Germany off the beaten track

Top chefs will give you an introduction to the richly varied world of German gourmet cuisine. © la vie, Osnabrück

Your Life!

  • Monuments
  • Lifestyle
  • Heritage
  • Experiences
  • Atmosphere
  • Culture

Practical information

Why go?

Würzburg in the Franconian Wine Country is full of intriguing contrasts: progress and tradition, a big-city buzz and countryside charm, culture and commerce, sushi and sausages, wine festivals and cocktail bars, entertainment and relaxation.

The lively university city of Würzburg, gateway to the Romantic Road, is dominated by its most prominent landmark, the Festung Marienberg (Marienberg Fortress). The origins of this fortress date back to around 1000 B.C., when a Celtic fortified refuge existed on this site. Since the foundation of the Würzburg bishopric in 742, the city has been the religious center of the region.

Würzburg experienced its most prosperous period during the rule of the art-loving prince-bishops of the Schönborn family, for whom Balthasar Neumann built the "palace of palaces", the "Würzburger Residenz" (Würzburg Residence), from 1719 to 1744. The Venetian artist Tiepolo painted the vast fresco on the ceiling above the famous staircase, thereby creating the largest painting in the world. In 1982, on account of its outstanding architectural significance, the Residence was placed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Würzburg is the metropolis of sunny Franconia where it flanks the Main River, a landscape whose vineyards are famous throughout the world. It is Franconian wine that, in perfect harmony with Baroque splendor, always makes a visit to Würzburg a memorable experience.

When to go?

Grafeneckart ©CTW / A.BestleGermany is a popular travel destination all year-round, with a typical four-season climate. Winter temperatures vary from west to east, with around freezing temperatures in the west and well below freezing in the east of Germany. Summer temperatures are typically between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F). In terms of tourist numbers, May through to September are the most popular months to visit Germany. However, the winter holidays with their enchanting Christmas Markets are also a major highlight. Those who enjoy the benefits of uncrowded attractions will favor January through to April.

The weather in Würzburg is continental in the sense that it varies from year to year, meaning a chilly spring and rainy summer one year can be followed by a spectacularly warm and sunny season the next year. The areas around the Main are blessed with a particularly pleasant climate which allows for the successful cultivation of grapevines.

Long periods of fine weather can be followed by unsettled conditions. To be on the safe side, make sure you bring a sweater and wet weather clothing with you.

What to eat?

Franconian wine characterizes the local population and its way of life. In the cozy Weinstuben (restaurants) the visitor soon gets to know the friendly locals. At the traditional wine festivals one quickly becomes a friend of the Franconian philosophy of life, which is marked by sociability and "joie de vivre". The widely known Franconian Wine is grown by about 6,500 wine growers on about 5,500 hectares of land.

Franconian wine-growers participate in a stringent self-control process in order to guarantee the quality of the famous wine. Its hallmark is a wide rounded bottle - the Bocksbeutel. Local cuisine presents itself as hearty as the region and its people and goes well with the regional wine and beer.

One starts with a nourishing soup such as Leberknödel-, Kartoffel-, or Hochzeitssuppe (liver dumpling-, potato-, or "wedding" soup). A typical main course is Sauerbraten (braised beef marinated in vinegar) which is traditionally served with dumplings, but of course international dishes are very popular as well.

The Franconian specialties include Franconian Hochzeitsessen (boiled beef and pasta, served with horseradish), Blaue Zipfel (sausages cooked in stock), Knöchle (knuckle), or Ripple (ribs) with cabbage, homemade-style sausages, Gerupfter (a special way of preparing camembert cheese) and Meefischli (small fish from the Main River).

A large number of seasonal dishes are also offered: September to April: Hasenpfeffer (jugged hare) and fish (trout and carp); May to June: Spargel (asparagus) in all varieties; September to the beginning of November: Zwiebelkuchen (onion tart), Schinkenröllchen (ham rolls), Zwetschgenkuchen (plum cake) and Federweisser (young wine); November/December: poultry (St. Martin´s or Christmas goose).

Map of Germany

VIP: Tilman Riemenschneider

The acclaimed sculptor lived and worked in Würzburg. The Museum für Franken (Franconian State Museum) houses the biggest Riemenschneider artworks collection in the world.

The Romantic Road

From the River Main to the Alps

No other German tourist route is as well known throughout the world as the Romantic Road. It  is undoubtedly the most attractive connection between more than two dozen South German tow, like the Historic Highlights of Germany cities of Würzburg and Augsburg, which is the city of the Fugger family and Füssen with the world famous Neuschwanstein Castle.

Further information

The TV Travel Guide by Deutsche Welle about Würzburg