One of the best reasons to visit Germany is the sheer volume of history that can be uncovered across the country, particularly from the Middle Ages. Stories of princes, kings and fairytale castles are told from Bremen to Berchtesgarten, creating a nostalgic atmosphere that makes these destinations even more interesting.
Because of this, Germany is one of the best places in Europe to see well-preserved medieval towns and cities. Ruins are one thing, but when you get the chance to experience things almost as they were hundreds of years ago, it adds an extra layer to your trip.
So, with that in mind, here are some of the best-preserved medieval towns and cities in Germany.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This charming Bavarian town is the archetypal medieval destination in Germany. Its striking buildings, characterised by bright colours and timber frames, have graced travel brochures and social media posts for many years, ensuring its allure never fades. Rothenburg is such a pleasant town to walk around and easily accessible on foot.
The well-preserved city walls can be fully explored,offering great views down onto the streets and market square. Traditional wrought iron signs, historic gates and a tour offered by the Night Watchmen all add to the feeling that you’ve travelled back in time.
The fact that Bamberg’s Old Town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993 has helped it stay so well preserved over the years. It also tells you all you need to know about how beautiful this northern Bavarian gem is. From the precariously balance Old Town Hall on the middle of a bridge that straddles the River Regnitz to the 13th-century Bamberg Dom (cathedral), there is plenty of history to search out.
In fact, each of the town’s seven hills is crowned by a church that looks out over everything below. You can also indulge in a centuries-old tradition by sampling some of the unique and iconic Bamberg Smoked Beer.
Wherever you wander in Quedlinburg, a town located in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, you can’t help but be mesmerised by over 1,300 timber-framed buildings, some of which date all the way back to the 1400s. Because this town escaped damage during World War II and never experienced any severe fires (like most towns did at some point during the Middle Ages), there are many well-preserved pieces of architecture to admire.
Highlights include the town hall and the Collegiate Church of St Servatius, perched high on the hill. Like Bamberg, the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the streets are so well preserved that the layout is often used as a blue print for historians trying to establish how a medieval town would have looked.
The prevailing picture of Erfurt has to be the image of the Krämerbrücke, a bridge that spans a shallow arm of the River Gera and features numerous half-timbered buildings across its top. Just like they did during medieval times, the merchants who own the shops along the bridge live above their store and sell many local handicrafts unique to the region.
In fact, little has changed in Erfurt since the time when Martin Luther studied here, before going on to lead the reformation. As you walk along the historic cobbles, look out for the 16th-century puppet theatre that still hosts performances today, and the serene and somewhat hidden courtyard outside the Wigbertihof.
If you would like to visit any of these well-preserved German towns, or any of the other charming destinations across Germany, we can tailor-make your trip. Call the team on 0800 988 3369 or contact us via the website for more information.