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Bayreuth, Germany

Where is Bayreuth?

Bayreuth is an attractive town located in northern Bavaria on the Red Main ('Roter Main') river. Bayreuth is actually closer to Berlin (around 116 kilometres) than it is to the Bavarian state capital of Munich (about 160 kilometres).

The capital of the Upper Franconia region, Bayreuth has a fascinating history and cultural heritage.

Bayreuth Germany
The town of Bayreuth in Upper Franconia

Some of the notable landmarks in the city include the Margrave's Opera House, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Bayreuth Festival Theatre, which hosts the annual Bayreuth Festival celebrating the music of Richard Wagner.

The city is also home to numerous museums, churches, and beautiful baroque and rococo architecture.

How to get to Bayreuth

Nearest airport to Bayreuth

The closest airport to Bayreuth is Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German), which offers a small selection of European destinations as well as arrivals from other German airports.

Those arriving from further away may be able to get a connecting flight to Nuremberg, but travelling via the international hubs of Munich, Frankfurt or even Prague (over the border in the Czech Republic) will offer a much greater choice.

Distance to Nuremberg Airport: 85km
Distance to Munich Airport: 220km
Distance to Prague Airport: 255km
Distance to Frankfurt Airport: 275km

Train station in Bayreuth

The main train station in Bayreuth is around 10 minutes' walk from the historic city centre.

Bayreuth is part of the Greater Nuremberg Area public transport system and there are regular regional train services between the main train stations in Bayreuth, Dresden and Nuremberg. Access to the high-speed InterCity network is best via Nuremberg, a journey of just under an hour.

Access by road

Bayreuth is easily accessible via the A9 motorway, which runs between Berlin and Munich, and the A70 motorway, which connects the town to Bamberg and other parts of Upper Franconia.

The town is well-linked by the Flixbus long-distance network, with direct buses through to Berlin, Frankfurt, Dresden and Munich.

Where to stay in Bayreuth

Bayreuth is a great place to explore or to use as a base for the nearby areas such as Franconian Switzerland or the Fichtelgebirge. Visitors should remember to book well in advance, however, when it comes to the Bayreuth Festival period (usually late July to late August).

Bayreuth accommodation map

If you know when you are planning to go but haven't decided on accommodation, then use the map below to get an idea of which properties are available and to compare prices during the period you wish to travel.

Enter your proposed dates and use the '+' to zoom in on a location and reveal more properties. Click on the price above a property to see more information.

(Please note that this selection will also include some guesthouses, pensions and self-catering apartments for those who are interested in that form of accommodation!)

Check Bayreuth accommodation availability

If you know when you are planning to go but haven't decided on accommodation, then use the searchbox below to get an idea of which properties are available and to compare prices during the period you wish to travel.

What to see in Bayreuth

The Bayreuth tourist office provides two maps in English detailing self-guided walks. The first is a general one of the main sights in the town, while the second is for those interested in composer Richard Wagner and the sites related to him.

The Margravial Opera House (Markgräfliches Opernhaus) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This 18th-century Baroque theatre is one of the few of its kind remaining in the world.

The Hermitage Gardens (Eremitage) are an exquisite historical park with stunning gardens, fountains, and an Old Palace - a perfect spot for relaxation.

The Hermitage Gardens in Bayreuth Germany
The Hermitage Gardens in Bayreuth

The New Palace (Neues Schloss) is the former residence of the margraves. Their art collections are on display here.

The Richard Wagner Museum is housed in Villa Wahnfried. The museum - a must-visit for music lovers - is dedicated to the life and work of the famous composer Richard Wagner.

The Festspielhaus was designed by Richard Wagner himself. It is home to the annual Bayreuth Festival. Visitors can take guided tours when no performances are scheduled.

History of Bayreuth

Once a provincial backwater in southern Germany, Bayreuth is now one of the cultural centres of the country. The northern Bavarian town is now inseparably connected to Wagner - the composer's personal life, the controversial family history and the annually sold-out summer festival.

The first mentions of Bayreuth ('Baierrute') are back in the 12th century, when the local rulers built fortifications in the area. The expanding settlement was awarded a city charter in the 13th century but much of the early history is difficult to unearth because of the devastation suffered by the town during the religious Hussite wars of the 15th century.

Bayreuth later became the seat of the local nobility, who were called margraves. Somewhat equivalent to the rank of a marquess, a margrave was a title originally given to local rulers holding border lands in the name of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Altes Schloss in Bayreuth Germany
The Altes Schloss in Bayreuth

What put Bayreuth on the map, in a cultural and historical sense, was the marriage of Margrave Friedrich to the sister of Friedrich the Great, the ruler of the important province of Prussia to the north.

The arrival of Margravine Wilhelmine - used to the Royal Court in Berlin - shook up the provincial complacency of Bayreuth. During her life in the town she and, to a lesser extent, her husband were responsible for the association of Bayreuth with various forms of culture in the mid-18th century (depleting the city coffers as they built!).

The Margravial Statue in front of the Neues Schloss in Bayreuth  Germany
The Margravial Statue in front of the Neues Schloss in Bayreuth

Some of the best-loved present-day landmarks in the Bayreuth region date from the time of Wilhelmine.

By the end of the 18th century, Bayreuth had passed into the hands of Prussia, was then occupied by France during the Napoleonic era, and eventually ended up in the hands of Bavaria.

The 19th century brought the arrival of the second great cultural influence. The composer Richard Wagner decided to build his Festival Theatre on a hill outside the town (donated by the local council).

Nowadays the Bayreuth Festival attracts thousands of visitors each year to hear performances of Wagner's work and performances are sold out.

The Festival Theatre in Bayreuth Germany
The Festival Theatre in Bayreuth

Wagner's anti-Semitic writings and the increasingly extreme right-wing politics of certain family members and associates meant that Bayreuth became closely identified with the rise of the National Socialists in Germany. Winifried Wagner, Wagner's daughter-in-law, invited Wagner fan Adolf Hitler to performances and to the family house and became a close personal friend and supporter.

At the end of the Second World War, Bayreuth was badly damaged by bombing, with more than a third of the buildings destroyed.

Bayreuth became the capital of the Upper Franconian region in 1949 and opened its own university in 1975. It now boasts a population of more than 70,000 inhabitants.

Other towns in Upper Franconia

Bamberg, Germany


Bamberg is a charming historical town renowned for its well-preserved medieval and baroque architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known for the magnificent cathedral, picturesque old town, and unique “Little Venice” district. Its lively brewing tradition offers a distinctive 'smoked beer'.

Coburg Germany


The town is home to the massive Veste Coburg, a fortress above the centre which can be reached on foot through the former court gardens. Coburg also has an attractive old town below which is worth taking the time to explore.

Bayreuth Tourist Office

Bayreuth tourist office is located just outside the town centre, near the Margravial Opera House. It is open six days a week all year round, with Sunday openings for a shorter period in the summer months.