Things to do in Würzburg Germany

Würzburg is a magnificent city in Bavaria, Germany, known for its wine and baroque art still.

You can pick from an array of things to do in Würzburg, there is something for everyone. Collect ideas with my guide to Würzburg.

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📕 Würzburg Essential Things to Know

Würzburg is the capital of lower Franconia in the state of Bavaria. It’s located on the banks of the Main river between Frankfurt am Main and Nuremberg.

Celts, Allman, and Franks ruled over the hilly lands on the Main river and built a castle on the most prominent hill, the Marienberg.

Festung means Fortress, Burg means castle and Berg means mountain in German. The name Würz may mean Herbs and is an indication that the hills were rich in herbs and green edibles. Directly translated, Würzburg means herb castle. The first documented name was Virteburh in the 8th century.

Then came the Middle Ages and the town flourished thanks to trade along the Main river and the bridge.

Eventually, the city was nominated as a clergy town where the prince-bishops would reside between the Marienberg fort and the new Würzburg residence palace on the other side of the river.

This period brought enlightenment to Würzburg as it was chosen as a university city in 1402 and this is still the case today as the city has a large student population. Hospitals were built to treat leprosy and deal with the Black Death.

Yet, darkness befell the city as witch trials went on and people were prosecuted for joining the new evangelist movement.

World War II left the city and its historical buildings in rubble, but the city was rebuilt soon after that and has been a popular destination ever since for visitors.

Alte Mainbrücke with view to the Dom Cathedral Würzburg
Alte Mainbrücke with view to the Dom Cathedral

⛲️ Old Town Monuments

Most of the historical monuments are found in the old town. So, naturally, you will want to take a stroll through this area to uncover what the city of Würzburg has to offer.

The pedestrian zone is one of the best in Germany because it’s car-free and only trams get to move about and cyclists. Walking around will uncover the most stunning baroque and rococo art building facades that South Germany has to offer.

The Market Square will be one of the first places that you will come across. It’s a large open area where you will occasionally come across a market or an open air live event.

The maroon-red and white distinctive Marienkapelle church (translated Mary chapel) is located right next to the market square. To our surprise, we learned that it is a Gothic church from the 14th century.

Walk behind the church to the Falkenhaus. It’s a former priest’s home, and it’s undoubtedly the most beautiful house in the vicinity.

Marienkapelle church Würzburg
Marienkapelle church
The Falkenhaus behind the church Würzburg
The Falkenhaus behind the church

We continued and took the next right towards the New Munster (Neumünster, Kollegiatstift), a former abbey turned Catholic Church. Its neighbor is the Romanesque Würzburger Catholic cathedral (Cathedral of St.Kilian). Both offer guided tours, but you can visit them freely on your own, of course. The interiors are stunning!

From here, continue straight up the road towards the river to the old bridge. You can take a break at the Four Tubes Fountain (Vierröhrenbrunnen) with a view of the Rathaus (old town hall) with its medieval murals or move on to the old Main river bridge (Alte Mainbrücke).

New Munster (Neumünster, Kollegiatstift) baroque facadeWürzburg
New Munster (Neumünster, Kollegiatstift) baroque facade
Dom Würzburg cathedral
Dom Würzburg cathedral

🌇 Drink Wine on the Alte Mainbrücke

The “Alte Mainbrücke” is the oldest bridge over the river Main, connecting the old town with the Marienberg and Fortress, and it’s the cities main landmark.

The medieval bridge was replaced in the 15th century with the cobbled bridge of today’s time. The prince bishop, Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, added 12 sandstone statues depicting Christian saints from various corners of the world.

You can walk or cycle across the bridge, and it reminds one a bit of the Charles bridge in Prague (Czechia) or the old stone bridge in Regensburg (Germany).

Drinkng wine on the old bridge, Brückenschoppen Würzburg
Drinking wine on the old bridge, Brückenschoppen

Nonetheless, the view is unique to Würzburg because you get to hold a glass of wine while standing on the bridge and enjoying the timeless view of the city with the vineyards. The locals have a word for drinking wine on the bridge, Brückenschoppen!

Numerous visitors from across the world will be joining you in this unique experience, so you won’t be alone. Especially in fall, when the temperatures are falling and wine drinking is part of the culture and tradition of the region.

