Bamberg

Bamberg, a part of Bavaria, is a distinctly German town—with an American flair thanks to the large U.S. Army base there. This riverside town boasts 1,000 years of history, along with cathedral, a world-renown symphony orchestra, and some of the best breweries in a country known for its good beer.

There’s even more to Bamberg, which is why the United Nations included the city on its list of World Heritage Sites. Every day, tour guides show off Bamberg’s heritage. They lead visits through hidden gardens, 19th-century houses once home to Bamberg’s famous market growers, and the churches. Visitors also have the chance to tour by cycle, follow storytellers, and see the very place where entrepreneur Levi Strauss was born, long before he invented blue jeans.

Bamberg Cathedral

Bamberg Cathedral
Bamberg Cathedral

By the time Strauss came on the scene in 1829, the Bamberg Cathedral was a part of the community for 800 years. Officially called St. Peter’s and St. George’s Imperial Cathedral, the structure has served as a place of worship, city gathering place, and tourist stop. The building that stands today dates from the 1200s, after the originals were lost to fire. As you look up to the spires, you’ll see a combination of Gothic and Romanesque styles of architecture. Other distinctive elements of the chapel include a statue of a rider astride a horse, called the Bamberger Reiter in German. Scholars aren’t sure exactly who the rider is, but it’s likely Stephen I, who was king of Hungary in the 13th century. The cathedral also is the only final resting place for a pope not located in France, Italy, or the Vatican. Clement II served as the bishop of Bamburg before becoming pope in 1046, a role he held for only 12 months before his death. More than a 1,000 years later, the cathedral is still a popular place for tours and concerts.

Old Town Hall - Neue Residenz – Imperial Castle

Old Town Hall - Neue Residenz – Imperial Castle
Old Town Hall - Neue Residenz – Imperial Castle

When UNESCO choose Bamberg as a World Heritage Site, it took into account both the number of historical buildings and their importance. For an entire millennium, Bamberg’s movers and shakers have been producing buildings both useful and ornate. The Old Town Hall is interesting for its design, but the stories behind it and the frescos are what’s interesting. As the legend goes, the city was never granted land to build a city hall, so the citizens built their much-needed Rococo city hall on an man-made island on the Regnitz River. The Neue Residenz on Cathedral Square provided a home to some of Bamberg’s rulers—the Prince Bishops. Tours of palaces are some of the most popular things to do in Bamberg Germany, especially when combined with a cathedral visit. The surrounding rose garden is simply beautiful in the summertime. The third important building, the Imperial Castle also is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The surrounding gardens also are a fantastic site to visit while in Bamberg Germany.

River Cruise Germany

River Cruise Germany
River Cruise Germany

The Regnitz River is only 36 miles long, but this tributary of the Main River has been an important part of Bamberg’s history. A canal connects Bamberg Germany to the Rhine River — the same waterway that is popular on European and German river cruises. Bamberg is a standard stop on many of these tours and often a favorite stopover. From there, it’s not hard to reach the Danube River to continue a tour by water.

Bamberg Hotels & Lodging

Bamberg Hotels & Lodging
Bamberg Hotels & Lodging

If you’re not staying on the river cruise, you’ll have plenty of choices for overnight accommodations in Bamberg. Whether you’re looking for a sleek, modern hotel or a rambling bed-and-breakfast inn, you’ll find it in town. Those traveling on tight budgets can choose one of the hostels or even go camping.

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