Located in Northern Bavaria, the entire old town of Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which in itself is a good enough reason to visit — and just wait ’til we get talking about the beer.
Filled with well-preserved 12th and 13th-century architecture, Bamberg is a fine example of a medieval German town with its picturesque half-timbered buildings, houses, halls, and bridges.
The stunning Altes Rathaus (town hall) spans the Regnitz River, the four towers of Bamberg Cathedral are a distinctive focal point in the old town, and Castle Altenburg offers some stunning views of the city.
Bamberg has also been bestowed with the beauty of nature, laid out over seven hills at the meeting point of two rivers. When exploring the area, hiking to the peaks of the town’s low mountains is a highlight, as is spending some time on the water.
And you can’t visit Bavaria and not sample its most famous product, with Bamberg one of the finest places in the region to sip some world-class beer. Writing this article has given me a serious thirst!
Below, you’ll find a list of the best things to do in Bamberg, Germany, and I’m convinced it will not only fuel your wanderlust but it will put this fairy-tale town firmly on your “to visit” list.
Get ready to walk through the historical center of Bamberg with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide. Your tour will begin in front of the Kaiserpfalz, a large medieval castle dating back to the 10th century. From there, you will continue to stroll through Bamberg's narrow and winding streets until you reach the cathedral.
The Bamberg Beer Tour takes you on an entertaining journey through the history of beer, its importance in everyday life, and the art of brewing. You'll get to know more about Frankish customs and traditions, admire the sights in Bamberg, and learn more about the Eisgrube with the Upper Parish Church, the Domberg, Sandstraße and much more.
Bamberg is the heart of Franconian brewing culture. This self-guided tour will take you to four different breweries in Bamberg and introduce you to four different beer specialties. Enjoy a mixture of dark lager, light lager, amber lager, wheat beer and smoked beer.
Show Table of Contents
- Things to Do in Bamberg, Germany
- 1. Altes Rathaus (Town Hall)
- 2. Bamberg Cathedral
- 3. Klein Venedig (Little Venice)
- 4. The Historic Old Town
- 5. Bamberg Brewery Museum
- 6. Bamberg Historical Museum & Old Court
- 7. The Diocesan Museum
- 8. The New Residence & Rose Garden
- 9. Schlenkerla Brewery & Smokehouse
- 10. Altenburg Castle
- 11. Lisberg Castle
- 12. The Bamberg Natural History Museum
- 13. Enjoy a Brewery Tour
- 14. Schloss Seehof (Seehof Palace)
- 15. The Gardener’s District
- 16. Luisenhain Park
- 17. Explore the Countryside
- 18. Take a Day Trip to Nuremberg
- What are the top attractions in Bamberg?
- What are some fun things to do in Bamberg for families with children?
- Are there any must-see historical landmarks in Bamberg?
- Most significant landmark – The Old Town Hall/Bamberg Cathedral
- Best park – Luisenhain Bamberg
- Best free activity – Walking the Old Town
- Best activity for kids – Altenburg Castle/Boat trips
- Best activity for adults – Bamberg Brewery Museum
- Best food – Schlenkerla
- Best nightlife – Fässla Stub’n
- Best place to stay – Hotel Weierich
Things to Do in Bamberg, Germany
1. Altes Rathaus (Town Hall)
Address: Obere Brücke, 96047 Bamberg, Germany
The Altes Rathaus – or Old Town Hall – is a historic building in Bamberg and sits on a bridge in the middle of the Regnitz River. Local folklore tells the tale of the townsfolk building the hall between two districts since the Bishop of Bamberg would not grant permission for it to be constructed.
The original Altes Rathaus was built in 1387, and it has been renovated several times. The famous colorful murals on the facade were initially painted in 1755, and each subsequent restoration has left signs of the art style of the period.
Inside the Town Hall, you’ll find a museum that chronicles Bamberg’s history, as well as a restaurant and a viewing platform that offers spectacular views of the city. The museum also houses the Ludwig Collection of fine porcelain and the beautiful Rococo Hall.
Nearby hotels and accommodations include the perfectly located Rathausschänke apartments, the delightful Hotel Brudermühle, and the beautifully decorated Hotel Weierich, with its attractive coffered ceiling in the dining room.
See Related: The Best Place to Visit in Southern Germany
2. Bamberg Cathedral
Address: Domplatz, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
Bamberg Cathedral was finished in the 13th century, and it has been the seat of the Archbishop of Bamberg since. Its four dramatic towers are one of the town’s most recognizable landmarks.
