Germans might not be famous for being truly romantic, but small German towns with half-timbered houses are perhaps the most romantic places to visit. And Germany has an abundance of these. There are also two popular routes in Germany – the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) and the German Timber-Frame Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstraße), where you can find the most beautiful medieval little towns and villages of Germany. Most of the places in this selection of the prettiest half-timbered towns in Germany are stops on either or both routes.
I hope you will enjoy perusing through the places selecting your next destination in Germany.
by Daniela, the author of this blog
Monschau is perhaps one of the most romantic little villages in Germany. Half-timbered houses, the meandering Rur River and the hilly Eifel make Monschau a popular tourist destination. The village can be easily visited from the Netherlands and Belgium, as well.
When in Monschau, take the scenic trail to the ruins of the watch tower Der Haller for an amazing view over the village. From there you can see the Castle of Monschau (Burg Monschau), perched on the opposite hill. Other attractions you can visit in the village are the Mustard Mill (Senfmühle) and the Red House (Das Rotes Haus). There are also a few walking trails in the picturesque Eifel region, that you can take from the village. Read here everything about the best things to do in Monschau in the summer.
In the winter, Monschau turns into a real fairy tale, as the annual Christmas market in Monschau is held in the days just before Christmas. The smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts will entice you to the Christmas stalls full with Christmas ornaments and handcrafted gifts.
Read more: Visiting Germany in the days before Christmas, read here where the most charming German Christmas markets are.
by Daniela, the author of this blog
You’ve probably never heard of Bretten, but if you are fascinated by half-timbered houses, you will fall in love with this little German town. Located in Baden-Württemberg province, Bretten can be visited on a day trip from Stuttgart or Frankfurt. However, you can easily spend a few days in Bretten, enjoying this less touristy place.
There a few unusual museums in Bretten: the Museum of the Guarding Angel (Deutsches Schutzengel-Museum) with a lovely collection of depictions of guardian angels, the Tanning Museum (Gerbershaus), telling the story of the textile industry in the town, and the Melanchton’s House (Melanchthonhaus) with an exposition dedicated to the Reformation
My favorite part about Bretten, however, is its market square. If you sit there at one of the cafés on a Saturday when the weekly farmer’s market is held, you can observe the everyday life and enjoy the sunshine.
At the end of June, the town transforms into a real fairy tale, as the annual medieval festival is held in the weekend following the Saint-Peter and Saint-Paul’s day. Then everybody is dressed up in a local attire from the late 15th – early 16th century and there lots of activities and re-enactments. The festival is included on the UNESCO’s Inventory of Intangible Cultural heritage.
by Daniela, the author of this blog
Blankenheim is tiny village in the Eifel region. With the medieval half-timbered houses and the narrow cobbled streets, it looks as if it comes straight from a fairy tale. Blankenheim is only an hour drive from Cologne and Bonn, which makes it perfect destination for a day trip. On the other hand, Blankeheim could be a destination in itself as it offers great opportunities for hiking in the Eifel.
When in Blankenheim, you can visit the Carnival Museum (Karnevalsmuseum) where you can learn everything about the celebrations or the Eifel Museum (Eifelmuseum), where you can learn about the history of the region. When you stroll around, from one medieval street to another, you will come for sure by the spring of the Ahr River. For some amazing views, take the scenic path to the Blankenheim Castle (Burg Blankenheim). Built in the early 12th century, it functions today as a youth hostel.
Just outside the village, there is small lake, where you can relax, have a picnic or stroll around.
by Daniela, the author of this blog
Located on a bend of the Moselle (Mosel) River, with the medieval castle on the hill and the vineyards on the slopes, Cochem is truly adorable. At the market square with the Martin’s fountain you can enjoy a collection of some good examples of half-timbered houses with roofs covered with slates from the Moselle. For more half-timbered charm walk along the Moselpromenade – the lovely boulevard on the left bank of the river. And if you get tired you can sit there at one of the numerous cafes or restaurant and enjoy the view of the river and the green hills (well, if you are visiting in the summer, of course).
For a lovely view over the city, the river and the Moselle Valley, climb up to the Imperial Castle of Cochem (Reichsburg Cochem). Initially built in around the year 1000, the castle was put on fire and burned down in the late 17th century. It was completely rebuilt in the 19th century in the then fashionable Neo-Gothic Style.
