Bamberg City Travel Guide

The Unesco World Heritage site of Bamberg in Bavaria, Germany. If you’re heading to Germany to visit the world-famous Christmas market in Nuremberg, why not head north on a day trip to see Bamberg?

Use the tabs below to start planning your trip to Bamberg, Germany.

View of Bamberg Altes Rathaus by David Mark


Found in Franconia, a northern region of Bavaria, and just 40 miles north of Nuremberg. Bamberg is famous for its well-photographed Old Town Hall. A timber structure dating from 1386 that straddles the Regnitz River.

The “cannot be missed” things to do in Bamberg are all within in walking distance of the Old Town Hall. Much of Bamberg is packed with history and original architecture from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Just like the Old Town Hall, much of the city center sits on an island thanks to the Regnitz River. Shortly before the Main River reaches Bamberg, it splits in two to form the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the Regnitz. 

The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal flows right through the center of Bamberg. A major channel for commercial traffic, forming part of the waterway running from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

City of Seven Hills

Much of the city center is flat but Bamberg is set over seven hills. A religious building is found at the top of each hill. 

The most visited hill is Michaelsberg with the Benedictine monastery Michaelsberg Abbey sitting high above Bamberg. A real pull for tourists due to the impressive views of the city from the terrace.

Bamberg’s Rauchbier

Like Munich, Bamberg has a strong history of brewing beer. If you visit Bamberg, one beer you shouldn’t leave before trying is Rauchbier, literally translated as “smoke beer”. 

Some say it tastes of Black Forest Ham, or Schwarzwaldschinken. It certainly smells like smoked ham. You’ll have to try and see for yourself.

Facts About Bamberg

The town dates back to the 9th century.

Today the population of Bamberg is roughly 76,500

In 1993, the old town of Bamberg was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The largest intact old city wall in Europe is found in Bamberg, dating from medieval times.

During World War II, only a small part of Bamberg was affected, making it one of the most authentic and untouched Bavarian cities.

Little Venice in Bamberg taken by Gerhard for Pixabay

Sightseeing in Bamberg

While Bamberg is a small place compared to Munich and Berlin, you will not be stuck for things to see in Bamberg. 

The city is packed with historic buildings dating from medieval times. And there are no fewer than nine breweries in Bamberg. Beer is a very important part of Bamberg’s culture. One beer you must try is Rauchbier.

We’ve answered some of the most important questions about Bamberg below. Click on the dropdowns to find out more.

The tourist information center in Bamberg is on Geyerswörthstraße, close to the Old Town Hall and the Rose Garden of Geyerswörth.

The opening hours are seasonal:

April – October

Monday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm, Saturday 9:30 am – 3 pm and Sunday 9:30 am – 2 pm

November – March

Monday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm, Saturday 9:30 am – 3 pm and Sunday 9:30 am – 2 pm

For more information and to check opening times, visit the website.

Start your sightseeing by the Old Town Hall. Many things to do are found within a few minutes walk of the Old Town Hall in the center of the city.

The Altstadt has most of the main tourist attractions. Much of the newer part of the city center is made up of shops, restaurants and cafes.

Explore all the bridges around the Old Town Hall, Altes Rathaus, before moving on to the streets and winding their way through the Altstadt of Bamberg.

Follow signs, and the incline, to the Bamberg Cathedral, opposite the New Residenz and its Rose Garden.

And finally after a much steeper climb, visit Michaelsberg and its Abbey for a magnificent view of the red roofs of Bamberg.

It is possible to try Rauchbier all across the city of Bamberg and further afield. If you want try the smoked beer in an authentic atmosphere, we recommend trying it at the brewery Schlenkerla.

After visiting the historic landmarks of Bamberg, sipping a Rauchbier in a historic brewery is one of the top things to do in Bamberg.

Schlenkerla can be considered a tourist hotspot, and rightly so. It is an authentic German bar experience. The food is traditional Bavarian cuisine, including pork knuckle, beef brisket and mashed potatoes.

The downside of Schlenkerla is that it can get busy. Having said that, there are plenty of other beer gardens, bars and restaurants where you can sample German smoked beer.

We recommend Spezial Keller for the views as well as the food. Alternatively, try Fässla Brewery on Obere Königstraße. But be prepared to share a table!

As the City of Seven Hills, you can take your pick of high places to view this medieval town from a different angle. We’ve mentioned the views of Bamberg before on our Blog.

To the southwest of the city, behind the Old Town Hall, you can head up the hills of Bamberg to catch the best view from above. Here are two good places to enjoy the views.

Kloster Michelsberg is close to the heart of Bamberg. On top of Michelsberg, the monastery has a great terrace to take it all in from. There are a couple of different ways to get to the monastery, either way you choose it is a steep climb so take your time. Once you’re at the top, there’s even a café on the terrace.

Spezial Keller is a Biergarten set just outside of Bamberg, so the view is a little further away.  It’s just a ten minute walk from the Old Town Hall, again, this is a steep walk to the top. This biergarten is quintessentially German. Perfect for a sunny afternoon or evening.

