Thousands of years old Würzburg is the gateway to the legendary romantic road, which leads on to Füssen. The city falls under the picturesque Bavaria and is a major wine producing region playing host to several wine fairs in summer.
As the fate had it World war II heavy bombing nearly destroyed the city (Dresden anyone?) and the whole city was rebuilt over the years. After the war the town became an important US military base and is thus no alien to US culture.
How to reach Würzburg
Flight: The closest airports are in Frankfurt and Munich, from where you can easily catch a high speed train to Würzburg.
Train: Take the high speed ICE train which takes about 1.5 hours from Frankfurt.
Getting around Würzburg
Buses and trams: The city has a well laid out public transport which includes an efficient bus and tram connectivity. Visit this excellent resource for all the public transport details in Würzburg. The site is in German but Google translate has an excellent English translation for it.
Top attractions of Würzburg
The glorious 18th century Würzburger Residence is the landmark of the city. Listed in UNESCO World Heritage the building is known for its brilliant staircase, a Baroque masterpiece. By the staircase is a large fresco painted by the famous Italian artist Giovanni Batiste Tiepolo. In-fact the fresco spanning over 67 square meters is considered to be the largest in the world.
Whichever section of the residence you visit the details are so intricate that you will have hard time believing that the building was nearly destroyed in the World war II. As you admire the beauty of the palace imagine the painstaking effort that was put in to restore the building to its former glory.
Other highlights of Würzburger Residence include the Chapel built in rococo (late Baroque known for being extra ornamental) style, and the room with mirrors. And yeah, don’t miss out on the beautifully landscaped gardens. They are free to roam, you can go even if you don’t buy the ticket to the palace.
You are free to explore the residence but guided tour is recommended to get a better understanding. English tours are available but run only at specific time during the day. Sadly, photography is not allowed inside (maybe to help sell more postcards?).
English tour – 11am, 1.30pm, 3pm. Entry fee: €7.50
Located in old town is the old bridge over the River Maine. The bridge with its numerous statues will somewhat remind you of Charles bridge in Prague. The statues are baroque in style and are mainly of Christian saints associated with the city of Würzburg. Construction of the bridge lasted several decades and was finally completed in year 1543. Take a walk in the late evening and enjoy the view of Marienberg Fortress and the cathedral from the bridge.
The Marienburg fortress is situated on the western bank of the river on top of Marien hill towering to a height of 260 meters. The castle is surrounded by fortifications and moat to protect it from invaders. The hike up could be challenging if you are not fit, take the longer route through the vineyards which is less steep. Once you are at the top you would be rewarded with magnificent views of the city.
The castle was used as residence of prince-bishops before it was moved to Würzburger Residenz. There are several courtyards inside which you can explore for free.
English guided tours are available but have limited availability.
The central square is a bustling hub of people and architecture. There is no dearth of restaurant, cafes and bars where you can just right walk in and enjoy a meal or a glass of wine. If you looking to buy a souvenir there are many small shops and street vendors.
It’s worth to come here during Christmas for the Christmas market and the beautiful decorations. Feel free to browse, the sellers are friendly and won’t try to push a sale on you (Vietnam anyone? Check my Vietnam trip diary).
Check out the old buildings most prominent of those are Kilian’s Church and Falkenhaus. Falkenhaus with its beautiful façade is now a tourist information office, the building once belonged to a wealthy family.
In the months of May-June the square plays host to Mozartfestival (Mozart the symphony dude) – a musical extravaganza with free concerts.
St. Kilian Cathedral
The old Cathedral of St. Kilian is stands in dedication to the Irish saint, St. Kilian. The original building dates back to 11th century but was rebuilt after it was destroyed in the year 1967. The Cathedral is considered one of the biggest Romanesque church in the country and is known for its simple (plain white walls) but elegant interior. When you are there, do check out the Schönborn Chapel with skeletons at the entrance. Also, worth exploring is the crypt where the prince bishops are buried.
Entry to the church is free.
Happy Traveling! Hope you have great fun!