Natural & architectural monuments

Discover the diversity of Franconian Switzerland!

Franconian Switzerland lies in the heart of the popular holiday region of Franconia and is surrounded by the cities of Bamberg, Bayreuth and Forchheim. With its fantastic landscape, the various possibilities for experiences and last but not least because of the famous Franconian cuisine, Franconian Switzerland is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Bavaria.

Landhaus Sponsel-Regus: Our hotel in Franconian Switzerland offers all the amenities that make a holiday in Franconia a dream holiday.

An active holiday with hiking and mountain biking, a cultural holiday or simply relax and unwind with wellness: everything is possible in Franconian Switzerland. Hotel Sponsel-Regus welcomes its guests with dreamlike rooms, a large wellness area and a restaurant with traditional Franconian cuisine - no wishes are left unfulfilled here.,

Book your room in our Hotel Franken now and experience the indulgence and adventure region Franconian Switzerland with all your senses. We look forward to seeing you!

How did Franconian Switzerland get its name?

Winding valleys, striking rock formations and a small-scale structure: the fantastic landscape and breathtaking nature have made Franconian Switzerland famous. Originally the region was known as "Muggendorfer Gebürg".

It was also the scenic features and also similarities as "Little Switzerland" that led numerous poets and scholars to give the region its present name "Franconian Switzerland".

By the way, Franconian Switzerland is one of the oldest tourist destinations in the whole of Germany.

In addition to the classic activities for hikers and cyclists, the region also has many other holiday offers:

Adventure caves, castles & palaces, nature adventure parks, amusement parks, steam train Franconian Switzerland surrounding cities: Bamberg, Nuremberg, Bayreuth, Forchheim, Kulmbach, Coburg, Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Natural & architectural monuments, as listed below
Active region
With hiking, climbing, cycling, mountain biking, canoeing & kayaking, gold and Nordic walking

Experience vacation Franconian Switzerland: hiking, cycling, feasting & enjoying

In the heart of Franconian Switzerland, a great variety of cultural and scenic sights and exciting destinations for young and old await you. Of course, the region is especially known for its idyllic location and the well-developed infrastructure for hikers and cyclists.

Active holidaymakers will find plenty of opportunities in Franconian Switzerland to escape the hustle of everyday life and enjoy unspoilt nature. Countless hiking trails wind their way through Franconian Switzerland and lead past castles, palaces and caves as well as through picturesque villages with idyllic inns, distilleries and beer cellars, inviting you to take a break with Franconian cuisine and Franconian beer.

Many cycling and hiking tours also start directly in front of our hotel. Even mountain bike trails lead past the hotel and more are available within short time.

At the reception you can also get our own hiking guide with 24 tours in the Franconian Switzerland, which is also known for its beer culture – nowhere else in the world is the density of breweries higher than here. Especially around the small world record place Aufseß there are many breweries, beer cellars and inns. There is one brewery for every 2000 inhabitants – that is a world record.

The adventure region Franconian Switzerland can do even more: climbing, Nordic walking, mountain biking, motorcycling and kayak & canoe tours on the Wiesent. In "the franconian" it will certainly not get boring.

But Franconian Switzerland is multifaceted. Despite the small size of the region, a huge number of possible activities and sights are concentrated in a small area.


Culture holidays Franconian Switzerland: The cities of Bamberg, Forchheim and Bayreuth

Switzerland. Especially the three fantastic cities of Bamberg, Forchheim and Bayreuth, but also Nuremberg a few kilometres further away are attractive destinations.

Whether Bamberg, Bayreuth or Forchheim: each city combines culture with indulgence and is worth a detour. If you want to take it a little easier and still enjoy traditional Franconian cuisine, we recommend a visit to our hotel restaurant. In addition to Franconian delicacies, we naturally also serve regional beer from Franconia and Franconian Switzerland in our restaurant.

The city of Bamberg is a world cultural heritage site and only about 20 kilometres away from Hotel Sponsel-Regus.

The 1000-year history of the city with its well-preserved old town centre and Franconian charm makes time fly by during a visit to the city.

Besides the numerous cultural offers, Bamberg also offers its guests many gastronomic highlights. The "Franconian Rome" is not only considered a beer town, but also inspires with traditional Franconian cuisine.

Bayreuth, known as the city of Richard Wagner, is known throughout Germany for its festivals and therefore attracts many tourists.

