptions.

4. To marvel at the façade of Böttingerhaus

stone building with elaborate carvings on its exterior

As you start to climb the hill to Bamberg’s Episcopal Town, pause in front of Böttingerhaus at Judenstraße 14.  

This magnificent baroque palace was constructed between 1707 and 1713 for the alderman Ignaz Tobias Böttinger. Built like an Italian palazzo, it houses a courtyard with rich ornaments.

As Böttinger House is privately owned, you are unlikely you get a chance to view this courtyard. But you can admire its wonderful façade with its wooden carriage gate and richly embellished window frames.

5. To step inside St. Stephan’s Church

The next stop on our Bamberg walking tour is the serene St. Stephan’s Church.

Although there has been a church on this site since the early 11th Century, what we see today was constructed in two phases in the 17th Century. It has been Bamberg’s most important protestant church since 1807.

Built in the shape of a Greek cross, its whitewashed interior is Baroque with a twist of Renaissance. It features a sublime choir, built by Giovanni Bonalino in 1628.

simple whitewashed interior of st srephans church in bamberg germany
detail of carved wooden choir stall in church

Bamberg is home to one of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. In 2023, Bamberg Christmas Market will take place on Maximiliansplatz from 28th November until 23rd December.

6. To soak up the splendour of Bamberg Cathedral

Bamberg Cathedral dominates the town’s skyline.

Founded in 1002 by King (later Emperor) Heinrich II (Henry II), the sturdy Romanesque Bamberger Dom St. Peter und St. Georg was completed in the 13th Century. There is not much to shout about from the outside but step inside for its treasures.

exterior of bamberg cathedral
Exterior of Bamberg Dom
full sized carvings of adam and eve
Adam & Eve protect their modesty

These include the marble tomb of Henry II and his wife, Cunegundand (Empress Kunigunde). Carved between 1499 and 1513, this is considered to be a masterpiece of the Gothic sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (1460 – 1531).

tomb carving showing king on death bed and grieving queen
Bas relief from the tomb of Henry II and Cunegundand

The cathedral also houses the tomb of Pope Clement II, the only pope to be buried north of the Alps.

Another famous treasure of Bamberg Cathedral is the Bamberg Horseman (Der Bamberger Reiter). This equestrian statue is thought to depict the Hungarian King Stephen I and was created in the early 1200s. 

equestrian statue of man on horse

Address: Domplatz 5, 96049 Bamberg

Opening hours: Check the cathedral’s website for opening hours

Free admission. Guided tours are available for a small charge. Check here for further information.

7. To visit the Old Court

The Old Court (Alte Hofhaltung) is also on Domplatz.

cobblestoned old courtyard in bamberg enclosed by medieval buildings

This complex once served as the bishop’s residence and its inner cobblestoned courtyard is lined with half-timbered buildings. Today, the Old Court is home to the Bamberg Historical Museum and St. Katherine’s Chapel.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Old Court looks like a movie set. In fact, this was one of the filming locations for the 2011 adaptation of The Three Musketeers.

8. For awe-inspiring views from the Rose Garden

stone sculpture in bamberg rose garden with skyline of old town in background

The Rose Garden of the Neue Residenz was my favourite place in Bamberg.

Until 1802, the New Residence (Neue Residenz) was the seat of Bamberg’s princes and bishops. It comprises two early 17th Century Renaissance wings at the rear and two later Baroque wings facing the cathedral square.

vast palace building set around a courtyard
Neue Residenz, Bamberg

The Neue Residenz Rose Garden was laid out in 1733 under Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. The lovely garden pavilion was added in 1757 and sculptures in 1760/61.

It’s a chilled spot with plenty of benches on which to sit and take in wonderful views over Bamberg and Michelsburg Abbey. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.

pot of brightly coloured flowers with skyline of old town in background
aerial view of old town of bamberg with man walking across street
red rooftops of bamberg old town

9. To photograph Bamberg’s Little Venice

row of half timbered medieval houses by side of river

Wind your way back downhill and you’ll arrive at a row of flower-bedecked, half-timbered houses hugging the river’s edge.

Formerly a fishermen’s district, the gloriously wonky homes of Little Venice (Klein Venedig) were built during the Middle Ages. Today, it’s the perfect place in Bamberg for a short stroll and to take a few photographs.

10. For the smokiest beer on the planet

Leaving one of the best reasons to visit Bamberg until last. Even in a country that is as renowned for its breweries as Germany, Bamberg is beer Mecca.

Rauchbier is a beer speciality of Bamberg. Its distinctive smoky character is produced by drying malt over an open flame in a smoke kiln.

If you have just one day in Bamberg, make Schlenkera your beer stop. Established in 1405, their famous Rauchbier – Märzen is worth the price of your train ticket to Bamberg alone.


pint of dark coloured beer

If you have more than a day in Bamberg or want to spend a happy day beer-tasting, take a look at the self-guided BierSchmecker® tour.

It comprises six vouchers: four for speciality beers in brewpubs in the old town, one for an original Bamberg beer stein & a bottle opener and one for a pair of smoke-beer truffles. You don’t have to visit each brewery on the same day.

Click here for more information and to buy your vouchers

Visiting Michelsburg Abbey

Founded in 1015, St. Michael’s Monastery (Michelsburg Abbey) is the former Benedictine monastery of St. Michael. Although it is one of Bamberg’s most famous buildings, it is closed for renovation until 2025.

michelsburg abbey in bamberg covering in shrouding
Michelsburg Abbey in 2022

How to Visit Bamberg on a Day Trip by Train

Thanks to its excellent train connections, it’s easy to visit Bamberg on a day trip from Nuremberg, Munich, Würzburg or Coburg. You can check train times here.

DB Regional Day Ticket

Before you buy a point-to-point ticket, check if your journey will be cheaper with a Regional Day Ticket for Bavaria, just one of Germany’s bargain day tickets.

red and white train in germany

READ THIS NEXT: 6 Magical Day Trips from Nuremberg by Train

Nuremberg to Bamberg day trip by train

I visited Bamberg as a day trip from Nuremberg Old Town, an excellent base from which to explore the Franconia region of Germany. It has glorious medieval architecture, a meandering river crisscrossed with historic bridges, a clutch of excellent museums and arguably the tastiest sausages in Germany.

Thanks to direct, fast and frequent rail connections from the stately Hauptbahnhof, Bamberg is one of a number of easy day trips by train from Nuremberg. The journey time is from 30 minutes and there is roughly one train an hour.  

READ THIS NEXT: One Day in Nuremberg Old Town, Germany: Itinerary & Self-Guided Walking Tour

Munich to Bamberg day trip by train

Although Munich is further south of Bamberg, you can still travel there by train in less than two hours. Expect at least two trains per hour but most require a change of train at Nuremberg.

Bamberg day trip from Würzburg or Coburg

Würzburg to Bamberg by train

The journey time from Würzburg to Bamberg by train is from 55 minutes and there are usually at least two trains per hour.

Coburg to Bamberg by train

The journey time from Coburg to Bamberg by train is from 25 minutes and there are usually at least two trains per hour.

Getting from Bamberg Train Station to the old town

Bamberg railway station is a 20-minute walk to Grüner Markt in the heart of the old town. Just follow the signs for Innenstadt from the station.

Is Bamberg Worth Visiting?

With its magnificent medieval architecture, including a photogenic old town, a clutch of lovely churches and beer that will have you begging for another pint, Bamberg is a superb addition to any Germany itinerary. Furthermore, as the town’s must-see sights are very walkable, one day in Bamberg is enough time to hit the highlights.

bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at or follow her on social media.

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