Grab your glass of wine from the Gasthaus Alte Mainmühle, which is located at the beginning of the bridge on the riverside of the old town. The inn can satisfy your cravings for local German foods too!

We filmed our walk across the city of Würzburg in fall and here you can see the fun in drinking wine on a bridge.

🍷 Wine Tours

The capital of Franconian wine doesn’t lack wine tours. It all depends on what you are looking for. Here are some of the highlights and choices.


The Juliusspital, located in the city center between the main train station and the old town, is a hospital. Spital means hospital in German.

Julius Echter, a noble man who became the bishops of the area, erected the Julius hospital in 1579 on a former Jewish cemetery. The aim was to provider a place of healing for the poor and orphans. The Jewish community had been expelled in 1561 from the city.

Parts of the building burned down, and a new building was added in the 18th century. The inner rooms were decorated with opulent rococo stucco and frescoes by the renowned artist Antonio Giuseppe Bossi, who found fame later on thanks to his work in the Würzburg palace residence.

The building is still used as an active hospital and the surprise here is that the oldest wine cellar in the city is located in the premises of the clinic.

You can join a wine tour (unfortunately only in German). A guide will take you on a tour across the vault with the massive wine barrels, and you will get to take part in a local franconian wine tasting session.

The Juliusspital vinyards are part of the vast foundation, making them the second-largest wine producers in Germany.

Some of their wine estates include the Würzburger Stein, Iphöfer Julius-Echter-Berg and the Randersackerer Pfülben to just name a few. They are spread out across Franconia.

Shopping lane to the train station Würzburg
Shopping lane to the train station with Stein Wine vineyards in the back

Stein Wine Trail

The Würzburger Stein is the most prestigious wine growing area in Würzburg as it is facing the south as one of the key areas.

The Stein Wine Trail leads through this vineyard area, making it a perfect small hike for anybody wanting to explore the surroundings of Würzburg. An observation deck (terroir f Würzburg) along the way will give you another perspective of the city.

Ask at the local tourism office to join on a tour. They offer German tours and perhaps English-speaking tours during peak season.

Würzburg Wine Pass

A wine drinking pass is for you if you want to learn more about the local wine expertise of the region. Würzburg offers just that to visitors.

You can choose between a bounty of establishments with this pass and enjoy an afternoon or evening filled with some of the best wines in Germany.

This is a self-guided wine tasting tour. That means you are free to move between various estates and establishments.

For €13.90 you get to try 5 Franconian wines and the pass can be acquired at the tourism office in the town center.

Alte Mainbrücke
Alte Mainbrücke

🏰 Palace Residenz and Court Gardens

The Residenz is the prince-bishop palace of Würzburg, located at the border of the inner town. It is one of the grand Baroque palaces in Europe.

Balthasar Neumann, the lead architect, started building the baroque architecture in 1720 with his team comprising a set of geniuses of this time, including the German Maximilian von Welsch, the Austrian Lukas von Hildebrandt, and French Germain Boffrand. Constructions were completed in 1744.

The interiors took a bit longer to decorate and were subsequently completed in 1781 and that for a good reason. Lavish baroque interiors with gold-plated stucco and the most wonderful frescoes transform every room, of the 300 rooms, into a stunning place.

The most well-known artists of the 18th century, from Paris France, Vienna Austria, Venice Italy, had a hand in the ornamental brilliance of this heritage building.

European art came together in this one building radiating synergy, which brought upon a style of its own during the late baroque age, the so-called Würzburg Rococo style. Rococo is a lighter still than baroque, and its characteristics are warm pastel towns, asymmetry, flowers, and Chinese Japanese elements.

Antonio Bossi, known as the ornamental genius, worked on the stucco and his biggest work is the White hall (Weisser Saal/Vestibül).

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo was imported from Venice, and he designed the extravagant mural frescoes on the ceiling of the three-level ceremonial stairway, the grand staircase. What took 3 years to complete is known as the largest fresco in the world.

View of Würzburg during sunset hour
View of Würzburg during sunset hour with the Residence to the right

Unfortunately, the residence, including the complete city of Würzburg, was heavily bombed during WWII, so that 90% was destroyed. Yet, the city and especially the palace were reconstructed with the smallest detail in mind.

Look out for the Kaisersaal (opulent room also known as Gartensaal) and the Spiegelkabinett (a room adorned with mirrors all over).

