Let’s Explore Some Great Things to Do in Würzburg!
Is Würzburg worth visiting? Since there are lots of great things to do in Würzburg – we think so! This beautiful little town boasts some of the most beautiful settings and buildings in Germany – from the famous Würzburg Residence to the charming Old Town, Castle, and the Würzburg Town Hall. There’s a reason it’s on our list of favourite wintertime cities in Europe!
We’ve been lucky enough to travel to Würzburg numerous times now. Each time, we discover a new place to eat or thing to check out. Recently, we just wandered the Saturday Markets at the Market Square and drank wine on the Old Bridge (photos below) which was amazing.
That said, there are plenty of other sights, attractions, foods, and drinks, and hotels to be enjoyed. Würzburg tourism is certainly not a booming scene (yet) – which makes it the perfect “hidden gem” for our Germany series. You can find many other posts about exploring Germany below:
- Spend A Day in Coburg, in Aachen, or in Bamberg!
- Just a Day Trip from Frankfurt: Wiesbaden and Mainz Are Calling!
- Aschaffenburg is one of the Prettiest Towns We’ve Ever Visited
- Explore the Amazing Capital City – Berlin!
It’s important to note that Germans write Würzburg with an ‘ü’ but in English it is also frequently written with a ‘u’. Confused? You might need to brush up on your German phrases! Also important to note – lots of travellers might find it difficult to find Würzburg on Germany map! Let’s dive into learning about Würzburg, and why it should be on your destination list if you’re travelling to Germany for the first time!
Where is Würzburg?
Great question! Würzburg is in the northern part of Bavaria, a region called Lower Franconia. The area is also globally known as a wine region so if you like wine – Würzburg is for you! Würzburg has located roughly 1.5 hours southeast from Frankfurt am Main, about 3 hours northwest of Munich, and about 4.5 hours southwest of Berlin.
How to Get to Würzburg, Germany
Even though Würzburg is not a huge city, it is well connected with the national train and bus system. If you had a chance to read our post about Coburg – we can say that it is easier to get to Würzburg than it is to Coburg (one reason being the border that formerly separated East and West Germany many years ago).
Travelling to Würzburg by Train
It’s easy to get to Würzburg by train as it is very well connected. Most of the time, you’ll find a direct connection or connections with only one change.
Train from Frankfurt to Würzburg
If you’re travelling from the north you’ll likely go through Frankfurt and then head to Würzburg. There are a lot of trains between these two cities everyday, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a suitable connection. Again, if you take an ICE (the fast, but more expensive train) the journey will take approximately one hour.
Train from Munich to Würzburg
If you’re travelling from the South (Munich) it should be easy to get to Würzburg with a direct connection. If you take an ICE, the journey should take around 2 hours.
As we have mentioned, getting around by train is pretty easy in Germany. You can find a train connection and book your ticket here at the Deutsche Bahn Website. If you decide to travel on the faster ICE trains we would recommend booking your ticket as far in advance as possible since they can get pretty expensive otherwise.
Helpful Local German Tip: If you are travelling to Würzburg from another city in Bavaria (or even more specifically Franconia) look into getting a Bayern Ticket or Franken-Thüringen Ticket – especially if you are travelling with other people. Generally, it can be cheaper.
Taking the Bus to Würzburg
You could also take a Flixbus to Würzburg. There are direct connections from Munich as well as buses from Frankfurt and many other German cities. The bus is usually cheaper than the train (depending on where you are coming), but it can also take slightly longer. You can check the Flixbus Website to see if there is a route that works for you.
How to Get Around Würzburg
Once you get to Würzburg, getting around is pretty simple: you can walk basically everywhere or take public transit. From the main train station, you can catch most of the tram lines to head anywhere in the city. The city makes use of both buses and street train that prowl the inner city and beyond. It’s easy to hop on and off and we used the tram quite a bit when we visited (and stayed further from the centre).
One thing you legitimately need to watch out for is the tram tracks in the pedestian centre. It can be too easy to not realize you’re in the street and thee’s a tram buzzing along behind you. Just be mindful of your surroundings when you walk! Here is the website for the city’s public transit system – WVV (German only, sorry!).
The Brief History Lesson on Würzburg
Würzburg has a very long history – dating back to the 4th century when it was settled by the Alamanni (Germanic tribes). Originally, it was Christianized by Irish missionaries in 686. Saint Boniface was appointed the first Bishop of Würzburg in 742 and over time created a duchy (fancy territory) which extended to eastern Franconia (Würzburg was at the centre of it). The first church in Würzburg – the Würzburg Cathedral – was first built in 788. The current building, however, is from the 13th century.
