Würzburg on the Romantic Road
The city of Würzburg (sometimes spelled “Wuerzburg”) is a must-see for Americans living in central Germany! Only 60 miles southeast of Frankfurt, a 2.5 hour drive from Ramstein and only 1.5 hours from Wiesbaden or Stuttgart military communities.
Situated along the Main River (pronounced “mine”) in one of largest wine-growing areas in Germany, Würzburg boasts numerous world class historical sites, unique Frankish cuisine, and great hospitality. The city center is right between its two most important landmarks, the Marienberg Fortress and the “Residence”; the two main homes of the powerful Prince Bishops over the centuries.
It also marks the beginning of the so-called “Romantic Road” (see www.romanticroadgermany.com).
On 16 March 1945, Würzburg was 90% destroyed in only 17 minutes by British Lancaster bombers, according to Wikipedia. Würzburg was said to have been destroyed even to a greater extent than Dresden.
Less than a month later, the 12th US Armored Division and the 42nd US Infantry Division attacked the town, and the battle continued until the final German resistance was overcome on 5 April 1945. After the war, the US Army had a continual presence until the last US units withdrew in 2008.
What to see
Marienberg Fortress (“Festung Marienberg” in German)
Perched atop a hill with a stunning view of the city, the first fortifications here date from 1,000 years B.C. when the Celts built one of their formidable ring fortresses on this prime defensive location, according to www.romanticroadgermany.com. This area in Germany is just west of the locations where the Celtic tribes are believed to have originated.
From the Marienberg Fortress, you can enjoy breath-taking views of Würzburg along the Main River with its extensive vineyards dominating the horizon and in clear view of famous bridge, known as the Main Bridge or “Mainbrücke” in German, which leads right into the Altstadt (Old Town).
It’s an easy 5 minute drive from the city center or a 45 minute walk from the Main Bridge if you feel energetic. The uphill hike to the fortress is pretty steep, so make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes.
The Würzburg Residence (Residenz Würzburg in German)
Please don’t visit Würzburg without seeing the Residence both from the outside and inside. Designated in 1981 as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, this palace is truly stunning. You have to take the tour to see the inside, but it is worth the price of 8.00 EURO. Although the tour covers only 40 of the 400 rooms in the palace, they are truly opulent, a clear demonstration of the power of the nobility and clergy in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The outside of the Residence was built from 1720 to 1744. The interior was finished in 1780. Its ceiling fresco is one of the largest of its kind in the world. After the 1945 World War II bombing, the Residence was completely re-built by 1987.
Falkenhaus and the Marienkapelle (Chapel of St. Mary)
Right next to each other on the Markt Platz or Market Square. You can’t and shouldn’t miss them. The Falcon House (Falkenhaus) is world famous for its ornate Rococco facade.
Mainbrücke (Main Bridge)
Crossing the Main River, from this beautiful bridge you have a great panorama of the Marienberg Fortress, the vineyards, the locks on the Main River, and the city center. The statues lining both sides of the bridge remind you of the Charles Bridge in Prague. A walk across the bridge is highly recommended!
Maulaffenbäck (on Maulhardgasse 9, 97070 Würzburg, in the pedestrian zone close to the Market Square or „Markt Platz“and the Dome St. Kilian). This is a great place to have lunch or a casual dinner.
Alte Mainmühle Restaurant (on Mainkai 1, 97070 Würzburg). Great food and its excellent location right on the Main River with a great view of the Main Bridge (Mainbrücke) and the Marienberg Fortress, this restaurant is highly recommended for lunch, dinner or just some time to relax and enjoy an ice cream or beverage. They have traditional Frankish fare, and the prices are not cheap, but they are reasonable. From one of the terrace outdoor seats, you will see the „mühle“ or mill actually operate every half hour! A really cool place!
Reiser’s Restaurant am Stein (Mittlerer Steinbergweg 5, 97080 Würzburg). Located in the middle of the vineyards next to the „Weingut am Stein“ winery, this is an upscale restaurant overlooking the city of Würzburg. Enjoy good wine and fine food with a view. The restaurant is excellent although some say the serving sizes are a little small. We agreed but did not leave hungry. We were comfortably full and enjoyed the atmosphere and excellent service. Highly recommended!
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