The court gardens consist of the east and south gardens. These symmetrical gardens are composed in the baroque and English style. The palace with the residence square and gardens was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

The residence is a walkable distance (just 10 mins) from the city center, and it can be easily accessed via public transport or car. They provide over 400 payable parking spots just right next to the palace complex.

You can visit in April to October between 9 am and 6 pm and in winter from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

Kids are free up to 18 years and adults pay €9 to see the palace indoors. The court gardens and church can be freely accessed and close doors on the onset of darkness.

🏯 Marienberg Fortress

The fortress, Marienberg is located on the name giver, the Marienberg (Mary mountain), just above the city. It is presumed that the hill had settlements since the late Bronze Age.

The fort has been around since the 8th century with the small circular Marienkirche church in the courtyard. The most striking monument in the fort is the keep because it looks like a tower from a fairy tale story.

Of course, you can’t miss on the view of Würzburg when you are at the Marienberg fortress. Just move outside the fortress walls to get to the view points.

Marienberg fortress
Marienberg fortress

The guided tour across the fort is recommendable, takes 45 minutes and costs about €4 per adult. The Fürstenbaumuseum covers the story of the fort and the city.

You can get to the fortress by car or bus with the line number 9 (April to October).

We walked up to the Marienberg fortress and down the hill as well, which I strongly recommend because you get to see smaller sites on the way. We started our walk at the stunning Zell Gate, which was built by prince-bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn.

The pathway leads across and upwards to the vast themed gardens, including the Japanese garden. It’s a light 20-minute hike up to the fort.

We chose another way down called Teilsteige, a path across the narrow homes and age-old neighborhoods.

It was already late, and they were closing the castle, so it appeared as if the viewpoints, where you can take a picture of the city, would be inaccessible as well. There is a 5-minute-long pathway called the Panoramaweg Marienberg around the fortress walls, which leads to the photo points, and you can access it anytime of the day.

To your delight, you will discover a small neat renaissance garden here known as the Fürstengarden.

Church and tower keep in the Marienberg Fortress Würzburg
Church and tower keep in the Marienberg Fortress
Teilsteige pathway entrance to the Marienberg fortress
Teilsteige pathway entrance to the Marienberg fortress

🎭 Museums

The city is known for its past and as a spiritual Franconian center of the church and as a place of knowledge and an old German University city. Today, visitors can explore the history and other facets of the city through its various museums.

  • Museum am Dom (aka MAD) – Modern and contemporary art museum with a religious touch.
  • Lower Franconian Museum – Franconian art history and culture museum located in the Marienberg fortress.
  • Museum im Kulturspeicher – Here you will find modern concrete and optical illusion art pieces.
  • Martin von Wagner Museum – Located in the Würzburg residence with antique objects and Renaissance painting exhibition.
  • University of Würzburg: Mineralogical Museum
  • Botanical Gardens – University gardens open to the public, with informative exhibitions on nature/environmental topics
  • Röntgen Memorial Site – A small exhibition in honor of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the man who invented the X-Ray.
Rathaus (old town hall) with medieval murals
Rathaus (old town hall)
Four Tubes Fountain (Vierröhrenbrunnen)
Four Tubes Fountain (Vierröhrenbrunnen)

🎉 Festivals and Markets

Are you looking to experience Bavarian vibes at a local fair with wine, beer and local delicacies? Then plan your days in Würzburg at a time when the people of Würzburg celebrate.

These are the traditional fairs and festivals that you should add to your itinerary.

  • Wine Festival – The city organizes a couple of wine festivals in the warmer months of the year. The first is held at the end of March at the Bürgerspital vineyard. The most important to experience is the wine parade held at the end of August/beginning September on the market square where you get to taste over 100 local wines.
  • Frühjahrsvolksfest (Spring fair) – Held 3 weeks before Easter, and it ends on Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter sunday). It kicks off the spring fair season in Bavaria. You can expect plenty of rides and food stalls to entertain you.
  • Kiliani Volksfest – Kilian is a very Bavarian boy’s name. This local fair resembles the Octoberfest held in Munich, just that it’s held in June or July for 2 weeks. Here you will find local foods such as Steckerlfisch (fish on the stick) or Bratwurst in a bun, as well as games and rides in the local fashion.
  • Spezialitätenmarkt (Specialty market) –
  • Christmas market – Get enchanted by the atmosphere in this Christmas market held at the main square in December. Here you can get Franconian specialties such as knitwear and, of course, the best mulled wine with locally grown wine, every day up 8:30 pm.