Tourist Attractions

Depending on your interests there are many places to see and things to do in Bamberg. The tourist attractions are in five categories to help you plan your stay in Bamberg.

Click on a category below to read more about the tourist attractions in Bamberg.

View of Bamberg Cathedral and the New Residenz by tma for Pixabay

Altes Rathaus – Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall in the Altstadt of Bamberg is the most iconic landmark of Bamberg. It would be hard for tourists to come to Bamberg and miss this building.

Legend has it that the Bishop of Bamberg would not grant the townsfolk land for a Town Hall. In defiance, the Bambergers stuck stakes into the Regnitz and created an artificial island for their Town Hall to sit upon. Others say it was built spanning the river as a form of protection.

Originally built in 1386 and extended over the years, it is a masterpiece of Baroque & Rococo architecture. Colorful frescoes painted by Anwander and re-created in the 1960s adorn the newer part.

Neue Residenz

Found on a hill above the Altstadt and only a few minutes walk away from the Old Town Hall. Opposite Bamberg’s Cathedral, the Neue Residenz and Bamberger Dom tower over the town from Domberg

Built in the 17th century in a Renaissance style, the Neue Residenz was built in two stages. Until 1802 it was the residence of the Bamberg prince-bishops.

Secularization saw the residence fall under the ownership of the Wittelsbach family who lived there until the revolution of 1918. Later in the early 20th century, the Residenz became a museum.

Today, the Neue Residenz has several apartments open to visitors as well as the beautiful Rose Garden that sits upon a terrace overlooking the city.

Bamberger Dom

Bamberg Cathedral was founded in 1002 and sits right above the old town. This cathedral is home to Pope Clement II’s tomb (1005-47). His tomb makes this the only papal grave north of the Alps and the only one in Germany.

The current building was completed in the 13th century after the two previous cathedrals were burned down. It is an excellent example of late Romanesque architecture with four towers roughly 80 metres high.

The cathedral also houses Der Bamberger Reiter (the Bamberg Horseman). It is said to depict the Hungarian King Stephen I and dates from the 13th century. Historians say this is the oldest statue of a horseman sculpted in post-Roman Germany.

State Gallery in the Neue Residenz

Exhibiting part of the Bavarian State Paintings Collection, the gallery displays Old-German (late Gothic and early Renaissance) and Baroque masterpieces.

ETA Hoffmann Theatre

After buildings on Schillerplatz were converted into a theatre, this became home to one of the first cities to employ an ensemble. ETA Hoffman was employed as the music director in 1808. There’s a packed program each month, it’s worth checking the website for performances that might tickle your fancy. 

Bamberg’s Puppet Theatre

Today’s Puppet Theatre was founded in the 1960s by Klaus Loose a former travelling puppeteer. The Staub’sche House is the home of this unusual theatre. Classics from Baroque and Romanesque periods are acted out in the most authentic 19th century setting.

Bamberg’s Music Scene

Bamberg has a lively music scene including a Jazz Club, regular performances by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, and serenades in the Neue Residenz Rose Garden. For more information, visit Bamberg’s Tourist Website

If you’d like to go on a guided tour in Bamberg, even though the city is small, you still have a few to choose from. There’s a few walking tours and a great bus tour.

The Bambergbus

This bus offers tourists a hop-on hop-off service. This isn’t technically a guided tour, but a tourist bus taking you around the main things to do in Bamberg. You buy a day ticket and can hop on the bus all day long. The bus stops are dotted around the town, there are fifteen stops in total. The bus timetable is available online with a list of the stops. 

Bamberg’s iTour Guide

An alternative version to a walking tour is available from the Tourist Information Office on Geyerswörthstraße.

The itour Guide is an audiovisial experience providing a guided tour on a PDA device. The itour provides the user with information, history and stories about the city as you make your way around.

For more information about the itour Guide, visit the tourist information page. 


A five day folks festival to celebrate the consecration of the St Elisabeth Church. Today, it is a place to drink beer around the historic streets and bridges of Bamberg. There’s a real merriness in the air.

Over 200,000 people come together to celebrate the Sandkerwa Volksfest every year. It’s held at the end of August every year.

To fund the festival. there is a small entrance fee to pay. Before 6pm entrance is free, after 6pm a badge must be purchased, there are daily badges for €2.50 and a five day badge for €6.

There’s live music, fair ground rides and lots of beer to drink.

The location is centered around the Altstadt on Untere Sandstrasse, Obere Sandstrasse and Am Leinritt opposite Little Venice.

Christmas Markets in Bamberg

Christmas Markets are a great thing to do in Bamberg during the colder months. It’s a good time to visit the city as the crowds of summer have disappeared.

Christmas lights add an extra glow to Bamberg, and the smells of chestnuts and gluhwein are welcoming after an afternoon of sightseeing.

Open from late November. Bamberg has a large square called Maximiliansplatz, large events and the weekly market are hosted here. During the run up to Christmas, this is where Bamberg’s Weihnachtsmarkt is held daily from the last week of November to the 23rd December.

