One of the places I couldn’t wait to visit on our European road trip in August was the Bavarian city of Würzburg in Germany. I had done so much pre-trip planning and research about visiting Würzburg. This mostly consisted of Pinterest blog posts and travel vlogs. Würzburg is located in Bavaria, along the romantic road in Germany, a route we were loosely following. If you’re heading to Würzburg, here is an idea of a few things to do in Würzburg, with or without the kids.
The Residenzplatz, Würzburg
We were staying just outside the town, so when we got into Würzburg we parked in the huge parking area of the Residenz Platz. My heart started racing immediately. Just the car park was epic enough but I had to go inside!
The Würzburg Residence is a Bavarian Palace. It was once the home of the prince bishops of Bavaria. Unlike other Palaces and residences, the Würzburg Residence was built in its entirety between 1720 and 1744. It remains one of the most important palaces in Europe and has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
I honestly can’t express to you how it took my breath away. The walls, the ceilings and the staircases are works of art, nevermind the actual art hanging on the walls. Do yourself a favour and just google the palace and check out the images. It’s mind-blowing that places like this are actually real! The opulence, artistry, beauty and sheer wealth of history inside is just breathtaking.
I was not a happy snapper!
Unfortunately, you are not permitted to take photos inside the palace. Take it from me, I have NEVER seen anything quite like it. As a ‘snapper’ (taker of a million pictures!), it was so hard for me NOT to take photographs. However, the history loving student in me actually appreciated the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to refer back to my photos and that I was forced to soak it all up whilst I was there! Soak it up I did.
Did the kids enjoy it?
Yes, they did. It was a bit nerve-wracking at times though. I felt like I had to constantly tell them to shush so as to not disrupt the tours that were being conducted. We didn’t join the tour, for obvious reasons … kids! They are the reason!
They really enjoyed imagining which room they would commandeer as their own if we were to ever live in such a palace; the green room, the blue room, the pink room. I obviously chose the writing room and declared that they would all be banned from entering at all times, forevermore! All of them!
Whilst I loved exploring the inside of the Residenzplatz, in hindsight, it was a little lost on the rest of the family. The kids much preferred the next space we explored, the Würzburg Court Gardens
Würzburg Court Gardens
When we had finished inside the Würzburg Residence, we headed off to the Würzburg Court Gardens. The gardens are free to explore and actually continue on to a public park. We all loved the gardens and it reminded me of all those historical romance Mills & Boon love stories I used to devour! The setting of the Residence gardens, landscaped to within an inch of their life, is gorgeous. It would have been the perfect setting for a tête-à-tête or an ‘organised hustle’ as it would be probably be known as today.
The Residenzplatz Gardens are just stunning. It’s worth a visit on its own and we were lucky with the weather. It’s the perfect place to get a taste of the town when Explore Würzburg with kids. They can run and explore without too much worry that they can get up to mischief, you don’t have to shush them, and you can even take a picnic if you wanted to.
Did the kids enjoy it?
They really did! This was much more to their liking. Free to run, scream, explore and just burn off some energy. It was great for them. The gardens weren’t that busy either so it was really good for all of us that they got some freedom.
Market Square and St Mary’s Chapel, Würzburg
After exploring the Würzburg Residenz and the Residence court gardens, we wandered off into town to explore more of Würzburg with the kids. We had promised the girls an ice-cream, even though the weather was starting to take a turn.Parenting Tip 101: Never promise a child an ice-cream unless you can deliver said ice-cream! Even when visiting a historical European city! #familytravel #parentingadvice Click To Tweet
As with most European cities, Würzburg also has a Market Square. These are usually the historic central square in the town which is quite often taken over by a local market. These markets are always full of a variety of wares, from fresh vegetables, bread, cheese, homemade arts & crafts, curios for the tourists, and even your typical cheap and affordable clothing. Wurzburg is no different.
Just off Market Square was St Mary’s Chapel.
I went inside alone whilst the kids and my husband waited outside finishing off their ice-creams. Würzburg has a number of unusual and distinctly individual churches and cathedrals that were interesting, but on this day the kids were starting to get a bit bored.
Walking around the town is a great way to explore Würzburg with kids. It was busy, but not too crowded that I felt anxious. There wasn’t that much traffic either, a few buses and trams. It is a city after all, but it was easy enough to walk around Würzburg city centre.
