ASCHAFFENBURG is a last taste – or first glimpse – of Bavaria for travellers between the Free State and neighbouring Hesse, tucked into the westernmost corner of Franconia at the foot of the wooded Spessart hills. Closer to Frankfurt than to Würzburg, from the tenth century it belonged to the archbishopric of Mainz, and was the capital of the largest of several scattered parcels of territory known as the Oberes Erzstift (Upper Archdiocese). It was the archbishops’ second residence until the archbishopric’s dissolution in 1803; the town passed to Bavaria in 1814. Aschaffenburg was once dubbed the “Bavarian Nice” for its mild climate, and though that comparison is a little far-fetched, it is an attractive town, which recovered well from grievous damage in the last weeks of World War II and has enough sights to justify an overnight stop.

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