The Margravial Opera House, which was completely restored in 2018, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered a jewel of the city. The surrounding park of the Hermitage, laid out by Margravine Wilhelmine of Prussia, adds to the flair of the city.

The Wahnfried House, the former home of Richard Wagner, is also worth seeing. Here, visitors are guided through the history of the composer and his works in an interactive way.

Forchheim is the smallest of the three cities, but it has nothing to hide from Bayreuth and Bamberg.

Thanks to the imperial palace located there, Forchheim in Franconia bears the proud nickname of imperial city. The historic old town centre is the tourist attraction of the town, which is considered the "Gateway to Franconian Switzerland".

During the Advent season, the town centre blossoms around one of the largest Advent calendars in the world, as the town hall is transformed into a 24-door Christmas surprise.

Forchheim is also very well reachable from the Hotel Sponsel-Regus, either by car or on a great bike tour.

Giant Castle

The Riesenburg is actually not a castle at all, but a so called "Versturzhöhle". The seemingly huge gap in the rock gives an indication of how the name could have been created.

The Riesenburg is located parallel to the B470 near the village of Doos. Inside you can climb the steps to the top and have a unique view into the valley from above.

So why not make a little stopover?


Between Bamberg and Bayreuth, near Wonsees, lies Franconia's probably most famous rock garden "Sanspareil". In the middle of the 18th century, the garden was built near the margrave's hunting residence, Zwernitz Castle. It is said that a court lady has shouted "Ah, c'est sant pareil" (translated: "That is unparalleled!") when she saw the garden.

Thereupon, Margrave Friedrich had the town of Zwernitz renamed Sanspareil. The striking rocks, embedded in the natural environment of the forest of Franconian Switzerland, are a real spectacle. The rock theatre with its characteristic round arches has been preserved as well. At the behest of Margravine Wilhelmine, individual parts of the Sanspareil Rock Garden were named after "The Adventures of Telemach".

In the rock garden there is a cafe that offers small meals and drinks.
The Sanspareil Rock Garden is open all year round and is one of the most impressive sights in Franconian Switzerland and the whole of Franconia. During your stay at the wellness hotel Sponsel-Regus you can visit the rock garden.
A barrier-free path runs through the garden, which is also accessible for wheelchairs and prams.

Opening hours:
All year round

Sanspareil 34
96197 Wonsees

Basilica Gößweinstein

Although Gößweinstein belongs to the administration of the administrative district Forchheim, the basilica Gößweinstein is one of the biggest pilgrimage places in the archdiocese of Bamberg.

It forms the catholic-spiritual centre of Franconian Switzerland, similar to the Basilica Vierzehnheiligen near Bad Staffelstein. Originally there was a smaller Franconian chapel on the present site of the basilica, but it soon became too small for pilgrims due to the large crowds.

Pilgrims came together from all over Franconia and the number of visitors rose steadily. Despite various extensions, the number of pilgrims could not be accommodated and so the Bamberg bishop was asked for permission to build a new building. Friedrich Carl von Schönborn then gave the order to the well-known Balthasar Neumann after the proposal of Johann Leonhard Dientzenhofer was rejected because construction costs were too high.


Construction work began in 1730 and continued until 1739. However, the interior decoration dragged on until 1769 because the already difficult construction progress was suddenly interrupted. In the middle of the 18th century, a fire devastated the basilica and some adjacent buildings and houses.
The Gößweinstein Basilica itself is the largest pilgrimage church in Germany, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. In addition, it was honoured by Pope Pius XII with the honorary title "Basilica minor" in 1948.
The basilica itself can be visited all year round and the surrounding village of Gößweinstein is also worth a trip to Franconian Switzerland.

91327 Gößweinstein

Druid Grove

The druid grove is a magical place. As far as the vernacular goes. Celtic druids supposedly held their rituals here. At least this is how they tried to explain the arranged stone blocks, which form a moss-covered labyrinth by now.

The area covers about one hectare and is located at the small village Wohlmannsgesees behind Muggendorf. Stroll through decades-old trees and feel the calming atmosphere of this place.

Deceleration and relaxation from everyday stress in a different way. A hiking tour in the Sponsel-Regus hiking booklet also leads to this natural destination.

