Germany is an urban travelers dream. Metropolises like Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt offer enough world-class shopping centers, history, and nightlife to keep anyone busy for days, if not weeks. But Berlin isn’t for everyone, and if you want to escape the bustle of the big city on your next trip to Germany, there are many wonderful small towns you can visit. Here are three unique German towns that are worth exploring the next time you travel through the Fatherland.
A wonderful destination for history, Idstein’s first recorded mention was at the turn of the 12th century, and the oldest building still standing in the town was constructed in 1410. Idstein features an impressive collection of vibrant, painted timber-framed buildings in classic medieval style.
One of the highlights of the town is the Idstein Castle, whose foundations were first constructed in 1170 and is flanked by the famous Witch’s Tower. The castle was updated, rebuilt, and renovated over the centuries that followed until it was redesigned in its current baroque style in 1714.
Another place in Idstein of note is the Union Church. This 14th century church may look nondescript from the outside but features a stunning interior, the highlight of which is a set of 40 paintings by Flemish artist Michael Angelo Immenraet.
Nestled in the Harz mountains between Hanover and Berlin, Quedlingburg is another superb small-town destination. Even more history is to be found on the cobblestone streets of Quedlingburg, which has been occupied since the 800s. The town is even referred to as the birthplace of Germany because Heinrich I was named the first king of Germany here in 919.
The entire city sits under the stoic Quedlingburg Abbey. Founded in 936, the abbey is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture, with stately stone walls topped with a vibrant red roof. Inside the church is a museum displaying many artifacts of ancient humans who lived in the region and fossils from the Ice Age.
Also on display is the Quedlingburg treasure, a collection of lavish manuscripts, weapons, chests and vases, many fitted with valuable jewelry. Pilfered from the abbey during the Second World War, the artifacts have returned and make the abbey a must-see stop on your next trip through the heartland of Germany.
Journey back in time with a trip to Rothenburg, the best-preserved walled town in Germany. The town is one of the most visited in Germany, receiving more than 2.5 million visitors per year.
Begin your journey through Rothenburg by strolling along the famous wall that surrounds the oldest parts of the town. Stunning views are offered of both the town and the surrounding countryside, and the wall also gives access to the many towers built into the structure.
Stroll to St. James Church to admire the dual sweeping spires and tall windows decorated with biblical scenes that date back to the 1500s. The church has been standing since 1485 and took almost 200 years to complete. You can also visit the marketplace to find unique gifts and explore the Town Hall, Councilors Tavern, and visit the Christmas Market, if you are traveling during the holidays.