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The Main - the Landscape Painter

It is in the Fichtelgebirge nature reserve, a real hikers´ paradise, that the Main takes its first steps, before leading us to the magnificent margravial royal seat of Bayreuth. The famous Wagner Festival is staged here every year and on no account should you miss seeing the interior of the opera house, considered to be the most beautiful baroque theatre in Europe. At the gateway to the Franconian Forest nature reserve lies Kulmbach, another former royal residence which has made a name for itself primarily through the art of beer brewing.

The Main runs through Franconia´s varied natural landscape, passing picturesque green river meadows, precipitous rocks in the Jura mountains and typical Franconian towns such as Lichtenfels and Staffelstein. At the mouth of the River Regnitz you should make a point of including the delightful old imperial city of Bamberg in your itinerary. Bamberg´s old town, the cathedral and the Bamberg Horseman together make up one of the largest historical ensembles in Europe, reason enough for it to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Franconian metropolis of Nuremberg on the Main-Danube canal is another destination not to be missed.

A fluent Transition from Beer to Wine

At Hassfurt you catch sight of the typically Franconian vineyards which will accompany you on your journey along the Main. On your way you will find Schweinfurt with its attractive old town and Volkach, situated on a bow in the Main, in the heart of the Franconian wine-growing country. The Franconian capital is Würzburg, a university city throbbing with culture and the starting point for the Romantic Road. Würzburg has a concentration of historical and cultural riches dating from the days of powerful Prince Bishops, such as the Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Marienberg fortress and the Käpelle Pilgrimage Chapel. Further downstream there is the densely wooded Spessart nature reserve, where you can not only enjoy the wine but also experience the joys of hiking. On its edge lies Aschaffenburg, home to Germany's largest Renaissance palace, the Johannisburg.

Buildings which soar into the Sky

The valley of the Main broadens out at this point and we reach Hanau, birthplace of the Grimm Brothers and gateway to the German Fairytale Route. In Offenbach, famous for its leather, unique collections are on display at the German Leather and Shoe Museum. Then, as soon as we are round the next bend in the Main, Frankfurt's skyline comes into view. This city, famous for banking, trade fairs and its associations with Goethe, mixes its roots, its outlook and its cultures into a potent cocktail of modern life. Soon the Main's vine-covered slopes return, and in Rüsselsheim you can find out how the city has evolved from an industrial city with culture to a cultural city with industry.