About an hour of driving from Frankfurt am Main, Miltenberg in Bavaria is a delight to explore. The Miltenberg old town lies on the left bank of Main between the Spessart and Odenwald ranges. Its dominating appearance is those half-timbered houses dating from the 15th to 18th centuries. Nearly at every turn, you will see crazy half-timbered homes.
The old town of Miltenberg in Bavaria has one main street, the Hauptstraße between the two city gates, the Mainzer Tor and the Würzburger Tor. Most attractions are along the Hauptstraße near Schwarzviertel (Black Quarter), Schnatterloch (Old Market Square), and Engelplatz near the town hall. From either the old market square or Engelplatz behind the city hall, you can walk up to Miltenberg Castle. It took me a whole day to explore the old half-timbered houses and charming squares, walk up to the Miltenburg Castle and was so fascinated by its romantic ambiance, natural landscape, and culinary highlights.
Now follow me to explore the old town of Miltenberg in Bavaria:
- Wandering through Schwarzviertel (Black Quarter)
- Fascinating the half-timbered houses in Schnatterloch (Old Market Square and fountain)
- Explore the Engelplatz near the Town Hall
- Climbing up the Miltenberg Castle
- Strolling along the River Promenade
Wandering through Schwarzviertel (Black Quarter)
I started my walking tour near the Mainzer Tor and walked towards the Schwarzviertel (Black Quarter), an area at the intersection of Mainzer Street and the Hauptstraße. Schwarzviertel is the oldest part of Miltenberg that has many beautiful half-timbered houses along the narrow Hauptstraße. Because the hill casts its shadow over the Schwarzviertel, the sun hardly reaches the ground in the winter months, hence, the name Black Quarter (Schwarzviertel).
Among the half-timbered houses in the Black Quarter, the Alte Bannhaus built-in redbricks caught my eye. It used to be a custom building, and later from the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century, it was a municipal prison. Next to it is the Brauhaus Faust brewery which produces Faust beer specialties. Its Eisbock has won the World Beer Cup twice. It is possible to take a tour inside the brewery during the weekend.
At the end of Schwarzviertel is the St. Jakobus church, whose neoclassical towers from 1830 dominate the cityscape and can be seen from the Miltenberg Castle hill.
Fascinating the half-timbered houses in Schnatterloch (Old Market Square and fountain)
While the heart of the city is the old market square with the market fountain, the highlight of this area is the magnificent half-timbered houses with slanted floors and tilting walls.
Perhaps you have heard of the famous German Half-Timbered House Route, a road that links over 100 medieval towns dotted with half-timbered houses. Although they are all timber-frame constructions,
the architectural style, such as shapes or colours, differs among the regions. For example, the half-timbered buildings in Quedlinburg have colourful walls between exposed beams. But most of the half-timbered buildings in Miltenberg have dark red or brown beams.
Other interesting buildings are the Schnatterloch tower, the Renaissance archway at the entrance to the castle, and the Renaissance fountain. All historic buildings form a magic ensemble, one of the most photographed views in Germany.
The Museum Stadt Miltenberg (city museum, Hauptstraße 169 – 175) is another main half-timbered house building in the old market square. Compared to all half-timbered houses, the museum building is not so attractive, but it houses a rich collection with many treasures, special exhibitions, and events take place regularly.
Explore the Engelplatz near the Town Hall
From the old market, along the Hauptstraße, more half-timbered houses line next to each other. The ground floors are shops, restaurants, bakeries etc. On my way to the Engelplatz, I passed the Old Town Hall built in red limestone typical of the region, which is now available for events of all kinds. The markings on the outer facade still bear witness to earlier flood levels.
At the crossing of Hauptstraße and Riesengasse stands the Giant Inn (Zum Riesen), which claims to be the oldest princely hostel (Fürstenherberge) in Germany and housed many famous people. The hotel has a restaurant serving Franconia food and beer from Brauhaus Faust in the Schwarzviertel. You can book this hotel online.