Open from 9:30 – 20:00 Monday to Saturday and from 11:00 – 20:00 on Sunday.

Another Christmas market in Bamberg is the Adventsmarkt im Sand. Open on the two days before and the first day of Advent. It is a small Christmas market with roughly 30 stalls selling produce from the region as well as gifts and Christmas decorations. It’s held on Obere Sandstrasse, a beautiful timbered street. The setting is magical.


Where to Stay in Bamberg

Bamberg is not a big city and most of the tourist attractions are in Altstadt or within walking distance of Altstadt.

Make sure you’re staying close enough to the main things to do in Bamberg. If you are travelling to the city by car, there are long stay car parks dotted around if your hotel does not have parking.

Here is our list of recommended hotels in Bamberg close to the main tourist area:

Welcome Hotel Villa Geyerswörth ($$$)

A central location but in a quiet corner of the city. It is also conveniently located near to the Tourist Information Center. A good choice to stay at in summer as many of the rooms are air-conditioned. Hotel guests are welcome to relax in the gardens surrounding the hotel.

Altstadt Hotel Molitor ($$)

If you like charming accommodation, you’ll love this hotel. This is a small hotel in an old building with lots of charm. The location is very central and the staff are friendly, too.

ibis Bamberg Altstadt ($)

A good budget option if you’d like to stay in a central location. The rooms are modern and a buffet breakfast is an option in the morning. There is an underground garage if needed.

View of Bamberg Old Town Hall from the River Regnitz by Th G for Pixabay

Where to eat in Bamberg

This Bavarian city is bursting with beer gardens serving excellent local cuisine. Expect to share a table at some of the more traditional restaurants.

We’ve rounded up our favourites below.

Spezial Keller 

This biergarten is right on top of Obere Stefansberg, the view is extraordinary. Local Bamberg residents come here with their own “Abendbrot” – evening bread – and just buy the beverages to drink with their “packed dinner”.


Traditional German food in Obere Sandstrasse, a stone’s throw from the Old Town Hall. The food served includes pork knuckles, sauerkraut and the traditional potato dumplings. Wash it all down with a good beer. It’s possible to eat outside even if it’s raining, it’s a good spot to people watch from while you eat.


If you’re interested in the traditional evening meal families up and down Germany eat, then you need to head to Stoehrenkeller. The small restaurant is a quick walk from the tourist hotspots up to Obere Stefansberg. This is Abendbrot – excellent bread served with Leberwurst, cheeses, ham and Obazda.

Salino Holzofenpizza

When you fancy something a little different from the traditional German cuisine, you won’t go wrong ordering a pizza here. The outside dining area is a gem and the pizza is excellent.

Getting Around Bamberg

Airports close to Bamberg

There is a small airport near Bamberg in Nuremberg. Budget airlines use this airport so it might be possible to get a connecting flight here. Otherwise you’re best to fly into Munich Airport (MUC) or Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA).

Distance to Bamberg

  • Frankfurt am Main Airport to Bamberg 213 km
  • Munich Airport to Bamberg is 220 km

Using the train to travel to Bamberg
Connections to Bamberg from Frankfurt am Main or Munich are very simple. There are ICE and Regional trains regularly. It is likely that you will need to make a change.

The train to Bamberg from Munich Airport can take between 2 hours 30 minutes and 3 hours with a change at Munich Main Train Station and in Nuremberg.

The train to Bamberg from Frankfurt am Main can take around 2 hours 30 minutes with one change in Wurzburg.

Bamberg Train Station to Bamberg City Center

Bamberg is a small city, there isn’t a U-Bahn. There is a good bus network, taxis are readily available and the city can be easily explored by foot.

Getting to the city center from the train station

The train station in Bamberg is located close to the town center. It would take you about 20 minutes to walk to the Old Town Hall, it is one mile away.

If you prefer to take a taxi, there is a taxi rank outside the train station. It is best to have cash ready for the taxi fare. The journey will take about 5 – 10 minutes depending on traffic.

Alternatively, you can ride the bus from the train station. There are several busses stopping at the main train station heading towards Bamberg ZOB (Bamberg’s main bus station in the center of town). From the ZOB, it is a 5-minute walk to the Old Town Hall.

Shopping in Bamberg

Bamberg has a great shopping area, a long stretch has been pedestrianized. This area has a few global clothing chains you’ll recognize, many of the shops are German-wide chains. In the pedestrianized zone of Bamberg you’ll also find a few pharmacies and drugstores.

Across the bridges onto Obere Sandstrasse, you’ll find more shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Most of the shops in the smaller, medieval streets are independent. You’ll find shops selling kitchenware, gifts, clothing, and locally produced food specialties.

You could easily spend a good few hours window shopping or browsing the small, independent shops in Bamberg. Luckily, there’s plenty of cafes along the way to keep you refreshed and energized.

Bamberg at Night by Denny Franzkowiak for Pixabay

It’s good to note that shops don’t tend to open on a Sunday in most parts of Germany.