Würzburg also has a very old university dating back to the 15th century. Witch trials occurred in the 17th century in which between 600 – 900 “witches” were burnt. Over the following couple centuries there have been many battles and, as a result of who won each one, the city was part of different “electorates”. In 1814, it became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria.
During the second world war, 90% of the city was destroyed within 17 minutes – including the churches, cathedrals, and medieval city centre (it was reconstructed over the next 20 years).
Where to Stay in Würzburg
Würzburg has loads of great accommodation option – some that fit all styles and budgets. You’ll definitely want to book ahead if you are travelling to Würzburg because the best places to fill up (we’ve learned the hard way twice)!
For hotels, we most recently stayed at the Best Western Hotel Würzburg-Süd. It’s a hotel located in the south of the city centre – there’s a tram stop outside that takes you rightn the heart of the Old Town in 10 minutes. The staff were helpful, the room was large, and we even a balcony overlooking an inner garden/courtyard. We’d stay again for the price and convenience for sure.
If you are looking for a great hotel located in the centre of Würzburg, check out Hotel Strauss. It’s close to the train station, the banks of the River Main, and a short walk to all the best attractions. There’s even a tram stop right across the street from the hotel which makes getting to and from a breeze!
If you are looking for a budget accommodation/hostel, we once stayed at Hostel Babelfish. The hostel is opposite the train station and it’s really, really easy to walk to the centre from there. The place has an authentic backpacker/traveller feel abou it. We booked a private room that even had a small kitchen and balcony. We actually wrote about it as one of our favourite hostels in Germany!
What to See and Do in Würzburg
Würzburg is great because there’s a calming, leisurely pace about the city. You lose the hustle and bustle while you’re there and get a chance to take in the cobblestone streets, old street trams chugging along, and aged architecture. Since there are a number of things to do and see, we will mention the things you should do when you’re only in the city for a short amount of time.
Walking up to the Fortress (colloquially often called Marienfestung) is a MUST. You’ll get an incredible view of the city – particularly the old town with the Alte Mainbrücke (famous bridge). From the 13th century until when the Residenz was finished (see below), the Fortress was the seat of the Prince-bishops.
For more great views of the city and the surrounding wine country, you can easily take a stroll around the outer wall. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also tour some parts of the fortress such as the Princes’ Hall and the Treasury, among other places. The Mainfränkisches Museum can be found within the fortress and it houses a Baroque armory collection dating back to 1712.
Address: Marienberg, 97012 Würzburg, Germany
Drink Wine on the Old Main Bridge
One of the most classic of activities is to have a beverage on the old Main bridge (Alte Mainbrücke in German). You’ll cross the bridge if you follow our advice and head from the old town to the Fortress.
From spring to fall (and even on nice winter days), the bridge is lined with people – many of them enjoying a glass of wine. This seems to have become a tradition for locals and visitors alike – so join them for a glass. Believe us, it is a great experience.
The above photo is from the last time we were there and a live guitar player even set up to do a small show while everyone enjyed their wine. He was really good and it made the evening that much more awesome!
On the bridge itself, you’ll also find numerous stone statues of saints, each with their own history. This just shows the huge role that religion played in the city in the past (and to some degree still to this date)!
Address: Alte Mainbrücke, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Check Out Würzburg Cathedral
As mentioned in the history section, the Würzburg cathedral (or Würzburger Dom, as it is called in German) was the first church built in the city – back in 788. However, the building you can see today is from the 13th century. It is dedicated to St. Kilian and it’s actually one of Germany’s largest Romanesque churches.
If you are interested you can also see different works of art in the cathedral. We went inside and it’s quite pretty. If you time your visit right, you can even hear ab organ performance and a small sermon. As far as we know, it happens every Monday – Saturday from 12:05 pm – 12:20 pm.
We went to listen to the organist (which was awesome) and the 15-minute event on that Saturday had the seats full. We’re not religious but it was still nice to attend. There’s also a Museum (called Museum am Dom) you can check out and learn more about here.
Address: Domstraße 40, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Wander the Residenz + Gardens
Built between 1719-44, it is considered one of the most beautiful secular baroque buildings in the country. You can go inside and take a tour. Additionally, you can also visit the Martin von Wagner Museum in the south wing which has a big selection of art and antiques.
Don’t forget to walk the gardens while you’re touring the Residence! This was one of our favourite activities in Würzburg. In the summer, there are beautiful flowers and you just have to appreciate the precision and symmetry of the grounds. Trust us, these areas also make for great photo opportunities!
The gardens were built around the same time as the Residenz and are considered to be one of the best-preserved Rococo garden in Germany (hence the incredible symmetry). You can find sculptures and fountains in there but there are also benches to sit down and take a rest if you’re so excited by all the symmetrical photo-taking.
