Traveling through the German countryside is absolutely stunning. Visiting Bamberg has been on a travel list of mine for several years now, and I am happy to say that I FINALLY WENT!
Bamberg is located in Upper Bavaria where two rivers meet in the Altestadt, the Regnitz and Main. This city is beautiful and well-known in Germany for its rauschbier style.
When visiting a city (or town) for a day, it is important to think about what types of activities or places you like to see. I suggest researching ahead of time to make a list. The night before or morning of, go over that list and think about what places you reeeeally want to see, and where would be nice to see if you have time, and go from there!
For me, visiting Bamberg, the top of my list included several different breweries with specialties of beer, the Bamberger Dom, the Rotengarten in the Residenz, and Kleine Venedig along the river. I was interested in these places for several reasons: I love seeing the historical architecture of large churches and cathedrals in Europe. There is something so exceptionally impressive to me about the way these are built, how much time and energy went into creating beautiful places of worship. I also love visiting gardens, and Rococo style gardens are always gorgeous because of how meticulous the different plants and flowers are placed around the space. Walking along waterfronts tend to include stunning views and comfort to be near water. And I save the fun for last: bier. I love trying a regions drink specialties, and Germany is FILLED with different traditions of beer! There’s also wine, but that’s for other blog posts 🙂
Visiting Bamberg for just a day is worth starting with breakfast. I started at the Zueckerstueck near the Bamberger Dom and was not disappointed. The kitsch-inside and pleasant sidewalk seats made for a perfect morning taste. I shared the vegetarian quiche, schoko-torte (brownie-esque slice of heaven), and a pasteis de nata (custard tart shipped from Portugal). I also had a eistee which was peach and fruit tea, very refreshing on a sunny morning! I was told their espresso is also fantastic for those coffee drinkers out there. From there, I was ready to start moving about the city!
The altestadt and surrounding areas aren’t actually that far apart, making it fairly easy to see the majority of the sights. I was particularly interested in trying some of Bamberg’s traditional rauchbiers, and decided to slowly make my way to a couple of the brauerei. Before crossing one of the bridges over the river, walking along the water to see Kleine Venedig, which is a row of half-timbered houses squished together that used to be where the local fishermen lived. It is said the houses were built in the Middle Ages, and now have little gardens along the waterfront to view with the historic houses.
Beers in Bamberg
Of the breweries I found, I made time to visit three: Brauerei Fässla, Brauerei Spezial, and Schlenkerla. There were a few other breweries I did not have time to visit. Each of these brauerei had a certain tradition of the beer making process that they have followed for centuries, and this is what interested me in them (and their close proximity to the centre). Märzen beer is generally quite dark, is bottom-fermented, and at these breweries was available as a smoked beer. I had the Rauchbier Weizen at Schlenkerla which was a dark beer, considering it is a wheat, and tasted of light smokiness and hints of bacon; it went lovely with the stuffed onion dish. Schlenkerla is the oldest brewery, dating back to 1405, they still tap beer from wooden kegs. My favourite beer of the afternoon was the Spezial Weissbier. At Brauerei Spezial, they smoke the malt by open beechwood fires for 24 hours. This brewery is from 1536 and four of five of their beers are smoked. I’m always a sucker for a wheat beer, but this one was so unique to me. The top-fermented, unfiltered wheat added such diverse flavours. It had a light smokiness as well, was not overpowering, but had a sweetish taste with apple and cloves.
Some other beers consumed were: Spezial Rauchbier Märzen, Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen, Fässla Lagerbier and Gold-Pils. Brauerei Fässla is from 1649, they have six beers to choose from (including a dark unfiltered wheat beer) and still use water from a well 60 meters deep. Each of the beers had their own style and taste which made for a very delightful afternoon. I recommend ordering food while sipping through the city. I love a lot of German food, and Franken-style is added to the delights. Potato pancakes, beer-sausage, rye bread, and pork meat are all great options.
Essentially: eat, drink, and walk through the beautiful cobble-stoned streets!