CONTRIBUTED BY MERIL CHICKINI
One of my favorite cities is Bayreuth with its rich history and beautiful architecture. Although about one third of the town was destroyed by heavy air strikes in 1945, there’s still so much to see. Here is a quick tour of the Hermitage, the New and Old Palaces of Bayreuth, and the Opera House. Plus there’s a little information about shopping and breweries too!
The Hermitage No matter what time of the year you should go see the the Hermitage (Eremitage), created in 1715 and extended 20 years later by Margravine Wilhelmine who turned it into a jewel of rococo architecture. The Hermitage, meaning hide-away, is a large complex of many buildings, fountains, and ponds set in a beautiful garden setting. Two of the most prominent buildings are the Old Palace and the New Palace.
When you get to the Hermitage you don’t need to worry about parking because there’s a decent size free parking lot and even at its busiest we have never had a problem trying to find a spot. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because there’s quite a bit of walking involved. It’s stroller friendly and you can bring your dog, just remember to pick after him. When you walk over to your right from the parking lot, you can take in the view over the fields but the main buildings are situated on the left.
The Hermitage is breathtaking and beautiful every season: from snowy tips on the trees and frozen water, to trees in fall colors, or everything in bloom and ducks walking around. The only minus when visiting during winter is that the fountains are covered, so you will miss out on the beauty and delicate detailing on them.
If you are looking to take family pictures or just want to enjoy a nice setting, then the Hermitage and surroundings are perfect for it. Be ready to see many newlywed couples taking their wedding pictures there. I think one of the times we were there we counted 5 couples. It’s very popular place for wedding receptions as well. The park surrounding the Hermitage is big and there’s a lot to see. You might not notice everything the first time you are there: a small nook for horses to drink, the bridge hiding from the view, or maybe even a grotto with a small cabin next to it.
The Margravines, who were a theater buffs, also had an artificial amphitheater ruin erected and it’s still standing. If you get lucky you might catch a concert or play next to the ruins. It’s a great place to go for a walk or to take your kids on Staurday. You can spot the New Palace of Hermitage right away by the golden sun chariot on top of it. If you have a stroller or you use a wheelchair, you can go down to the fountain from each side of the palace.
There’s a small café that is open even on Sundays where you can have cup of cappuccino and slice of apple strudel or maybe even ice cream while enjoying the fountains and the view. Old Palace of Hermitage has two wings (gentlemen’s wing and ladies wing) that are connected by a marble hall. You can visit only a few rooms, but the whole complex is very unique. Make sure to pay attention to the details on the buildings because you never know where you can find a carefully carved face looking at you (on the kitchen side of the Old Palace of Hermitage).
City Center: Old and New Palace of Bayreuth, Margravial Opera House and Rotmain Center
The Old Palace of Bayreuth stands in the city center and you can almost immediately spot the Old Palace Church tower. One of the special features in the palace is the big staircase that could be used on horseback or to transport the cannons. In the church you can see the sarcophagi of the Margrave Friedrich and Margravine Wilhelmine. Although the palace was designed 16th and 17th century, it was rebuilt 1950s after the damage suffered from World War II.
Margravial Opera House is one of the most beautiful baroque opera houses in Europe. Unfortunately right now it’s closed for construction and doesn’t have a time when they reopen, but if you do get a chance at least go see the outside of the building, you won’t regret it. The New Palace was built 1753 and features the Garden and Palm Room, Wilhelmine’s Music Salon, and the famous Cabinet of Fragmented Mirrors. On the ground floor you can visit the museum containing the Rummel Collection of Bayreuth Faience.
After the Margravine’s death the Margrave built the Italian Palace for his new wife that was later connected to the New Palace. It is all painted in pastels, is more intimate, and was more modern at the time In the city center, we have found the best place to park be the Rotmain Center. It can be hard to find a parking spot on the weekends, even when you get there right when they open. Rotmain Center has many stores (C&A, H&M, GameStop, Triumph, NewYorker, Müller, Deichmann etc) plus eateries and fresh market on Saturdays. They also decorate it according to seasons/holidays and have play areas for kids during the holidays. (For Easter you can make your own colored eggs and play with bunnies. For Christmas you can write a letter to Santa or meet him.)
Other Bayreuth Sites
On top of all the sightseeing you can do in Bayreuth, it’s a great place to go shopping or spend a day relaxing. There’s a big shopping center and many small shops lined up in old town with many restaurants and cafés to rest if you get too tired of walking and sightseeing. There is also a nightclub in the old town. Another wonderful way to relax in Bayreuth is to enjoy the spa and golf in Lohengrin Therme Bayreuth where the medical water up from a depth of 1,122 meters. It has impressive 20,000 years of age, and keeps a temperature of + 36° C (about 95,5° F) at the bottom. They offer different treatments, a sauna and more.
Germany is full of palaces, castles and….breweries. Bayreuth offers a great opportunity to visit Catacombs of Bayreuth’s Aktien Brewery or Maisel’s Brewery-Museum. You can walk through the old brewery and taste the beer made in there and also hear a bit about the history. There’s a long list of museums in Bayreuth and best time to visit them all is on the Bayreuth Museum Night (all cities have museum nights) when you can visit all the museums in the city with a single ticket from 8pm to 2am. Usually it’s a day before the clock is turned back.
On the museum night the museum might even have special presentations. If you want you can combine a trip to Bayreuth with a trip Zwernitz Castle and Sanspareil (both ~ 30 minutes away from Bayreuth). There are even combined tickets for the castle and other Bayreuth sites. Bayreuth really has something for everybody and it’s easy to plan a day or weekend there that everybody will enjoy and you will return home with tons of memories.
The Hermitage – Eremitage, 95448 Bayreuth. Website Opening times: open daily April – September: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. 1 – 15 October 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Guided tours every 30 minutes 16th October – March closed (the park is open year round, and you can walk around, but won’t be able to go in.) Tickets: adults: 4,50 € groups and students: 3,50 € under 18 years admission free Fountains in the Lower Grotto(follow signs “Untere Grotte”) start 15 minutes after those in the Upper Grotto. daily May – mid-October: 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The Old Palace of Bayreuth (Palace Church) – Maximilianstraße, 95444 Bayreuth. Opening times: Pre-arranged groups on request Tickets: adults: 1,00 € children under 15 free
The New Palace of Bayreuth – Ludwigstraße 21, 95444 Bayreuth. Website Opening times: open daily April – September: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. October – March: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. There is a guided tour in English every day at 2.15 p.m. Tickets: adults: 5,50 € groups and students: 4,50 € under 18 years admission free
Margravial Opera House – Opernstraße 14, 95444 Bayreuth. Website Currently closed for tours. Combination ticket (Zwernitz Castle and three Bayreuth objects of your choice) 12 euros for adults Free for children under 18 10 euros for tour groups, disabled, seniors and a variety of others
Catacombs of Bayreuth’s Aktien Brewery – Kulmbacherstr. 60, 95445 Bayreuth firstname.lastname@example.org Guided tours daily at 4PM, or group tours by prior arrangement.
Maisel’s Brewery-Museum – Kulmbacher Straße 40, 95445 Bayreuth Website Guided tours daily at 2.00 pm