Roman Noviomagus, Civitas Nemetum
The second city planned for today after visiting the neighbouring city of Lorsch on our day trip where we still have to do as last the city of Maulbronn; its Speyer. Let’s call this lunchtime in Speyer as we came in perfect time for this, and for enjoying the sightseeing on this rather small city. At 30 kilometres from Lorsch, or 100 south of Frankfurt, our base; it is another of the beautiful small cities near the ring of Frankfurt, and another of the many in the region listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its marvellous Cathedral.
The city is within the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, neighbouring to Hesse which capital is Frankfurt. It is one of the country’s oldest cities, founded by the Roman and it’s like almost any city and village in this part of Germany full of timber-framed houses so traditional and typical. It’s a very charming place to visit, but not for overestimating the time. Few hours is well enough to see everything, and with few I would probably count with no more than 4 including some time for lunch and enjoying a coffee before moving onto the next city.
A region with countless places you can go one after another, it’s a great day out from the larger cities of Frankfurt of Stuttgart if any of these is your base. The best you could do is having a rental car and be free to go as your day goes, or on a defined tour as was our experience on this trip where I wanted to aim for some of the World Heritage Sites we’ve not been before. But other than this, there is not much more needed to say in this brief introduction to the city.
For more information about Speyer check Wikipedia site. Germany’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Speyer
- Cathedral Square Where majority of the city’s sight are.
-Imperial Cathedral Begun in 1030 under Konrad II is of special importance to the afterwards design and development of the Romanesque architecture during the 11th and 12th centuries. The largest and most important Romanesque Cathedral built in Europe at the time. Several emperors and kings are buried here. UNESCO World Heritage Site listed.
-Town House Right at the front of the Cathedral, in neo-Baroque style, one of the many buildings all around the square important in architecture and beauty.
-Historical Museum of the Palatinate One of the most renown of its kind in Germany, hosting a massive collection of artefacts and history about the Palatinate housed in a large beautiful complex of buildings, south of the cathedral.
-Jewish Courtyard Not in Cathedral Square itself but meters next to it to the west. The city once boasted one of the largest Jewish communities, only the Ritual Bath (Mikveh) dating from 1126 almost unaltered is the oldest of its kind in Central Europe.
- Maximilianstrasse The main street cutting through the city, from the Cathedral Square towards the west to the Old Gate, where the remaining city’s sights are.
-Trinity Church Just a street parallel to Maximilian but visible from the small square in this street.
-City Hall Built between 1712 and 1726 in late Baroque style.
-Saint George’s Fountain Built in 1930 as a memorial to the 515 fallen in World War I.
-Old Mint On the site where the 12th century minting building was, the current building was built in the late 17th century, known by its old name, was used as a centre for trading.
-Altpörtel The Old Gate, standing at 55 meters high, is the only one of 68 towers of the former medieval walls. It is also one of the finest examples of such fortification remaining in the country. It was built between 1230 and 1250, and expanded in 1514. Marks the western end of Maximilianstrasse.
- Postplatz The square right at the other side of the Old Gate completes most of the remaining sights in Speyer.
-Post Museum Housed in the former huge post office building.
- Saint Joseph Church Along Gilgenstraße, the street heading west from the Postplatz. Built in the beginning of the 20th century in a blend of different styles including art nouveau , late Gothic , Baroque and Renaissance.
- Memorial Church of the Protestation (Gedächtniskirche der Protestation) Built in neo-Gothic style between 1893 and 1904, having the highest tower in the German state at 100 meters. Few meters ahead of Jaint Joseph Church.
- Technology Museum South from the Historical Museum of the Palatinate, in the grounds of the local airport, it is home to many airplanes, locomotives, cars, ships and anything to do with transports and technology. The largest piece is a retired Lufthansa 747-200, while other highlights are the Soviet Buran spacecraft and Antonov An-22.
The nearest airports to Speyer are either Frankfurt or Stuttgart, with the city lying pretty much in between these two. Any information about the base city from where we came, Frankfurt, and its great network of public transport is published and available in the relevant guide here.
If coming directly from Frankfurt, it is best by railway. Any train heading south passes by the near city of Mannheim taking less than 40 minutes. Once in Mannheim there is a half-hourly train that continues the journey on the branch to Speyer, taking 25 minutes.
If coming from Lorsch as was our experience, it is a matter of few minutes by car, however on public transport this is quite laborious and time consuming, considering how near they are one to each other. Train will be faster than bus, but whichever you chose you need to change twice. By train will be in Worms and in Mannheim, while if by bus this will be in Bensheim and Heidelberg.
Needless to mention once you are in Speyer, due to its extremely reduced size all is a matter of few minutes’ walking distance.
Although we did not stay overnight in Speyer as our base was Frankfurt, I cannot recommend anywhere in here, however the city boast a fair selection of hotels and bed & breakfast smaller accommodations. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.
For a travel guide of Frankfurt including the hotel we stayed for our tour, click here.