GERMANY

9 Lovely German Towns You’ve Never Heard Of

If there’s one thing to appreciate about Germany, it’s the cute German towns. And indeed, the country has so many secret little gems to discover that checking them off your bucket list seems like a never-ending activity. I personally love visiting small towns in Germany — they always bring peace and mindfulness, and nothing feels better than walking in the half-empty, narrow streets full of half-timbered houses, living their quiet life at the foot of a castle.

So in case you need to expand your definition of “towny”, here are 9 widely unknown German towns that I’ve hunted down for you!

German towns to check off your bucket list

1. Quedlinburg

Quedlinburg will be my all-time favourite German town for as long as I live, no kidding. I’ve been there a countless amount of times at this point and feel like coming back every year. Looking like a miniature, fairy-tale version of Edinburg, Quedlinburg is Europe’s best-preserved medieval town and one of the world’s most-renowned UNESCO gems. There’s no reason not to enjoy Quedlinburg, really — whenever you turn, you’re sure to stumble upon on something beautiful, be it an old crooked house, a church, or a little medieval cafe. 

State: Saxony-Anhalt

Quedlinburg, Germany

2. Wernigerode

After a trip to Quedlinburg, do pay a visit to its neighbour, Wernigerode — the town is located just too close for you to ignore it (just some 20 minutes or so). If you’re a history buff, you’ll probably be interested in learning about the medieval dark past of this town, which was known to be a meeting place for witches. Every year, on April 30 (during the so-called Walpurgis Night), they would fly on their broomsticks to the mountain Broken for a huge celebration that made Halloween look like a party for kids. Ah, those were the days!

State: Saxony-Anhalt

Wernigerode Castle, Germany

3. Schwerin

“Let’s go to Schwerin!” — said no one, committing a huuuuge mistake without knowing it! Schwerin has one damn gorgeous palace to visit, to remind you of the sophisticated, refined lifestyle that people used to have back in the day. Located on a tiny little island, the Schwerin palace is so separate from the rest of the town that it feels like a getaway inside of a getaway. You can’t escape any more than that!

State: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Schwerin Castle, Germany

4. Monschau

A small resort town in the western Germany, Monschau is definitely more than just a wellness destination. Since its historical centre wasn’t touched by the destructions of War, the town still feels like a labyrinth of narrow streets and looks like a photo card collection of half-timbered houses — just the way it was centuries ago!

State: North Rhine-Westphalia

Monschau, Germany

5. Weimar

Now, you might have heard of Weimar before if you were paying attention at school. The city played an important role in the German history: it was both the origin of the Weimar Republic (aka the German Reich) and the centre of the German culture (as a whole) in the 18th/19th centuries. Weimar has left a huge mark on the development of music and philosophy, and such names are Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Liszt, Strauss will be forever associated with the town.

State: Thuringia

Weimar, Germany

5. Görlitz

If you find yourself on the lookout for the world’s most recognisable — yet unknown — movie locations, go to Görlitz, the lovely German town that is also known as Görliwood. Nobody’s heard about it but everybody knows it: it appears in Inglourious Basterds, The Book Thief, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and other famous films. Görlitz’s popularity among directors is explained with its incredibly rich architectural heritage — the town has preserved the finest samples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Art Nouveau architecture, making it an “all in one” kind of place.

State: Saxony

Gorlitz, Germany

6. Ulm

Small town — big names! Ulm is the origin of the world’s tallest church, Ulm Minster, and the world’s most famous physicist, Albert Einstein. There’s also a super-beautiful, super-colourful town hall, which features some brilliant examples of ornamental medieval art. It’s huuuuuge! But for those who love something tinier, lay your path to The Fishermen’s Quarter where you can find the most crooked-looking house ever, Schiefes Haus. Built in the 14th century, now, in the year 2016, it’s inclined by 9-10°, which makes it a very picturesque scene. Difficult to photograph, though.

State: Baden-Württemberg

Ulm, Germany. Ulm Minster is the tallest cathedral in the world.

7. Meersburg

“Meersburg” literally means as “the Castle on the Sea”. Both upper town and lower town are reserved for pedestrians exclusively — quite a unique feature nowadays, which helps Meersburg to rock the “medieval look” like no other town. Meersburg also has a unique location — it is a getaway to the famously beautiful Lake Constance, which is just as pretty as a postcard! Wonderful choice for all types of travellers out there.

