Würzburg, located in the northern region of Bavaria, Germany, is a city rich in history, culture, and architectural beauty. With its origins dating back to the Celtic period, Würzburg has seen the rise and fall of various civilizations, leaving behind a tapestry of influences that contribute to its unique character today.
This beautiful Baroque city, which once was the capital of Franconia, was the starting point for our road trip down the Romantic Road. But even before the journey began, the city captivated us with its historical sights, beautiful architecture, religious heritage, and picturesque surroundings.
So, whether you’re visiting Würzburg or starting your journey down the Romantic Road, let us help you explore the city’s top sights and attractions.
Würzburg – The Start of the Romantic Road
For most visitors, Würzburg signifies the start of the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße), a picturesque 350km drive through the forests and mountains of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in South Germany.
And as such, many rent a car from either Frankfurt or Stuttgart and drive down to Würzburg. Alternatively, you can also take the Deutsche Bahn to Würzburg and rent a car in the city.
But you could also just be visiting Würzburg, because why not? It’s definitely worth visiting and spending a couple of days to explore.
Würzburg Hotels and Accomodation
To truly appreciate and admire what Würzburg has to offer, we recommend spending at least one night in the city. In doing so, you won’t feel rushed or compelled to skip certain sites and will be able to truly soak in the wonders of the city.
Here are our top hotel recommendations in Würzburg:
- DAS v EVERT Hotel – am Congress Centrum Würzburg – Located in Würzburg’s historic centre, the DAS v EVERT Hotel – am Congress Centrum Würzburg dates back to the 1860s.
- Hotel Würzburger Hof – Also located in the centre of Würzburg, Hotel Würzburger Hof is situated directly opposite the early baroque “Juliusspital”.
- Motel One Würzburg – This beautiful hotel is located 1.1 km from Wuerzburg Central Station, 400 metres from Würzburg Residence, and just 200 metres from Würzburg Cathedral.
Top Things To Do in Würzburg
Würzburg beckons travellers with its rich history, architectural wonders, cultural vibrancy, scenic surroundings, renowned wines, and welcoming atmosphere. Whether you are a history enthusiast, wine lover, or culture seeker, Würzburg offers a range of experiences to create an unforgettable visit.
With that said, here are our top recommendations for things to see and do in Würzburg.
Visit the Würzburg Residence
The Würzburg Residence (Residenz Würzburg), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an architectural masterpiece that captures the grandeur and elegance of the Baroque era.
Designed by the renowned architect Balthasar Neumann, the Residence showcases exceptional craftsmanship and opulent interiors. The centrepiece of the palace is the grand staircase, considered one of the most extraordinary in the world.
The Residence comprises multiple wings and rooms, each showcasing different architectural styles and lavish decorations.
Visiting the Würzburg Residence provides a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Prince-Bishops who once resided here. Its architectural beauty, historical significance, and well-preserved interiors stand testament to the city’s rich heritage and are symbols of the splendour of the Baroque period.
Unfortunately, we arrived late and didn’t get a chance to admire the interiors of the Würzburg Residence.
Take a Stroll in the Hofgarten
Attached to the Würzburg Residence is Hofgarten. An essential part of the Würzburg Residence complex, the Hofgarten complements the grandeur of the palace and showcases the meticulous attention to detail that characterizes the Baroque era.
This serene and enchanting garden features meticulously manicured lawns, charming flowerbeds, and elegant fountains. Step inside and stroll along the meandering paths lined with lush greenery and vibrant blooms.
Visitors can find many tranquil spots to sit and admire the garden’s serene beauty and the Würzburg Residence.
Fortunately, Hofgarten remains open longer than the Würzburg Residence and the entrance is free. We found the garden to be a peaceful escape from the city and a chance to admire the sunset over the Würzburg Residence.
Sunset and Wine at the Old Main Bridge
The Old Main Bridge (Alte Mainbrücke) in Würzburg is an iconic landmark that spans the Main River. It is adorned with a row of statues depicting saints and historical figures, who stand as guardians of the bridge and reflect Würzburg’s rich history and culture.
Walking across the Old Main Bridge is a delightful experience as it provides an opportunity to soak in the beauty of the river, admire the stunning architecture of the city, and capture memorable photographs.
Moreover, the Old Main Bridge is a vibrant hub of activity. Every evening, swarms of locals and tourists descend onto the Old Main Bridge to enjoy some delectable local wine and catch the sunset.
The wine might be expensive but the experience is priceless!
However, if you prefer to soak in the beauty of the Alte Mainbrücke without the crowds, you should consider visiting it in the morning.
Climb up to the Marienberg Fortress
The Old Main Bridge also connects the city centre with the historic Marienberg Fortress (Festung Marienberg -Würzburg), which is visible from the bridge itself. The fortress, perched on a hill overlooking Würzburg is a magnificent and historic fortress that offers breathtaking views of the city!
The Marienberg Fortress is accessible via car or foot. It’s a short, 20 minute, walk uphill from the Old Main Bridge.
