Bamberg: The Complete Guide

© 2024 Andrew Ashton

Situated in Upper Franconia, Germany, near the confluence of the Regnitz and Main rivers, Bamberg is a town with a rich history dating back to the 9th century, deriving its name from the nearby Babenberch castle. Renowned for its exceptional beauty, the old town of Bamberg is considered one of Germany’s most captivating destinations, characterized by its medieval streets and the largest intact old city wall in Europe. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, Bamberg’s preservation of its historical charm is widely celebrated.

During the 10th century, Bamberg played a significant role as a vital connection to the Slavic peoples, particularly those in Poland and Pomerania. Its fortunes thrived from the 12th century onwards, briefly serving as the center of the Holy Roman Empire. Notably, Emperor Henry II and his wife Kunigunde were laid to rest in the old town. The architectural influence of Bamberg from this era left an indelible mark on the regions of Northern Germany and Hungary. The bishops, who became princes of the Empire in the middle of the 13th century, governed Bamberg and oversaw the construction of grand edifices that contributed to the town’s growth. Acquiring substantial portions of the estates of the Counts of Meran, both by purchase and appropriation of extinguished fiefs, further bolstered its prosperity.

Following the secularization of church lands in 1802, Bamberg lost its independence and became part of Bavaria in 1803. The town’s integration with the German rail system in 1844 significantly influenced its infrastructure. After the Bavarian Soviet Republic took control over Bavaria in the aftermath of World War I, the state government sought refuge in Bamberg for nearly two years before Munich was recaptured by Freikorps units. In Bamberg, the first republican constitution of Bavaria, known as the Bamberger Verfassung (Bamberg Constitution), was enacted.

Following the Second World War, Bamberg played a crucial role as a base for the Bavarian, German, and later American military stationed at Warner Barracks until its closure in 2014.

Visiting Bamberg for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Bamberg on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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Tours and Activities from Bamberg

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