State: Baden-Württemberg

Meersburg, Germany

8. Bacharach

Cuteness alert! Carrying a well-deserved UNESCO label, Bacharach is where a towny lifestyle feels like a choice to commit to for no less than a lifetime. Bacharach is tiny, and yet you’ll need quite some time to explore it: there are two castles, remnants of a Roman road, ruins of some Gothic chapels, numerous wall towers — let alone plenty of charming Fachwerks to feast your eyes upon.

State: Rhineland-Palatinate

Bacharach, Germany

9. Füssen

For a tiny unknown place that Füssen is, the town has two of the most incredible German landmarks: Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein (the one that served as a castle inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty). So, having merely a 14,000 something population, Füssen is a pass-by location for over 1 million people every year. And yet, you shouldn’t just pass Füssen by — the town is lovely on it own! There’s a beautiful lake Forggensee, which looks as romantic as it can get, Germany’s oldest fresco, in the crypt of St. Mang’s Basilica, the perfect-looking waterfalls at the river Lech… An ocean of charm!

State: Bavaria

Forgensee, Germany

Your turn! Which of these German towns will your add to your bucket list?

PS. If you liked this post, you will also like 10 Cutest Small Towns In Germany!

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  • Wow, the pictures are stunning! Germany seems to be a never-ending pool of fairy tale locations! No wonder the Grimm Brothers were German!

    http://www.booksandtrips.com/

    • Olga Rabo

      True indeed! There’s a lot to discover, also when it comes to nature!

  • Leanne Gorman

    To be honest, I haven’t heard of a lot of places. In fact, just within the last couple of years I learned about Berlin and the fact that it had a wall down it for several decades and only went down in 1991–or sometime around then–(you’d think they’d teach that in school in the early 2000s but nope). I’m walking proof that American education is terrible. Rant done, I promise!

    Awesome post!

    • Olga Rabo

      Oh, don’t feel bad! I don’t know much about American history either, for example, I only have an “approximate understanding of it”, so to say! They don’t really focus at school that much on it, but i guess it’s like that in every country! We usually learn about the world that surrounds us and then keep expanding our knowledge with time :)

      Have you been to Europe already, actually?? I’ve never been to the U.S., for instance, but I’m dying to go!

      • Leanne Gorman

        I haven’t been to Europe (yet!) but I’ll get there after post-secondary school. I already have a plan.

        • Olga Rabo

          That sounds great :) I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!!

  • Nina

    Love your list! So true…these are some pretty amazing towns!

    • Olga Rabo

      Thanks Nina!! Yes, I can’t get enough of German towns!!
      And thanks for sharing the post on Facebook, by the way – so lovely of you!!

      xxxx
      Olga

  • Hurray I’ve visited one of these! We’ve been to Monschau when I was little. Really pretty! Love the looks of Quedlinburg

    • Olga Rabo

      Did you like it back then? I bet it would feel so interesting to revisit it! Like re-reading a fairy-tale from the childhood :))

  • I’m definitely adding Fussen and possibly a few more from your list when I travel through Germany next month :) Love that fairytale architecture!

  • Tilly Horseman

    I’ve heard of a couple, but never been to any of them! I love Germany and want to travel more through the country. Fussen is definitely on my list and I might make that my base for a couple of days when I got to Munich next year. Plans are to travel to Zurich and Lichtenstein and into Austria, Innbruck and finish in Zell am See where I have family! I’ve book-marked your blog to remember where these quaint towns are. Thank you for your great blog!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Tilly! Makes my day to hear that :)

      Your travel plans sound absolutely fantastic! I’ve been to Zurich last year (first time in Switzerland), and I also got to travel to Basel, which I really liked as well. I guess, if you go to Zurich from Munich, Basel would be also a really convenient stop! So I totally recommend that too, if you’re looking for something off the beaten path :)

      Hope you enjoy your trip!!!

      Cheers,
      Olga

  • I need to revisit Germany! Sadly I only visited the touristy places and none on your list. Thanks for the list!

    • Glad you could find a bit of inspiration here :) Thanks for your comment!