Coburg: Bavarian city, sausages and samba

Coburg might be a small city, but it’s also quite international. Every year, Coburg hosts the world’s largest samba festival outside of Brazil! You can look forward to many other festivities in this north-western Bavarian town, home to one of Germany’s largest castle complexes, the “Veste”.

by Sophie Nagel

Monument of Prince Albert, Duke of Saxony © Sophie Nagel
Monument of Prince Albert, Duke of Saxony . © Sophie Nagel

Facts & Figures

Monthly rent:
331 €
Try a Coburg bratwurst – they’re really delicious!

Welcome to Coburg

Coburg is located in the north-western corner of the state of Bavaria. If you’d like to spend a relaxing semester abroad far away from big cities and industrial centres, if you like being outdoors in nature and want to enjoy Bavarian culture, then Coburg is an ideal destination.

The Stadthaus at the market place © Sophie Nagel
The Stadthaus at the market place . © Sophie Nagel

Geographically speaking, Coburg is optimally situated for students. If you want to visit a larger city, Erfurt, Würzburg and Nuremberg are nearby and easily reachable by train. It’s quite practical if you want to work part-time during the semester or take a temporary job during the breaks. Being so close to these cities improves your chances of finding employment.

Coburg’s historical city centre is well preserved, and parts of the original medieval city wall, gates and towers still exist. The city abounds with ancient buildings, fountains, memorials and monuments which are worth seeing. There are four castles in this quaint city: Schloss Ehrenburg, built in 1543, is now home to the State Library, and Schloss Callenberg, erected in 1122, is located in the Beiersdorf quarter and was once used by the dukes as a hunting lodge and summer residence. Schloss Rosenau is the birthplace of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha who later married Queen Victoria of Great Britain. Possibly the most famous castle is the Veste, situated on a hill 160 metres above the town. The Veste castle and grounds are very well-preserved and include the Hofgarten (Court Gardens) which is a nice place to take a walk in good weather.

The Veste © Sophie Nagel
The Veste . © Sophie Nagel

Other attractions in Coburg include the City Hall, the marketplace and the Münzmeisterhaus located in Ketschengasse.

Living in Coburg

The quaint Fraconian city of Coburg is often called the “Samba City”, because on one weekend in July every year, the city hosts a huge Samba Festival, which is said to be the largest of its kind in the world (outside of Brazil, of course!). Dancers and musicians swing their hips to samba music in the streets all through town. Another popular festival is the Schlossplatz Festival featuring concerts and culinary events in the evenings, and in the winter, there’s a beautiful Christmas market set up on the marketplace.

My advice

As soon as you reach campus, you’re sure to spot the sausage stand. If you’re not a vegetarian, then definitely try a Coburg bratwurst!

An event called the “Night of Contrasts” offers residents the chance to experience museums, churches, castles and libraries in a very different way. During the day, you should visit the Coburg Puppet Museum and the Art Association. In the evening, you can attend a play or concert at Landestheater which offers student discounts.

City gate © Sophie Nagel
City gate . © Sophie Nagel

Downtown you’ll find a variety of nice cafés and bars where students get together at night before going out dancing. The (restaurant) “Hungry Highlander” in Steingasse, the “Wohnzimmer” and the “Stadtcafé” are good places to meet up with friends from the university. If you’re up for some authentic Franconian cuisine, stop by the “Bratwurstglöckle” where they serve good old-fashioned German food.

You can play sports at the university or go swimming at the public swimming pool. Other sports are offered by various sport clubs in Coburg. For example, if you join the German Alpine Club (DAV), you can go climbing or hiking in the mountains and explore the beautiful nature around Coburg. Fencing, handball and wrestling are offered by the Turnerschaft association. And if you like fishing, you can even toss your line into the Itz River which flows through town.

The International Office offers a bilingual city tour for new students during orientation week. It’s a good way to quickly get your bearings in Coburg. If you’re bored and need something to do, you can always take a bike ride down the Main River valley or hop on the train and spend a day in Nuremberg.

Interview with Mabel from Singapore

Mabel Heng Kirbach is 35 years old and is enrolled in the master’s degree programme “Financial Management” at the University of Applied Sciences in Coburg.

Mabel Heng Kirbach © Sophie Nagel
Mabel Heng Kirbach . © Sophie Nagel

Why did you decide to study in Coburg?

My family has ties to this city. I have two children, and my husband lives here. I was fortunate to find a master’s degree programme which matches my interests. Now, after working for many years, I can focus on finance.

How did you prepare for your stay in Germany?

I read a lot about German culture and I bought books to help me learn the language a little.

What should students take care of at home before coming to Germany?

I think it’s important to take a language course so it’s a little easier for you in the beginning to meet other students and get accustomed to life in Germany.

What was the hardest thing about living in Germany in the beginning? And how did you deal with it?

The food, of course, is very different than in Singapore. I like buying groceries at Asian supermarkets which helped ease the transition. And I couldn’t speak German very well when I first came here. That’s why I attended a language course.

Da Stefania on
Da Stefania on "Kleine Mauer" . © Sophie Nagel

What has been the most surprising thing about life in Coburg?

When you lose something, like your wallet, people are usually very honest and return it to you.

What are your plans after graduation? Can you imagine staying here in Germany?

The quality of life in Germany is very high, and that’s why I’d like to look for a job after getting my degree so that I can stay.

What do you like best about Coburg?

The atmosphere here is very pleasant and I enjoy having the possibility of meeting many people from different cultures. There are also a lot of festivals in Coburg, for example, the Samba Festival, the Schlossplatzfest and the Christmas market.

What’s the best way of coming in contact with other students?

A good way is to participate in the many events offered through the International Office. Excursions, culture nights, parties – you can make friends here very quickly.

Describe Germany in one (two or three) word(s).

Clean, punctual and very serious about football!

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