A feast for the senses:
Franconia celebrates the vacation year 2024
16 different vacation landscapes, one vacation region: That is Franconia! The north of Bavaria is full of surprises and spoils visitors with delicious cuisine, beer and wine specialties, half-timbered houses, magnificent baroque buildings, urban lifestyle, and a diverse nature for those seeking active experiences.
Stroll through history: 70 years of the "Castle Road”
The possibilities for discovering Franconia are as varied as the vacation region itself. The vacation routes offer good orientation - from the "Romantic Road" to the "German Limes Road" and the "German Toy Road". One of them celebrates its birthday in 2024: The "Castle Road" between Mannheim and Bayreuth will be 70 years old. The highlights it links along its way, however, date back to much further in the past. Around 70 castles, palaces and magnificent residences are just waiting to be "conquered" with all senses (www.burgenstrasse.de/uk/Home.html).
Free and independent: 750 years of the imperial city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The first stop on the "Castle Road" in Franconia is the once free imperial city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. 2024 marks the 750th anniversary of the confirmation of its imperial city privilege. The Whitsun Festival "Der Meistertrunk" (May 17 to 20, 2024), the special exhibition "The Weapons of an Imperial City" in the RothenburgMuseum (June 1, 2024 to December 31, 2025) and the Imperial City Festival (September 6 to 8, 2024) show what life was like back then. Rothenburg ob der Tauber will celebrate May 15, 2024, the anniversary of the privilege with a civic festival. Thanks to this privilege, the town was subject only to the king or emperor and was economically independent. The anniversary is honored with music by an open-air event on the market square, which brings together history, pop and dance in harmony (August 2 to 4, 2024, www.rothenburg.de/en).
Christmas all year round: 60 years of "Käthe Wohlfahrt”
Rothenburg's anniversary is sugar-coated with a large portion of Christmas romance. The "Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village" makes this possible all year round. Sixty years ago, Wilhelm and Käthe Wohlfahrt laid the foundation for their Christmas company, and since 1977 the headquarters has been in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. In Franconia, you can also do Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shopping in Nuremberg or Bamberg, plus several other German cities as well as in France, Belgium, Spain, England and the USA. In 2000, the "German Christmas Museum" opened its doors in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. There, visitors can find out why it used to be customary to hang the tree from the ceiling with the top down (www.kaethe-wohlfahrt.com/en/home, www.weihnachtsmuseum.de/en).
Imperial Jubilee in Bamberg: 1,000 Years of Heinrich II
If you follow the "Castle Road" further, it leads via Ansbach and Nuremberg to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg. One of its landmarks is the imperial cathedral, donated by Emperor Heinrich II, who also founded the bishopric and endowed the city with great art treasures. The anniversary of his death will be one millennium ago in 2024. Bamberg is taking this as an opportunity to trace his footsteps and influence. The State Library, for example, is home to precious medieval manuscripts, some of which were donated by Heinrich II and are the focus of a special exhibition (September 16 to December 14, 2024). Next door, the Diocesan Museum is dedicating its jubilee exhibition (February 24, to May 14, 2024) to the theme "Crosses". In the History Museum, the exhibition "1,000 Years Ago: Peoples’ lives at the Court of Kunigunde and Heinrich II" focuses on the empress and the everyday life of an imperial palace (October 28, 2024 to April 27, 2025). The Heinrichsfest (July 11-14, 2024) will focus on the anniversary including a large-scale installation by artist Elke Maier at the emperor's tomb in the cathedral (until September 2024) and a cathedral concert (July 13, 2024, en.bamberg.info).
In the Light of the City's History: 20 Years of Bamberg Shadow Theater
In Bamberg, you’ll encounter Heinrich II on many paths - a particularly atmospheric one leads to the Katharinenkapelle in the Alte Hofhaltung. It is the venue of the Theater der Schatten (Theater of Shadows), which has been aesthetically staging the city's history for 20 years, using reflections, silhouettes, light refractions and sound recordings to bring Bamberg's most harrowing and most gratifying events to life (www.theater-der-schatten.de/en/theatre).
Backstage in the Baroque: New UNESCO World Heritage Center in Bayreuth
The "Castle Road" ends - after stops in Coburg, Kronach and Kulmbach, among others - in Bayreuth. A grand finale, because the city delights with its magnificent castles and gardens from the time of the margraves. Margravine Wilhelmine is of particular importance here. In the Baroque period, she transformed Bayreuth into her "earthly Arcadia". Wilhelmine loved music and created a unique monument to it in the form of the Margravial Opera House, which today is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The new visitor center offers a glimpse behind the scenes. Visitors to the "Margravial Opera House: World Heritage & Museum" get to meet Wilhelmine "in person", celebrate at her daughter's wedding and learn more about Baroque special effects (www.bayreuth-tourismus.de/en).
Next stop: Culture!
