It's best to know something about Richard Wagner before going to Bayreuth, because although the city has many, many other attractions, the centrepiece of everything is the fact that Wagner built his Festspielhaus as well as his home, called Wahnfried, in the centre of Bayreuth.
But it's also important to know that it's a small house and tickets are extraordinarily difficult to get. It is a city of very high culture, with imposing museums, well - preserved historic sites, gorgeous streets, incredible churches, an unbelievable old opera house currently under restoration. The public transportation facilities are truly marvelous and easy to use even for non - German speakers.
It's great to wander around Bayreuth and try a pair of fried sausages with mustard in a crunchy bun (Richard Wagner Strasse - pedestrian mall).
You can even have a beer with it, if you like. Famous, succulent (and good value for money) are also a pork roast with sauerkraut and potato dumplings in one of the many brewery/restaurants. For some solitude, listen to the birds in the Hofgarten behind the New Castle (Neues Schloss) and explore the life of Jean Paul Friedrich Richter, a contemporary of Goethe. Do not miss a visit to the Eremitage, the summer retreat of Duchess Wilhelmine; take a guided tour and find out when the fountains are switched on. You'll have to take a bus or car to get there.
Most people go to Bayreuth for the Wagner Festival. And it is a truly magical event when one can get tickets.
But it is not the only thing. There are other music halls, many historical sights to see, lovely countryside to breathe fresh air and basically just to wander around. The food is superb everywhere, but especially at world - famous places like the Eule and Oskars. It's a medieval city that has managed to respect and retain its history while adapting to the modern world.