A visit to Bamberg can easily be done in a day as the city isn’t very big and the most important attractions of Bamberg are located right in the center. Residential areas are located around the outer ring, and those you don’t need to visit unless you stay longer and want to go on the hiking trails of Bamberg.
8:00 Breakfast time
Start your one day in Bamberg with a typical German breakfast at one of the many local bakeries in town, unless you prefer a generic hotel breakfast buffet, of course.
(It would also be German, but it hits different when you head out and try local pastries.)
You can have a seat at the bakery to eat at the table there or take it for outside.
Special Bamberg treats are:
- Hörnla (similar to a croissant, but was there first)
- Seelspitzen (butter pastry, religious background)
- Blöcher (deep-fried dough, filled with sour cream and sprinkled with cinnamon)
- Kunigundenring (only available one week before and after the “Kunigundentag” in winter)
For more details, check out my article on the best pastry shops and bakeries in Bamberg’s centre.
8:30 City Center
Take a stroll around the city center, starting with a walk across the Maximiliansplatz. It is the big square in front of the new townhall.
By the way, this is where you would find the Bamberg Christmas market as well as any bigger markets and festivals. During the week days, you often will find some vegan trucks as well as regional producers offering their fare. They are typically gone by late afternoon, however.
From the square, head to the street Grüner Markt (“green market”) and step into the beautiful St Martin Church that you will pass on the way. It’s absolutely grand from within as well. It’s free, but you can leave a small offering at the exit in the collection container.
The street in front of it turns into a local produce market during the days and you can purchase products, such as vegetables, fruits, flowers, honeys, cheeses and meat.
For local specialties, look out for:
- Bamberger Zwiebel (Bamberg’s very own type of onion; pear-shaped and white)
- Bamberger Spitzwirsing (an indigenous savoy cabbage type)
- Bamberger Kräuter (mixed herbs)
- Bamberger Kugelbirne (indigenous and very rare pear)
- Bamberger Knoblauch (indigenous garlic)
- Bamberger Rettich (indigenous radish)
- Bamberger Michelsberg Birnenquitte (indigenous quince)
Keep following the street to the nearby fountain statue of Neptune. Locals call it Gabelmoo (“man with the fork”) and it is a popular meeting spot.
Opposite it, there is a small alley, called Mautgasse. Walk down there and you are in one of Bamberg’s restaurant streets, Austraße. I personally love the rainbow-colored umbrellas that are strung between the historic houses and above the classic cobblestone street.
Keep walking down the road to the traffic lights and cross the street.
If you like shopping for stationary, décor and tea, check out the small shops to your left. The Mohren Haus in particular is a treasure trove and just stepping inside is already a unique sight in Bamberg. (Just please excuse the name. There’s been an ongoing debate about it.)
- Address: Mohren Haus, Ob. Brücke 14, 96047 Bamberg
Keep following the cobblestone street upwards and past some iconic houses of Bamberg and right toward the old townhall of Bamberg.
It has its very own little island that it sits on and is also a gate to the Old Town.
Take a moment here to take in the scene of the bridges around you and look over to the pretty houses of Little Venice.
Also (and I will point it out if you are on a tour with me) look for the 3D elements in the angel depictions of the murals on the townhall façade. I always find them so fun to look for and spot. Most people just walk past and never actually see them.
9:00 Old Town
Beyond the townhall, you find yourself in the historic part of Bamberg. I recommend checking out the two all-year Christmas stores on either side of you.
- Käthe Wohlfahrt, Karolinenstraße 5, 96049 Bamberg
- Inge-Glas, Karolinenstraße 10, 96049 Bamberg
The former has traditional wooden Christmas decorations that are on the pricier side of things and well treasured by any German who receives them.
The latter in particular stocks all kinds of bauble shapes and figures. The most unique local Christmas hanger is that of the Apfelweibla, which is an iconic doorknob. (Click the link to read about its background.)
Walk all the way up to the upper level of Bamberg and you’re right outside the Cathedral. You should step inside. It’s free and will leave you in awe with its size. If the light hits just right, the rays of sun will pour through the windows in a spectacular way.
Back outside on the square, walk to the gate you see to your right. It leads to the historic slaughterhouse yard (Schlachthof) and was used as a filming location for the Three Musketeers (2011).
Leave through where you came from and walk across the square and to the archways of the Renaissance building on your right.
You will enter the Rose Garden of Bamberg (Rosengarten), which has a café that is open during the warmer months and sweeping views over the city’s rooftops.
Go back out and walk the street to your right, leading you to the Monastery Michelsberg. It is constantly under construction, so be warned of scaffolding covering views. But you can enter the monastery museum. Should the church be open (which it rarely is), do go in!
Right of the inner courtyard, you can see the local restaurant and a café, beyond which lies the gardens and terrace of the Michelsberg mountain. This is where you need to go.
Again, the views are spectacular and you can follow the steps down to the orchard, which in turn leads you back into the Old Town. It’s a little passageway locals love.
