One third of the roughly 100 000 residents are involved with the university (students, researchers etc.), and another third work for Siemens.
Medicine is one of the specialties of the University, so you are in luck if you fall ill with over six clinics located within the city.
Early history, the Margraves and the Huguenots
While Erlangen can trace its history back to a first mention (as "Villa Erlangon") over a thousand years ago, it was soon overshadowed by its 50-odd year younger neighbor Nuremberg. The biggest lasting influence upon Erlangen were their former rulers the Margraves from the Ansbach-Bayreuth branch line of the Hohenzollern (the leaders of Prussia and later all of Germany) dynasty, that ruled the city for most of the early modern period, but preferred to reside in Bayreuth and Ansbach respectively. When the French Protestants were expelled, the Margrave, much like their distant relatives in Brandenburg, decided to invite them to come to Erlangen and the old houses and almost unnavigable (unless you ride a bike like most locals do) one-way streets of the "Huguenot-town" as well as a centrally located rather impressive reformed church (right next to Hugenottenplatz) still bear witness to this era. With the Huguenots a certain wealth entered town and Erlangen has been a center for various industries and research ever since, which was aided when the Margraves decided to open a new university in Erlangen (which later got two faculties in Nuremberg).
Industrialization and World War II
When Erlangen finally became part of Bavaria in the first years of the 19th century, all universities in Franconia were to be shut down in favor of the universities of "Old-Bavaria", but someone pointed out, that Erlangen had a unique selling point no other university in the new kingdom had: an evangelical theological faculty. As the new king wanted protestant ministers to be educated somewhere, he decided to shut the university in Altdorf (near Nuremberg) down, while retaining the university of Erlangen. This proved a good decision for the city and with the industrialization, Erlangen became an important center of cotton processing plants. ErBa (=Erlangen-Bamberg) and Baumwollspinnerei (=Cotton factory) are names from this period and still found in some place names in Erlangen. While Erlangen was not unaffected by the Nazis and the Second World War, it was much less bombed than Nuremberg or Munich and in the waning days of the war, the than mayor and a high ranking general called Walter Lorleberg somehow managed to surrender the town to the American army despite orders to the contrary. While the exact details are not known, Lorleberg died in the waning hours of the war (presumably killed by fanatic Nazis) and a square in Erlangen is still named after him, which is however not at all uncontroversial, him being a high ranking Nazi general and all.
After the war Siemens decided to move out of the almost entirely destroyed Berlin and to avoid the Soviets, they decided to build up two headquarters in the American Zone, one of which would become Erlangen (the other is in Munich, in case you were wondering). This decision continues to benefit the city to this day and Siemens policies and decisions are followed almost as intensely as mayoral politics in Erlangen. Erlangen grew rapidly from just under 30,000 inhabitants in 1925 due to people moving in, but also by incorporating suburbs such as Dechsendorf and by 1975 the "magic" number of 100 000 people was reached, above which (just barely) the number of inhabitants still lies to this day. All those inhabitants had to get around in some way and Erlangen decided to take another decision than many other towns its size, neither building more and bigger streets nor improving public transport all that much, but rather encouraging bikes and even today many residents (even those working for Siemens or the mayor himself) drive to work on their bikes every day and the cars clogging the streets often have number-plates of the surrounding villages and suburbs. Erlangen thrives economically today, but is still dependent upon its university and Siemens and in a way if either coughs, the city gets pneumonia.
The tourist office is located in the center of the city, just next to the City Hall (Rathaus). You can find almost everything regarding Erlangen in this portal .
The next airport is in Nuremberg (IATA: NUE) with domestic and limited international connections. the U-Bahn (subway) takes you to the Nuremberg main station in roughly 12 minutes, from where you can take a wide variety of inter-city (ICE and IC), regional (RE and RB) and commuter-trains (the S-Bahn) to Erlangen. The subway and regional trains are fully integrated within the VGN tariff union.
If you are flying in from Frankfurt airport (IATA: FRA), there are connections with one change (in Nuremberg) from the train station integrated into the airport. For more on combined train and flight tickets see this article.
Trains run regularly from Nuremberg and take about 20 min. Bamberg is about 30 min away in the other direction. Most ICE trains between Munich and Berlin stop in Erlangen. The Nuremberg S-Bahn network includes two stops in Erlangen with a third one planned for the near future
Intercity buses (privately run, the market is very young and thus volatile with prices still unstable as of 2014) stop close to the main station on a big parking lot. To get to the city center you have to cross the railroad tracks by going through the train station. From Nuremberg the public run bus number 30 or 30E (E for express, slightly different route) (VGN rates apply) connects the suburb of Thon with the city center of Erlangen. Thon in turn is connected to the Nuremberg Straßenbahn (tram). An extension of the Nuremberg tram to "am Wegfeld" is currently under construction and once completed the bus line will be shortened accordingly. After a 2016 ballot measure, plans to build a light rail line (locally known as Stadt-Umland-Bahn or StUB) to Nuremberg (replacing bus line 30) and to Herzogenaurach are under way but completion most likely won't happen before the 2020s. Other surrounding minor towns and suburbs, including Herzogenaurach (line 201) are also connected to Erlangen by public buses.