King Heinrich II (Henry II) established the cathedral in 1002, and it holds his remains today, along with his spouse Cunigunde. Their marble tomb is one of the many impressive works of art found here. The cathedral also holds the remains of Pope Clement II, who is the only pope buried in Germany and north of the Alps.
The famous Bamberg Horseman (Der Bamberger Reiter) is another masterpiece in the cathedral. Believed to be a depiction of Hungarian king Stephen I, the sculpture is highly realistic – especially when you consider it was completed in the early 13th century.
The closest hotels to the cathedral include the Welcome Hotel, Hotel Zum Goldenen Anker, and the family-run Tandem Hotel. Or you can try one of the many self-catering options in the area, such as the charming Zum alten Häusla, which is only 1,300 feet from Bamberg Cathedral.
See Related: Interesting Facts About Germany
3. Klein Venedig (Little Venice)
Address: Fischerei 21, 96047 Bamberg, Germany
Little Venice (or Klein Venedig) is a core destination for Bamberg sightseeing. A former fisherman’s district, the canals of Little Venice are now primarily used for recreation.
This scenic waterfront is lined with half-timbered buildings and shops. In summer, tiny, colorful gardens are in full bloom. The walking route is about a mile, so it’s not going to take you too long to complete and makes for a wonderful leisurely afternoon stroll.
You can sit and watch the boats float by on the canal or jump onboard one yourself. And the Bamberg Marionette Theater is located close by if you’re interested in the art of puppeteering.
Accommodations close to the Klein Venedig area include this quiet holiday rental and this comfortable apartment. And all the rooms of the Tandem Hotel offer excellent views of the old fisher houses on the river.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Venice, Italy
4. The Historic Old Town
Address: Domplatz, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
One of the best things to do when you visit Bamberg is to wander the old town center streets and get lost in medieval alleyways.
German Emperor Henry II wanted Bamberg to become the “second Rome,” and this is evident in the architecture and design of this delightful city. A guided walking tour is one of the best ways to take it all in. You won’t miss any of the key sights, and you can learn about the history from a knowledgeable resident.
You’ll see the Bamberg Old Town Hall, the Old Court, the New Residence, and the Rose Garden, as well as the walkable section of Little Venice. Private tours are also available if you prefer.
Alternatively, you can step back in time with an immersive medieval tour and become one of the town’s 13th-century inhabitants as you explore its storied walls and stones.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Germany
5. Bamberg Brewery Museum
Address: Michelsberg 10B, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
The Brewery Museum is a must-see for any beer lover visiting Bamberg, Germany. Located in an old malt house dating back to 1791, the museum chronicles the city’s rich brewing history.
Visitors can learn about the traditional methods used to brew Bamberg’s famous smoked beer, as well as see how beer is made today. The highlight of the museum is undoubtedly the tasting room, where visitors can sample some of the locally brewed beers and freshly smoked beer. This is hands down one of the most fun things to do in Bamberg.
If you’re a beer aficionado or simply looking to learn more about Bamberg’s unique culture, the museum is sure to satisfy you during your trip.
See Related: Best Breweries in Cologne
6. Bamberg Historical Museum & Old Court
Address: Dompl. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
Bamberg has a long and interesting past, and the Bamberg Historical Museum is an essential stop on your tour to learn all about it.
The museum is located in the Old Court building, which dates back to the 11th century. Inside, there are fascinating and educational exhibits showcasing Bamberg’s historical importance in the region.
Perhaps most impressively, the museum has a detailed exhibit on the city’s role in the Protestant Reformation. This is an aspect of Bamberg’s history that is often overlooked, but it is essential to understanding the city’s unique character. Be sure to pick up a museum entry ticket to pre-book your visit to this popular spot.
See Related: Best Museums in Germany
7. The Diocesan Museum
The Bamberg Diocesan Museum is located in the Old Town, a short distance from the Cathedral. It’s a must for anyone interested in Christian history and artifacts.
Founded by Henry II and his wife Cunigunde as a Catholic treasury, the collection has changed over the centuries, thanks to the rise of secularism. But it’s still an impressive display of diocesan wealth and power.
The museum also houses a renowned collection of medieval textiles, including an imperial cloak thought to have been worn by Henry II himself. Gothic and Baroque statues line the cloister, and there are beautiful silk tapestries to admire.
The BambergCard will get you entrance to the museum, but for special exhibitions, there might be an extra charge.
