"My Third Royal Town" Coburg by antistar
Coburg Travel Guide: 69 reviews and 98 photos
Coburg is a small, quiet, town of about 40,000 people on the fringes of northern Bavaria, right on the border of former East Germany, and nestled in between some of the most historic towns and cities in Germany. Just south of the town is Bamberg, a delightful little medieval town, and just a little further on in the same direction is the famous, and infamous, city of Nuremburg. To the north there is Weimar, the home of Bach and German democracy, as well as The Wartburg, where Martin Luther translated the bible into German.
Not that Coburg itself is devoid of history, in fact quite the contrary. Coburg is dear to the hearts of many an Englishman, being the birthplace of Prince Albert, the husband of possibly England's most famous queen, Victoria. Prince Albert was a member of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family, which has its roots in the area, although Albert didn't live in Coburg exactly, but a little place nearby. Coburg is also remarkably intact for a German town, and escaped the allied bombing almost completely unscathed. Legend has it that the RAF were under strict orders not to drop bombs on Coburg, as it was the home town of the King of England's grandfather.
England's Royal Family changed its name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor during World War I, and so lost its obvious connection to this little German town, but this family was influential in seeding royal families all over Europe. The Belgian royal family still keeps the name, and it was also the family name of the now ousted royal families of Portugal and Bulgaria. This royal heritage is evidenced by several palaces in and around the town, but most spectacularly in the Veste-Coburg, a magnificent fortress that towers above the town from a nearby hill, and is one of the largest surviving examples of its kind in all of Germany.
One of the most striking aspects of Coburg is how it appears to be completely off the radar of most mainstream tourists. While popular with Germans, and having a good tourist infrastructure, there's little in the way of the signs of global tourism. Unlike some places in Germany, English is a real foreign language in Coburg, and speaking it can draw looks from curious passers-by. This is great if you want to get off the beaten track and see some of real Germany, but for most people there's probably not more to see here than would need more than a couple of days wandering.
Coburg is small, but for its size it fair bustles with activity, except for Sundays when it becomes a virtual ghost town. During the week the streets are packed with shoppers, and the occasional special event, like the flea market, means that the streets are almost unnavigable, due to the dense crowds, often late into the night. On weekends the bars and clubs can be packed out with nowhere to sit, and the crowd is usually pretty young and lively. Coburg has a small university attached to it, meaning the average age, especially on a night out, is actually quite young.
Being a small town the atmosphere is very relaxed, and there is never any hint of trouble, no matter how drunk people get. There is almost no crime, and walking about even in the early hours of the morning feels as safe as anywhere. The people are a bit more conservative than the average German, from my experience, but that additional reserve doesn't stop them from talking to you, only makes them a bit reticent to do so. Once they warm to you, and they do, they are as friendly as anyone.
The down side is that it is a small town, and so there are only a limited number of places to go, things to do, and sights to see. The town is also a bit remote, being a good hour and a half on the train from the nearest major city of Nuremburg, but it is only one stop away from the main ICE link from Munich to Berlin, making both those cities very accessible for a weekend away. Many people in Coburg make full use of these metropolises.
The standard of living in the town is pretty good. It is fairly affluent by German standards, and the lack of destruction during the war has meant that it isn't a concrete jungle, like some other parts of Germany. It's not all that expensive, and a central 1-2 bedroom apartment can be had for as little as 300 euros a month. Beers are 2-2.50 euros a half-litre, and a decent meal out between 6 and 10 euros.
Things I Loved
The Vest-Coburg, the Marktplatz, the medieval streets, the Loom Bar, the Samba Festival and the lack of tourists.
The food (I'm bored of pizza), the minimal nightlife, the Christmas Market (it somehow got worse after it returned to the Marktplatz) and the Samba Festival at 4am when they are still playing their damn drums underneath my apartment window.
One of the finest churches in the town, St. Moritz was the church of Coburg when it was built. Today it is the... more travel advice
For the cheapest accommodation in town there is the Coburg Youth Hostel, a couple of kilometers south of the centre at... more travel advice
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