On this Bamberg Walking Tour explore the medieval town, its famous sights, hidden backstreets and castles.
This walk starts from Bamberg Train Station. It’s 35 minutes from Nuremberg and 1hr45mins from Munich.
Bamberg Walking Tour Map
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Tips for Bamberg Walking Tour
- This walking tour takes about 1 day.
- If you want to visit many museums, a Bamberg Card* might be worthwhile – it’s valid for 3 days and includes local transport.
- Why not also explore the historic city of Nuremberg or take a hike in nearby Fränkische Schweiz.
- Check out other walks on our Germany Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Bamberg
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sites and attractions of Bamberg. One to two days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Bamberg. If you only have one day, you’ll be able to complete the walking tour but not visit all the museums or Seehof Schloss (a castle slightly out of town). If you have two days, you can see almost everything.
- Grüner Markt
- Altes Rathaus
- World Heritage Visitor’s Centre
- Bamberger Dom
- Alte Hofhaltung
- Neue Residenz Bamberg and Rose Garden
- Altenburg Castle
- Kloster St Michael
- Klein Venedig (Little Venice)
This is a self-guided tour of Bamberg. If you’d prefer to be shown around, there is a great 2-hour guided tour of Bamberg*. Apart from seeing the best sights in Bamberg, you should also try the distinctive local Rauchbier (Smoked Beer). It’s different to normal beer because instead of roasting the hops in an oven, they’re roasted over a beechwood fire. You can definitely taste the smokiness. There are seven breweries in town, and you can even go on one of several special beer and brewery tours* in the city.
Bamberg Walking Tour Route
Directions: Head straight down the road and at a main junction before the bridge, turn right. There are several nice old houses along this road. Take the first left to cross a semi-pedestrianised bridge over the Main-Danube Canal. Keep going straight down the road.
1. Grüner Markt
The Grüner Markt* is a pedestrianised area of Bamberg that contains many little shops and historical buildings. There’s a street market here on weekdays and Saturdays selling fresh produce, bread, cured meats and more, and it’s often busy. Wander along the street, and don’t miss the Church of St. Martin on your right, a Baroque church with a red and gold interior.
Directions: Cross over the road at the end of the Grüner Markt and head slightly to the right. You’ll soon be on the Obere Brücke that leads to the Altes Rathaus.
2. Altes Rathaus
The Altes Rathaus* is perhaps the most famous thing to see in Bamberg. It’s a Gothic building originally from 1462, though most of what you see now is from 1744-56. It’s built on an artificial island in the middle of the Regnitz River, with two bridges on either side. There are some very colourful frescoes on the outside which tell the legendary story of its buildings. Apparently, the Bishop of Bamberg refused to give any land to the residents of the town for a city hall, so they built it on stakes in the middle of the river instead.
Inside the Altes Rathaus is the Sammlung Ludwig Bamberg, an exhibit of porcelain and glazed pottery (€6/2.50, Tue-Sun open 9:30am-4:30pm) and an impressive rococo hall. At Christmas there’s also a nativity scene inside. The best views are from the Geyerswörthsteg footbridge where this walking tour of Bamberg heads next.
Walking on from the Altes Rathaus
Directions: Walk through the building to the other side of the river. Turn left and left again to head across Geyerswörthsteg footbridge, with great views of the Altes Rathaus.
Across this bridge you’ll see Geyerswörth Palace. This is currently undergoing a long renovation, so you can’t go inside and only see a portion of the pink outside.
Directions: Turn right and you’ll reach the Rosengarten (Rose Garden).
The tourist information office borders this garden, pop in if you want more information about Bamberg or the surrounding region. This walking tour now heads around the rivers in the middle of Bamberg, but if you want to shorten the walk by one kilometre, head straight to the next stop.
Directions: To walk around the rivers, head around the right side of the tourist information. Turn right along the river and then head over the next bridge. Continue a short distance away from the banks and you’ll come to a nice square with the E.T.A. Hoffman House.
E.T.A. Hoffman House
E.T.A. Hoffman is a famous German author who was born and lived in Bamberg. His most well-known works include The Nutcracker* (now famous for being a Tschaikovsky Ballet) and The Mouse King*. He also wrote a short and dark fairytale about The Sandman*. The E. T. A. Hoffmann House (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is now a museum you can visit if you’re interested in the author. The museum has fun imaginative models of the worlds Hoffman created and you’ll hear music from the ballets. Some of the rooms are preserved as they would have been when the author lived here.
Directions: Head back to the river and left before the bridge. Walk around an old watermill and right across a bridge in the park. Head right on the other side to walk back towards Bamberg centre. Turn right and left again to return to the Rosengarten.
On the way you’ll see some nice buildings by the river, and a cute little wooden bridge across a narrow lane.
