- 25 Aug
Some of the most beautiful fairy tales of our childhoods have been written by the Brothers Grimm, who, incidentally, happen to be German. Now, I know that the stories in their books are actually really old folk tales, but I can’t help but think that they were inspired by the amazing little towns scattered about the German countryside, which look like they haven’t changed a bit since the 19th century. Taking a tour of these picturesque German towns is like taking a trip to a land of magic, witches and talking animals (without the nasty bits, of course). So here are the most beautiful German towns you can visit, for the fairy tale enthusiast hiding in all of us.
Staufen im Breisgau
Staufen in Bresigau is a very small town indeed, having about 7700 inhabitants, but its fame is much bigger than its size: fans of literature probably know is as the town where Dr. Faustus sold his soul to the Devil. The best thing you can do is walk around the town (on foot, since it’s so small), visit its museums (the Town Museum and the Ceramics museum), and of course, have a pint of beer at the town’s inn, where Faustus and the Devil closed their deal.
This tiny and colourful town is located north of the Harz mountains, and it is a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. The main attraction of this town are the many half-timbered medieval houses built across a time span of five centuries (there’s even a 14th century building which is one Germany’s oldest). The oldest buildings are at the heart of the the old town, and as you advance towards the fringes, the buildings get more and more new. The castle and the church are simply breath-taking.
Meissen is located at a stone throw away from beautiful Dresden, and it is immensely famous for its world famous, high quality porcelain which can be recognized by the crossed blue swords trademark. The entire town is charming, but its highlights are Albrechtburg Castle, a beautiful late Gothic building, and the Meissen Cathedral, one of the smallest cathedrals in Europe (the construction of the cathedral started at the same time as the construction of the castle, and the builders literally ran out of space).
When you look over the old, medieval town in Rothenburg, you’d never even suspect that over 40% of it was actually destroyed by bombs during WWII. Luckily, the townsfolk rebuilt the Altstadt in the same style as before, without ugly modern buildings sullying the landscape. Nothing looks out of place in the walled medieval town, although some (subtle) modification were made in order to accommodate the flourishing tourist trade. The town was used as a filming location for a couple of fantasy movies, and it served as inspiration for several novels, music albums and even video games.
Lindau is a town and island on Lake Constance (part of the larger Bodensee lake on the Rhine), and while the modern city sprawls on the mainland today, the old town is confined to the island. The port entrance with Lighthouse and Bavarian Lion opens the way to a town that looks like a cross between a garden and a picture perfect Bavarian village, with colourful houses and beautiful little churches.