I'm spending some time in the northern half of this Bundesland, and I thought I would throw out the challenge to the community. For daytrips, how would you rank the following cities/towns? Coburg, Ingolstadt, Regensburg, Bamburg, Bayreuth, Kulmbach. And is Walhalla worth a visit? As a Wagner fan, Bayreuth would be at the top of my list, but the Wagner villa is closed right now for reconstructions. I didn't mention Würzburg or Nürnberg, because I've been to both several times. And if you suggest Rothenburg odT, you're disqualified...
I haven't been to most of them. Bamberg certainly ranks highly among other German cities in my book. Bayreuth has a pleasant old town area, and the Maisel's Brewery tour (you get to see their OLD brewery and tons of ancient equipment and beeraphernalia) was quite fun. It's been too long since I was in Regensburg to comment. The most lasting impression on my most recent trip to the area comes from Bad Windsheim's Fränkisches Freilandmuseum. It's a very special place.
Any of the places on your list would make an enjoyable day-trip. Its hard to rank them,though. So my two cents as follows: I think Coburg and Kulmbach are the most similar. Both are quite picturesque, with castles/fortresses to tour and that really medieval feeling. Easy to spend a day at either one. The famous Vierzehnheiligen church is also not far from Coburg, @ Bad Staffelstein, and is worth a visit (little biergarten out back) if you are in the area. Bamburg also has a large church on a hilltop that overlooks the town below, but the overall "feel" is much different. It is larger, with a small creek/river running thru the town, and there are little bridges here and there. It is a very enjoyable place to have a walk around town, and stop for a taste of their famous smoke beer. Regensburg - again, very walkable - flat, with lots of alleys, curvy little streets, several very old churches worth seeing, and plenty of little places to stop for a bite to eat. I must admit that I was not as impressed by the famous Steinerne bridge or the Roman ruins there as I thought I would be, but the town itself is kind of charming. Ingolstadt, on the other hand, did not impress me at all. The Asam church Maria de Victoria was a gem, but the rest of the town was uninteresting, unattractive, and uninspiring - something I don't often experience in Germany. Walhalla? whatever floats your boat, but not my cup of tea.
So, based on the recommendations, the winner today was Regensburg... and it turned out to be the best choice possible. You know the way that in the movies, if it involves a scene in, let's say, Rio de Janeiro, the main character will JUST HAPPEN to be there during Carnival, or during Mardis Gras in New Orleans? Well, quite by chance, my visit today to Regensburg coincided with the massive Bürgerfest. My, what a party! Huge sections of the city were filled with stalls selling all kinds of food, drinks, and craftworks. There was live music throughout the city, everything from classical music to Schlager, to modern rock to traditional Bavarian to fusions of all of the above. Here's two things I absolutely adore about Europe: 1- You can show up to a given town on a completely unplanned whim, and arrive on the day of a festival. No, this doesn't happen all the time, but I've stumbled by accident onto Hessentag in Wetzlar, Bürgerfest in Regensburg, something-or-another-fest in Maastricht, Winterland in Hasselt, and another I'm-not-quite-sure-what's-going-on-here-but-I'm-going-to-enjoy-the-hell-out-of-it-anyway in Bad Hersfeld. Either I'm incredibly lucky, or these kind of things just happen all the time. Probably the latter. 2) That a town festival could soak itself in so much beer yet still remain relatively civil and family friendly. I just can't imagine an entire city in the US becoming essentially one giant open container zone and it not degenerating into the worst elements of frat boy d**chery. I also checked out Walhalla afterwards. Pretty much as advertised. I enjoyed it, though.