Have you ever thought of visiting the German countryside? If half-timbered houses, fairy tale castles and medieval churches speak to your heart, you should! Add a scenic landscape with high mountains and lush green woods and you are up for an experience of nature and history you won’t easily find anywhere else. Your trip should be easy enough to plan: Follow the Castle Road, the Romantic Road or explore one region or even town at a time. The only difficulty you will face is narrowing it down. We did the work for you and picked the six best towns to visit in the German countryside.
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria
With its complete ring of town walls around the Old Town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber will take you back in time with its half-timbered houses, St. James Church and the Rathaus (Town Hall). Enjoy a breathtaking view over the German countryside from its tower or the Castle Gardens. For more history, follow the Museum trail. Get into the Christmas spirit all year round at the Christmas Museum and Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Village. Don’t forget to visit nearby Dinkelsbühl, another highlight on the so-called Romantic Road. Follow the route to visit many of the most beautiful small towns in Germany.
2. Görlitz, Saxony
Görlitz has retained most of its historic streets and buildings well known from movies like the Grand Budapest Hotel or The Book Thief. Take in art and architecture dating back from modern times to the 13th century while visiting the many sites like St. Peter’s Church, the Schönhof, the Kaisertrutz Bastion, Reichenbach Turm, the train station, the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Theater and the Görlitz Synagogue. A bridge over the Neisse River will take you to the Polish town of Zgorzelec, which was a part of Görlitz before borders were established after the war. With less than a three-hour drive, Görlitz is a perfect visit to the German countryside near Berlin.
3. Bad Wimpfen, Baden-Württemberg
Bad Wimpfen earns its place on the Castle Route as the home of the largest palace of the Staufer dynasty. Dating back to pre-roman times and having strong ties to Barbarossa, the historical Bad Wimpfen is also a famous spa. The small town in the German countryside hosts several events throughout the year that will give you a glimpse of history and tradition, like the Talmarkt in July, the Zunftmarkt in late August and the Christmas market in December
4. Marburg, Hesse
For lovers of German fairy tales, Marburg is one of the best towns to visit in Germany. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm studied at the university of this picturesque town and inspired the Fairy tale Trail. Let the glass elevator take you to the historical Oberstadt surrounding the Landgrafenschloss towering over Marburg, and walk down between half-timbered houses on cobbled streets to visit the Elisabethkirche with its gothic stained-glass windows and the 13th-century shrine. The Landgrafenschloss takes you back to the same century and gives you a glimpse into the art and cultural history of the region.
5. Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt
If you are looking for a town in the German countryside near Berlin, Quedlinburg is one of the best towns to visit in Germany. Less than three hours from the German capital, Quedlinburg is one of the best places in Europe to travel back to the Middle Ages. The Fachwerkmuseum im Ständerbau teaches you about the history of timber-framed houses while a walk along the 770 historic buildings under protection will take you from the beginnings of the style through the Later Gothic and the Renaissance up to the Baroque and Rococo eras. Don’t miss the Quedlinburg Abbey dating back to the 10th century with the Church of St. Servatius, an outstanding example of Romanesque architecture.
6. Ahrenshoop, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Do you enjoy the seaside? Then round up your trip with a relaxing German countryside vacation at the former fisher village Ahrenshoop. Today a popular resort just about an hour from Rostock, the small place has retained its unique atmosphere with its thatched roofs along the Baltic Sea. Take a stroll on the beach, listen to the waves and soak in the beauty of this part of the German countryside.
Where to go for a German countryside vacation
There are many beautiful small towns in the German countryside. Far too many to visit them all in one trip. We tried to choose the best towns to visit in Germany and narrowed it down to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Görlitz, Bad Wimpfen, Marburg, Quedlinburg and Ahrenshoop. Pick one for a start and keep exploring!
Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. The perfect opportunity to put all the language learning into practice. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website contentrundumstier.de