My Würzburg

Amit Rai, CEO of fashion and lifestyle company s.Oliver India, revels in the historical aura and the fish, wine and beer the German city has to offer

Published: Mar 9, 2010
My Würzburg
Image: Larry Dale GordonCorbis

Würzburg looks amazing round the year. A typical summer morning would see the river Main glistening in the sunlight against the backdrop of the clear sky and silhouettes of forest trees. Across the river, overlooking the city, the fortress Marienberg, nestled among rows of grapevines, is inspiring. 

I have had opportunities to stay in almost all its hotels, but nothing comes close to the Maritim. It’s not because it is an architectural marvel or is high on glitz or glamour, but purely because of the well co-ordinated aesthetics of the hotel. The hotel gives you a cocoon sort of comfort, security, privacy and silence. It has one of the most elaborate breakfast buffets, and a detailed placard on every table unfolds the secrets of how breakfast can aid you to prepare for the day. Choose a high calorie diet for a highly mobile day, protein and vitamins for a mentally stimulating day.

Alternatively, the Novotel or Würzburger Hof are both comfortable business hotels as well. Würzburg has a lot of old fashioned family-owned restaurants. Many of the names end with “bäck”. Like Sanderbäck and Johanniterbäck. It means a baker and a wine-grower have aligned with each other to make better profits. My all-time favourite is Backoefele.

The city springs surprises for vegetarians, with potato- and pumpkin-based dishes. But the width of preparation of fish, in combination with the various wines (Würzburg is known for the choicest white wines and Weiss bier), converted me into a hard core ‘fishetarian!’

The city has a wonderful mass transit system, but the best way to absorb the city is on foot.
Since Würzburg is a student city, the younger lot can enjoy a lot of parties at the artificial beaches on the banks of the river, during the spring semester. During summer you’ll find beach bars by the River Main, and beer gardens, where you’ll find the residents unwinding.

And if you are lucky then just get dissolved in the weekday market which is worth exploring for traditional Bavarian purchases. A trip to the city centre, which has a lot of little stores with nice artistic stuff in it, is a must. The specialty of this area is the Bürgerspital, which sells the most famous wine from the region.

Don’t miss the Würzburg Residenz Palace, a World Heritage Site. To take a break from all the historical impressions, go on a boat trip along the River Main, and watch the vineyards drift by.

To unwind, I like taking a stroll, or introspecting while sipping a Weiss, with baked potatoes dipped in sour cream, in a small street bar, or gazing over the river while standing over the bridge amid
life-size statues of generations of kings and queens.

(As told to Neelima Mahajan-Bansal)

(This story appears in the 19 March, 2010 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from To visit our Archives, click here.)

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