Have you heard of Bamberg before? It’s a beautiful town in Upper Franconia in Bavaria that lies on the river Regnitz. It’s located about 60km north of Nuremberg and is well worth a visit to see its historic city centre, a well-deserved UNESCO World Heritage site.
S and I spent what felt like a very short 24 hours in Bamberg in early March. S completed the major part of his Refendariat (aka teaching studies) in Bamberg between 2010 and 2012. I had the chance to visit him in December 2010 when he was living in Bamberg and it was my first Christmas away from Canada. I fell in love with the gorgeous small town which was completely covered in snow at that time. It reminded me of a storybook and it felt like the perfect place to be during the winter holidays. Our visit to Bamberg a few weeks ago was my first chance to see Bamberg bathed in sunshine — I imagine that this town is beautiful to see any time of year!
We were invited to a house-warming party by one of S’s colleagues who recently moved to Bamberg. We thought it would be a great way to visit one of our favourite German towns and for S to catch up with his friends.
Since we were only planning to stay in Bamberg for one night, we wanted to stay somewhere fairly central and conveniently located. We found an affordable room at Ventura’s Hotel und Gästehaus which is located in the middle of the Altstadt (Old Town). The hotel is also right off of Sandstraße, a popular street in the centre of the Altstadt and home to many restaurants and bars.
We were both craving sushi and decided to check out ichi-san in Bamberg after reading good reviews on Trip Advisor. The restaurant is located at Luitpoldstraße 12, just off the river Regnitz. The restaurant looks small from the outside but actually has 2 floors with a large upper floor that can accommodate larger tables. The inside is very modern and stylishly decorated.
Since we were hankering for some good sushi rolls, we opted for the Sushi mix deal – 4 nigiri and 1 Una maki roll with an additional Una maki roll. We thought we could select the rolls we wanted in the sushi mix, but it was the chef’s choice. In any case, all the rolls and nigiri were delicious! I especially loved the presentation on the bamboo bridge.
If you’re looking for some nice sushi in Bamberg, I can definitely recommend ichi-san. We went for dinner but they also have an affordable lunch menu. ichi-san is open 11:30am – 3pm for lunch and 5:30pm – 11pm for dinner every day of the week except Tuesday.
On Sunday morning, we were looking for somewhere to enjoy brunch in Bamberg and the owner of the hotel where we stayed suggested Caffèbar Kranen. I cannot thank her enough for this suggestion because it was one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve ever had in Germany.
All the outdoor tables were taken when we arrived around 11am but there were a few tables available inside. They had a wide variety of brunch items available, from croissants with jams to yoghurt with muesli. We decided to spring for the 2-person breakfast called Gloria which came on a 3-tiered platter filled with cold cuts, cheeses, smoked salmon, cream cheese, soft boiled eggs, a small Caprese salad and fruit salad. The breakfast also included a coffee of our choice and an orange juice each, as well as a basket of bread and rolls to share. We could also help ourselves to the 3 types of house-made jams at the counter – Black forest cherry with rum, mango almond and raspberry. So good!
I got the impression that this restaurant is an ‘it’ place in Bamberg with lots of locals dining there for weekend brunch. I’m sure it’s lovely to get a seat outside in the sunshine with a view of the river, but the inside was modern and trendy.
Caffèbar Kranen is open every day of the week from 8am on weekdays and 9am on weekends and is open until at least midnight every day except for Sunday when they close at 9pm. They also take reservations so you can try your luck at reserving a riverside table.
I recently found a great website called HENhaus for expats living in Germany, specifically around Herzogenaurach, Erlangen and Nürnberg. Stuttgart is nowhere near these cities, but this site has a lot of useful information for expats living in any part of Germany. Luckily, I stumbled on this website just a few days before our trip to Bamberg and there were some insider tips on where to find special American foods in Germany, with one specific recommendation being in Bamberg. The tip was to check out the Rewe Getränkemarkt (supermarket drink store) on Pödeldorfer Straße near the Bamberg Hauptbahnhof (main train station) for junk food items like Twizzlers, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Hershey’s chocolate bars, sugary cereals, Pop Tarts, Twinkies, macaroni and cheese, cherry Pepsi and Welch’s Fruit Punch. The prices were pretty high, especially for the macaroni and cheese and cereals, but the candy was not too expensive. The drinks are located in the coolers and the food items are located by the cash register. We picked up a few treats just for fun. It’s a good spot to visit if you’re craving some hard-to-find American products!
The Altstadt of Bamberg is beautiful to stroll through any time of year, but is especially lovely when the sun is shining. One of the most picturesque parts of the Old Town is the Rathaus (aka Town Hall) dating back to 1386. The Town Hall is built in the middle of the Regnitz and is accessible by two bridges. Legend has it that both sides of town wanted the town hall to be on ‘their’ side, so they compromised and built it in the middle of the river!
The 13th century Roman Catholic Bamberger Dom (aka Bamberg Cathedral) is one of the most famous landmarks in Bamberg. The four towers of the cathedral are visible from many different areas of the city and are an iconic part of the Bamberg skyline.
Inside the cathedral you can see Der Bamberger Reiter (aka the Bamberg Horseman). This life-size equestrian statue was carved by an unknown medieval sculptor and depicts a crowned but unarmed rider. Historians guess that the statue depicts the Hungarian king Stephen I, but the figure’s identity remains unclear to this day. The Bamberg Horseman has become somewhat of a symbol for the city of Bamberg.
It is also interesting to note that Pope Clement II (1005–1047) is buried inside the Bamberger Dom and is the only Pope to have a tomb north of the Alps. Inside you can also see the intricate marble tomb of Emperor Henry II, the founder of the Bamberger Dom, and his wife, Empress Cunigunde. The tomb took 14 years to carve!
While our visit to Bamberg was short, it was still a great weekend getaway!
Have you been to Bamberg?