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Franconia and the German Danube Travel Guide

  • Photo: Peter Guttman/

Plan Your Franconia and the German Danube Vacation

All that is left of the huge, ancient kingdom of the Franks is the region known today as Franken (Franconia), stretching from the Bohemian Forest on the Czech border to the outskirts of Frankfurt. The Franks were not only tough warriors but also hard workers, sharp tradespeople, and burghers with a good political nose. The word frank means bold, wild, and courageous in the old Frankish

tongue. It was only in the early 19th century, following Napoléon's conquest of what is now southern Germany, that the area was incorporated into northern Bavaria.

Although more closely related to Thuringia, this historic homeland of the Franks, one of the oldest Germanic peoples, is now begrudgingly part of Bavaria. Franconian towns such as Bayreuth, Coburg, and Bamberg are practically places of cultural pilgrimage. Rebuilt Nürnberg (Nuremberg in English) is the epitome of German medieval beauty, though its name recalls both the Third Reich's huge rallies at the Zeppelin Field and its henchmen's trials held in the city between 1945 and 1950.

Franconia is hardly an overrun tourist destination, yet its long and rich history, its landscapes and leisure activities (including skiing, golfing, hiking, and cycling), and its gastronomic specialties place it high on the enjoyment scale. Franconia is especially famous for its wine and for the fact that it's home to more than half of Germany’s breweries.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Bamberg’s Altstadt This one isn't just for the tourists. Bamberg may be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it's also a vibrant town living very much in the present.
  2. Vierzehnheiligen Just north of Bamberg, this church’s swirling rococo decoration earned it the nickname "God's Ballroom."
  3. Nürnberg’s Kaiserburg Holy Roman emperors once resided in the vast complex of this imperial castle, which has fabulous views over the entire city.
  4. Steinerne Brücke in Regensburg This 12th-century Stone Bridge was considered an amazing feat of engineering in its time.
  5. An organ concert in Passau You can listen to the mighty sound the 17,774 pipes of Dom St. Stephan’s organ create at weekday concerts.

When To Go

When to Go

Summer is the best time to explore Franconia, though spring and fall are also fine when the weather cooperates. Avoid the cold and wet months...

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Travel Tips

Franconia and the German Danube Travel Tips

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