Directions: From the Rosengarten head away from the Tourist Information and right before the main bridge. You’ll soon reach the next stop, in an old stone and wooden building.
3. World Heritage Visitor’s Centre
Key Information: Open every day from 11am to 4pm. Free entry.
The World Heritage Visitor’s Centre (Website) in Bamberg is a good place to learn more about the town before you continue your walking tour and town exploration. It’s quite small but there are some interactive exhibits and several short items to listen to. You can learn about the different parts of Bamberg town and why it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Directions: Continue onwards and across the small bridge to the left. Walk along the streets straight on and when you reach a cute little square, head right. Soon you’ll be at the Dom Platz, one of the biggest squares in Bamberg. There are three main sights around this square, and it’s also the start of the walking route up to Altenberg Castle (Number 6).
4. Bamberger Dom
Key Information: Open every day 8am-6pm Apr-Oct and 8am-5pm Nov-Mar.
The Bamberger Dom (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is one of the top sights in Bamberg. The dom, or cathedral, has four tall spires that soar into the sky. Heinrich II founded the cathedral in 1004, though most of what you see today is from the 13th century.
Inside you’ll find the tombs of Emperor Henry II and Pope Clemens II, the wooden Bamberger Altar carved in 1523, and the Bamberger Reiter (Bamberg Horseman). This sculpture, dating from around 1225, has become a symbol for the city. Part of the fascination is the fact that both the sculptor and the identity of the rider remain unknown.
The Diocesan Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is next to the Cathedral and has several small exhibits on clothing and general church artefacts such as golden crosses and goblets. It opens 10am–5pm most days except it’s closed on Wednesday and only opens at noon on Sundays. Tickets cost €7.
5. Alte Hofhaltung
Key Information: Historisches Museum open Tue-Sun, May-Oct from 9am-5pm. Tickets €5/4.50.
The Alte Hofhaltung* is an old courtyard next to the Dom. It was the residence of the prince-bishops of Bamberg from the 16th to the 18th century, when they moved into the Neue Residence. The courtyard is half-timbered, in the German Renaissance style. In the building near the entrance is the Historisches Museum. Unfortunately, the explanatory text is all in German. There are a variety of exhibits including ancient stone sculptures, models of historic buildings, and special exhibitions about the region’s past.
Directions: Head out the cute doorway at the far side of the Alte Hofhaltung. You’ll reach a historic little area with more half-timbered buildings. Walk right, down another historic lane leading to a road. At the road turn right back to Cathedral Square, with the Neue Residenz on your left.
6. Neue Residenz Bamberg and Rose Garden
Key Information: Open every day 9am-6pm Apr-Sep and 10am-4pm Oct-Mar. Guided tours last 45 minutes. Tickets €6/5 for adults/concessions, or €9/8 for a combination ticket with Schloss Seehof (see further afield in Bamberg).
The Neue Residenz (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*), or New Residence of the Bamberg Prince-Bishops, was started in 1603. The wings on Cathedral Square were built about 100 years later. There are over 40 staterooms in the palace. In some of them is the State Gallery of Old German and Baroque paintings, which are of only moderate interest.
To look around the Princes Apartments you have to go on a 45-minute guided tour. You’ll see several rooms decorated as in the past, with stucco-work ceilings, furniture and tapestries from the 17th and 18th centuries. The guided tours are only in German, but there are small boards in each room with an English explanation.
Upstairs is a very large, beautiful room, with paintings, chandeliers and grand fireplaces. You can visit this and a few neighbouring rooms by yourself.
Neue Residenz Rose Garden
You can visit the Rose Garden, which is through the Neue Residenz, for free. The garden has many species of roses and there is a great view over Bamberg from here. There’s also a nice cafe looking out on the garden.
Directions: You can now choose to either visit Altenburg Castle, a 5 km roundtrip walk through countryside, or continue to stop 8.
7. Altenburg Castle (Schloss Altenburg)
Altenburg Castle* is on top of the tallest of the seven Bamberg hills. There’s a popular restaurant and great views of Bamberg town. It’s one of the best places to visit in Bamberg and you can walk there along a nice trail. There’s no public transport to the top, the only other way to get there is to drive or get a ticket for the hourly 6-Hügel-Rundfahrt sightseeing bus (€9/3).
Walking to Altenburg Castle from Bamberg Centre
Directions: To walk to the castle, head left from the Dom past the Diocesan Museum. Continue right along a pedestrian walkway to a little square in the quiet suburbs. Turn right and then left. Soon you’ll be walking on a road through the countryside, which turns into a dirt track. Head left at the top and you’ll reach a road. Cross over the road to contour around to the back of the hill, through nice woodland and countryside. At the far side of the hill, turn right to head up to the castle.
