Last weekend was one of the first weekends that really felt like spring or early summer. It was sunny and already rather warm. So I decided to make a short trip to the wonderful old city of Bamberg. The medieval town of Bamberg is not totally unique for its old, crooked houses and narrow, organic streets but for sure it‘s one of the most lovely cities if you want to experience what city life in Europe must have looked liked maybe 500 years ago. Also Bamberg‘s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
Of course there‘s the famous Alte Rathaus, the old townhall, on a tiny island in the middle of the river Regnitz, there‘s the Bamberger Dom, the majestic Bamberg cathedral on one of Bamberg‘s seven hills with the huge Domplatz or cathedral square right in front of it. But I want to take you a little bit further to the Neue Residenz which contours the other half of the cathedral square on the opposite site of the church. Part of the Neue Residenz is a beautiful baroque Rosengarten, a rose garden. But it‘s not the roses I want to point you to but instead walk a little bit further towards the balustrade. There you have a magnificent view over Bamberg with its seven hills, each one of them is topped by a different church, and the incredible diverse and even chaotic roofscape of the medieval town houses of Bamberg.
1/320, f/9, ISO 200, 230 mm, Lumix DMC-GX8
But Bamberg is not only famous for its picturesque buildings, churches, hills or the world heritage. The city is also densely populated by idyllic beer gardens scattered all across the old town. You could almost say that on every major hill there‘s not only a church but also a beer garden on top. And you can imagine how beautiful these shady beer gardens are during a sunny weekend.
I want to mention three beer gardens here, but I‘m sure there are other ones as well which are worth noting. First of all there‘s the Schlenkerla, the most famous beer tavern offering the traditional Rauchbier, a smoked beer, which is located right in the city centre. Technically this tavern also has a little beer garden but usually you would want to sit inside with the Gothic ceiling right above you. If the weather is nice you can also grab your glass of beer and just stand in front of the old tavern from 1405 right in the middle of the street. There are some tiny tables where you can rest your glass upon. These places are highly coveted during the famous Sandkerwa, an annual fair right within the narrow streets of the city centre in late August.
Next there‘s the Greifenklau, another beer brewery located on one of the hills of Bamberg. You have to walk uphill for a little while through quiet neighborhoods of old houses to get to this almost secret beer garden in the north east of Bamberg. I would say that the Greifenklau is the one beer garden that is still most original, most Franconian. You can find a lot of locals there, people who just sit and drink their glass of beer or enjoy some of the basic food. This is where I had my lunch and all I got there was very delicious. So don‘t get intimidated by the a bit rustic but original look.
Third and lastly I want to mention the Spezial Keller. This beer garden is particularly famous because of its wonderful view across the city landscape, the greenery, the hills and churches. Also situated on another of Bamberg‘s hills it‘s close to the local astronomical observatory. There are some beautiful old trees and it‘s probably the one beer garden which is best suited for families and kids. The food is ok but nothing special, so don‘t expect too much and instead stick to the more basic dishes or just enjoy your beer or even your cup of coffee if it‘s that what you want. Don‘t miss the opportunity to take a photo up there, it‘s definitely one of the most scenic places of Bamberg.
So of course this list is not complete and of course there‘s much more to see and explore when strolling through the old streets of Bamberg. Just give yourself one or two days, preferably during the summer months and experience this wonderful, idyllic place full of history and culture by yourself.