The Franconian region of Germany is home to a lot of rich culture and natural beauty. German tourists and other European tourists have been visiting this area for centuries, exploiting its wealth of rivers, hills, interesting geological landscapes, and mountains. Although Franconian Switzerland is not actually in Switzerland, the term “Switzerland” in German means mountainous. In fact, Germans tend to use this term when referring to the various mountainous regions pertaining to Germany.
One can find Franconian Switzerland nestled between the rivers Pegnitz, Regnitz and Main. It’s an area in the southern part of Germany, where the climate is more hospitable than it is in the north. So people tend to visit Franconian Switzerland in the summer time, between June and September. If you are not partial to crowds, then I would recommend going in the fall of spring (weather permitting), as this lovely destination sees a lot of attention in the summer, and rightly so!
Do And See
There are countless activities to do and things to see while in Franconia. If you are a thrill seeker, nature lover, or history and culture buff, then you’ll feel right at home in this land taken straight out of a German fairytale.
If you are looking for an intense, blood-pumping good time, then rock climbing or spelunking (caving) should be on the agenda. The more quiet types should look into going on a good hike through the wilderness, a bike ride through the smaller hills and trails, or a canoe trip through one of the many wonderful rivers in the area.
In terms of sight seeing, Franconian Switzerland features a handful of intriguing places to see by just hiking or canoeing around. The region’s rock formations are shockingly noticeable and interestingly positioned; they truly are awe-inspiring. The abundance of historic castles in the area makes it a perfect spot for those keen on history, culture, and architecture from the Holy Roman Empire. Here is a list of just a few of the most famous castles in the region:
• Castle Thurnau
• Gößweinstein Castle
• Egloffstein Castle
• Rabeneck Castle
• Waischenfeld Castle
• Wolfsberg Castle Ruins
• Bärenfels Castle Ruins
Eat And Drink
Mmmm, the food in this part of Bavaria is delightful, and must not be missed! Let’s have a look at some of the most prominent dishes and beverages in Franconian Switzerland.
A dish best served in autumn as the fish is a plenty, the baked carp classic is a staple of the region. You can find images of the carp (Karpfen) in several of the regional coat of arms as the fish is highly esteemed as a traditional food stock and export-article.
Sausages, you can find them all over Europe in different shapes, sizes, and spices, and Germany is no exception. In Franconian Switzerland, these sausages (bratwursts or wursts in German) are usually served with authentic sauerkraut and bread.
Another traditional favourite, Schäufele is a dish that is made up of pork shoulder meat. It is often paired with potato dumpling (Kartoffelklöße), sauerkraut/red cabbage and gravy.
Nuremburg, one of the largest cities just south of Franconian Switzerland, is known for its scrumptious gingerbread like creations called Lebkuchen. A sweet treat best enjoyed during the holidays.
Franconia, which includes Lower Franconia, Middle Franconia, and Upper Franconia where Franconian Switzerland lies, has the highest brewery density in the world! If you’re into beer, then Franconia is for you my dear! I won’t even begin to list off any of the famous breweries, bars and festivals in the area, but what I will mention is that Oberfranken is a considerably exclusive and authentic area as it only produces small batches for small consumption in their attached bars/restaurants. The town of Aufseß holds the September 2000 Guinness Book of Records world record for greatest brewery density in the world!
Middle Franconia, nestled between Franconian Switzerland and Italy, is known more for its wine. Federweisser in particular is a wine that varies in fermentation and availability on a seasonal basis. It tends to taste a lot like grape juice the more immature it is. With age it begins to taste like typical wine. This beverage must be researched before attempting to buy/taste to avoid disappointment.
Due to the locality’s rocky and hilly landscape, getting around can be dangerous. One should only attempt to go about alone with extreme caution, especially in the winter or rainy season. Travelling around Franconian Switzerland can be done with a car, bike, or train.
Ebermannstadt, dubbed the “Entrance To Franconian Switzerland,” has regular trains running to and from Forchheim year round. Bayreuth and Pegnitz are also prominent towns in the sector that have connecting train routes with each other.
Again, if you were going to take a car or bike, be careful! You never know what might come into your path and what may distract you at such high altitudes, so only choose to drive your car or bike through these winding, mountaintop roads if you have the experience. However, some of the hills and roads are docile enough to pass through and offer the most breathtaking scenery you could imagine!
Public transportation, except for some busses, practically does not exist in Franconian Switzerland and should not be heavily relied upon. The best way to get into the region would be to take a train or rely on some sort of ride-share or taxi service.
Where To Stay In The Franconian Switzerland Region
• Hotel Plaza – Nürnberger Straße 13, Forchheim
• Hotel Goldener Hirsch – Bahnhofstraße 13, 95444 Bayreuth
• Hotel Sonne29 – Hauptstrasse 29, 91320 Ebermannstadt
Northeast of Forchheim, in the town of Bamberg, there’s a secret a brewin’ that will excite any beer enthusiast. They smoke their beer in Bamberg (particularly in the brewpub Schlenkerla)! That’s right, smoked beer, or Rauchbier, uses a process that involves drying malt over an open flame. The end result of the drying gives the malt smoky notes that have been imitated the world over! So why not grab a pint of Rauchbier after that long overdue hike in Franconian Switzerland?