One of the most magical towns to visit in Germany for wine aficionados, beer lovers, and fans of beautiful historic towns is right here in Northern Bavaria and Franconia is Würzburg, Germany.
We explored all the incredible things to see in Würzburg, Germany over a few days while exploring the Franconian region as well as Bavaria.
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This incredible Franconian town has its first records dating all the way back to 1000 BC as a former Celtic territory. Famous for its historical wine region dating back over 1000 years old famous for its local dry white varieties like Silvaner and surrounding vineyards.
Besides being famous for its prestigious wine and vineyards, Würzburg, Germany is also considered the gateway to Germany’s Romantic Road.
During the final days of World War II in 1945 around 90% of Würzburg, Germany was destroyed. It’s incredible to compare photos from 1945 to what you see today as the city was completely rebuilt and restored.
The city of Würzburg, Germany is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Würzburg Residence.
One of the most fascinating things to see in Würzburg Germany is the Würzburg Residence or Würzburger Residenz. This is the Baroque palace and was the former residence of the Prince-Bishops of Würzburg, Germany.
Completed in 1744, Würzburg Residence is still considered one of the finest and most ornate examples of a Baroque Palace not only in Germany but the world which landed it a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers daily tours through a few of its 300 rooms covered floor to ceiling with gorgeous details from frescos to tapestries and Bohemian chandeliers in the Baroque, Rococo, and Classist style rooms.
The completion of the palace took nearly 60 years and some of the highlights on the interior include the Neumann’s staircase with a gorgeous ceiling fresco representing different continents across the world.
Our favorite room was the Room of Mirrors included on the tour of the palace. We were shocked to learn that this room was completely destroyed at the final days of WWII in 1945 but were able to recreate the room with different photographs and a piece of mirror that survived the bombings. The entire room is covered from floor to ceiling with painted mirrors in Rococo style. We were just blown away by the sheer detail and beauty of all the mirrors in the room.
As a matter of fact, 90% of the city of Würzburg, Germany and the Residence itself was destroyed badly in 1945. However, you’d never be able to tell by visiting today.
Because of the different artists that worked inside of the palace from different countries in Rococo style, the work done by these artists in collaboration inside the palace has become its own style known as Würzburg Rococo.
After your tour, you can explore the Court Gardens at Würzburg Residence which are a site to see on their own and another incredible thing to see in Würzburg, Germany. They were finished in 1770 and have different sculptures and gorgeous gates in this beautifully manicured garden.
Old Main Bridge
One of our favorite things to do in Würzburg, Germany is sip on wine on the Old Main Bridge, or also known as Alte Mainbrücke in German connecting old town to the former fishermen’s quarter.
As we walked along the bridge we felt a striking resemblance to Charles Bridge in Prague with all the statues of saints leading across this footbridge, albeit much smaller than Charles Bridge. From the bridge, you can see a great view of Fortress Marienberg and the Franconian vineyards.
A fun fact, the saints on the bridge are actually from a tradition started in Rome knowns as the “Bridge of Angels.” Prague’s Charles Bridge did have saints on Charles Bridge before Würzburg, Germany but if you trace back the core of the bridge, the Old Main Bridge here actually is older than Charles Bridge.
The current bridge was started in 1476 and finally completed to its current state in 1703 replacing a Romanesque bridge that was here before it. The dozen statues of saints weren’t added until later in the 18th century around the late 1720s after Prague already added saints to Charles Bridge.
While the bridge itself is a thing to see in Würzburg, Germany itself one of the best parts is this becomes a hangout and gathering for locals on warm weather nights. You’ll see people gathering with their own packed picnics or glasses of the famous local Franconian wines bought at the shops on the end of the bridge near old town enjoying the view of the city and a fantastic sunset over the river.
This was easily one of our favorite memories and things to do here in Würzburg, Germany. Sipping on the delicious wine among everyone casually hanging out with their wine glasses was one of those moments where you just take it all in and live in the moment. A photo just doesn’t do this experience any justice, you will have to try it for yourself to see what we mean.
Another historic highlight of Germany and thing to see in Würzburg, Germany is Fortress Marienberg on the hill overlooking the city on the other side of Old Main Bridge. Towering above the city is the original castle for the prince-bishops and served as this for over several centuries.
However, the history goes much deeper than that, dating back to 704 AD this is where the first church in the city was placed. By the 13th century, there were walls built around the church becoming a fortress.
Today you see it as it’s Baroque self and can tour or just wander the beautiful gardens.
This was another site in the city, like many, that was almost completely destroyed in WWII during the bombings that took place over the course of a few days in 1945. Fortress Marienberg has been rebuilt and was completed in 1990.
