Encompassing the northern uplands of the Franconian Jura, Franconian Switzerland lies between the River Pegnitz and the River Regnitz in Bavaria. It was given its name by 19th-century Romantic artists and writers, who compared its spectacular landscapes to Switzerland. Today, the region is renowned for its traditional breweries and atmospheric towns.
Things to do in Fränkische Schweiz
Stunning karst landscapes, centuries-old towns and a rich musical heritage - Franconian Switzerland is an area of Germany that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Explore Bamberg’s old town. Nicknamed the “Rome of Franconia”, Bamberg sprawls across seven hills at the junction of the Regnitz and Main rivers. Marvel at the medieval architecture of the 11th-century Bamberg Cathedral and discover the frescoed interior of the Altes Rathaus before strolling through the Renaissance-style rose garden of the Neue Residenz.
Follow in Wagner’s footsteps in Bayreuth. Serving as the capital of Upper Franconia, Bayreuth is famed for its annual festival showcasing works by Richard Wagner. The 19th-century composer’s operas and symphonies are also regularly performed at the Bayreuther Festspielhaus while his former home, Villa Wahnfried, is accessible on guided tours.
Discover Saint Elisabeth’s links to Pottenstein. Surrounded by high cliffs, the charming town of Pottenstein is nestled at the foot of a 1,000-year-old castle where Saint Elisabeth (the widow of Ludwig IV) is said to have been held hostage in the 13th century. Follow the marked “Elisabeth Route” that leads through the town and stops at her statue, the Catholic church of St. Kunigund and the Scharfrichter Museum.
Visit the Veldenstein Forest Nature Park. Sprawling across 2,300 square kilometres between Bamberg, Bayreuth and Nuremberg is the Veldenstein Forest, which is protected in one of Germany’s largest nature parks. In addition to providing habitat for rare birds of prey, it is renowned for its chalk cliffs, deep valleys and karst caves featuring impressive dripstone formations.
Getting around Fränkische Schweiz
Nuremberg Airport is the main aviation gateway to Franconian Switzerland and has flights to destinations across Europe. Trains connect to towns and villages across the region while most of the historic centres are compact enough to explore on foot.