Fancy even more world-class cultural treasures? Not a problem in Franconia: The Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes, the Würzburg Residence and Bad Kissingen as part of the "Great Spa Towns of Europe" are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites (www.frankentourismus.com/specials/unesco-world-heritage). A particular advantage is that they are all accessible by bus and train. This also applies to many other Franconian cultural destinations, as the new brochure "Franconia - Cultural Journey of Discovery" shows. In it, each Franconian vacation region presents five cultural highlights that can be easily reached by public transport (www.frankentourismus.com).
Enter art and history: Reopening of Eichstätt's Cathedral and Castle
Eichstätt also offers a new approach to art and history. The cathedral, one of the most important medieval architectural monuments in Bavaria, was closed for several years for a large-scale renovation. On July 7, 2024, it will celebrate its reopening in new splendor. To cater for guests with disabilities: The entrance is barrier-free. The same applies when Eichstätt's second major construction site, Willibaldsburg Castle, is completed in 2024 and once again directly accessible. Eichstätt is also known for its modern buildings. Inseparably linked to this is diocesan master builder Karljosef Schattner. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, in 2024 guided tours and an exhibition are dedicated to Schattner's ingenious ability to combine the old with the new (www.eichstaett.de).
Experiences with kids: family time in Franconia's cities
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bamberg, Bayreuth and Eichstätt: They all belong to the circle of Franconian cities - as do Ansbach, Aschaffenburg, Coburg, Dinkelsbühl, Erlangen, Forchheim, Fürth, Kulmbach, Nuremberg, Schweinfurt and Würzburg. With short texts and atmospheric videos their joint website shows what highlights they have on offer. Guests can choose whether to focus specifically on one city or let keywords guide them to the individual stories. Brand new are the experiences for families. How about a royal picnic for princesses and princes in Ansbach, a tour with "Frau Fürth" or "particle pushing" with Albert Einstein in Würzburg (www.frankentourismus.com/cities)?
High mountains, dark moors, sparse forests: Franconia's nature parks
The Franconian cities have another advantage: It is never far from the center to the countryside, because they are embedded in vast natural landscapes. Eichstätt, for example, lies in the middle of the Altmühl Valley Nature Park, Kulmbach in the Franconian Forest Nature Park and Aschaffenburg in the Spessart Nature Park. A cluster of nature parks? Definitely, because Franconia is home to ten such protected areas. Together, they make up almost half of the vacation country: from the mysterious moors of the Rhön Mountains to the highest peaks in Franconia in the Fichtelgebirge Mountains to the cave worlds of the Franconian Switzerland - Franconian Jura Nature Park as well as the Nature Parks Steigerwald Forest and Bergstrasse-Odenwald. With the Hassberge Mountains Nature Park and the Frankenhöhe Nature Park, two of these inviting landscapes will have their birthdays in 2024. Both will be 50 years old, which will be celebrated with nature park festivals and guided tours (www.frankentourismus.com/specials/sustainable-vacations).
Vacation experiences with future
The Franconian nature parks show something else: Great vacation enjoyment and a small carbon footprint are not a contradiction in Franconia. Mobile without a car? Franconia makes it possible with special offers such as on-call buses or rental cargo bikes as well as the trains and leisure buses of the Bavarian train operator Bayerische Eisenbahngesellschaft (BEG) and the public transport system of wider Nuremberg, Verkehrsverbund Großraum Nürnberg (VGN). As of January 2024, the latter will once again significantly expand its network in the vacation landscapes of Coburg.Rennsteig, Frankenwald and Fichtelgebirge Mountains and thus create the best connections for example to Coburg, Hof, Kulmbach, Kronach or Wunsiedel (www.vgn.de/en, www.bahnland-bayern.de).
With all senses through Franconia's nature
Relaxing in vacation accommodation close to nature? With pleasure! You are invited to: TinyHouses, shepherd's caravans, tree house hotels or floating vacation homes. Want to get active close to nature? Then let's go biking and hiking! More than 50 Franconian hiking routes have now been certified as quality or premium hiking trails: The "Franconian Trail - from the Rennsteig to the Swabian Alb" (323 miles) or the "Franconian Mountain Trail" (266 miles) for instance, offer unforgettable touring experiences. The "Celtic Experience Trail" (162 miles, www.frankentourismus.com/specials/hiking) takes you back in history. For those who prefer to get on their bikes, the Franconian river routes on the "MainRadweg", the "RegnitzRadweg" or the "Tauber Altmühl Radweg" are recommended (www.mainradweg.com, www.regnitzradweg.de, www.tauber-altmuehl-radweg.de). Numerous e-bike offers, battery charging and rental stations, service centers and hosts with e-bike rental (www.frankentourismus.com/specials/bicycling) provide extra tailwind.
