You’ve travelled to Germany? Let me guess it was to, Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich? These are the obvious choices for first-time travellers and that is perfectly fine, only that you are missing out on typically old-fashioned German towns. If you eschew modern and seek historical, then you should take a look at lesser visited places (means less tourists, too!). Here are the top 5 to get you stared.
My absolute favourite town in Germany and a definite eye candy for all travel and photography lovers, Bamberg will not even for once stop looking uper cute with its colourful half-timbered houses that are so typically German. But not only will the medieval cobblestone streets and wonderfully restored houses draw you in but the many grand cathedrals and churches as well as the iconic butcher court take you back in time. If you have seen the Three Musketeers from 2009, then you have already caught a glimpse of this wonderful place.
Make sure you rest your feet in one of the cafes, take a bite out of a pretzel and try local pastries before you chose a restaurant overlooking the river, possibly even Little Venice, as the pretty riverside houses are locally referred to. For tea time, my top tip is a visit to the rose garden hidden away behind the museum next to the cathedral, which is a fragrant rose garden full of all kinds of different beauties and a stunning view over the whole city. The best place in town!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
A well known place among Japanese and American tourists, I must admit I was rather ignorant about the existence of this Bavarian pearl until now. After having rectified this, I can now safely say that it deserves all the attention it can get! From wonderful half-timbered houses to the gorgeously detailed iron wrought shop signs, the prettiness levels are absolutely flying high here.
Take a walk around the city walls (you can even walk on the old guard walks!) towards the castle gardens and then dine in old-fashioned German tradition in a local restaurant near the market place. One thing you must try, whatever lands on your lunch table, is a ‘Schneeball’ (snow ball), a pastry covered in sugar coating. Interestingly, I had my very first one in Seoul. But don’t tell any of the locals, they wouldn’t like to hear that!
A hidden ring at a gold tipped fountain that brings you luck, a royal parade saluting an old king at 12pm in the cathedral clock tower and a twisted marriage statue, Nuremberg has more to offer than meets the eye. Sure, your eye will already be taken in by the charming canals, traditional bakeries and typically Bavarian architecture but keep it open to also spot the local speciality of Nuremberger sausages.
And if you are into history or art at all or one of those that like a peek into other people’s homes and past times, I highly recommend a visit to the Dürer house, one of the most iconic painters during German Renaissance. Right next to it is a crazy statue interpreting his famous painting of a hare and the huge castle towering over the city. It’s free to walk all around it and get amazing views over the city. I recommend a visit at dusk when the city turns a gold orange and the colourful houses and red tiled roofs fade into the distance.
The sound of seagulls in your ear, fresh air messing up your hair and the feeling of a small town, Schwerin is not on most traveller’s list. But ought to be. Reason number one: You have an awesome castle with golden tower tops and a giant statue in its centre, classical gardens all around and peaceful boat tours around the grounds. Reason number two: The people are of the super nice and funny kind, but be warned the Northerners have their own kind of humour and can be rather brief in their communication, which is just their nature.
Reason number three: Festivals. The summer months will turn this quiet place into an arena of operas, open-ir theatres, garden exhibitions and music festivals. Reason number four: If you are into seafood or fresh fish at all, you will find plenty of this going on your plate. Schwerin is super close to the Baltic sea and is surrounded by seven lakes with plenty of healthy nature, which is why reason number five is to take a walk through the many parks, get a ferry over to one of the islands or visit the zoo. They have great night walks as well!
Are literature, fine arts, architecture and the good life your thing? Weimar has everything except crowds. I love to come here all the time for summer walks in the huge park areas with their traces of old 19th century garden houses, neoclassical architecture and romantic ruins. It is basically the sensitive artsy heart of German history in condense form. Felt history, so to say. Why not walk into one of those houses, which are now turned into museums?
A lot of iconic figures of German history have resided and shaped this little town and their houses are kept in best shape. Picture white ornaments, high windows with panel boards on each side and walls in pastel colours. Weimar is the founding place for the art style Bauhaus and you can even have a peek at their university which up to this day teaches art and design. Or why not listen to the many music student playing gently on their violins and other classical instruments? Romantic souls will feel an instant connection here, I can promise.
Which of these German cities did you know about and which would you like to visit? For more German cities, check out my instagram.