You can’t visit Cochem without some wine-tasting of the famous Riesling or walking at least a bit of the Moselsteig (Mosel trail) along hilly vineyards.
by James from Travel Collecting
Boppard is one of the most beautiful towns in Germany. The small town sits on the banks of the Rhine River, and can be visited either by road or by taking a Rhine River cruise past the castles, villages and vineyards of the Rhine Valley. It not only has gorgeous half-timbered houses; it has a stunning white church trimmed with colorful edges. The twin-towered St. Severus Church dominates the town. It was built in the 13th century on the site of Roman baths. After admiring it from the outside, venture inside to see frescoes and an enormous cross and statue of Jesus dating from 1220. Back outside, the Rheinallee promenade along the banks of the Rhine is lined with half-timbered houses and quaint hotels, cafes and bars.
Boppard is also a great jumping off point for the surrounding countryside. You can hike up to the famous Vierseenblick (Four Lakes View), where the view of the Rhine River is cut off by the surrounding hills so that each section looks like a lake. This is one of the most beautiful scenery in the Rhine Valley. For more beautiful views, take the nearby Boppard Sesselbahn chairlift for a 20-minute ride up even higher into the mountains (open April – October). Finally, this is the heart of the wine country, and you won’t want to miss Boppard Hamm, the largest vineyard in the Middle Rhine valley. Tours are available. Boppard is a small town, but one of the cutest and most interesting in the country.
Author bio: James Ian has traveled to 82 countries and all seven continents. He helps people have fun and meaningful travel experiences and interactions with the local culture and environment through his blog Travel Collecting. For more inspiration check out James’ Pinterest account.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
by Carolyn from Holidays to Europe
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, with its mix of brightly coloured and half-timbered houses, is a beautiful town on the well known German scenic route, the Romantic Road.
There are plenty of things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Old Town, where you’ll find the majority of this stunning architecture. Start your visit at Marktplatz where you’ll find the City Hall. It’s worth climbing the 220 steps to the top of the City Hall’s tower for spectacular views over the town and the landscape beyond.
Marktplatz is the meeting point for the town’s nightly Night Watchman’s Tour (well worth joining in) and the annual Rothenburg Christmas Market which has been taking place since the 15th-century. Strolling around the cobbled streets you’ll find plenty of places to visit including Kathe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Store and the German Christmas Museum, St. Jacob’s Church and the Medieval Crime Museum.
Take some time to walk around the 12th-century fortified city walls and gates. The Kobolzeller Gate, located in a small square called the Plonlein, is the most famous gate in town and is always popular with tourists.
Amongst Rothenburg’s medieval half-timbered buildings you’ll find a huge array of shops, boutiques, cafes and bakeries, tempting you with their wares. Be sure to try a Schneeball, a local speciality consisting of a ball of biscuit dough with added flavours like apple and cinnamon or champagne. To escape the crowds, head to the Rothenburg Castle gardens. Whilst the castle now no longer exists, the gardens are a lovely place to enjoy a rest and admire the wonderful views.
Author bio: Carolyn first visited Europe over 30 years ago and it was love at first sight! Since that first trip, she has returned more than a dozen times and she now shares her passion for visiting Europe on her travel blog Holidays to Europe. You can follow Carolyn on Facebook.
by Shandos from World Heritage Journey
Quedlinburg is one of the most charming towns in Germany, thanks to its many half-timbered houses. An important town during the 10th century and the early days of German history, its Old Town has been UNESCO World Heritage listed thanks to it being an outstanding example of a well-preserved European medieval city.
The Old Town contains approximately 1200 half-timbered houses built over a period of 600 years, in all styles and using various building techniques. It’s a fascinating location to visit to study the evolution of this building style, or just to wander and take in the atmosphere.
A visit to the town is not complete without ascending the sandstorm outcrop to the castle and Romanesque cathedral St. Servatius. Here is buried King Henry I, the first German king, plus there is a collection of historical treasures.
Alternatively, visit the town during December, when special Christmas celebrations are held. In a real-life creation of an advent calendar, on each of the 24 days leading up to Christmas there is a hunt for children to find the special house with a star, behind whose doors can be found fairy tales and sweet surprises. Also on two weekends many inner courtyards of the half-timbered houses are open to the public, revealing their specially chosen treasures. There is also, of course, a Christmas Market in the main square.
Author bio: Shandos Cleaver and Joel Baldwin are currently on a mission to visit every UNESCO World Heritage site in the world. Follow their journey on Youtube and their website, World Heritage Journey.
by Ann from The Road is Life
The charming town of Dinkelsbühl in Southern Germany appears straight from a fairy tale. Colourful half timbered buildings line the streets and a medieval wall encircles the town, making you feel as though you’ve taken an immediate step into the past as you enter the town through its tower. If you’re planning to drive through the Romantic Road region, Dinkelsbühl is the perfect stop to add to your Southern Germany road trip itinerary.
