Located in the Franconia region of Northern Bavaria and straddling both banks of the Main River in Germany’s south, Wurzburg is celebrated for its architecture, artworks and fine wines.
In this guide, I’ll share my top tips for what to do in Wurzburg in one day, but let’s start by getting to know the city a little better.
Wurzburg dates back to 1000 BC when a Celtic fortification was erected upon Marienberg mountain.
Since then, the city has experienced much in the way of drama and conflict, including the Peasants War of 1525, being conquered by Gustav Adolf of Sweden in 1631, and a World War II bombing in March 1945 that resulted in the decimation of around 85% of Wurzburg.
Despite facing such troubled times in the past, the city and its citizens didn’t waver. Wurzburg has slowly risen from the ashes, undergoing extensive rebuilding to become the mesmerising municipality it is today.
So, without further ado, let’s explore the many things to do in Wurzburg.
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Things to do in Wurzburg, Germany
City Walking Tour or Tourist Train
A good way to start your Wurzburg sightseeing and to learn more about the city whilst also getting your bearings is by taking a walking tour.
The Tourist Office conducts 90 minute walking tours which explore the main attractions in the Old Town. The tours are interesting and informative and operate Thursday to Sunday during the summer months at 11am.
Tours cost around €8 per adult and tickets can be purchased at the departure point, the Tourist Information, Wurzburg office in Marktplatz.
You can also hop aboard the Wurzburg Tourist Train for a 40 minute tour of the city. Commentary is provided by audio guides and the train – which departs from Residenzplatz – takes you past all of the city’s main sites so you can decide which ones to return to later.
If you’re happy just to go it alone, you’ll find our top picks for Wurzburg below.
Marienberg Fortress and the Furstenbaumuseum
Address: 97082 Würzburg
Start your day of Wurzburg sightseeing with a visit to the mighty Marienberg Fortress (Festung Marienberg), a well-known landmark located on the left bank of the river. Home to the local prince-bishops from 1253 to 1719, Marienberg Fortress became a Renaissance Palace in the 1600s.
Wurzburg castle is now considered a prominent symbol of the city and attracts visitors from far and wide.
Marienberg also incorporates the Furstenbaumuseum (an interesting museum), a restaurant, and formal gardens. The museum allows you to view a bishops’ apartment – complete with opulent furnishings including fine paintings and handmade tapestries.
In the courtyard, you will find a chapel honouring the Virgin Mary, and a covered well. The fantastic views are also worthy of your attention – don’t forget your camera!
Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge)
Cross back to the right bank over the Old Main Bridge. Constructed between 1473 and 1543, this pedestrianised old bridge of Wurzburg links the Old Town of Wurzburg with the left bank of the Main River – which was once the fisherman’s quarter.
The Old Main Bridge is also known as the Saints’ Bridge, as it features 12 statues to commemorate various saints.
During the war, these statues were placed into the river in order to keep them safe from harm. Now, back in their rightful place, the bridge stands proud in all its glory.
With amazing river and city views, Alte Mainbrucke attracts tourists and locals alike. It has a reputation as a popular social area, too; groups often gather on the bridge to chat and enjoy a glass or two of Franconian wine.
Town Hall of Würzburg
Address: Ruckenrmainster, 97070 Wurzburg
Dating back to the 13th century, the town hall was initially the seat of a bishop’s administrator. The hall incorporates the Wenzel Room, which is furnished in true style, featuring an exquisite secular German High Medieval interior.
There’s also a small museum beside the Town Hall with a diorama depicting the city after the World War II Allied bombing of 16 March, 1945. The attack destroyed much of the city, and every year, the churches of Wurzburg toll their bells on March 16, at the precise time of the bombing in memory of that fateful day.
Address: Domstrasse. 43 Würzburg
An 11th century Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to Saint Killian, Wurzburger Dom is hailed for its exquisitely restored interior. There are plenty of works of art on show, including a seven-armed candelabra and a crypt featuring stunning stained glass.
The cathedral is also the final resting place of Lorenz von Bibra (along with a number of other notable bishops) and boasts one of the oldest bells in the country – the Lobdeburg Bell.
The bell dates back to 1257, and you can hear it tolling at 3pm each Friday in honour of Jesus Christ.
There’s a museum at Wurzburger Dom, too – Museum am Dom, featuring over 700 exhibits and works from renowned artists such as Wolfgang Mattheuer.
