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Aschaffenburg is the perfect summer afternoon getaway. The town center is small enough that you can walk around it several times in one day, and there are plenty of little museums and churches to check out. Apart from that, the town is lively with great panoramic views on the waterfront, the Main River.

Schloss Johannisburg
The most prominent feature in Aschaffenburg is the castle on the river. From the train station, just follow the signs to get here. Once near the market place, you can’t miss it. The castle has some pretty views out to the river, and the surrounding landscaping is elegant.
Inside the castle are a number of small museums. You can buy a combination ticket here for the castle museums and the Pompejanum. Once inside the castle, you can see a variety of exhibits, including paintings from the Dutch masters, recreated castle rooms, porcelain, modern paintings, a little town history, and last but not least, a recreation of the sights of Rome made out of cork. It’s a strange combination of things, so enter knowing that not everything will be equally interesting.

This little building, also on the waterfront, is a joy to walk to and worth the price of admission. The building is a re-creation of a house dug out of the ashes of Pompeii and has itself been reconstructed after damage from the war. Squarish and yellow from the outside, inside it’s like a jewel box. The frescos and mosaics are beautiful. A Hercules exhibit on the top floor with antique vases also refreshes all the mythology you learned in high school.

The Churches
All the churches of Aschaffenburg are worth at least a quick peak in. Indeed, on my Saturday visit, the churches were all experiencing a lot of activity, both from visitors and special services such as baptisms and weddings. Be sure to hit the Peter and Alexander Basilica, which is filled with old stone carvings. The Sand Church is also quite beautiful, and directly on the end of the pedestrian area on the way to the parks.

Park Schöntal
After walking around the pedestrian area, it is nice to take a stroll through the park, where the most interesting sights are the stone ruins and the Magnolia grove. It’s a nice place to sit and enjoy some sunshine.

How to get there: From Frankfurt, get there in about 30 minutes with the fast ICE option. Otherwise, save some dough and get there in 45 minutes with the regional trains.

Great things: Escape to Bavaria without all the travel. It’s an easy reach from Frankfurt. The castle and river views make it a nice place to bring a picnic.  

Date of visit: April 4, 2009

Aschaffenburg website: