Erlangen is a city in Franconia, Germany. Home to most of the Friedrich-Alexander University (two faculties are in Nuremberg) and the Siemens company.


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

The reformed church with Hugenottenplatz in the foreground

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.

Post war

The Erlangen Siemens headquarters built 1948-53, known popularly as "Himbeerpalast" or raspberry palace - plans are to move part of the University facilities into this building as Siemens has left it already

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.

Tourist information

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 .

Get in

By air

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.

By train

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

By Bus

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.

Get around

Overview map of Erlangen

By public transport

The local buses have a frequent and punctual schedule connecting all areas in and around Erlangen. Liniennetz Erlangen

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.

By taxi

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.

By bicycle

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.

On foot

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.

By car

Common in Erlangen and making driving difficult: One way streets

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.


An aerial view of Bergkirchweih 2009


You can find a lot of cultural events running throughout the year in the Stadtverband der Erlanger Kulturvereine e.V.

Concerts and Theaters

Swimming pools




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.


Not your average "golden M"




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.

Live Music

Clubs and Discos





Go next

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.

Routes through Erlangen

Frankfurt Würzburg  NW  SE  Nuremberg Regensburg

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 06, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.