Address: Residenzplatz 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Explore Marienkapelle Church and Marktplatz
In the centre of the old town, you’ll come across a large open area with loads of things to see. First off, you cannot miss Marienkapelle Church. This bright red chapel was built in the 14th century and you can even enter and do guided tours. Close by is the Falkenhaus where you can find tourst information if you’re visiting.
The Main Square – or Marktplatz -is bustling with a permanent market under a glass cover and additonal tents and shops on weekends. We had a wander through – there was everything from fresh vegetables to spices and hot food being served!
Address: Marktplatz 7, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Walk Along the Main
As you might now, the river running through the city is called Main. You can enjoy a walk along the side of the fortress (a popular past-time among the locals). You can even grab a snack or something to drink and have a small picnic. The river is great to walk because it’s also hard to get lost – and once you’ve gone far enough you can just cross or turn around to come home!
Check Out the Rathaus
Known in English as the town hall, the one in Würzburg is located right in the heart of the old town – and it’s very pretty. Inside, you’ll find a small museum and a restaurant known as the Würzburger Ratskeller. You can check out their website here (in German only).
Address: Rückermainstraße 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
Hike to the Käppele Sanctuary
If you’re looking to work the legs on more time after checking out Fortress Marienberg, you might want to check out the other beautiful thing on the hill: Käppele Sanctuary. This 18th century chapel on the hill is known as Wallfahrtskirche Mariä Heimsuchung in German and is popular due to its architecture and the nice views from the hill.
Address: Spittelbergweg 21, 97082 Würzburg, Germany
Where to Eat: Good Cafes and Restaurants in Würzburg
Würzburg is a student town so there are lots of great cafés and restaurants around. Whether you’re looking for delicious coffee and cakes or want a hearty Bavarian meal – Würzburg has lots of great options. We list some of our favourites below, but feel free to do your own research if these don’t spark your fancy.
Café Wunschlos Glücklich
When you’re in Würzburg you absolutely have to go here. The cafe is insanely popular with the younger crowd – and understandably so because it is that delicious. Wunschlos has to be Lisa’s favourite cafe in Würzburg and she’s brought friends there numerous times. It’s actually hidden in a back alley and you would never find it if you didn’t know about it and weren’t looking for it!
It’s usually always busy so be early if you’re heading for brunch. You might have to wait a few minutes but it is worth it. If you’re not into waiting, to make sure that you’ll get a spot just call in advance.
Wunschlos offers delicious breakfasts, cakes, and sweet and savory snacks including waffles, pancakes, and paninis. On our most recent to the city, we went AGAIN for waffles and a panini (see the photo above).
It was – as usual – excellent. We even sat outside since the weather was nice (they give you blankets which is nice). There are also lots of vegetarian and vegan options if you’re looking! You can have a look at the website and the menu here.
Address: Bronnbachergasse 22 (it is easy to miss since it is in a back alley)
Schonborn is both a café and bistro offering great breakfasts, coffees, pastries, and simple dinner dishes such as pizza, Flammkuchen, and pasta. We met a close friend there for dinner and really enjoyed it – as a typical choice for university students, the food is good AND not very expensive.
We also went again for brunch on our most recent trip and it was packed but we sat right down. Lisa had the monthly special and Eric had a traditional breakfast (meat, chesse, bread basket, egg) – and refills for filter coffee for a little bit extra (worth it).
The cafe is great as it is right in the centre of the old town. It’s two floors and has huge windows so it also works great for people watching. We think of it as the perfect stop to grab a coffee or snack after visiting the cathedral since it is so close by. You can check out the full menu here.
Unfortunately, the menu link is in German only – but you’ll be able to understand some of it and get a general idea of the place. Lisa can recommend the Flammkuchen with mushrooms, by the way!
Address: Marktplatz 30
If you want traditional Franconian food in an authentic restaurant, then you have to try Backöfele. It’s also located in the centre of the city which makes it very easy to reach. It’s the perfect location if you want to try Beef Roulade, Franconian Liver Dumpling Soup, or a typical Bavarian Brotzeit.
Oh, and you should absolutely try the Kaiserschmarrn for dessert – it has to be one of Eric’s favorite dessert dishes. Check out the menu here and select the English Menu.
Address: Ursulinergasse 2, 97070 Würzburg, Germany
And there you have it – our rundown of things to do in Würzburg! We really love the city because, as we’ve mentioned, it’s a great change of pace compared to the bigger centres in Germany. So enjoy your time in Würzburg and let us know how you like it!
As always, Happy Würzburg Waddlin’,