The history of the castle starts in the 12th century when locals took refuge here during attacks. It was later used as a residence for the prince-bishops. Much of it was destroyed during an attack in 1553, leaving only parts of the big walls and Medieval keep. In the 19th century, a friend of famous author E.T.A. Hoffmann restored the castle, and the writer often stayed in one of the castle towers. Perhaps he got inspiration here for his dark fairytales*.
It’s free to enter the castle but you can only look around the outside plus go up one tower (€1). It’s worth going up the tower for even better views. On your way up, make sure to head through the small door to the outside about two-thirds of the way up. The view from here is perhaps better than from the very top because there’s no glass in the way.
Altenburg Castle Restaurant
In the grounds of Altenburg Castle is a popular restaurant. In summer it’s a Biergarten, while in winter the restaurant is inside. On the menu are drinks (including the special Bamberg Rauchbier) and easy meals such as wurst and fries.
Directions: When leaving the castle, head right after the bridge to walk below its large walls. Follow the path left down some steps through the woodland. After the car park, take a slight left through woodland and soon you’ll walk out into farmland with great views over Bamberg. Head down the hill and back to the Dom. Instead of the pedestrian path, you can walk slightly further right on the road to pass by two churches (the Carmelite Monastery and the Obere Pfarre church).
Walking from Cathedral Square Kloster St Michael
Directions: To reach Kloster St Micheal, leave the square on the lowest side and turn left. Follow the road as it bends left and take the first path on the right, signed towards the Kloster. Follow this path as it enters the orchards in the grounds of the Kloster, and upwards to the top.
8. Kloster St Michael
Key Information: Open 9am-6pm every day. (The inside is partially or fully closed until 2025 due to renovation).
The Kloster St Michael*, or Michelsberg Monastery, is a Benedictine monastery, now a home for the elderly. The garden and terrace have splendid views over the city and there’s also a nice cafe. Within the monastery complex is a beautiful church from the 12th century, full of baroque art and paintings of medicinal plants and flowers. Within the church, make sure to see Otto’s Tomb in the crypt. There’s a low passage through the tomb, and if you walk through it’s meant to relieve your back pain!
Directions: Walk around the back of the monastery to see the peaceful square where mainly elderly residents now live. The Franconian Brewery Museum is also on this square.
Directions: Head back to the front of the monastery and turn left downhill through the orchard. At the bottom you descend into a little tower, and through a heavy door to the street. Through this door, turn left and then right to reach the river. Walk right along the river and cross the first bridge to walk through a green area with great views back up to the monastery. Cross over again at the next bridge and continue for views of Little Venice.
9. Klein Venedig (Little Venice)
Klein Venedig*, or Little Venice, is a row of half-timbered cute cottages by the side of the river. It doesn’t actually look like Venice, but there is at least one gondola on the water. These rickety houses used to be fishermen’s cottages and are from the 17th century. Some of them seem to be sinking and are now quite tilted.
Directions: Little Venice is the last main stop on the Bamberg Walking Tour. To get back to the station, at the end of Little Venice head right through more of the Altstadt and left. This brings you across a bridge to the Altes Rathaus. Continue and head slightly left to walk up a pedestrianised street. Head right past the Natural Historic Museum and through the square. Turn left and cross back over the bridge. Take the next left to walk through some of the old Market Gardener’s District. You’ll see the Market Gardener’s Museum in a cute old bungalow and a few remaining market gardens. After walking through this district you’ll be at Bamberg’s main train station.
Best Museums in Bamberg
There are several museums in Bamberg visited on this walking tour. See the text for more details about the first four museums. All the museums apart from the Neue Residenz are included in the Bamberg Card*, a three-day ticket that also includes local public transport.
Neue Residenz Bamberg: A 45-minute guided tour (in German) of furnished staterooms plus a gallery of old paintings.
Historisches Museum: Old artefacts from the town and region giving an insight into former ways of life and the town’s history (exhibits in German).
Diocesan Museum: Church and bishop-related paraphernalia including clothes, gobets and gold.
E.T.A. Hoffman House: A small museum with models and music from the famous author’s works as ballets in the house where he lived.
Other Museums on the Bamberg Walking Tour
Franconian Brewery Museum (Open Apr-Oct, 1-5pm Wed-Fri, 11am-5pm Sat-Sun, tickets €3/2.50.): The Fränkisches Brauereimuseum*, or Franconian Bwerey Museum, is a museum about breweries and has exhibits about the process of making beer. These include implements, tankards, photos and more. There’s a small pub within the museum.
Bamberg Natural History Museum (Open Tue-Sun 9am-5pm or 10am-4pm in Apr-Sep or Oct-Mar, tickets €3.50/2): The Natural History Museum* has exhibits on the local flora, fauna and geology housed in a lovely old building. There are many stuffed animals, including preserved tropical birds. The museum was founded in 1791 and some of the exhibits have not been changed since then. The best bit is the room full of rocks, minerals and gemstones. It’s mainly in German but English language tours are available.
