The town of Würzburg is the first stop on the Romantic Road (if you’re starting from the north side). The Romantic Road is 350km of highway stretching from Würzburg to Füssen that connects about 27 medieval towns (castles included) in the southern German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. If you’re looking for cute, picturesque German towns and castles, this is the place to explore. Located about an hour from Frankfurt, one of the most popular sites in Würzburg is the Residence. If you’re passing through Würzburg and want to plan a quick trip to the Residence, this post offers 3 tips that will make your life a little easier.
The Würzburg Residence is a baroque style palace. It was commissioned by Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and other members of his family in 1720. The aim was to create something on par with the grandeur of Versailles. The lead architect was Balthasar Neumann, who rose to fame during the years of the Residence’s construction. The extensive ceiling frescos were the work of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. One of the most famous frescos, and largest, is above the grand staircase. It depicts four continents – Africa, Asia, America, and Europe – with special homages to the Prince-Bishops in each scene. The Würzburg Residence’s opulence is displayed in its intricate rococo decor of light colors, asymmetry, and gold. The White Hall, which is completely white, gold-less, but filled with fantastic stucco artwork, is a notable exception. Unfortunately, the Residence suffered severe damage in World War II during an air raid in 1945. Prior to the raid, most of the furnishings and wall decor were removed and, thus, saved. After the air raid, reconstruction of the building went on for decades. In 1981, UNESCO inscribed the Residence, along with its Square and Court Garden, as a World Heritage Site.
3 Tips for a Quick Visit to the Würzburg Residence
If you’re passing through the Romantic Road or looking for a day trip from Frankfurt, visiting Würzburg and the Residence is relatively easy. Here are 3 tips to make the most out of your visit:
Tip #1: Plan Your Visit Around a Tour of the Residence
The Residence is pretty striking; however, there is barely any signage so you won’t know what you’re looking at unless you go on a tour. The tour’s price is included in your admission fee (Regular ticket 7.50 euros, reduced 6.50 euros, under 18 is free). While German tours are available year-round every 20-30 minutes, English tours are only offered at select times during certain months. The tour takes around 45 minutes. Be sure to check the website here for the most up-to-date information.
Why take a tour?
If you want to know what you’re looking at, especially what parts of the Residence are original as opposed to reconstructed or restored then a tour is essential. After the tour ends, visitors have the option to visit an exhibition in the Memorial Room, which displays the course of events surrounding the destruction, and subsequent reconstruction, of the Residence.
Tip #2: Show up about 45 Minutes Before Your Tour
Budget 45 minutes to sort out logistics and see parts of the Residence that are not covered in the tour.
Logistics: Würzburg is accessible by public transportation. Direct trains from the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof take about and hour and 10 minutes. From Würzburg Hauptbahnhof, the Residence is a 15-minute walk away. If you’re driving, there is ample parking right in front of the Residence (pay before leaving at a machine). Once in, you need to pay the entrance fee. If there is a big group ahead of you, it might take a little time. No photography is allowed, but lockers are provided (deposit with a 1 or 2 euro coin) to lock up cameras, jackets, and bags.
Untoured Parts of the Residence: There are worthwhile parts of the Residence that are not part of the tour. The official site details what is covered in the tour and you can check that out here. For example, the Ingelheim Rooms contains some rooms that are devoted to one color and the result is pretty spectacular. Budget about 20-30 minutes to peruse the untoured areas of the Residence. If some areas are under renovation, you won’t need to budget as much time.
Tip #3: Leave Time to See the Court Garden
I definitely recommend allotting at least 30-45 minutes for walking around the gardens. If you decide to see the gardens before your tour, forgo the second tip and get there at least an hour in advance. I really liked viewing the gardens after the tour because I knew more about the place. If your schedule or the weather doesn’t allow for that, just see them when you can. Many people love the gardens for three reasons:
- They are beautifully maintained.
- It’s free to walk around.
- You can take pictures!
The Würzburg Residence is an impressive building. It’s conveniently located on the Romantic Road and makes for an easy day trip from Frankfurt. The fantastic tour was the absolute highlight of my visit. If you do not want to pay the entrance fee or take a tour, then roaming around the outside of the building and the gardens is a solid, free option. Still, I think the tour is definitely worth it so if you can manage it, do it!
Have you been to the Würzburg Residence? What was your favorite part? Planning a trip and have questions? Leave a comment below!