The Engelplatz got its name from the hotel “Zum Engel’, which is part of the town hall building. The Tourist Information office is inside the town hall. I got a city map and queried a few questions. The friendly staff from the tourist office would answer any questions about guided tours, accommodation, events, and excursion tips with individual advice. And tourist information is also available in English. There is also a public toilet inside the building.
Opposite the town hall is the church Franziskaner Klosterkirche. The Franciscans, who had been in the city since 1630, initially lived in the hospital. Because of the Thirty Years’ War, the church construction did not start until 1660. And from 1667, the church was built according to the plans. The central portal donated by the Archbishop of Mainz, Johann Philipp von Schönborn, and the Baroque interior design of the church is particularly worth seeing.
Climbing up the Miltenberg Castle
Behind the town hall at the corner of the Burgweg stands the Evangelical church built in 1897, a monument worth seeing due to its architectural style and the choice of materials. The colorful windows with depictions from the Bible are also worth visiting.
The street Burweg is a quiet and easy walkway next to the old city wall. On the way, I saw the Jewish Cemetery on the left side, which looks cluttered next to the wall. It took me only a few minutes to reach Miltenberg Castle.
The Miltenburg Castle was built around 1150 by order of the Hohenstaufen King Konrad III. The castle got its current appearance in the 16th century. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the castle changed hands several times. It also partially got expanded and modernized the complex.
In 1979, the city of Miltenberg in Bavaria acquired the building. After extensive construction work, the Mildenberg Castle is open to the public again. Old icons (between the 17th to 19th centuries from Russian and Greek) and contemporary art have been presented in the Miltenberg Castle Museum.
Because the castle was partially under renovation, I gave up the idea of exploring the inside of the castle. Instead, I enjoyed the beautiful view over the Main valley and the city. It is the best place to capture the two towers of St. Jakobus church, the bridge, the Main River, and the old town!
Strolling along the River Promenade
From the castle, I walked back to the Schnatterloch and Schulstraße street to the promenade of the Main River. The new path is an attractive path along the Main. It consists of two levels, an upper paved terrace with a view of the Main and lower open space along the river connected by stairs and ramps.
The flood protection consists of a concrete wall up to 2.20 metres high with sandstone cladding on both sides. Such measurement aims to control the flood that had damaged the old town several times in history. At street level, however, the wall only has a maximum height of 0.9 metre. The homogeneous color effect of the Miltenberg sandstone underlines the twisted shape of the flood protection wall.
I walked along the river aimlessly until I saw the bizarre pink sandstone fountain Staffelbrunserbrunnen (The Stair Piddlers’ Fountain) with three peeing men. After my research, I learned that the Staffelbrunserbrunnen depicts the behavior when defecating during a flood.
Travel tips for Miltenberg in Bavaria
Where to stay
Some of the hotels in Miltenberg in Bavaria have restaurants and convenient locations, for example:
- Schmuckkästchen: a hotel with a wine house and is at the Old Market Square (Schnatterloch)
- Giant Inn: the old hotel I mentioned above and in the middle of the old town
How to get there
If you would like to go to nearby villages such as Michelstadt (a small town with many sites and half-timbered houses), I recommend renting a car to allow you more freedom and leisure. Coming from Frankfurt, the best route is to take Highway A3 in the direction of Wurzburg/Aschaffenburg and then change to B469 towards Miltenberg at the exit of Aschaffenburg-Stockstadt. The driving time is about one hour. There are plenty of paid parking places along the Main River.
The Miltenberg Train Station is about one kilometre of walking distance from the old town centre. If you take the faster intercity trains IC (Inter City) or ICE (Inter City Express), you need to change trains in Aschaffenburg. You can also take the regional trains (RE, Regional Express) or RB (Regional trains). Please check connections on the DB Bahn. The ride is about one and a half hours.