Germany has a reputation for being harsh, frigid, and imposing. While this may be true in some of the country’s major cities, it is not the case in small villages. Keep in mind that, with all of the castles, mountain vistas, and other fairytale-like qualities, the greatest time to visit the land that gave birth to the world-famous Oktoberfest is in the winter. Check out our selection of the top 5 tiny towns in Germany to get a sense of true German culture, see traditional clothing, and sample the famous delicacies!
This historic village is nestled between two hills in Saxony, separated by the picturesque River Bode. Its interesting history includes being the cradle of the German country, 800 years of female leadership, and the first female doctor in 1754. The market square is a charming mix of mediaeval and Renaissance architecture, while buildings like the Gildehaus zur Rose are lavishly decorated. The treasury of the abbey houses some of Germany’s most important mediaeval religious treasures. The Harz Mountains, which are just a stone’s throw away and provide infinite hiking paths through amazing geological formations, contribute to Quedlinburg’s attraction.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see city for anybody visiting Germany. For centuries, the Hanseatic League’s capital has been known as the ‘City of the Seven Spires,’ whose towers still adorn the Old Town despite a catastrophic bombing strike during World War II. Lübeck was created in the 12th century and thrived as a key trade centre for northern Europe until the 16th century, where it has stayed ever since.
The city is proud of its noble palaces, public monuments and attractions, salt storehouses, and churches, including the Gothic Lutheran Lübeck Cathedral and St. Mary’s Church, which have all been preserved over time. Beautiful mediaeval architecture, rich culture, and delectable marzipan delicacies, including marzipan-infused tarts, cakes, drinks, liqueur, and chocolates (particularly at Café Niederegger, which offers 100 percent pure marzipan).
Schiltach, located on the German Half-Timbered Road, owes its early wealth to the Kinzig River, which served as a vital transportation route for the Black Forest’s wood trade beginning in the 13th century. The river also served as a source of energy for the sawmills, and its banks were ideal for tanning animal hides.
Tanners lived in the half-timbered buildings that now border the riverbed so picturesquely; this district outside the town walls is the oldest in Schiltach. The other group of mediaeval homes may be found along Schenkenzeller Straße, which was formerly the major thoroughfare through the old town and was once home to merchants and craftsmen.
More half-timbered houses surround the sloping triangular Marktplatz, which is home to the town’s four-century-old Town Hall and two free museums, the Museum am Markt and the Apothecary Museum. The Schüttesäge Museum, for example, is housed in a 1491 sawmill that ran until 1931 and was powered by a seven-meter-diameter undershot waterwheel.
Monschau is a town in the Eifel area of Germany, close to Belgium. The town is a gateway into the Eifel National Park, with its bike lanes and nature hikes, and its half-timbered homes sit immediately over the Rur river. Monschau Castle, which originates from 1198, is located in the ancient old town, which is lined with narrow cobblestone lanes. A beautiful view of the Rur Valley, the castle, and the town centre may be had by walking up to the Haller Ruin. In the summer, restaurants and hotels in Monschau move their tables outdoors.
Last but not least, Trier, dubbed the “Rome of the North” by some, is one of Germany’s oldest cities, boasting an astonishing eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites! Because the city was formerly a Roman capital, a considerable number of Roman monuments have been preserved and may (and must) be visited. The magnificent Porta Nigra entrance, Constantine’s throne room, the Roman bridge, an amphitheatre, and imperial bathhouses are only a few examples.
And that’s not all! The 13th-century Church of Our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche), Germany’s oldest Gothic church, is also worth a visit. The town centred on Hauptmarkt, the biggest square, which is bordered with townhouses from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. Also explore the Medieval Crime Museum, the Castle Gardens, and St. Jacob’s Church while you’re there.