This picturesque Bavarian village is home to over 800 years of history and full of well preserved medieval architecture. As you stroll through the town’s cobbled streets admiring the pretty buildings, make sure to stop at the most strikingly beautiful half-timbered building along the main street of Dinkelsbühl, the Deutsches Haus. This incredible 15th-century house was once home to nobility but nowadays it’s a hotel and restaurant where you can stop to have lunch in.
Once every year in July, Dinkelsbühl hosts a historic festival called Kinderzeche. This epic 10-day festival is held annually in honor of the children who were responsible for saving the town of Dinkelsbühl during the siege of the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century. It is said that most villages in the area had been destroyed while Dinkelsbühl was spared thanks to the town’s children who begged the invaders to leave the town unharmed.
If you are planning a visit to Germany during this time, it is well worth stopping in Dinkelsbühl for the festival. The streets are brought to life with parades, traditional food, dancers, performances and an all around lively atmosphere. It’s the perfect way to experience true Bavarian culture at its finest and learn all about its fascinating history.
Author bio: Ann is the other half of The Road Is Life, where she blogs with her partner Rick about travel and living a minimalist lifestyle. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she is now living in the UK where you can often find her exploring Europe and sharing her travel stories on her blog and social media. Just check out their Instagram page!
by Inna from Executive Thrillseeker
The small picturesque town of Blaubeuren is absolutely an off-the-beaten-track destination for foreign travelers and even for Germans. Blaubeuren is first of all known for being home to one of the most unique German natural wonders – lake Blautopf. The mystic Blautopf (translated as “blue pot”) is a karst spring with strikingly blue water which is the result of the reflection and particles in the water.
Besides that, Blaubeuren is at the Deutsche Fachwerkstraße, which is a scenic route linking towns with numerous half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages. Blaubeuren is Germany’s hidden gem with its historic Old Town being one of the best-preserved medieval town centers in south-western Germany. It is so relaxing to detox from the city’s bustle and roam between half-timbered houses and along the twisting lanes.
When looking closely at some buildings, such as the Große Haus or the Prehistoric Museum, you can see that different timbering techniques were used for different floors or extensions. Building laws and regulations had changed by the time a new story or annex was added. You can also do a self-guided tour of the historic part of the town. There is a 1.5 km long trail with 13 information boards and you can start your walk at any information board. Follow an arrow pointing in the right direction so you will always get back to your starting point.
Author bio: Written by Inna Nedostupenko from the Executive Thrillseeker, a travel blogger on a mission around the world to teach you…yes YOU how to travel safely, cheaper, longer, and smarter. Follow her on Instagram!
by Sherianne from Out Of Office
Do you like fairytale towns full of lopsided, half-timbered homes, red sagging rooftops, flower boxes, shutters, frescoes, little roof windows, and metal signage? If so, spend a day in Bamberg Germany when visiting Bavaria and the Romantic Road. This Medieval town is so cute that the old courtyard was used to film one of the duel scenes from the 2011 version of the Three Musketeers. Across from the courtyard is the palace rose garden and a perfect view of the town’s lopsided red roofs. Be sure to take a walk along the Regnitz River and look across to the neighborhood of Klein Venedig (Little Venice). These homes hang over the river on stilts and were once occupied by fishermen.
Bamberg is famous for its town hall built in the middle of the Regnitz River. Legend says the Bishop of Bamberg did not want a town hall and denied the land. The resourceful citizens created an artificial island in the river for their Rathaus, connecting it to each riverbank by a bridge.
Already hungry from all this walking? For lunch, order the town’s specialty of Bamberger Zwiebel (grilled onion stuffed with mincemeat) with a smoked beer at Schlenkerla. Then, grab a smoked beer praline at Café am Dom for dessert.
Bamberg Germany is an easy 2-hour train ride from Munich and a great day trip destination.
Author bio: Escape the office and travel! Sherianne aims to inspire you to maintain a balance between work, life, and travel with the most useful information for easy travel. Visit Out Of Office for fantastic travel guides, itineraries, travel tips, and information on safety, packing, budgets, and photography and follow along on Instagram!
by Clemens Sehi from Travellers Archive
The city of Nuremberg (Nürnberg) attracts countless tourists every year to its unique medieval old town with its many different sights. With around 500,000 inhabitants, Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria. Not to be missed is the medieval main market. It is the central square in the old town, where the weekly market takes place. Here you can buy everything from typical gingerbread to flowers. The famous Christmas market also takes place on this square.
The famous house of Albrecht Dürer and the Handwerkerhof are also very beautiful – you will find great medieval flair at the Königstor. As soon as you enter the gate to the Handwerkerhof, you feel like you are transported back in time. You should also visit the Weinstadel and Henkerssteg. In the Middle Ages the hangman and lepers of the city lived here. Today the Weinstadel is one of the largest half-timbered houses in Germany and is wonderful to look at. The hangman’s footbridge is particularly photogenic in the afternoon. And if there is another attraction that should not be missed, it is Weißgerbergasse.