Franconian Wine Tasting
Even though Würzburg, Germany is technically in Bavaria, beer country as we would say, it’s actually not really a ‘beer town.
Believe it or not one of the best things to see in Würzburg, Germany is to drink wine. Würzburg, Germany is in Franconia, which is the heart of the wine region here in Germany. The wine in this region has been being produced for over 1000 years!
There is even evidence and documentation from the year 777 that there was a winery here in Franconia given to Fudla Abbey by the famous Charlemagne. The point being, this is an ancient and famous wine region and we were shocked to learn this!
Today the wine culture here is still very prevalent and you can see vineyards below Fortress Marienberg as well as surrounding the city. Franconia is mostly known for its white wines including the local specialty Silvaner.
Of all the wines we tasted, we would say that the white wines here are very balanced, dry, and easy to drink.
Unlike the popular phrase, aging like a fine wine, the wine in this region is supposed to be drank within 1-3 years after its initial production for peak freshness and flavor.
Another notable trait about the wines from Franconia would be the unique bottle you can find them in. The bottle, known as a Bocksbeutel, is used for the best Franconian wines and is even protected by EU regulations. The bottle is flat and very round at the base, some even have a special raised seal on the side of the bottle to ensure the quality.
We just wish we would have left enough room in our suitcase to bring a few bottles back! Here are a few places you can drink the local Franconian wines in Würzburg, Germany.
Embark on a tour underground the gorgeous hospital/winery in another one of our top picks for things to see in Würzburg, Germany for wine lovers. Hospitals and wineries don’t seem to go hand in hand but here they do.
The winery actually funds the hospital and home for the elderly. The hospital is still functioning today but dates all the way back to 1576 by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Germany at the time.
The tour takes you through the underground cellar where there is one of the most impressive displays of large wooden wine barrels in a long room. There is also a few different stops for wine tasting as well as a chance to climb in one of the wine barrel’s narrow little hole the winemakers have to climb through to clean the inside of the barrel.
This was one of the few places that wasn’t hit as hard during the bombings in 1945, locals actually used the cellars for safety and refuge during the bombings.
It was really hard not to purchase a lot of the wine here, they were all very great dry whites, the kind we love and the bottle was so unique to us.
After the tour we recommend walking around and admiring the gardens around the hospital as well, they are their own thing to see in Würzburg, Germany as well. Also, if you don’t have time for a tour you can always do independent wine tasting at the restaurant on site.
Another great winery in Würzburg, Germany is Bürgerspital winery and restaurant. While you don’t have the option to tour the cellars here, you can enjoy a great meal with some wine tasting from another one of the finest wineries in Franconia.
This is considered one of the oldest and largest wineries in not only Franconia but Germany as well as have been awarded with many awards both domestically and internationally.
Just like Juliusspital, Bürgerspital too uses its profits to fund several homes for the elderly and a geriatric rehabilitation center and clinic.
Your mind can be at ease when drinking these fine Franconian wines as you’re helping the local community with each sip! We thought this was actually really incredible as we will have gone on to several breweries after visiting Würzburg, Germany who also fund the elderly homes. It’s heartwarming to see that companies in Germany look after their elderly the way they do.
Visit the Cathedrals & Churches
One of the best things to see in Würzburg, Germany are the churches and cathedrals and chapels in the city!
Our favorite looking church is St. Mary’s Chapel or Marienkapelle in the central market square. I mistakenly thought this massive red and white chapel was a cathedral, I was corrected by a local. The façade is gorgeous and unmistakable.
However, this chapel actually has a bit of a dark history. During the plague of the 14th century, the mass deaths were somehow blamed on the city’s Jewish community. This got violent and they replaced the synagogue with this chapel in its location.
The most notable cathedral in the city is Würzburg Cathedral, also known as Dom Saint Kilian, a Roman Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Bishop in Würzburg, Germany. This is also the final resting place for the previous Prince-Bishops of the city.
Sadly, this was another building that was badly damaged in WWII, but it has since been rebuilt.
Another notable thing to see in Würzburg, Germany is the Käppele, or Little Chapel on the hill on the other side of the river. You might notice this chapel off in the distance and recognize the unique towers.
Leading up to the chapel on the hill are the 14 stations of the cross. You can even see these from the distance as the look like little buildings on either side leading up to the main chapel.
Visiting requires a little more effort, but is a great thing to see in Würzburg, Germany if you have the time.
You can learn more about the rest of the churches, chapels, and cathedrals in Würzburg, Germany here.
Hit up Würzburg Germany’s Beer Gardens
Even though Würzburg, Germany is famous for its Franconian wine that doesn’t mean you won’t find some of the fine German beers here as well. After all, you’re technically in Bavaria!
