Würzburg, a Franconian gem, was founded in the 10th century and is known today as a charming, lively university town overflowing with wineries and churches.
Although the majority of Würzburg was destroyed during WWII and later re-built with a more modern touch, many historic buildings such as the UNESCO World Heritage Residence have been restored, contributing to a beautiful cityscape that is definitely worth seeing.
Whether you’ve already seen the city’s most famous sights or plan on going for the first time, you might wonder how locals tend to spend their days here. There’s a considerable number of tourist-friendly bars and cafés in the city centre but I’m here to share an insider’s view on the best places to see, eat at and lose your heart to.
You’ve been admiring the baroque beauty of the Residence (free admission) and feel hungry for something other than architecture now? Perfect! In just 5 mins walking distance (via Theaterstraße, then turn left onto Kardinal-Faulhaber-Platz) you’ll find your first two options: both are quite popular so if you plan on going, a reservation may come in handy. Café Mozart is usually a little crowded but offers a great selection of smaller, sweet and savory meals as well as a hearty breakfast. Café Lenz, which is just around the corner from Mozart, has the best home-made lemonades, some excellent burgers and delicious sweet potato fries, plus the interior is very modern and urban (perfect for those instagram-worthy pictures we both know you’ll want to take of your food).
Once you’re full and satisfied, you can wander further into the city and along the shopping street to check out some stores. Take a stroll over the lively market place and have a look at the unique late Gothic Marienkapelle amidst it, a huge red and white church with lots of intricate details. To its right you’ll find the beautiful rococo Falkenhaus which hosts the tourist information and a ticket service.
If you plan on seeing the cathedral in Würzburg’s city centre and are fond of art or architecture at all, you should definitely visit the Neumünster as well. It is conveniently situated along the shopping street on the way to the cathedral and usually empty, as most pedestrians overlook it. You can enter the Neumünster for free and enjoy a look at its gorgeous dome and ceiling frescos.
Standing in front of the cathedral, you’ll be able to look down the street to the city’s most popular and often crowded bridge, the Alte Mainbrücke. Do you feel like having a cup of really good coffee or some ice cream before making your way there? Thought so. Although there is a large ice cream parlor just left of the bridge, the real place to go is on the opposite side of that square with the fountain, namely a small Italian bar called D.O.C. They’re open from 8:30a.m. to 8p.m. on weekdays and worth every penny.
From the bridge you’ll have an impeccable view over some of Würzburg’s vineyards, the Marienberg Fortress and of course the river Main (pronounced “mine”).
One thing almost every local does at some point yet denies because it’s considered pricey, is have a glass of wine on the bridge (sometimes called “Wein am Main” because rhymes are cool). There are several bars on the right side that serve a small variety of local wines, as well as a few shops that sell them bottled. Just know that if the weather’s good there will be a queue and a glass of wine costs about 4 to 5 Euros plus 5 Euros extra to ensure that you return the glass once you’re finished. Germans love their “Pfand” (deposit).
Next, I suggest a walk along the Mainufer (riverside). Another sightseeing tips for the months from May to September is this: continue walking straight ahead and you’ll soon come across a few boats, which offer 45-minute rides to Veitshöchheim (check their website for prices and details), where you can visit the romantic rococo gardens of Veitshöchheim Castle.
Despite being famous for its wine, Würzburg still offers a nice variety of beer, for example at Till Eulenspiegel, a quaint rathskeller open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 7p.m. It’s located at Sanderstraße 1a and a reservation is often needed to get a table, especially for groups.
Let’s suppose you’re done with all your sightseeing now and want to have a delicious dinner among locals. Fortunately, Würzburg offers all kinds of food for you to end your day of exploring with:
If you prefer traditional German food you’ll strike it rich at Backöfele, Ursulinergasse 2, where they serve everything from “Grandma’s Beef Roulade” to a so-called “Franconian Wedding Dinner”. (An English menu is available for download on their website.)
You’re not that much into the traditional food but love an Italian-style pizza that is bigger than your plate? Locanda, am Alten Kranen, is the place for you! Apart from pizza, they offer vegan options, salads and pasta. As this restaurant is pretty popular with students, consider making a reservation here, too.
Maybe you’re more of a burger person? Würzburg has a few places to get those, the most recommendable ones are Burgerheart which also offers Canadian fries; Uni Café for reasonable prices, huge servings and nice salads as well as Burger n Bier for a variety of burgers with tasty homemade sauces.
Like any good German city, Würzburg comes with a spectacular yet traditional and romantic Christmas Market, which will be open from December 1 to 23.
The city is located in Northern Bavaria by the scenic Main River, less than a two-hour drive away from Wiesbaden, under 3 hours from the KMC and circa 1.5 hours from Stuttgart.
Author’s profile: Cathrin Lüderitz is studying to become an elementary school English teacher at the University of Würzburg. She is more in love with food and traveling than a student’s budget allows but that will never stop her from looking for the world’s best avocado toast.