Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt – you may have been there, done that. Behnaz Sanjana curates some lesser-known regions of Bavaria that offer captivating charm and riveting stories that will stay in your memory long after you’ve left.
ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
Literally translating to ‘red fortress above the river Tauber’, this is Germany’s fairy-tale town that’s every Instagrammer’s dream. Note that there are other nondescript Rothenburgs in the country, but the one on the Tauber is where you will find mediaeval charm that seems otherworldly – brightly painted structures with flowering balconies grace every street. Walk the whole length of its fortified 12th-century town wall (with 42 towers and numerous gates) that ran around the periphery for protection. The town hall with its historical underground vaults complete with military equipment and 12 dungeons, the Medieval Crime Museum, the Castle Gardens, the year-round Christmas Museum and St Jacob’s Church all make a trip to this part of Germany worthwhile. Don’t miss out the Nightwatchman’s Tour, as he takes you around after sundown, showing you places of interest and explaining their significance in Rothenburg’s history.
The second-largest city in Germany has a great mix of tales from various periods of the past – perfect for the history buff. Whether you stay in Nuremberg for a day, or more, you’ll be immersed in stories of its various inhabitants – a bustling mediaeval centre, a star in the renaissance, and haunted by the grip of Nazi atrocities.
When touring the city, one can’t miss the Kaiserburg, or the Nuremberg Castle. It was restored following heavy damage in World War II, and offers themed tours for adults and children. The outstanding St Lorenz church, with its notable paintings and sculptures, the Germanic National Museum, Nuremberg Toy Museum and the unique Hangman’s Bridge are the main attractions. Nuremberg was the centre for Germany’s first railway, so do also check out the German National Railways Museum. A still-standing wonder from the 14th century is the Schöner Brunnen, a wonderous 19-metre Gothic fountain in the main market square. Its four levels show 40 figurines depicting the Holy Roman Empire, Moses and the seven prophets sitting on the highest tier.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site rolls over seven hills along the banks of the River Regnitiz. Beautiful architecture, rich culture and scenic spots characterise this quaint little town. Take your time marvelling at the pretty frescoes on the outside of the Altes Rathaus, the town hall, which sits on its own river island. The skyline is punctuated with the unmissable green towers of Bamberg Cathedral, boasting Gothic and Roamnesque architecture. Take in the gorgeous lush green valleys from atop the highest hill, where the centuries-old Altenburg Castle is perched, and see the octagonal towers of Schloss Seehof, the 17th-century palace located just outside Bamberg city. Schlenkerla is the most famous brewery here, a must-visit for its cosy ambience and delicious Bavarian cuisine as much as its original ale.