While you won’t find these beer gardens open in the winter, they do open up in the spring. We were just arriving as they were opening up for spring.
While there are quite a few beer gardens to enjoy and we definitely think these should be high on your list for things to see in Würzburg, Germany we picked our top two picks. So grab a beer, sit back, and relax in one of these fine beer gardens.
Alter Kranen, or the Old Crane beer garden is located along the river right next to the Old Main Bridge. Located quite literally at the Old Crane that was used to lift goods easily off boats in the river and is one of the landmarks in Würzburg, Germany.
The outdoor seating area is quiet lovely surrounded by trees and along the river. This is the perfect place to grab a beer, or two, or three and even grab a good beer snack like a pretzel.
Located on the opposite side of the river is the Goldene Gans, or Golden Goose beer garden brewery and Wirtshaus. What’s great about this beer garden is if you happen to be visiting in the winter you can also dine in and still try their beer or eat a hearty Franconian meal.
You are also rewarded with views of the Main River near the Old Main Bridge!
Würzburg Germany Markets
One of the best market experiences and things to see in Würzburg, Germany is the Green Market in Market Square next to Marienkapelle chapel and the permanent Specialty Market.
The green markets focus on fresh produce like local vegetables and fruits that are in season and even flowers. During our visit there were also some food stands as well as local crafts and pottery.
This was really fun to explore and the Green Market runs on every day with an exception of Sunday, Monday, & Thursday so it’s easy to plan a visit.
Here are the hours:
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday: 7 am – 6 pm
Saturdays 7 am – 4 pm
The only exception to this location is when the Christmas Markets are in place. The Christmas Markets use this location and the Green Market moves to Grafeneckart Square.
The Specialty Market is another thing to see in Würzburg, Germany. This permanent market is under the glass roof next to Marienkapelle chapel and can’t be missed if you’re exploring this area.
This market is focused on locally sourced products, you can find everything from local spirits and wine here to some snacks like the local sausage, getnickte.
You can tell which is the most popular spot to get the local sausage snack judging by the lines!
One of the most enchanting times of the year to visit storybook villages like Würzburg, Germany is during winter where you can attend the Christmas Markets in Market Square!
The tradition of Christmas Markets here date back to the 19th century and there are over 120 vendors and stalls selling unique products from glass to wooden toys and even delicious holiday food like gingerbread.
You’ll want to bring a friend to snack around the food stalls and don’t forget the local version of mulled wine, Glühwein, which is perfect to warm you up on a cold night.
The Christmas Market typically runs from the end of November through Christmas and are open 7 days a week until around 8:30 pm at night.
Würzburg Germany Beer Festivals
Easily our favorite thing to see in Würzburg, Germany are the beer festivals! Everyone has seen photos or footage of Munich’s famous Oktoberfest, but what many don’t realize is that there are actually hundreds of beer festivals around Germany all in different seasons! Some of the best are right here in Würzburg, Germany too!
We are fortunate enough to be able to experience both this year. During this visit we attended the smaller Spring Volksfest which has the typical German beer festival set up, a carnival with an amazing beer tent with live music, men and women decked out in their lederhosen and dirndl, and incredible food and beer!
In July the Killani Beer Festival takes place in the summer in the month of July named after Saint Killani. This is one of the oldest beer festivals in Germany and is actually over 800 years older than Oktoberfest in Munich.
Würzburg Germany Wine Festival
When you’re in the historical Franconian wine country that’s been around for over 1000 years you have multiple options for local wine experiences to enjoy like wine tasting mentioned above and one of their many wine festivals that take place throughout the year.
It’s hard to find out when ALL the wine festivities take place here in Würzburg, Germany because there are so many. The tourism website has a list of some of the most significant ones, some of which take place at the same time as the beer festivals where you can double down on your local drinking specialties!
This is easily one of the best experiences and things to see in Würzburg, Germany.
$ GHOTEL & Living
This is a great option for where to stay in Würzburg, Germany right next to the Würzburg Hbf train station. The rooms are modern and comfortable with a great breakfast spread. We recommend requesting a room on the higher floors with a view of the city. It was great waking up each morning with a floor to ceiling view of Würzburg, Germany.
$$ Mercure Hotel
This trendy hotel has a perfect location across the Main River if you’re looking to attend any of the beer festivals in the city. The walk to the Old Main Bridge is less than 5 minutes from here and the rooms are trendy.
$$ Greifensteiner Hof
This is a great location in the heart of Old Town in Würzburg, Germany. The rooms are cozy and laid back with beautiful modern furniture offering a gorgeous garden patio restaurant. This is the perfect location if you’re looking to be centrally located.
If you’re making your way all the way out here consider checking out the gorgeous, medieval city of Regensburg, Germany as well.
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