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The Essential Guide to Franconia

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A highlight of Bavaria—and Germany in general—Franconia is beloved for its picturesque landscapes, medieval towns, and rich beer and food traditions. Formerly a separate duchy of the Holy Roman Empire, the region is dotted with dense woodlands, national parks, and grapevine-covered hillsides, as well as castles, palaces, and UNESCO World Heritage sites like the old town of Bamberg and the Würzburg Residence.
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Schloßgasse 26, 63739 Aschaffenburg, Germany
Completed in 1614, Johannisburg Palace is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Germany. Located along the Main River, the immense, four-winged complex served as the second residence of the archbishop-electors of Mainz until 1803....
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Am Floßhafen 20, 63739 Aschaffenburg, Germany
Run by Australian chef Troy Smith, this harborside eatery borders an epic mini-golf course, complete with synthetic turf, long fairways, and impressive obstacles. Built on concrete pillars over the water, the restaurant also features a wraparound...
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Residenzplatz 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
The former residence of Würzburg’s prince-bishops, this UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most important Baroque palaces in Europe. It was—remarkably, given its scale and level of detail both inside and out—built...
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Mainkai 1, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
German for “Old Millwheel,” Alte Mainmühle is located at the foot of Würzburg’s oldest bridge, offering sweeping vistas over the Main River to the Marienberg Fortress and surrounding vineyards. In addition to this...
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Barbarossapl. 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Conveniently located in the center of Würzburg—within easy walking distance of sights like St. Augustine’s Church, the Kiliansbrunnen fountain, and the Falkenhaus—this comfortable four-star hotel sits in a historic building...
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91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber has several significant churches, but the most famous one, for good reason, is St. Jacob’s. A short stroll from the town’s main square, the cathedral was built in stages, between 1311 and 1484, in the High...
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Herrngasse 20, 91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Housed in a charming hotel of the same name, the Herrnschlösschen serves gourmet cuisine in a historic dining room, complete with wooden beams dating back to 1526. Here, diners enjoy sophisticated dishes like carpaccio of smoked goose breast...
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Bamberg, Germany
Famous for being Southern Germany’s hub of the Enlightenment during the late 18th century (Hegel and Hoffmann both lived here), Bamberg is also home to a superbly preserved medieval town center, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage...
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Altenburg 1, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
Housed in a castle that dates back to the early 12th century, this family-run restaurant offers a decidedly upscale Bavarian experience in a vaulted room built in 1834. The menu features a range of gourmet Franconian and Bavarian dishes, from...
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Vorderer Bach 4, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
The building that houses the Barockhotel was built in the early 16th century, but refurbished and transformed into a boutique hotel in the 1970s. Today, it offers a mix of historic and modern architecture with lots of Baroque detailing, just as...
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Kartäusergasse 1, 90402 Nürnberg, Germany
The largest museum of its kind in the country, the German National Museum explores the country’s history through a heady mix of art, science, technology, and culture. Founded in 1852 by Franconian merchant Hans Philipp Werner, Freiherr von...
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Bahnhofstraße 1-3, 90402 Nürnberg, Germany
Opened in 1896, the five-star Méridien Grand Hotel occupies a former two-story farmhouse in the center of Nuremberg. Surrounded by the town’s wide array of restaurants, museums, and shops, it’s also conveniently close to the...
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Hofer Str. 20, 95326 Kulmbach, Germany
Located 20 miles northwest of Bamberg, the small but pleasant town of Kulmbach has been known for beer since medieval times. Today, it’s home to Kulmbach Brewery, which owns the Bavarian Beer Museum in the former Alte Mönchshofbrauerei...
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Opernstraße 14, 95444 Bayreuth, Germany
Bayreuth’s majestic Margravial Opera House, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012, is one of Germany’s finest examples of Baroque court-theater architecture. Commissioned in the 18th century by Margravine Wilhelmine...
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Maximilianstraße 33, 95444 Bayreuth, Germany
Set on Bayreuth’s market square inside one of the oldest buildings in town, this charming tavern dates back an impressive 600 years. Run by two families, Wenk and Bauernfeind, since 1999, it features a purely Franconian ambience of regional...