Somewhere between Ingolstadt and Nuremberg, Bavaria’s accent mellows, the oompah bands play that little bit quieter and wine competes with beer as the local tipple. This is Franconia (Franken) and, as every local will tell you, Franconians, who inhabit the wooded hills and the banks of the Main River in Bavaria’s northern reaches, are a breed apart from their brash and extroverted cousins to the south.
In the northwest, the region’s winegrowers produce some exceptional whites, sold in a distinctive teardrop-shaped bottle called the Bocksbeutel. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Altmühltal Nature Park offers wonderful hiking, biking and canoeing. But it is Franconia’s old royalty and incredible cities – Nuremberg, Bamberg and Coburg – that draw the biggest crowds.