When looking at a map of Germany, you're going to instinctively want to visit all the major attractions in bigger cities like Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, etc.... However, what comes with bigger cities is congestion, a more modernized feel, and a rush to see everything you can in a short amount of time. Thankfully, many large cities speak a variety of different languages, which is great if tourists need some advice, but what if you're looking for a quieter way to view Germany? What if the hustle and bustle of Berlin was a lot to take for a day and now you're looking for a more authentic experience?
It's time to explore the smaller, hidden gems of Germany. Sure, these 10 towns may not have skyrise buildings, museums, and amazing shopping, but what they do have is charm, refreshing locals excited to meet out-of-towners, and history.
It's time to hit the backroads and visit these 10 lovely towns in Germany for a real German experience.
Regensburg, Germany is a gorgeous city in Bavaria — in the Southwestern part of Germany. Right on the Danube River, Regensburg visitors can take a look at Old Stone Bridge, which was built in the 12th-century and was the city's ONLY bridge for 800 years.
With a larger population of over 100,000 people, Regensburg has the combination of a "modernized" Germany. There are more buildings but they're all modeled like the traditional German homes we envision as foreigners. Visitors can have their pick at some amazing eateries, visit St. Peter's Cathedral, or just get lost on their cobblestone roads. Regensburg is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it even more special.
Similar to Regensburg, Wurzburg has a similar feel in the way of how the city is formed, but it has its own charm that only Wurzburg can have. Located in the region of Franconia, the Main River flows around the city so tourists and locals alike can eat, drink, and gaze the water (and all the shops and cafes alongside it).
What's even cooler about Wurzburg is the Old Main Bridge that runs across it. There, people can grab a glass of wine and literally post up on the bridge while they chit-chat with amazing views. Before you leave though, stop by the Würzburger Residenz! It's a palace that has the most spectacular gardens in the summer (along with a museum inside!).
Built in the 11th-century, Cochem lays on the Moselle River with rolling hills surrounding the town. It's idyllic. Tourists can really get a feel for the country here, seeing the day-to-day life and breathtaking views. With a population of only 5,000 people, Cochem is located Southwestern of the country with a castle sitting on top of the hill, overlooking the town.
The small, medieval town of Goslar has around 40,000 locals and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in Lower Saxony, Goslar has a nickname of "Rome of the North" for how many churches it has. There's even a handful of museums and tours to take if you're interested in the local history of the town. With a gorgeous city square, Christmas markets here are magical with all the vendors being right inside the square
There's nowhere quite like Füssen. Found in Bavaria near the border of Austria, Füssen is fantastic any month of the year but shines in the winter, thanks to all of the skiing and snowboarding possibilities in the area. There's only about 14,000 people in Füssen, but it's home to some pretty incredible landmarks that bring in thousands of tourists every year.
The 19th-century "Disney castle," Neuschwanstein Castle, is found on the hilltop and Hohenschwangau Castle is right across the way, as well! There's also plenty of times to be around water in this scenic town (it's all views of open land and mountains here, folks). You can see Lake Forggensee, the Lech River, and even a sweet waterfall called Lech Falls!
Bamberg is such an adorable town that its name is spread around near and far, begging visitors to come have a taste of its charm. With a population of 70,000 people, Bamberg is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with amazing gothic architecture and has 10 outstanding breweries throughout the city — you can create your own beer hopping experience!
Back in the 10th-century, Bamberg was a huge connection for the people of Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia, and the combination of the different cultures has influenced the gorgeous town.
Found in Upper Bavaria, you can visit Rottach-Egern, on the outskirt of the one and only Lake Tegernsee. Now, if you're into your German beers, then you've definitely tasted Tegernsee before, but if you visit Rottach-Egern, you can drive five minutes to the Tegernsee Brewery!
Drinking beer aside, there's so much beauty in this small town — you're never going to want to leave. It's the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. With large mountains (perfect for skiing), a crystal clear lake, and red rooftop buildings, it's right out of a picture book. It's definitely the place to be for outdoor enthusiasts.
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In case you've never heard of Romantic Road before, it's a 350km strip of gorgeous forests, towns, and sites. At its core, it's the perfect "road" to take for a road trip with a loved one. So if you're taking a trip down Romantic Road, don't forget to stop at Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This city of 10,000 people has cobblestone streets and the most colorful houses you've ever seen. It's a wonderland to the eye.
Head over to Schmiedgasse to catch a glimpse of all the restaurants and adorable shops before heading over to the Tauber River for a refresher. Walking through this town is almost like walking back in time — there's no highrises here, folks!
If you're a nature lover at heart and are looking for quaint towns with some walking and hiking activities, check out Triberg. With a little over 5,000 people, you can find Triberg in the middle of the iconic Black Forest. You'll find rolling hills, tall trees, and breathe in fresh air from the forest. If you need a break from walking outside, you can head over to the Black Forest Museum to learn more about the area you're in!
Lindau has a special place in the hearts of those who love summer. Perfect for a spring or summer getaway, Lindau is on the border of Germany and Austria and is essentially its own little island. You can jump in Lake Constance for a swim or take a boat ride around the city!
You can feel how happy this lake makes people, so you'll find almost everyone enjoying a beer or a coffee on the outskirts of the lake. When you're there, be sure to find the Lindau Lighthouse for panoramic views of the area!