Top 8 most picturesque towns and villages in Germany
Looking for a quiet weekend away from the city? German towns and villages are the perfect place to relax and explore, with their fairytale feel and quaint atmosphere. While German cities are known for their fast-paced productivity, villages in Germany are the exact opposite - peaceful and rural, with a slow pace of life. Here are some of the best German villages you can visit!
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The classic German postcard town, that everyone recognises, but few know its name - Rothenburg, or Rothenburg ob der Tauber, is a popular place with Instagrammers and vloggers alike - and for good reason! The town is home to colourful mediaeval architecture which makes for the perfect setting for some great photos, while the town hall’s tower offers visitors panoramic views of the local landscape.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, located in Bavaria, has traditional cobbled walkways running through the town and there are many well-preserved buildings for visitors to explore. It is one of the only three towns left in Germany that have intact city walls. Rothenburg is home to just over 11.000 inhabitants and has been used as the set of many movies, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and one of the Harry Potter films.
While Meissen is technically more of a town than a village, it is nevertheless just as peaceful and quaint. Like Rothenburg, it is home to colourful buildings that provide a break from the grey concrete and asphalt landscape with which many of us in the city are well aquainted. Meissen is located in Saxony, near Dresden, which explains the sprinkle of Slavic culture that is embedded in the town.
Meissen is famous for manufacturing porcelain, thanks to an abundance of local deposits of china clay (kaolin) and potter's clay (potter's earth). Historically, the town produced the first high-quality porcelain outside Asia. Visitors can still purchase Meissen’s stunning porcelain products from nearby factories and shops. The town is also home to one of the best German castles - Albrechtsburg castle - which is a beautiful Gothic and early Renaissance construction which sits on a hill overlooking the town centre and is definitely worth visiting!
Quedlinburg is located in the Harz mountains in Saxony-Anhalt and is home to around 23.000 inhabitants. The town boasts a UNESCO World Heritage-listed church, castle and old town and has a long and interesting history dating back to the ninth century.
Quedlinburg’s old town is the largest in Germany, with more than 2.000 half-timbered houses and several famous landmarks and monuments. Since 2006, the Harz mountain railway has also been extended to Quedlinburg from Gernrode, giving visitors access to the historic steam narrow gauge railway from the town, too.
Located in Baden-Württemberg next to Lake Constance and close to many well-known vineyards, Meersburg is a small medieval town with a stunning castle and plenty to offer visitors. The upper and lower towns are reserved for pedestrians so that visitors and locals alike can enjoy the town in all its beauty without being disrupted by road noise. Because of this, it’s advisable to search in advance for somewhere to park your car or use local public transport.
The town is home to two castles - the Old Castle and the New Castle. The Old Castle was built in the seventh century, making it one of the oldest castles in Germany still standing today. The New Castle is not particularly new, though was certainly constructed more recently than its predecessor. Built in the 18th century and painted a vibrant shade of peach, it stands in lovely contrast to the surrounding area, especially when the weather is sunny.
5. Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
This tiny little hamlet is home to under 2.000 inhabitants and is set on the Königssee, near the German border with Austria. The village is close to the mountains and has a German national park nearby, making it the perfect place for a stop off on an adventure around the German Alps.
Ramsau is home to the third largest mountain in Germany, Watzmann, and it is the highest peak located solely on German territory. The village also has a stunning church, the Church of St. Sebastian, located next to the clear blue Acher River, making the town appear truly picture-perfect.
Ahrenshoop, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, was formerly a small German fishing village but is now known as a popular tourist destination throughout the country. Though the area is popular with visitors, the village only has around 700 inhabitants, so it’s still a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the sea air.
Ahrenshoop looks over the Baltic Sea and has plenty of spacious beaches for tourists to relax on. For more adventurous visitors, there are plenty of hiking and walking trails, as well as bike routes for those seeking a cycling holiday.
7. Rüdesheim am Rhein
Rüdesheim am Rhein is a beautiful winemaking town in the Rhine Valley, with less than 10.000 inhabitants. The town is part of Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Rhine Gorge and has a unique old town, celebrated in Rhine romanticism. The village, though small in terms of population, has a lot to offer in terms of cultural value. There are several museums and landmarks, as well as a range of hiking trails and walking routes.
Naturally, since the region specialises in winemaking, the town has plenty of cosy taverns and restaurants where you can sample local wine and German cuisine. The town’s famous Drosselgasse shopping street provides visitors with the possibility to buy many different gifts, treats and food from the town.
Bamberg is a small town located in northern Bavaria where the rivers Regnitz and Main meet. The old town features buildings from the 11th to 19th centuries and the old town hall and cathedral.
The cathedral itself actually has four towers and a number of stone carvings. During the town’s most prosperous period, the region’s architecture influenced many other towns and cities across Germany and even beyond the country’s borders. Since 1993, Bamberg has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Image: Shutterstock.com / muratart
Visit a German town or village near you!
Of course, small towns aren’t for everyone, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who disagrees that these villages aren’t stunning. There are thousands more hidden-gem villages in Germany, just waiting to be discovered, so it’s time to get in the car, or on the train, and see what rural Germany has to offer!