Neumünster Collegiate Church
Address: Domerpfarrgasse 10, 97070 Würzburg
Another notable place to visit, the Neumünster Collegiate Church was built in 1719 and is renowned for its mix of Romanesque and Baroque architecture.
The church features a dome atop a crucifix and a figure of the Virgin Mary (both works by Riemenschneider). You will also find the tomb of Saint Killian, the Irish monk and apostle who was believed to be murdered in AD 689.
Another interesting element to view is the Lusamgärtlein, a memorial stone paying homage to Walther von der Vogelweide (an accomplished medieval poet who passed away in 1230).
Address: Residenzplatz 2, Tor B 97070 Würzburg
A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1981, the Wurzburg Residenz is considered a building of great importance and is regarded as one of the most important Baroque buildings in Europe. Once you step inside, you’ll see why.
Built between 1720 and 1744 (but not completed until 1780), the Residenz was commissioned by Prince Bishop Phillip Franz von Schönborn and became home to many Wurzburg Prince Bishops over the years.
The building itself was designed by celebrated architect Balthasar Neumann, who was virtually unknown at the time.
The completed work is an eclectic mix of French château architecture, Viennese baroque styling, and elements of religious northern Italy, and is nothing short of impressive.
Amongst the highlights is the staircase with its vaulted ceiling and fresco painted by renowned artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
There are 40 rooms in all – many featuring artworks and tapestries, wood panelling and fine furniture. To visit the most impressive rooms, including the Mirror Hall, you need to join a 1-hour guided tour, which I highly recommend.
Tours run 3 times per day during high season and cost €7.50 per adult including entry to Wurzburg Residenz.
After your visit, head outside and enjoy a stroll through the pleasant Wurzburg Residence gardens.
Hopfkirche (Court Church)
Address: Bei Residenz Wurzburg
This court church is situated in the south-west wing of the Residenz, and it really is a sight to behold.
The Hopfkirche, which was also designed by Balthasar Neumann, was consecrated in 1743 and features three oval vaulted domes.
From the beautiful marble columns to the stunning gold leaf design, this ornate chapel also has detailed carvings and two impressive altarpieces by Tiepolo (the renowned master from Venice) that you must see for yourself.
The chapel may be small in size but it will take your breath away.
Botanischer Garten der Universität Würzburg (Botanical Gardens)
Address: Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 4, 97082 Würzburg
The city boasts a large botanical garden, and visitors are invited to explore for free.
Now managed by the University of Wurzburg, the garden dates back to the 17th century and began as an oasis for plants with medicinal properties.
The garden now features over 10,000 types of plant-life, including unusual and interesting varieties such as a collection of plants from Japan.
You’ll need transport to reach the botanical garden – it takes about 45 minutes from Marktplatz by public transport or 15 minutes by car.
More things to do in Wurzburg
Wurzburg Christmas Market
Address: Upper and lower Market Square, Eichhornstraße
If you happen to be in the city during December, you really should pay a visit to Wurzburg Christmas market. The bustling atmosphere and charm of this traditional market will fill you with festive cheer.
Located in the centre of the Old Town, and dating back to the 19th century, the market has been held in the same spot every year since it began.
The market square is framed by St Mary’s Chapel, with its elegant Baroque architecture. The wooden stalls welcome excited visitors looking for Christmas gifts and a festive atmosphere.
You will find pretty handmade decorations, glassware, wooden toys, and hand-thrown pottery, knitwear, and unique jewellery, amongst an assortment of other delights.
You can also feast on home-made gingerbread and Franconian cookies as you browse the stalls. As it’s Christmas, you must sample the delicious and customary Glühwein too – warmed red wine infused with cloves, cinnamon and orange peel.
The market runs each year from November 27 to December 23.
You can find details on fun things to do at Christmas in other towns and villages in Germany in this article.
Wurzburg Romantic Road
A huge tourist magnet in Bavaria, the German Romantic Road is based (albeit rather loosely) on a Roman route weaving between certain areas. The route runs from Wurzburg to Fussen and allows visitors to take in towns and medieval locations, soaking up tradition and history as they travel.
You are encouraged to spend time exploring Wurzburg and Augsburg, and three medieval walled towns – Nordlingen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Dinkelsbühl. While on your journey, you can also take in the delightful Neuschwanstein Castle and exquisite views of the Alps.