8. The New Residence & Rose Garden
Address: Dompl. 8, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
The opulent Baroque exterior of the stunning Neue Residenz (New Residence) is only bettered by its interior. Once the home of serving Bamberg Prince Bishops, this beautiful building is part of the cathedral square in the historic town center.
Inside there are more than 40 rooms decorated with lavish furnishings, stucco ceilings, paintings, ornaments, and priceless tapestries and rugs. And if you’re planning an event, you can even hire the extravagant Imperial Hall for a cool 950 Euros.
Outside, the famous Rose Garden is one of the most popular Bamberg attractions and a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the spring air. The rose maze and shop are also worth visiting. And the garden’s restaurant is open all year round, serving traditional German food for breakfast and lunch.
9. Schlenkerla Brewery & Smokehouse
Address: Dominikanerstraße 6, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
When you visit Bamberg, you must visit Schlenkerla Brewery, which has been crafting beer for over 500 years. The brewery distributes to over 40 countries and produces about 25,000 hl of its delicious product annually.
First mentioned in 1405, this historic old inn is currently run by the 6th generation of the Trum family. Located a short distance from the cathedral square, you can pay a visit to the Bamberg horseman before sampling some of the brews he might well have drank himself.
In 1623, the Schlenkerla Smokehouse was built as part of the brewery complex and serves as a public museum today. And of all the elixirs that are made here, the brewery is most famous for its smoked malt – which is an acquired taste!
See Related: The Best Breweries in Germany
10. Altenburg Castle
Address: Altenburg 1, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
Over 900 years of history await you at nearby Altenburg Castle, located on the northern edge of the Bamberg, on the highest of the seven hills.
Built in 1135, it has seen its fair share of momentous historical events through the ages. The castle has been rebuilt several times for defensive purposes but was abandoned due to damage caused by fires started by invading forces.
It might not be one of the best castles in Germany, but it retains much of its original medieval architecture and is a must-see when you visit Bamberg.
The best way to visit the castle is to take a guided tour, which includes selected internal rooms. And of course, no medieval castle tour is complete without learning about the weaponry and siege tactics of the day.
11. Lisberg Castle
Address: Am Schloß 6, 96170 Lisberg, Germany
Located a few kilometers west of Bamberg, Lisberg Castle makes for a delightful day trip from the city.
With records dating back to 820, Lisberg is one of the oldest castles in Franconia. The main reason the building is so well preserved is thanks to the clever strategy of changing sides during times of conflict.
If you’re going during the summer months, be sure to call ahead, as tours aren’t always available (especially on weekdays). Restaurants nearby serve traditional Franconian cuisine, and Bavarian beer gardens often showcase live music.
The castle sits on the grounds of a beautiful park and offers guided tours which are available in English and German. If you wish to stay in the area, the Altes Kurhaus Landhotel is the perfect retreat.
See Related: Best Castle Hotels in Germany
12. The Bamberg Natural History Museum
Address: Fleischstraße 2, 96047 Bamberg, Germany
Housed in a 300-year-old former Jesuit collage, the Bamberg Natural History Museum sits in the heart of the city, just five minutes walk from the Old Town Hall.
What sets this particular museum apart is the “Bird Hall of Bamberg,” an absolutely stunning collection of avian taxidermy. Over 1,000 pieces are presented here, displayed in ornate glass cabinets in a classical style.
The collection was begun in the 18th century by then-Prince-Bishop Franz Ludwig von Erthal. The museum also contains a rare collection of pomological wax models, a number of fossils, and other curiosities.
Open all year round, the hall is considered one of the most beautiful of its kind in the world. If you’re a fan of birds, natural history, fruit, or even taxidermy, this is a must-see room on your visit to Bamberg.
13. Enjoy a Brewery Tour
Whenever I’m on the road, I like to quench my thirst and feed my hunger by sampling the local food and drink specialties.
Bamberg is a food and drink lover’s dream, particularly if – like me – you have a taste for traditional German sausage, pork knuckle, and beer.
Now, you could waste a lot of time seeking out the best places to sample the local delicacies, or you could let someone else take care of that for you. A special Bamberg brewery tour will whisk you to no less than five breweries in the area. Enjoy taprooms and beer gardens, all while sampling the goods.
Lunch and dinner are included, and you’ll also get to see Bamberg’s historic sights, including the Old Town Hall and the half-timbered architecture the town is famous for.
See Related: Best German Food to Try | Traditional Types of Food
14. Schloss Seehof (Seehof Palace)
Address: Schloß Seehof 1, 96117 Memmelsdorf, Germany
A short 12-minute drive from the center, on the outskirts of Bamberg, you’ll find the brightly painted Seehof Palace.