Some medieval half-timbered houses survived the heavy air raids on Nuremberg in World War II. With 22 old houses, Weißgerbergasse is even the best preserved street in today’s old town. Here you will find particularly narrow and mostly half-timbered houses that are absolutely beautiful to look at. Weißgerbergasse therefore reflects a piece of historic Nuremberg.
Author bio: Clemens Sehi and Anne Steinbach are the travel writers behind travellersarchive.de, travel photographers, travel journalists and the authors of the book „Backpacking in Pakistan“. Follow them on Instagram!
by Hannah from Hannah’s Happy Adventures
Tubingen (Tübingen) is a beautiful town located in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The town is centred around stunning half-timbered houses, and located less than an hour from Stuttgart. It is well worth your time, and there are so many great things to do in the town.
First explore the old town centre. Wander through Am Markt cobbled square and through the bustling markets that run during the weekdays. In the evening, this area is also great for a drink outside on the square. Later, take a stroll along the river to see the half-timbered houses that line it.
Don’t forget to visit St George’s Collegiate Church, where you can climb to the top of the bell tower, to get spectacular views of the town below. Once you’re finished within the town, walk up to Hohentubingen Castle. Here you will get a lovely view of the red rooftops of the half-timbered houses.
In the evening, visit Gasthaus Baren for some traditional German food. Don’t forget to try Käse Spätzle. It was one of my favourite foods when I lived in Germany.
Tubingen can be easily accessed by public transport. It takes around 45 minutes from Stuttgart to Tubingen by train. There are also multiple coaches that run to the city itself – most by Flixbus. In Baden-Württemberg there are also so many other beautiful places to visit – such as Hohenzollern castle and Europa Park. Therefore, travelling by car to Tubingen gives you the freedom to visit these places also.
Author bio: Hannah is the mind behind Hannah’s Happy Adventures. Her blog focuses on budget travel and mental health. She has been travelling full time for the last two years, after finding her passion for travelling as a student. Follow her on Instagram.
by Kelsey from Sights Better Seen
Wernigerode is a beautiful town on the Holtemme River in central Germany. It’s surrounded by the Harz Mountains which makes for a breathtaking landscape against the colorful half-timbered buildings. Wernigerode makes a great day trip from Hamburg and other biggish cities like Hanover or Leipzig.
Wernigerode is near Harz National Park which has numerous beautiful hiking trails to peruse. You can walk all the way to the highest mountain in northern Germany, Brocken, or take an old steam train to the top. Wernigerode Castle is nestled on the hill above the town and might make you really question whether you’ve been placed into a fairytale! You can walk to the castle or take a train from the town center.
The medieval Town Hall is another sight to see – it also looks like a castle! Emperor Tower is worth checking out for beautiful views of the castle and town. Kleinstes Haus, or The Smallest House, is the tiniest house in Wernigerode, as the name suggests. It’s 10 feet wide and is now a folklore museum. There are a couple of other interesting museums to see, such as the Harz Museum (all about the history of the town) and Luftfahrtmuseum Wernigerode (an aviation museum).
Regardless of your interests, you won’t be disappointed by Wernigerode. It’s a stunning town steeped in history and nature, and not to be missed!
Author bio: Kelsey is a freelance writer and photographer currently navigating digital nomad life on her favorite continent (Europe). If you’re curious about an honest account of life without a permanent address, you can follow her on Instagram or pop over to her blog, Sights Better Seen, to read more about her (mis)adventures.
by Rohan from Travels of a Bookpacker
Butzbach, just 20 minutes out of Frankfurt, is a great place for that classic German old town without all the crowds. You can reach Butzbach by train or car and it makes a great day trip from Frankfurt if you want to base yourself in a bigger city. Once you’re in Butzbach, it is easy to explore on foot and most of the main attractions are at an easy walking distance.
Besides wandering the quaint little streets of the old town make sure you check out the castle Landgrafenschloss which was built in the 1300s and has beautiful grounds. However, the market square is the real highlight with a fountain feature in the centre and fachwerk houses on all sides. Time your visit for the weekly farmer’s market or the Christmas markets to see the town come alive.
For a real novelty, you can book accommodation in one of the last remaining wall houses of Butzbach. Long ago there were over 100 of these narrow houses built into the 17th-century wall but now only 3 remain habitable. You can book to stay in one of these unique bits of history to extend your visit to the gorgeous little town of Butzbach.
Author bio: Rohan is a New Zealander who has lived and travelled all over the world including Germany. She is currently building a tiny house in New Zealand and planning future adventures. Besides on her travel blog, she writes also about sustainable living and tiny house life on Life With Less.