Did the kids enjoy it?
They loved their ice-creams, but the rest of it was a bit lost on them. Maybe just too much culture. They much preferred the Residence gardens as their preferred attraction when visiting Würzburg.
If you’re planning a city break with kids, remember that it’s important that everyone gets to something they want, even mum.
The Old Main Bridge, Würzburg
From Market Square, we continued on to the river. Specifically, we were looking for the Old Main Bridge. That’s the spot where all the YouTubers and Instagrammers take loads of pictures of so I was expecting to find it looking just like that. It wasn’t.
You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson after our trip to Scotland, and maybe it’s me having too many preconceived notions of what I would find, but I was a bit disappointed. I guess on reflection it wasn’t the town or the bridge or any of that that I was disappointed by. I think of all the places we visited, this was the town that I maybe did too much research about. If I hadn’t had higher expectations, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed.
Maybe if we were on a different type of holiday, a child-free one, we’d have been able to hang around the lovely looking wine bar, soak in the views of the surrounding mountains, the vineyards and Marienberg Fortress. Oh, and just by the way, German wine is good! But that’s not really the sort of things active kids want to do. So if you’re planning to explore Würzburg with kids, don’t imagine you can do it the same way that young singles do, or retired folks either for that matter. It’s this in-between stage that family travel has its own unique perspective on travel, locations, holidays and vacations.
Marienberg Fortress and the Princes’ Garden, Würzburg
After wandering over the bridge and back, we decided to head to the Marienberg Fortress by car as from there we would end up driving home. It is possible to walk up to the fortress from the town, and if I had more
time energy, I would have loved the views from that angle. But we decided to drive. Also, I’m not sure the kids would have thanked me. It did look quite steep.
The Marienberg Fortress
Marienberg Fortress is a huge castle standing on the hillside visible from just about everywhere in Würzburg. Certain parts of it date back as far as the early 8th century.
The original castle on the Marienberg, a hill which was first settled in the late Bronze Age, was probably a small fort built early in the 8th century by the Franconian-Thuringian dukes. The circular Marienkapelle is one of the oldest church buildings in South Germany and dates from around 1000. From 1200 an unusually large castle was built, which was extended during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. For half a millennium, from around 1250 to 1720, the Marienberg was the ruling seat of the Würzburg prince-bishops, who also held the title of Duke of East Franconia.
Following the storming of the castle by the Swedes in 1631, Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp von Schönborn built a circle of massive bastions, which are the dominant feature of Marienberg Fortress. In 1945 the fortress was almost completely burned out, and its reconstruction was only completed in 1990.Information provided by Bavarian Palace Website.
Entrance Fees to Marienberg Fortress, Würzburg
Entrance was free to the grounds, but as we found with a number of German attractions, the outside is free but the inside of the fortresses and castles has been taken over by either one museum or a number of smaller museums, ones which all require separate entrance fees.
We decided not to tour the inside, purely because:
- We didn’t have enough time to really do them justice as it was already late afternoon.
- The kids would have been a bit bored, especially after the long day.
- They all cost money and we did have a budget to stick to.
I think if I had to compare it to somewhere I’ve been before the huge external walls remind me most of Caernarfon Castle in Wales.
The Princes’ Garden, Marienberg, Würzburg
I did get some lovely pictures from up the Princes’ Garden set on the east side of the fortress. The views over Würzburg are amazing. The garden has been in existence since the 16th century but only took its present form in around 1700. It was restored as recently as 1937.
I’m glad we got to explore Würzburg with kids. The Residenz Platz and gardens, and the views from the Marienberg Fortress were worth the trip there. I was slightly disappointed but that could have been due to the wet weather in the afternoon, and the fact that it was more of a ‘churches and museums’ place to visit. The kids were understandably a bit bored the rest of the day after the fun they’d had running around the Residence gardens. If I went back I wouldn’t take the kids with.
I’d love to know what you think? Have you been to Würzburg with your kids? What did I miss? Please let me know in the comments which of these you would most like to do?
I can highly recommend the Germany travel guide by Lonely Planet! It was a lifesaver on our trip!
Check out my previous post on 24 Hours In Bruges.