✨ More things to do

  • Cycling – You can just hire a cycle or e-bike and explore the surroundings on your own or join a guided tour (please see the Tourism office at the market square, they will hook you up).
  • Hike to the Käppele Sanctuary – A 18th century pilgrimage church/little chapel on a hill overlooking the city with intricate baroque interiors.
  • River Cruise – Dock at the Alter Kranen Boat Dock and enjoy a cruise on the river Mainz, with some wine of course, to the former summer residence of the prince-bishop in Veitshöchheim.
  • Shopping – The cobbled roads are wide and completely car-free, so moving between the various choices of shops and boutiques is just bliss in Würzburg.
View to the Käppele, pilgrimage chapel Würzburg
View to the Käppele, pilgrimage chapel

🚗 Day Trips in Bavaria

If you are looking for something just near Würzburg, then add the Veitshöchheim palace to your itinerary. The Ravensburg castle ruins, with the best top-down view of the Main river, and the Geographic Center of the EU are just nearby and can be visited for free.

  • Bamberg – Magnificent old town known for the old town hall on the bridge.
  • Rothenburg ob der Taube – One of the most beautiful medieval towns in Germany.
  • Nuremberg – Known for its complicated medieval and Nazi past and the Christmas market.
  • Aschaffenburg – The Franconian city of palaces on the river Main

Würzburg is also the starting point to the German Romantic Road, a route taking you across Bavaria via the most stunning villages and towns. The end point of this road is Füssen in the South, the location of the fairy tale Neuschwanstein castle.

Nuremberg old town

💭 FAQs

What are some of the best photo spot views of the city?

The most iconic pictures of Würzburg are taken from the Marienberg Fortress. From there you have a clear view of the old bridge and the town and the vineyards serve as a backdrop. Another great, less busy spot, is the Blick über Würzburg observation deck located in the north. From the observation deck you can make pictures of the vineyards with the city and river as a backdrop from a very different angle, and It’s accessible for free 24 hours.

Which airport should I fly to, to visit Würzburg?

The Frankfurt airport is the largest airport in Germany and one of the biggest in Europe. You can get to Würzburg by car or train within an hour. Munich airport is another option, but the road is about 3 hours long and there is frequently construction work on the Autobahn highway, but a train ride takes about 2–3 hours.

Where to park your car in Würzburg?

Parking is not a commodity in Würzburg. We found large and well situated parking in the parking garage Juliusspital priced at €11 for a whole day.

How far is the main train station from the city center?

Several tram lines can take you within minutes from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) to the city center. You can also walk down the lane, which is just a 10-minute walk.

When is the best time to visit Würzburg?

Every season has its charm, it depends on your expectations. The summer months, July and August can be busy, but you have guaranteed warm weather. March and April are great to see spring blossoms in the gardens. May and June are not that busy but warmer. September and October are the seasons for wine lovers. November is the least busy of all months. If you want to do Christmas market hopping, then come in December. January and February will show you the city in ice and perhaps snow.

How to get around in Würzburg?

The inner city of Würzburg is completely car-free, which is great if you want to just stroll around to discover the main old town sites. Trams are the most popular form of transportation. You can get a day ticket at a tram line station to get around because it can get a bit exhausting just walking around, especially if you want to get to the other side of the river.

What Souvenirs or things to get from Würzburg?

Most probably if you are in Würzburg it is because of the wine culture. On our last trip to the city we went into a grocery store (such as REWE) and there you can find the iconic wine filled in the special rounded bottle shape, which is known as the Bocksbeutel.

What wines is Würzburg known for?

Würzburg is known for its Silvaner wine, a wine with a refreshing bouquet and peach-like flavor profile, most similar to Pinot Gris. Riesling is also a commonly grown and produced wine in the area, as well as Traminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noire, Pinot Blanc and fruity Muskateller. As you must have noticed, white wines are more commonly produced in Germany.

Is Würzburg worth visiting?

Yes, absolutely if you like wine, beer, grand palaces and fortresses, medieval European towns and German cities.

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