Visitors to the fortress can explore its impressive fortifications, including the ancient walls, towers, and defensive structures. The Marienberg Fortress is not only a formidable defensive structure but also houses the Mainfränkisches Museum. The museum showcases an extensive collection of artefacts, artworks, and historical exhibits that provide insights into the region’s past.
Within the inner courtyard, visitors can also visit St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirche Festung Marienberg), a Romanesque basilica with stunning architectural features.
There is plenty to admire inside and outside the fortification walls of Marienberg Fortress.
Personally, I spent all the time admiring the spectacular panoramic views of Würzburg and the Main River from the Fürstengarten’s viewing points.
Visit the Käppele Sanctuary
On the opposite hill from the Marienberg Fortress is the Käppele Sanctuary (Wallfahrtskirche Käppele), a remarkable pilgrimage church known for its serene atmosphere and breathtaking views.
It is possible to walk up the hill to the church or take your car up to Nikolausstraße and then walk up the final steps.
The stairway to the Käppele is flanked by a series of shrines depicting the Stations of the Cross. The steps provide a serene and meditative journey towards the Käppele, enhancing the overall spiritual experience for pilgrims and visitors alike.
As you approach the top, the church’s façade, adorned with intricate Baroque details and delicate sculptures, immediately captivates you. The interior is equally impressive, featuring ornate altars, frescoes, and beautiful paintings that depict scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary.
Unfortunately, due to an Easter Service, we were denied entry inside.
But that didn’t bother us as we got more time to appreciate panoramic views of Würzburg from this tranquil location in the city.
Visit the Würzburg Cathedral
The Würzburg Cathedral (Würzburger Dom), also known as St. Kilian Cathedral, stands as a prominent symbol of the city’s religious and architectural heritage.
Located just 300m from the Old Main Bridge, the Würzburg Cathedral dates back to the 11th century and displays a stunning combination of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque elements. The cathedral was damaged during World War II but through extensive restoration efforts, it has been restored to its former glory.
Inside the cathedral are soaring vaulted ceilings, imposing columns, and ornate altars that create an atmosphere of tranquillity and reflection.
One of the highlights of the cathedral is the Romanesque crypt, which houses the tomb of St. Kilian, one of the patron saints of Würzburg. This underground sanctuary is adorned with stunning frescoes and is considered another important pilgrimage site.
Once again, we weren’t allowed to enter the cathedral due to an Easter Service. But fortunately, we were able to observe the ceremony and the procession.Subscribe to my YouTube channel
And finally, make sure to visit the Museum am Dom located near the cathedral. The museum showcases religious art, sculptures, and treasures from the region’s religious history.
Explore Maria Chappel and Marktplatz
Located in Würzburg’s Marktplatz is Maria Chappel (Marienkapelle), another beautiful and historically significant church in the city.
Despite sustaining damage during World War II, the Marienkapelle has been carefully restored to preserve its original splendour. The restoration efforts have upheld the chapel’s historical and artistic significance, allowing visitors to appreciate its beauty as intended by its original architects.
The chapel’s standout feature is its collection of exquisite stained glass windows, which depict biblical scenes and saints.
Around the chapel are plenty of shops, bars, and cafes hidden among the alleys. Close to Maria Chappel is the Neumünster, another beautiful 11th-century collegiate church in Würzburg.
Take a Tour of the Franconian Wine Country
The region is also famous for its winemaking traditions, and a visit is incomplete without savouring the local Franconian wine, particularly their excellent white wines.
If you happen to be spending more than a day in Würzburg, we highly recommend a tour of the Franconian Wine Country.Book A Guided Walking Tour with Franconian Wine
Vineyards are visible from every attraction in the city including the Old Main Bridge, the Marienberg Fortress, and the Käppele.
Take a guided tour or rent a bike to explore the picturesque vineyards surrounding Würzburg, which are known for their excellent white wines. And we can most certainly attest to that!Book A Guided Walking Tour with Franconian Wine
Dine at Alte Mainmühle
Situated at the eastern end of the Old Main Bridge is Alte Mainmühle, a rustic restaurant that also serves wine during sunset to those standing on the bridge.
Enjoy a meal at this charming riverside restaurant with a terrace overlooking the Main River. The restaurant is known for its delicious and traditional Franconian cuisine.
Alternatively, you can also grab a coffee or a bite at Caféhaus Brückenbäck, on the opposite end of the bridge.
Our Guide to Würzburg
Whether you’re simply visiting or starting your journey on the Romantic Road, Würzburg offers plenty of beautiful sites and attractions and holds a special place in German history and culture.
After our brief stay in Würzburg, we drove to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which then became our favourite town on the Romantic Road.
But in hindsight, we definitely wish we had more time to explore Würzburg. Also, visiting the city during the Easter weekend meant many historical and religious sites were closed to us. But that didn’t stop of from savouring its Franconian cuisine and delectable white wines!
With its wealth of attractions and picturesque surroundings, Würzburg captivated us during our visit.
And finally, make sure to check out our Würzburg photo gallery to get even more inspired to visit the city.