Walk on, until you are at the square and cathedral again, then descend the stone steps at the city walls. This is the area, where you can find restaurants serving local cuisine and a variety of brews.
The most renowned one is Schlenkerla. Head into the yard, order your jug of beer and then stand in the street to drink it. It’s a local thing. Don’t ask me why.
- Schlenkerla, Dominikanerstraße 6, 96049 Bamberg
10:00 Little Venice
Backtrack a bit and then go into the Kasernstraße, opposite of when you came down the steps. It will lead you to the riverbank opposite Little Venice for the best views of this most renowned of Bamberg sights.
Little Venice isn’t just called like that because its historic houses are built right by the water. Their gardens seem right at water level and they have their own boats parked there too. But you can actually go on a gondola ride in Bamberg.
If you visit for one of Bamberg’s key events, the Sandkerwa, you will see fishermen trying to push each other into the water with poles. It’s a historic competition.
When you get to the next bridge, cross it and you can walk behind the houses of Little Venice you just saw. They will be much less remarkable from behind, but it’s still cute.
When you exit the street Fischerei, cross the road, turn left and then right onto Strangstraße. It will guide you to the square Heumarkt, which is behind the university library. If you keep right, you will enter Fleischstraße.
10:30 Natural History Museum
Step through the arched gateway and walk into the doors on your left to enter the Natural History Museum of Bamberg. Its bird hall is one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque rooms and you will feel all grand walking around it. It’s excessively pretty, regardless of whether you want to see local animals up close, even if stuffed.
Please note that the information plaques are all in German. So if you don’t read those, your visit will be rather quick. But very much worth it!
Pro tip: The museum opens at 9am. If you decide to get there the earliest, you can enjoy the impressive Vogelsaal mostly to yourself. (And take epic photos like I did in the article – just click on the previous link to see and learn more.)
- Address: Naturkundemuseum Bamberg, Fleischstraße 2, 96047 Bamberg
11:00 Castle Altenburg
Walk onward to the Maximiliansplatz, cross it and enter the store Müller. Walk all the way through it (on Sundays, take the parallel street right of it) to get to the central bus station, called ZOB.
You can pay the bus driver 2.10 EUR in cash or pay with credit card via the app VGN. Note that as soon as you pay, you have to take the bus. There is public Wi-Fi at the bus station, but it’s not the fastest.
There are various buses that go close to the castle, but you do have to walk up to the castle through the forest for 15-20 minutes. The parking lot beneath the castle also requires you to walk for 10 minutes.
- Bay Q: Bus 913 to “Wildensorg Mitte”
- Bay F: Bus 908 to “Hezilostr.”
- Bay F: Bus 918 to “Panzerleite”
- Parking lot: Weinbergweg 8, 96049 Bamberg
From up at the castle, you can have a seat in the local restaurant or stroll on top of the historic city walls. The view over the surrounding valleys is the best.
You can take the bus 913 back or, if you want to walk in Bamberg’s main park, get off at “P+R Heinrichsdamm”. You can either go down to the riverside and walk northward back into town.
The alternative, is a little bit of a nicer walk, if you ask me. Follow the Heinrichsdamm street to the West and turn into the little forest of the Hain Park.
It will lead you past the open air swimming area (only open in summer) and all the way back to the tourist information.
Along the way, you will also see a historic mill and have a nice view of the art gallery in the Villa Concordia. If you want, you can take the small ferry to cross the river.
Depending on how casually you keep your walk or if you take the bus straight back to the bus station, you will arrive back in the city center between noon and early afternoon.
You’ve seen most of Bamberg’s attractions now and can decide where else to explore or if that wraps up your quick Bamberg day trip.
Further Bamberg Travel Tips
I have more in-depth articles for you depending on your interests on what to see in Bamberg, where to go and eat. These will help you with further Bamberg inspiration. Should you have any questions or are interested in my tours and vacation photography services, get in touch.
- The best tours for Bamberg
- Where the best selfie spots are
- Why you should visit for Sandkerwa Festival
- When to rent a car
If you visit Bamberg for a day and come by car, you can park centrally in the big underground car park by the Bamberg information center.
- Tiefgarage Geyerswörth City-Altstadt, Geyerswörthstraße 5A, 96047 Bamberg
- Open 24 hours
Where to find the local Bamberg Info
In case you want to grab brochures, talk to locals with an extensive knowledge of where to go that day, what is on and their recommendations of eateries and tours, you can check out the official Bamberg tourism information center right in the city.
The good thing is, you cannot miss it, as it is right above the city center’s main underground car park.
There are beds of roses growing above it, leading to the information center. It’s called “Rosengarten Geyerswörth”. If you need another pointer, find the city castle Geyerswörth.
- Bamberg Info, Geyerswörthstraße 5, 96047 Bamberg
- Open daily
- Monday to Friday 9:30am – 5pm
- Saturday 9:30am – 2pm
- Sunday 9:30am – 1pm
- Phone: +49 (0) 9512976200