Built between 1684 to 1695, this striking building began life as a hunting lodge and summer home for one of Bamberg’s former Prince Bishops.
The Schloss Seehof has nine-period rooms open to the public, and the highlight is the beautiful ceiling fresco in the White Hall. There’s also an ornate church available for weddings.
The palace and gardens have been renovated several times, but it still makes for a pleasant visit to while away a few hours and get out of the city.
15. The Gardener’s District
Do you have green thumbs? Interested in homesteading, gardening, and growing your own food? A tour of the Bamberg Market Gardener’s District is an absolute must.
A tradition dating back to medieval times, this little-known Bamberg tourist attraction is hiding in plain sight. Located a stone’s throw from the Bamberg Old Town Hall, there are around 17 acres of allotments that have been cultivated here for centuries.
You can also visit the Gärtner-und Häckermuseum (Garden and Vintner Museum). Housed in an old 18th-century gardener’s dwelling, the museum showcases the history of farming families in the “Gärtnerstadt” (Gardener’s Town).
The best way to experience this hidden gem is with a guided tour, so you can learn all about the historic practice of Bamberg’s urban horticulture.
16. Luisenhain Park
A visit to any town or city isn’t complete until you’ve checked out the local green space, and Luisenhain Park is where you should head in Bamberg.
Located at the southern tip of the island in the middle of the city, you can reach the park with a pleasant walk from Bamberg Town Hall. It will take you under 15 minutes to reach the park’s entrance.
Once inside, you can wander the charming walking trails. And you’re never too far away from water, with the left and right arms of the River Regnitz on either side. The park also contains a botanical garden, an observation deck, memorials, historical landmarks, and several other buildings and places of note.
Best of all, Luisenhain Park is the perfect place to get away from the crowds, as, in spite of its beauty, it never seems to be overpopulated. And in summer, there’s a boat rental, so you can venture onto the calm waters of the Regnitz and let all your troubles drift away.
17. Explore the Countryside
Bamberg is nestled over seven green hills in the Upper Franconia region of Bavaria. Spending some time in the surrounding countryside offers rich rewards.
There are many hiking and biking trails available to suit all skill levels. From easy, family-friendly strolls to more challenging routes, you can choose something comfortable. See historical buildings, sun-kissed fields, dramatic rock formations, lazy waterways, and breweries!
In fact, one of the best ways to explore is to join a beer-themed hiking tour. Enjoy the Bavarian countryside and its quaint villages, all while ensuring you’re adequately refreshed.
See Related: The Ultimate German Food Tour
18. Take a Day Trip to Nuremberg
As much as day trips from Nuremberg to Bamberg are a popular way of visiting the town, it goes both ways! If you’re staying in Bamberg, you can reach the historically significant city of Nuremberg in under an hour.
There’s a lot to see and do in Nuremberg – one of Europe’s cutting-edge cities. Renowned for the trials of top Nazis, it’s also an essential hub of science, technology, art, and culture. And it boasts a beautiful medieval old town to boot.
Nuremberg Castle is one of the finest fortifications on the continent, the Documentation Center and Nazi Party Rally Grounds is a powerful museum, and, of course, the Nuremberg Zoo is world-famous. A sightseeing bus tour will take you around all the unmissable landmarks.
What are the top attractions in Bamberg?
Unmissable attractions in Bamberg include the Old Town Hall, the Bamberg Cathedral, the New Residence, and a tour of the old town itself. Wining (or rather beering) & dining at any number of the traditional Bavarian restaurants and breweries is also a must-do.
What are some fun things to do in Bamberg for families with children?
Altenburg Castle is a great educational stop for families with kids. The Museum of Natural History has an incredible Bird Hall – which is perfect for young, developing, curious minds. Boat trips on the River Regnitz are sure to keep them entertained, too. Further afield, they’ll be screaming to visit the Playmobil Fun Park in Nuremberg.
Are there any must-see historical landmarks in Bamberg?
The must-see historical landmarks include the Old Town Hall, the Cathedral, the New Residence, the Old Court, the Michelsberg Monastery, and just about any beautiful half-timbered building you will come across.
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With over 70 countries under his belt, Stuart is a well-seasoned globetrotter hailing from the UK, now living in Madison, Wisconsin. After traveling the world for seven years (including a hitchhike from Germany to Cambodia) his current mission is to visit all 50 states before turning 50 – something he’s going to fail to do if he keeps collecting board games.
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