By public transport
VGN rates apply for most local transport meaning that for destinations as far as Bayreuth and Bamberg you can get a day-ticket for less than twice a normal one person one-way fare, so bring some time when buying tickets to check the cheapest offer. Through tickets within the VGN can be bought in any bus (even local ones) from the driver.
There are a lot of taxi companies available throughout the city that are available 24/7. At night you won't have a problem finding a taxi near Hugenottenplatz or one of the partying hotspots.
Bicycle is most probably the first choice of people (especially the locals), due to the very well organised bicycle roads and the small distances that have to be covered, to get around the city. Even if you cannot have your own bicycle in Erlangen, you can rent one at various local bicycle shops or at the main train station. In Erlangen a big part of town was built with the Huguenot refugees from France in mind but before the advent of the car. Therefore a number of streets are too narrow for two cars to pass side by side. Almost all of these one way streets can be entered by bike both ways. Thus cycling makes for the shortest trip lengths by distance.
In the heart of the city, everything is in a walking distance and there are a lot of pedestrian-only areas. Watch out for cyclists, especially around the university's main campus, as they often drive very fast and assume people will get out the way rather than the other way round.
If you need to cross a cycle lane with your car, be prepared to reverse if a bicycle approaches. When you turn, give way to cyclists. If you choose to drive in Erlangen, avoid downtown. There are several streets that are partially or entirely closed for cars and a lot of streets you can only drive one way (Einbahnstraße in German a white arrow on blue ground with that word written on is the symbol for that a white bar on red ground means: wrong direction). If you enter a one way street, be advised that cyclists may often use them in both ways. The best choice is to park outside downtown (e.g. the centrally located "Großparkplatz" (big parking lot) right next to the main train station) and walk. If you stay for more than just a couple of days, don't rent a car, rent a bike and do as the locals and bike everywhere.
For a full list of museums, exhibitions and events in Erlangen check here and select Mittelfranken.
- Schlossgarten, large green area surrounded by University buildings.
- Hugenotten church. a large reformed church downtown. Beautiful in its own sober, protestant somewhat iconoclast way.
- City Museum.
- Martin Luther Church. Just next to the City Museum
- Städtische Galerie.
- Botanischer Garten, worth visiting with plants and trees from all over the world. Tip: Every first Sunday of the month you can visit a cave located in the Garden
- Fine Art Ceramics.
- Photo Atelier.
- House of Art.
- Siemens AG Medical Solutions Museum.
- Every second year Nuremberg Erlangen and Fürth offer a lange Nacht der Wissenschaften (long night of the sciences) with several offers from the university, Siemens and private research institutes both for children and adults. It was last held in October of 2015.
You can find a lot of cultural events running throughout the year in the Stadtverband der Erlanger Kulturvereine e.V.
- Bergkirchweih (Berch). Held every Pentecost (Whitsuntide) for twelve days every year. Similar to Oktoberfest, but more German owing to the absence of tourists. In the year 2005 it marked its 250th anniversary. The 12 day festival draws crowds around the 1 million mark, so hotels might get crowded and overpriced during this time of the year. at 23:00 the main action stops and the party crowd goes on to the various discos and bars that keep going until 5:00
- International Comic Salon Erlangen. Held every two years. The paradise of comics fans.
- International Figure Theater Festival. Held every year.
- International Film Festival for Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction and Obscure Films: Held every May in the Manhattan cinema.
- Poetry Festival. Held every year.
- Classical music by the lake. Held every summer.
- Stummfilm-Musiktage. Germany's most beautiful silent film festival with live music.
- Christmas market. Erlangen has a Christmas Market. During its duration there is also an open air ice rink
Concerts and Theaters
- Gemeinnütziger Theater- und Konzertverein Erlangen e.V. (gVe). Local non-profit Union that organizes theater shows and classical concerts all year round.
- Stadttheater Erlangen. 3 different stages, among them the Markgrafentheater, which is the oldest Baroque theater in Southern Germany - built in 1719. It is worth visiting, even if you don't understand German at all.
- Theaterverein Fifty-Fifty e.V.. Cabaret, theater and music stage.
- Studiobühne Erlangen e.V.. Student theater association with roughly ten productions being staged every year.
- There are a couple of swimming pools in the city open for the public. You can find opening times and prices (in German) here.
- There is a golf course 15kms away to the east .
- Anniversary charitable football tournament "Football against cancer". Last Sunday of February in the sport hall of Friedrich-Alexander University.