Market Gardener’s and Wine-Growers’ Museum (Open 11am-5pm Tue-Sun, closed on Mondays, tickets €5/1): This museum (Gärtner- und Häckermuseum) is housed in a typical market gardeners’ house from the 19th century. Apart from the house, there is of course a garden you can look around. It includes liquorice plants, an important source of income in the 19th century.
Further Afield in Bamberg
This walking tour of Bamberg focuses on the easily walkable old town. However, if you’re in Bamberg a great little excursion is to Seehof Palace and Park in Memmelsdorf. You can get a 20-minute bus ride that goes every hour from the centre of town or the station, or alternatively, walk there through the countryside.
Seehof Palace and Park in Memmelsdorf
Key Information: The castle grounds are open Apr-Oct 7am to 7pm and Nov-Mar 9am till sunset. The inside of the Schloss is closed on Mondays and the entire winter from October to March inclusive. The rest of the year, it’s open Tue-Sun from 9am to 6pm. To visit you must take a 35-minute guided tour (in German with an English handout). Tickets to the Schloss are €5/4, or €9/8 for a combination ticket with the New Residence, the grounds are free.
Directions: The easiest way to get to Schloss Seehof is with Bus 907. It leaves from near the Grüner Markt, at the Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (ZOB) and goes to the bus stop called Schloss Seehof right next to the castle. The bus leaves at roughly 1-hour intervals. Or, walk there from the centre of Bamberg.
The Seehof Palace* began in 1686 as a summer residence for the Bamberg Prince-Bishops. It later fell into disrepair and was significantly renovated in the early 2000s. There are nine staterooms with lovely painted ceilings to visit on a 35-minute guided tour (in German with an English handout). There’s also a rococo pleasure garden with fountains, sculptures, an Orangerie and many cool tree features.
The walk from the town centre to Seehof Palace is 13 km and goes through a park by the river, a small section of city, and then forest until you reach the palace. It takes about 3 hours. You can then take the bus back.
Accommodation in Bamberg
There are many accommodation options in Bamberg, but try to book a few weeks in advance because the best places fill up quickly. The two options below are great places not far from the town centre.
Budget: The City Hotel Bamberg* has basic but clean rooms not far from the centre of town. There’s not much character, but you get a decent place to stay for one of the lowest prices you’ll find in Bamberg.
Comfort: The Altstadthotel Molitor* has a great location in the centre of town with atmospheric old rooms. It’s hard to find a better place that doesn’t break the bank.
Bamberg Weekend Itinerary
Below is the weekend itinerary we followed when walking around Bamberg and visiting Schloss Seehof.
Day 1: Bamberg Altstadt
We arrived at 9:40am at the train station. After arrival, we started the Bamberg walking tour and headed towards the centre. We saw the Grüner Markt area, the Altes Rathaus, and walked around the island by the rivers. The World Heritage Visitor Centre was still closed when we arrived, so we saved this for tomorrow afternoon.
We continued towards Cathedral Square and looked around the cathedral and Alte Hofhaltung. At about noon we set off towards Altenburg Castle. It was a lovely walk and we had drinks and cake in the Biergarten at the top.
After walking back down we went on a tour of the Neue Residenz and to the Rose Garden where we had hot drinks at the cafe. Fully rested, we continued to Kloster St Michael, and then followed the river back to the centre of town.
We then had dinner at Special Keller, one of the old breweries 10-minutes out of town with great views over the cathedral. Afterwards we walked to our accommodation and went to sleep.
Day 2: Schloss Seehof
After a large breakfast, we set off on the 13 km walk to Schloss Seehof. It was raining, but the walk was mainly in a woodland park and forest so we were relatively sheltered. We arrived around noon at the castle and went on a 35-minute guided tour of the inside, which was nicer than I expected. After looking around the castle grounds we headed to the cafe for a drink and cake while waiting for the bus.
We took the 907 bus back to the centre of town (20 minutes) and went to the World Heritage Visitor Centre that we’d missed yesterday. After that, we walked around the centre a bit more before walking back to the station via the Market Gardener’s District. If we had more time I think we’d have visited the Franconian Brewery Museum or gone on a special beer and brewery tour*. Our train left around 18:15 (actually of course it was delayed!) after a great weekend walking in Bamberg.
Guidebooks to explore more of Germany
FAQS – Bamberg Walking Tour
Bamberg is known for its cute Medieval Altstadt with many historic buildings, and its distinctive Rauchbier (smoker beer).
Bamberg is definitely worth visiting as it’s one of the best-preserved historic towns in Germany.
The best thing to do in Bamberg is a walking tour of the old town area. This includes all the famous sights in town.
One to two days is the perfect length of time to spend in Bamberg.