The route is popular with coach parties, and the signs are written in not only German but also Japanese! However, you don’t have to join a tour to benefit from the experience.
The German Romantic Road is easy to follow by car, and part of the charm comes from the discovery of wonderful walking trails weaving through the vineyards of the Tauber Valley. Here, you will come across pretty traditional villages and churches, meet locals, and enjoy German hospitality at its best.
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Where is Wurzburg
Wurzburg is situated on the main river in the southern German state of Bavaria. It is located 120 kilometres from Frankfurt, 280 kilometres from Munich and just 62 kilometres from Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
How to get to Wurzburg
Excellent road and rail services connect Wurzburg with other major cities in Germany. Below you’ll find the travel times from other popular destinations:
Frankfurt to Wurzburg – If you plan to visit by car, allow 1 hour and 20 minutes. There’s a train Frankfurt to Wurzburg at least every hour, with the fastest journey taking around 1 hour and 10 minutes. Flixbus also offers regular services each day from Frankfurt to Wurzburg, with a journey time of around 1 hour 45 minutes.
Wurzburg to Rothenburg – It will take less than an hour by car to travel between the two Romantic Road destinations. Train services operate hourly with a 90-minute journey time.
Wurzburg to Munich – Train services (which take around 2 hours) operate at least once per hour from the Bavarian capital. If you’re driving, the trip should take you around 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Driving to Wurzburg? You might find my guide to stress-free driving in Europe helpful.
Where to eat in Wurzburg
There are no shortage of choices when it comes to dining in Wurzburg. Two highly recommended restaurants are Restaurant Stachel, the oldest inn in Wurzburg (it’s been operating since 1413!) and Ratskeller Wurzburg.
Restaurant and Weinhaus Stachel can be found in Gressengasse, a quiet street not far from the Town Hall. Serving delicious Franconian meals and wine, lunch is available from Tuesday to Friday. In wine weather, dining in the courtyard is wonderful.
Located in the cellar of the Wurzburg Town Hall on Langgasse, the Ratskeller Wurzburg is another restaurant serving traditional Franconian fare. It is open daily from 10am until midnight and offers a hearty meal or a refreshing drink in the heart of the Old Town.
Where to stay in Wurzburg
If your accommodation of choice is an apartment, a hostel or a hotel, Wurzburg has plenty of options. Below you’ll find a selection of highly rated properties.
Hotels in Wurzburg
Right in the heart of the Old Town and just a 5-minute walk from the River Main, the Hotel Wurzburger Hof is one of the most conveniently located Wurzburg hotels. Offering a range of room sizes, all feature a flat-screen TV, safe, small fridge and free WiFi. Breakfast is available.
Just a 5-minute walk from Marktplatz and 10-minutes from the Residenz, this historic Wurzburg hotel offers modern rooms and suites and delicious Franconian meals in the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. Other features include satellite TV, a desk, and black-out curtains as well as complimentary WiFi.
Apartments in Wurzburg
This 1-bedroom apartment can sleep up to four and offers free WiFi and private parking. Other facilities include a kitchen with dishwasher and fridge, washing machine, private bathroom with shower and flat screen TV. The apartment is just a 20 minute walk from both Marktplatz and Wurzburg Residenz.
Located right in the heart of Wurzburg and close to the Old Main Bridge are three apartments sleeping up to 4. Featuring a kitchen with a dining area, a coffee machine and an oven, a living room, and a private bathroom with a hair dryer. There’s also a flat screen TV and complimentary WiFi.
Wurzburg Hostel stays
Located directly opposite the train station, Babelfish Hostel Wurzburg is a popular choice amongst those seeking low-cost accommodation. A number of different room types are available from single rooms to apartments that can sleep up to five.
Guests have access to a fully-equipped kitchen to prepare meals as well as a lounge, a buffet breakfast is available every morning and there’s also a bar and roof terrace.
Ready to start planning your visit to Wurzburg?
With so many Wurzburg tourist attractions to enjoy, it’s not surprising that you’re keen to visit. The city has plenty to offer – from its rich tapestry of history to its culture and fine art, and let’s not forget the delicious Franconian food and wine!
If you are looking to visit an enlightening and beautiful city, you won’t be disappointed by Wurzburg.
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