I have plans for 12 days in Germany next month. We will be visiting Berlin, Nuremberg, Munich, and Mittenwald. I have time for two longer stopovers or daytrips. I have been going back and forth between Bamberg (could be stopover or daytrip from Nuremberg) , Regensberg (daytrip from Nuremberg), and Erfurt (stopover). We are mostly interested in history, architecture, food, and beer. Appreciate any insight.
I cannot compare them, as we have only been to Bamberg. We made an overnight stop there on our way between Berlin and Munich, and really enjoyed our time there. We walked along the river and through the Old Town, and admired the Altes Rathaus, in its place in the middle of the river.
We also climbed up the hill to see the old castle, Schloss Altenburg, just because ( we like to gain some elevation for views).
This was my husband’s first trip to Germany, and after the hustle and bustle of Berlin, he really enjoyed the fwarmth and friendliness of the Bamberg people, as well as the lack of crowds of tourists.
I'm sure I'm not the only one... but 've been to all three; for me, Bamberg was the standout. It could either be a stopover on the way to Nuremberg (use station lockers) or a day trip from Nuremberg. I suspect that you could also squeeze in a visit to Regensburg (lockers) by taking a small detour on your way from Nuremberg to Munich. My interests are similar to yours; both Bamberg and Regensburg impressed me more favorably than Munich.
Regensburg is our favorite city in Germany. Try the Kneitinger Brewery Restaurant on Arnulf Platz for good food and beer. Bamberg is a very scenic town as well. Both it and Regensburg are great for just walking about. For me the best architectural sights in both are the churches.
Erfurt is on my todo list. However, I can not see how it would be a convenient stopover from the other towns, but then I travel by train and think about connections.
We did both Bamberg and Regensburg as day trips from Nuremberg and enjoyed them both. We had no real agenda but just walked all over, all day, and had a great visit. Bamberg is famed for its smoked beer and I see there are 9 breweries in a town with a population of 70,000. Erfurt was an unplanned stop while driving so with no planning or advance research we spent the day again wandering, but it is a beautiful large city with much to see and historical connections to Luther if that’s of interest. All were worthwhile and memorable. Safe travels
I have not been to Erfurt, but took day trips to both Bamberg and Regensburg while staying in Nuremberg, and loved them both. Bamberg has more atmosphere, I think - most people just wind up walking through the charming town and enjoying the views. Regensburg has more to see and do (and is bigger) and probably more interesting if you like history. I especially enjoyed my tour through the old Rathaus. If you are interested, you can read my trip report (Bamberg and Regensberg are on days 7 and 8).
Erfurt has an old east flair. Thüringen. Your itinerary already has several Bayern stops. Erfurt has a nice small Bahnhof and good Srassenbahn and Bus transport. Nice cafe, restaurants and sites to visit.
We have been to all three and loved all of them but Bamberg had the most to see and do for us. It has such an upbeat feel and after being there for a day trip, returned a few years later to spend three days there.
And as you can see, everyone has differing opinions about these three. 🙂 Bottom line, you have to figure out what you like. I spent days agonizing over which cities I wanted to see in Franconia and asked the same questions here, but ultimately it was up to me.
I would suggest (if you are still on the fence after reading these comments) that you check out some videos on YouTube. DW (Deutsche Welle) has a travel channel there with loads of videos about German towns and cities, and I know they have some on Bamberg, Regensburg and Erfurt - just do a search and they will come up. It will give you a much better feel for the cities than just reading about them. https://www.youtube.com/c/DWTravel
You already have a Bavaria overload (Nuremberg, Munich, Mittenwald), so to speak ;-) So, it's Erfurt IMO. Picturesque, large old town and the days with two nights easy to fill. You could even do an excursion to Schloss Molsdorf or to Weimar.
Given your interest in beer, I strongly recommend Bamberg because it has a beer museum, the Franconian Brewery Museum: https://brauereimuseum.de/. The museum has a pub attached to it. The beer I had there might have been the best in my life. The exhibits were in German, but it was fascinating to see.
Other reasons to visit Bamberg: Bamberg was the home of Claus von Stauffenberg, who organized the assassination attempt against Hitler. This site says the family castle can be toured: https://en.bamberg.info/poi/greifenstein_castle-6903/
Bamberg houses an excellent museum on ETA Hoffman (https://en.bamberg.info/poi/eta_hoffmanns_house-4668/), the Romantic-era German writer and composer, who lived there around the 1810s. The museum is housed in his former residence. Hoffman wrote the fantasy Christmas story The Nutcracker and Mouse King story, which Tchaikovsky turned into a ballet some 80 years later in the 1890s.
The Bamberg Cathedral has three interesting pieces of culture: the famed Bamberg Rider statue, a Tilman Riemenschneider-carved wood altar and the burial place of the only pope north of the Alps.
The town is beautiful as several rivers converge there. It's worth renting a bicycle.
I appreciate all of your insight! I decided to visit both Bamberg and Erfurt for this trip which was my initial leaning. I hope to have time for Regensburg on another visit.