A source of delights: Franconia's regional specialties
And if you want to enjoy what is grown regionally and seasonally while on the road? No problem in Franconia, of course! The ingredients for all the regional delicacies served in local inns and restaurants are abundant: In hop gardens and on the vineyards, the plants wind their way toward the sky, plums, cherries and apples ripen in the meadow orchards, carp cavort in the ponds, and sheep and cattle graze in the pastures. Those who want to get ideas for a sustainable culinary voyage of discovery will find them in the brochures "Franconia - Land of Delights" and "Franconia - Home of Beers". Like the other Franconia Tourism brochures, they can also be found as a flip catalog on the internet (www.frankentourismus.com/specials/culinary-delights, www.franken-bierland.de). The brochure and website of "Franconia - Wine.Beautiful.Country!" bundle pleasurable travel events around Franconian wine. The quality seal of the same name points the way to wineries, restaurants, wine bistros, wine trails and much more (en.franken-weinland.de).
26 new perspectives and inspiration online
A collection of 26 videos under the motto "Change of Perspective - Sustainable Vacation in Franconia" also provide inspiration for a conscious vacation close to nature. The short clips take you on an atmospheric journey through all 16 Franconian vacation landscapes. They also inspire sustainable experiences, for example, on a family vacation, in Franconian cities, while cycling or hiking (www.frankentourismus.com/specials/sustainable-vacations). The website is also ideal for keeping up to date on the many events in the vacation region: from culinary offerings to traditional customs and top-class concerts with the "Musikzauber Franken" seal of quality to romantic Christmas markets (www.frankentourismus.com/events).
The best time of the year simply booked online: Hosts and experiences
The stay with the Franconian hosts can be easily booked online. The website of FrankenTourismus links directly to the booking options of the Franconian vacation landscapes. Since many different experiences can also be booked this way, the discovery tour can begin in an uncomplicated, relaxed manner and without long waiting times (www.frankentourismus.de/onlinebuchung).
Well-being experiences for body, soul and spirit: Health Park Franconia
The 19 Franconian spas and health resorts are all about relaxation. Together, as the "Franconian Health Park," they offer everything you could want for a healthy vacation: natural healing treasures such as brine, radon, moor, Kneipp expertise and a healing climate, health experts, modern spa concepts, special programs for well-being and exceptional thermal baths (www.frankentourismus.com/specials/health-park).
Bubbling joy: anniversaries in Bad Bocklet and Bad Königshofen
With Bad Bocklet and Bad Königshofen, a double spa anniversary is on the calendar in 2024. 300 years ago, the Balthasar Neumann Spring was discovered in Bad Bocklet, marking the beginning of the healthy history of the Bavarian State Spa in the Rhön Mountains. Thanks to iron, calcium as well as valuable minerals, its water gives new strength, detoxifies the organism and strengthens the immune system. It is used primarily in drinking and Kneipp cures in baths as well and will naturally be the focus of attention in the anniversary year. Among other things, natural spring days (end of April 2024) and healing water tastings (www.badbocklet.de) are planned.
In Bad Königshofen, it is the sulfate-containing Urbani healing spring to which the town in the Hassberge Mountains owes its designation as a spa in 1974. Bad Königshofen celebrates the anniversary of the spa's elevation every year with its civic festival (July 13 to 15, 2024). For the 50th birthday of the spa, the traditional program will be accompanied by other highlights - including a concert with the "Dorfrockern". The rock band will play in the spa park next to the new Trinkkur- und Wandelhalle (opening May 2024). Under one roof, it offers a modern concert hall, digital tourist information, and the modern and stylish Heilquellen Lounge (www.bad-koenigshofen.de).
The way is the destination: On the road with motorcycle and motorhome
Bad Königshofen is also a very good example of how easy it is to discover Franconia by RV. Directly adjacent to the spa's FrankenTherme, where guests can float in Germany's warmest natural spa lake, is a spacious, newly developed RV site. It is one of more than 300 designated sites in Franconia, many of which have won multiple awards for their quality. The route suggestions on the website of Franconia tourism and the brochure “Free journey to the variety - the most beautiful routes with the motorhome (www.frankentourismus.de/wohnmobil)” show the available options when traveling with the RV. The same applies to motorcyclists, who can find varied tours, idyllic rest areas and motorcycle-friendly inns online (www.frankentourismus.de/motorrad-touren).
Look forward to Franconia: Vacation magazine 2024
What do an herbalist who nurses injured wild birds, a castle lord with his own ghostly retinue and the boss of the second oldest travesty theater in Germany have in common? They are all protagonists of the documentary "Home visit – People in Franconia”. Their stories can be read in the current vacation magazine "Freu' Dich auf Franken", which presents on more than 150 pages the highlights of the year 2024 as well as the most beautiful Franconian travel occasions - available free of charge over Franconia tourism or as a flip catalog online (www.frankentourismus.de/prospekte).
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