Bayreuth is a city of culture, palaces and beer. It’s also a wonderful place to spend a weekend. My husband and I were lucky enough to have our very own personal tour guide, Nathalie from the Bayreuth Tourist Office who started off our visit to Bayreuth with a stop at the famed Margravial Opera House. I was especially excited to visit this since it just obtained UNESCO World Heritage Site status on June 30th, 2012 and has been called the world’s most beautiful unchanged Opera House.
The entire building is made of wood, even though you would never know just by looking at it. It’s closing at the beginning of October for renovations for ~5 years, so visit it now. (More in an upcoming post about the Margravial Opera House).
Our next stop was the New Palace, which was the residence of the Margraves. My favorite rooms int he palace where the mirrored room, Japanese room and the Palm room, pictured below:
Nearby is the Richard Wagner Museum, which is currently closed for renovations for the next year or two. Check with the Bayreuth Tourist Office for the re-opening date which has not yet been set.
We were there the first weekend in July which every local knows is Bürgerfest (Citizen’s festival). The streets are lined with vendors selling the region’s famous micro brews (which has more micro breweries per capita than anywhere else in Europe!). The festival celebrates the community all day long and way past sun down. Local dance groups and singers of all genres take the stage. It’s THE place to be on the first weekend of July!
I’m sorry we missed out on the Maisel’s Brewery Museum, which is in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s largest beer museum. Admission is available by tour only, which is held at 2:00 pm everyday. The AKTIEN Catacombs tour, which takes visitors into the subterranean maze liked cellars also looked interesting, but is only open during its daily 4:00pm tour (right after the Maisel Brewery Museum tour). I will definitely come back to Bayreuth for both of these tours, but if these are on your list, plan your visit accordingly.
Next up was the Festival Theater, where the world famous Richard Wagner Opera Festival is held every summer. Unfortunately it was closed to the public due to rehearsals so if you would like to visit the Festival Theater, you have to be lucky enough to have tickets to the Festival (which sells out years in advance), or come in September after the festival is over. We sat on a bench just outside the theater and listened to the rehearsals. They sounded amazing through the theater walls, so I can only imagine how good it would sound in the theater itself which is world renowned for its acoustics.
One of my favorite places in Bayreuth was the Eremitage, Old Palace. It was the summer residence for royalty and I could have stayed there all day. The grounds are huge with a labyrinthine like maze created by shrubs, the cafe with it’s fountains was one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I’ve ever had a cappuccino. The Old Palace itself (which is only visible by tour) is quirky and I’ve never seen anything like the inside water fountains. (Look for more in an upcoming post).
After two days I left Bayreuth with a great admiration and appreciation for all the city has to offer and with the hopes that I will return soon.
Additional Tourist Info for Bayreuth:
- Bayreuth is located ~230km north of Munich and is easily reached by auto or train.
- We stayed at the Arvena Kongress Hotel which was conveniently located a short walk to the city center and had huge rooms.
- A variety of specialty tours (especially for Richard Wagner fans) are offered through the Bayreuth Tourist Office (contact them for details).
- In addition to the attractions listed above, Bayreuth is home to a lot of other museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Porcelain Museum and even off-beat museums like the Little Poster Museum, German Typewriter Museums and the School Museum. Note some of these museums are only open during the week and have limited hours so check in advance.
Thank you to Bayreuth Tourist Information for hosting us and a special thank you to Nathalie, who gave us a wonderful introduction to Bayreuth.