Roughly half way between Frankfurt and Munich, the city of Ansbach serves up stately beauty in an untraditional Bavarian setting. Located in Southern Germany, the city was founded on a settlement that dates back to the 11th century. It offers an enticing old town, but is also famed for the Baroque style it showcases in contrast to the more traditional Bavarian cities surrounding it.
Five Must-Dos in Ansbach
Number 1: The Margrave’s Palace (Markgrafenschloß) or Residenz Ansbach (Ansbach Residence) is a great starting point for understanding the history of the city. Developed from an older building and updated in the Renaissance style between 1565-1575, it was designed to be the Palace of the ruling Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach. Even today it remains the administrative centre of Middle Franconia.
This beautiful building gives a fascinating insight into the history of the region from the grandeur of a royal home to a museum of porcelain and tiles produced in the area. The impressive stately rooms are well worth a visit. The palace is only accessible via an official tour which takes around two hours, and which helps unfold the richness of the palace’s history.
Number 2:The Orangery and Garden were built as the gardens to the Margrave’s Palace, although they are placed a short walk away from each other. Built and developed in the Rococo style, they were badly damaged during the war but have been painstakingly restored to their former glory. These provide the backdrop for cultural events in Ansbach, particularly the Rococo and Bach Festival weeks.
Number 3: If you have children to keep amused, the Raubtier- und Exotenasyl Ansbach (located south of the city in nearby Wallersdorf) is hugely exciting. A rescue and rehabilitation centre initially for big cats but now for all manner of exotic animals, the centre is a small labour of love. Whilst it doesn’t have the variety of a larger zoo it makes up for it through the passion and dedication of its staff. The centre receives no public funding and relies on donations to maintain its work, which makes it all the more remarkable.
Number 4: To truly get a handle on the history of the city and to find out what has shaped and affected it The Markgrafen Museum is an essential visit. It offers comprehensive exploration of all things Ansbachian, including a study of the Mystery of Kaspar Hauser. To visit Ansbach without visiting the Markgrafen Museum is to leave without really understanding what you have seen.
Number 5: The historic and beautiful Saint Gumbertus’ Church is the final must-do. Dating back to 750AD Saint Gumbertus is so closely associated with Ansbach that it is considered an emblem of the city. It has developed through the ages since it was first built, as a result showcasing a variety of styles. The result is a place that is not easy to define but is easy to enjoy.
When to Visit?
A cooler climate means that Ansbach enjoys a mild summer- don’t expect to be sunbathing during the summer months though! There are cultural happenings throughout the year, but the biggest festivals unsurprisingly take place during these more temperate months.
The city plays host to three festivals: the annual Rococo Festival (Rokoko-Festspiele) takes place in the first week of July in the grounds of the Orangery. The Bachwoche Ansbach (Bach Week) and Kaspar Hauser Festspiele (Kaspar Hauser Festival) happen bi-annually in alternate years, either at the end of July or the beginning of August. Bach Week takes over many cultural sites in Ansbach, including Saint Gumbertus’ Church and the Orangery, whilst Kaspar Hauser Festival celebrates the mystery of one of Ansbach’s most famous residents.
Hotels in Ansbach are plentiful and good value for money, making it easy to find somewhere to stay.
- For a country getaway the Hotel Gasthof Käßer (Kaesser) is located in the village of Brodswinden to the south of the city. Found in a peaceful and beautiful part of Bavaria, it offers a tranquil escape from the city, perfect for recovering from a busy day of sightseeing. Rooms start from around £70 per night.
- In contrast the Hotel Schwarzer Bock is a family-run hotel excellently located in the heart of Ansbach. It offers a typically German experience, with local foods showcased in the restaurant and helpful staff able to help you to get the best from your stay in Ansbach. Rooms here are much more pricey, starting from around £195 a night- although this does include breakfast.
- The Hotel Platengarten is slightly further away from the city centre, perfectly located for the Orangery Park. It offers great value for money as rooms start at £100 a night for large rooms with free wifi and breakfast all included.
Ansbach is well located, and offers a great touring base. From here the open road awaits, taking you maybe towards the romantic beauty of the Bavarian Alps, or alternatively to explore the stunning medieval castles that litter the region. A unique and fascinating Bavarian city though, Ansbach will make the roads away less appealing as you will want to stay here for longer.