Beautiful Bamberg

by Claire Aljunaibi
Stripes Europe

Bamberg is a delightful city in upper Franconia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a perfect destination for singles, couples, families and retirees. Dating back to the year 902, Bamberg was once the center of the Holy Roman Empire. The city of Bamberg is stretched over seven hills. Often nicknamed the “Franconian Rome,” Bamberg also has an area known as “Kleine Venedig” or “Little Venice.” Complete with gondolas, this enchanting section of the city brings together both tourists and citizens who enjoy the baroque architecture, beer, cuisine and hospitality.

A former military community

Once home to USAG-Bamberg and 9,000 Americans, Bamberg is full of friendly people who continue to express a deep fondness for the American military and a sadness that the installation has closed. You will hear many residents say that Bamberg is “not the same without the Americans.” Locals are welcoming and eager to help you enjoy this gorgeous city. At various establishments (such as Brauerei Drei Kronen in Memmelsdorf, a few miles from the city center) you will notice the plaques and letters of thanks received from USAG Bamberg Army units over the years.

Breweries and more

Nine breweries offer more than 50 different beers, including the famous “smoked beer.” In summer, beer lovers may enjoy the Biergärten, which offer beer-tasting and food menus. Regional culinary specialties include Schäufele (pork shoulder), Schweinshaxe (ham hocks), Klößen (potato dumplings) and Apfelküchla (apple fritters made with a beer batter).

There are several Biergärten, the most picturesque of which is the Spezial Keller. Here you’ll find more than 700 seats, outstanding views and a small playground. A few miles outside of Bamberg is Gasthof Schiller, a lovely kid-approved Biergarten and small hotel in Wernsdorf. If one is tired of German cuisine, Bamberg has outstanding sushi at Ichi-San, Italian wood-fired pizza (try Salino) and delicious Turkish dishes at Efendi.

Something for every interest

There is much to do for all age groups. The Bambados pool complex has something for everyone. The outdoor wave pool is refreshing on hot summer days, and the new indoor pool center (small children’s pool, lap pool, rooftop pool, slides, saunas and a day spa) provides hours of fun for all ages. Located near the city center, Bambados is easy to reach and has a huge parking lot.

If your family enjoys biking and hiking, visit nearby Franconian Tuscany and Franconian Switzerland. On the weekends, scores of families hike and bike rain or shine. If shopping is your hobby, check out the city center. The many antique, clothing, jewelry, fashion, toy and housewares shops offer huge selections, and merchants are very familiar with VAT forms.

Bamberg offers history lovers much to experience. There are 16 museums in town and 14 in the surrounding areas. Favorites are the Levi Strauss Museum (Buttenheim), Diocesan Museum (Bamberg), New Residence State Gallery (Bamberg), Museum of History (Bamberg) and even a Natural History Museum (Bamberg). Bamberg endured little bombing during World War II, and the lovely architecture has been wonderfully preserved. The stunning buildings illustrate Bamberg’s interesting past.

Lovely throughout the seasons

Bamberg is a hassle-free weekend getaway: parking is plentiful, the city is easy to navigate, residents are eager to assist and prices are quite fair. A mere 3 hours from Ramstein, this city is beautiful, interesting and entertaining any time of year. Enjoy a boat ride down the Regnitz, walk along the cobblestoned streets and admire the architecture, or simply relax at an outdoor café with some gelato. Visiting over and over, you will find Bamberg difficult to resist.

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