- HC Erlangen is the towns (Olympic) Handball club that made its way to the first division Bundesliga in 2014. They used to play all home games in the Karl Heinz Hiersemann Halle in Erlangen but as of 2014 played in their temporary home in Nuremberg. Plans to build a bigger venue to accommodate the bigger crowds are underway.
- Arcaden. Big shopping mall
- Neuer Markt. Shopping mall
- Nürnberger Straße is lined with a selection of shopping opportunities.
- Musica. Music records and books.
- Ultra Comix. Comic store.
- Mitbringsel, you can get a lot of gift ideas. In the same style also Der feine Laden and Galerie am Eck
- Prachtstück. Jewellery, pearls, workshops.
- Leonidas pralines. Chocolates and more.
- Wassermann Floristik. Flowers.
- Prahse Antik. Antique furniture.
- Messer Massari. Japanese knives.
The region is famous for the number and charm of its beer gardens, where in summer you can enjoy a cool drink and a bite to eat (Brotzeit = German equivalent of a picnic) whilst enjoying traditional music. Entla's Keller (regional dialect for duck's cellar) is located on the Burgberg where the Bergkirchweih is held as well but outside of this festival operates as a normal beer garden (the locally preferred word is Bierkeller, beer-cellar) and sells typical Franconian cuisine and beer by the liter.
- Döner shops all along the Hauptstraße.
- The local McDonalds (near Hugenottenplatz) while it is no different from any other McDonalds is located inside a former post office that is quite nice to look at from the outside.
- BräuSchänke, located near the center of the city. Traditional German food and beer from the local brewery Kitzmann.
- Muskat. Located in the Hauptstraße near the Schlossplatz. Organic food and beverages.
- Orpheus, Luitpoldstrasse 25, 91025 Erlangen, ☎ +49 9131 24235. 11:00-14:30; 17:00-23:30. Greek restaurant Euro: 10-30.
- Steinbach Bräu. It is hidden in the alleys of the city in the northern part, so tourists cannot easily find it. Traditional German food with fresh beer from their microbrewery.
- Unicum. Located at the Rothelheimpark to the east of the city. During summers, the beautiful Biergarten is open.
- Elements. Restaurant, lounge, stage, living room.
- Goldene Harfe.
- Lennox steak + seafood. Just next to the Martin Luther square (and church).
- Mein lieber Schwan.
- Zen. Bar and Thai restaurant. Impressive building and interior. Located at the Theaterplatz.
Murphy's Law - Irish pub in Lorlebergplatz - has great chicken and mushroom pie.
You can play darts and eat fish and chips at the Dartmoor Inn.
Havana. Bar serving mainly cocktails.
Lorleberg Café. Coffee place at the square of the same name.
Sax. Meeting point of many locals for coffee and small dishes. Located directly at the Erlanger Schloss, nowadays the administration building of the Erlangen University.
- E-Werk Largest venue of the city. Cultural center with concerts, parties, small cinema and other things
Clubs and Discos
- AB Hotel. Very close to the Theaterplatz in the center of the city. Quiet and clean, with free WLAN.
- Youth hostel, Südliche Stadtmauerstraße 35, ☎ +49 9131 862555, fax: +49 9131 862119. DJH hostel. Preference given to under 26-year-olds. In the Freizeitzentrum, where you will also find a pool etc.
- Gasthof Schwarzer Bär, Innere Brucker Straße 19 (one block south of the train station), ☎ +49 9131 22872, fax: +49 9131 206494. Single room with shower/shared €30/26; double with shower/shared €47/36; three-bed room with shower €62.
- Hotel Zeitwohnhaus. Classy business hotel close to the centre of the city (1km from Hbf). Great rooms with comfort apartments from $90 per day.
- Hotelchen Garni am Theater. As the name says, it is located in the Theater area of the city.
- Altmanns Stube. Elegant hotel in Theaterplatz with a restaurant also.
- NH Erlangen. Located in the city centre, this 4* hotel is within walking distance of many restaurants, bars and tourist attractions.
- Hotel grauer Wolf. Cannot get any closer to the center of the city. It incorporates a gourmet restaurant also.
- Rokokohaus. Exquisite hotel.
There are many interesting and charming destinations for sightseeing and day trips (or longer) in the Erlangen region. The surrounding countryside is beautiful (Franconian Switzerland, Franconian lake district) and there are many towns and villages of historical and architectural interest.
- Bamberg - old bishop-town - UNESCO World Heritage site
- Fürth - Erlangen's neighbouring city
- Munich - the capital of Bavaria
- Nuremberg - the big neighbouring city
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Herzogenaurach - a quaint Franconian town that's home to both Adidas and Puma; good for outlet-store shopping
|Routes through Erlangen|
|Frankfurt ← Würzburg ←||NW SE||→ Nuremberg → Regensburg|