Franconia - Artistic and architectural treasures of Northern Bavaria

Prices from £1,990


4 Apr 2019 - 9 Apr 2019
Duration: 5 nights
Ref: 19FRAN
With: Thomas Abbott


Prices from £1,990
Single Supplement: £270
Deposit: £200

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Franconia — modern Bavaria’s northern half — is home to many of Germany’s greatest mediaeval and Renaissance treasures. Its idyllic landscape of rolling hills and winding rivers is packed with proud towns and castles, monasteries and pilgrimage sites, from romantic Rothenburg and Bamberg’s majestic 13th-century cathedral to the exquisite Rococo jewel at Vierzehnheiligen. From this region came some of Germany’s most significant artists, among them Albrecht Dürer, the most complete personification of Renaissance Man north of the Alps, and the sculptors Veit Stoss and Tilman Riemenschneider, whose statues and reliefs are stunning virtuoso masterpieces.


Tom Abbott is an independent art and architectural historian. He graduated in Psychology and Art History at Carleton College, Minnesota, and studied at the Louvre School of Art History in Paris. He is a specialist in architectural history from the Baroque to the 20th. In 1987 he moved to Berlin leading tours mainly in Germany, specialising in the German capital.

DAY 1:

Morning flight at c. 9.30am with Lufthansa from London Heathrow to Frankfurt. By private coach to Würzburg, capital of one of Germany’s most influential bishoprics, for a visit to the massive Marienberg fortress, home of the prince bishops from the 8th to the early 18th centuries. Its wine cellars and commander’s apartments house an exquisite collection of stone and wood sculptures by Riemenschneider among many other treasures from episcopal country houses. In the late afternoon continue to your four-star hotel in Bamberg, one of the most beautiful small cities of Europe, where all seven nights of this tour will be spent.

DAY 2:

A day in Bamberg on foot to explore this unspoilt city. The morning is dedicated solely to the magnificent cathedral, combining Romanesque and Gothic elements, and embellished with fine sculpture, most notably the Bamberg Rider, icon of the Age of Chivalry. In the afternoon explore Bamberg’s beautifully preserved city centre, walking past the town hall, uphill to the Carmelite cloister with historiated capitals, and downhill to admire the handsome façades of Baroque mansions.

DAY 3:

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber – formerly an Imperial Free City – is almost perfectly preserved with its late mediaeval town walls and half-timbered houses – almost too romantic to be true. St Jakob, the town’s Late Gothic double-choired hall church, houses Riemenschneider’s stunning Holy Blood altarpiece. After lunch another Riemenschneider ‘miracle carved in wood’ will be waiting for us in the remote pilgrimage church of Creglingen.

DAY 4:

Bayreuth is home not only to Richard Wagner’s Festspielhaus, but also to great Baroque buildings, from the exquisite opera house to the landscaped park, hermitage and hugely entertaining grottoes of the Eremitage, built for Margravine Wilhelmine, favourite sister of Frederick of Prussia. Return to Bamberg via the great 18th-century basilicas of Banz and Vierzehnheiligen, embodiments of Baroque stately grandeur and of Rococo ‘meringue’ delicacy.

DAY 5:

A morning excursion will take us to the privately- owned Schloss Weissenstein, trendsetting Baroque summer palace of a Bamberg bishop, for a special tour around the private apartments and a superb 18th-century private collection of paintings. Return to Bamberg to visit the Diocesan Museum in the cathedral cloister, which has a stunning display of 1000-year old imperial vestments, above all the purple and gold embroidered stellar cloak of Emperor Henry II. The late afternoon and evening will be free for you to go on a boat trip on the river or to stroll through the cobbled streets with their attractive mediaeval and Baroque buildings.

DAY 6:

A second visit to Würzburg will focus on the colossal prince-bishops’ palace, built by Balthasar Neumann in the second quarter of the 18th century. The enormous ceiling fresco of the staircase miraculously survived disastrous air raids of 1945 and is testament to the genius of the Venetian Giambattista Tiepolo. After lunch in one of Würzburg’s best and most typical restaurants continue to Frankfurt for a late afternoon Lufthansa flight to London Heathrow, landing at c. 18.30pm.


Specific fitness requirements for this Study Tour:

This tour involves a fair amount of walking through the sites listed in the programme. Above all, museum visits require prolonged periods of standing without the possibility of a rest. Coach transfers and excursions should not exceed an hour at a time.

Please note that all our Study Tours involve a significant amount of standing and walking, often across uneven ground, over cobbled streets, or up and down steps and inclines. While we do not have an upper age limit for participants, we require you to have a level of fitness which does not spoil other participents' enjoyment of the holiday and you should be able to walk at a reasonable pace and / or stand for at least thirty minutes without aid or requiring a rest.

If you are in any doubt as to whether a particular tour is suitable for you, please ring us to check before placing your booking.


Twin/double share: £1990 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £270
Price of the tour without flights: £1890 per person
Deposit: £200 per person


  • Scheduled return flights (economy class) with Lufthansa between London Heathrow and Frankfurt
  • Transfers and excursions in Germany by private coach
  • Guided visits to monuments and museums listed in the programme
  • Services of the lecturer and a tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters
  • Five nights B&B in the centrally located four- star Villa Geyerswörth
  • Two dinners and one lunch


  • Transport between home and London Heathrow
  • Travel insurance. We strongly advise you to be covered by adequate travel insurance

Villa Geyerswörth****

The Superior Hotel Bamberg Villa Geyerswoerth, consists of 4 interconnected buildings and is located in a very charming garden in an island in the heart of Bamberg's historic old town on the banks of the old Ludwig-Danube-Main canal. From the hotel it is only a few minutes walk to the sights such. Cathedral, Old Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site), E.T.A. Hoffmann Theater, "Little Venice", concert hall of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, historic churches and breweries.


  • Satellite television
  • Hairdryer
  • Free Wifi
  • Minibar
  • Safe
  • Telephone
  • Radio
  • Desk
  • En suite


The Hotel’s breakfast terrace enjoys an idyllic location, offering views over the old Ludwig-Danube-Main Canal. Hotel hotel also features a relaxing sauna and workout area.