Banz Monastery

The original Benedictine monastery was founded around 1070 and was one of the largest in the Upper Main region. In 1698 the reconstruction of the monastery in the baroque style began after the 30-year war under the leadership of the Dientzenhofer brothers. In contrast, the Basilica Vierzehnheiligen, planned by Balthasar Neumann, is in the rococo style.
Banz Monastery was bought in 1814 by Ludwig Wilhelm Duke in Bavaria and sold again in 1933 to the "Gemeinschaft von den heiligen Engeln" (Community of the Holy Angels), which provided pastoral care for German expatriates. After the monastery had been used as a camp during World War II, it was purchased by Hanns-Seidel-Foundation in 1978 and since then it has been used by the CSU as a meeting place.

Kloster Banz 18
96231 Bad Staffelstein

Basilica Vierzehnheiligen

According to the legend, the Child Jesus and the fourteen helpers appeared to a shepherd, who demanded the construction of a chapel. Also through the subsequent healing of a maid at the place of the apparition and at the urging of the faithful pilgrims, a chapel was built there in honour of the fourteen saints.

The chapel of that time no longer exists today, as it was already destroyed and rebuilt during the Peasants' War of 1525 and subsequently during the 30-year war. It was not until 1735 that the then Bishop Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, from Bamberg, approved the construction of the present basilica. Balthasar Neumann took over the planning and supervision and so the construction was started in 1743.

Today the basilica is one of the four "basilica minor" in the archdiocese of Bamberg, along with Bamberg Cathedral, Basilica Marienweiher and Basilica Gößweinstein. This honorary title is awarded by the Pope himself, to special places of the Catholic faith. All of these buildings have become not only impressive monuments, but also special sights of Franconian Switzerland and even the whole of Franconia.

Especially the high altar, which represents the coronation of Mary, can be admired here, as well as the eight side altars.

It is one of the best-known contact points for pilgrims and people interested in culture who want to spend their holidays in Franconia, because it is open all year round. Church cleaning is every Thursday and therefore no guided tour is possible from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Vierzehnheiligen 2
96231 Bad Staffelstein


Levi Strauss Museum in Buttenheim

Even from the outside the blood-red building stands out in the streetscape of Pottenstein. The Scharfrichtermuseum takes you back to the darkest chapters of history and to a very peculiar "craft" of its own.

Most of the exhibits on display come from Schöndorf Castle. Thumbscrews, executioner's swords, scold’s bridle, skull blasters and many other torture instruments are exhibited in the museum. Of course, the profession of the executioner and his position in society is also described.

The Scharfrichtermuseum, however, should rather stimulate reflection.
The museum is also part of the Pottenstein adventure mile and can therefore be very well combined with the other sights.

Opening hours:
Easter to October 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday closed – between Easter and Whitsun only weekends and public holidays

Hauptstraße 16
91278 Pottenstein

Museum of the executioner Pottenstein

Basilica Marienweiher

Beside the basilica Gößweinstein and Vierzehnheiligen, the pilgrimage basilica Marienweiher "Mariä Heimsuchung" is a centerpiece of Catholicism in Franconia.

Legend has it that a wagoner, on his way to Saxony, had loaded a picture of Saint Mary on his wagon. When he stayed overnight in an inn, it was attacked by a band of robbers. The wagoner and his cart and the painting were saved and out of gratitude he built a wooden structure for the painting next to the road. The first chapel, which was later to become the largest pilgrimage basilica in the archdiocese of Bamberg, is said to have been built here.

After two extensions, it was decided to build a new building. Similar to Gößweinstein, the original construction could no longer withstand the ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims from Franconia.

The light-flooded halls and the protruding ceiling frescos can be admired in the Basilica Marienweiher as well as the classicistic high altar.

Marienweiher 3
95352 Marktleugast

Franconian Switzerland Museum Tüchersfeld

The sight alone is unique: The Franconian Switzerland Museum is embedded between two rock needles in the small village of Tüchersfeld. That in itself is worth the visit.

In the museum itself, as the name suggests, direct reference is made to the region. How did the people live? What did their everyday life look like? Answers to these questions are provided in the museum, as well as insights into the traditional costume of the time. In addition, there are regularly changing theme exhibitions. These can be anything from the thirty year‘s war to exhibitions of special works of art or thematic events.

The Fränkische Schweiz Museum is housed in the so-called "Judenhof". The name already tells about the former inhabitants. Therefore, a preserved synagogue can be admired as a special jewel.

Opening hours:
April to October: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November to March: Sunday 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Christmas time varies seasonally

Am Museum 5
91278 Pottenstein