Germany with kids: Five Bavarian cities not to miss

If the Germany of your imagination is storybook towns, medieval villages, vineyards and church steeples, you need to include the region of Bavaria (and its subsection of Franconia) in your European trip plans.

Germany with kids: 5 Bavarian cities not to miss!

After touring Germany with, I compiled a collection of not-to-miss destinations throughout Bavaria that will satisfy kids’ need for fun and exploration and parents’ desire for history; good food, wine and beer; and shopping. Here’s where to go:


This university city is bustling with students and industry, but a compact yet vibrant old town (Altstadt) can be found at its center. This oldest part of the city is filled with historic buildings, market squares, and views of the Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle).

In the center of the marketplace is the Heiliggeistkirche, or Church of the Holy Ghost. Nearby, the Alte Brücke (Old Bridge) spans the Neckar River, joining the two sides of historic Heidelberg. A visit to the Heidelberg Castle is a must, and getting there is half the fun: a funicular delivers travelers to the castle walls (ticket sales for both the castle and the ride up are at the base).

Heidelberg Germany

If there’s time, families can also see the Philosopher’s Walk, named by poets in the age of Romanticism in literature in the early 1800s. Also be on the lookout in the shop windows for the Studentenkuss, or Student’s Kiss, a popular chocolate candy.


Located on the Main River in the heart of the Franconian wine region, Würzburg wows with the Würzburg Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and palace of a prince bishop. Comparable to Europe’s other great Baroque palaces, the residence was constructed in 1720 and tours are available indoors and outside (don’t miss the gardens).

Wurzburg Germany

After touring the residence, head to the Marienkapelle, the chapel that is the gateway to the city’s pedestrian-friendly downtown. On Saturdays, a farmer’s market offers food stands and samples, and year-round, shopping is abundant.

Parents won’t want to miss the Alte Mainbrücke, or pedestrian bridge across the Main. Look for the walk-up wine bars, where you can grab a glass of Franconian wine to take to-go. (You’ll be given a token with your glass of wine, which you can use to get a refund on the cost of your wine glass if you opt not to keep it.)

Above the bridge, a pedestrian walkway winds up the hill through vineyards to the fortress of the bishop, which affords fantastic views of the city, plus ice cream and refreshments in the summer months.


The fairytale charm of Bamberg is hard not to fall for, as its entire town center is a UNESCO site. The Bamberger Dom is the central cathedral, open to the public, near the Neue Residenz, or palace of this town’s prince bishop.

Bamberg Germany

Families can stroll through town enjoying the quaint shops and arched bridges leading through clocktowers (yes, it looks like a Disney set), but you definitely must stop for a smoked beer at Schlenkerla Smoked Beer Brewery, dating back to 1405. The hops are smoked over a beechwood fire, and the beer is still tapped directly from wooden barrels. Pub food is available too, if you can get a table.


The charm of Regensburg, which lies on the Danube, is in its abundant shopping amid medieval streets. St. Peter’s Cathedral dominates, but is sometimes outshone by the Old Stone Bridge crossing over the Danube. Visit the town hall, which once served as the seat of parliament with an original torture chamber during the middle ages.

Regensburg Germany

It’s easy to lose track of time window shopping or dipping in and out of small stores while exploring the narrow streets and alleyways of Historic Old Town, but you’ll need sustenance. The Sausage Kitchen by the old stone bridge boasts the best sausages in town, but we recommend the German tapas at Gravenreuther.


While Nürnberg has its own medieval castle and a charming old town with centuries-old city walls, it’s best known for it’s WWII history. This is the place to teach kids more about the Nazi Party and the damage it inflicted worldwide, starting at the Documentation Center and Nazi Party Rallying Grounds, which can be viewed with ticketed entry. There’s a great museum on-site, and while all exhibits are displayed in German, audio guides are available. The subject matter can be difficult at times for sensitive or young children, and I encourage parents to prep kids ahead of time for images and content involving the Holocaust.

Documentation Center, Germany

You can also see Courtroom 600, where the Nuremberg Trials took place after the war. It’s located in the Palace of Justice in a neighboring city (only about 15 minutes away from the Documentation Center), because Nürnberg was so severely bombed during the war.

When you’re ready for some brevity, head to old town Nürnberg, where you can visit the Toy Museum and Lebkuchen Schmidt, one of the cities best bakeries selling their specialty, gingerbread (in season). And be sure to try a late lunch at Wirtshaus Hütt’n, just off the main square, for an authentic Bavarian meal!

Have you been to Bavaria? What cities are your favorite and why?