You don’t have to look very hard to find those quaint, wine-growing, storybook villages of Germany. From our time spent living in Cologne, Germany, we gathered the inside scoop on Germany’s most beautiful villages that you may have never heard of before. While these towns are off the beaten path, they are also where you will find the most authentic German culture. Let me help you narrow down these fairytale villages of Germany to the right one for your trip!
In this post, I am going to show you the 18 most beautiful villages in Germany to consider for your next trip!
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- The Romantic Villages in Southern Germany
- The Wine Valley Villages in Germany
- The Mountain Villages in Germany
- The Authentic Villages in Germany
- The Seaside Villages in Northern Germany
- Map of the Most Beautiful Villages in Germany
- Final Thoughts!
The Romantic Villages in Southern Germany
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber – Bavaria
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the most notable village located along Germany’s Romantic Road. Not only is it one of the most preserved medieval towns in all of Europe, but it is also considered the most beautiful town in Germany.
If you only have time for one stop, make it this one! With its colorful half-timber houses, medieval defensive towers, and cobblestone streets, Rothenburg is a stop that you won’t soon forget. Not only is it a picturesque village, there are many museums, gardens, shops, breweries, and cafés to explore.
If you are in this area during the Christmas Markets, you are in for a treat. Christmas market stalls will be set up all throughout town selling authentic homemade breads, German desserts, and classic German ornaments.
2. Bamberg – Bavaria
Bamberg is a medieval German town located in norther Bavaria. Due to its well preserved German old town, Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bamberg is known for its beer gardens and unique beer. The most unique of Bamberg’s breweries is the historic smoked beer brewery, Schlenkerla. Also make sure to check out the Altenburg Castle, Neue Residenz, Bamberg Cathedral, and the Altes Rathaus.
3. Füssen – Bavaria
Füssen is a quaint village in the German state of Bavaria located just north of the Austrian border. Situated just at the foot of the Alps, the 700 year old town of Füssen is framed by the mountains and the River Lech. It is also the highest village in the state of Bavaria. You will likely come across the town of Füssen when visiting the most famous castles in Germany, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
In Füssen, you can walk at the footsteps of the Bavarian Kings. The Hohe Schloss sits high above the old town and was the former summer residence of the Bishops of Augsburg. It lay vacant for many years, but in the 19th century the Crown Prince Maximilian, father of King Ludwig II, had his eye on this castle for his next residence. However, when Maximilian stumbled on the ruins of Schwanstein Castle just outside of Füssen, he erected his new castle in the woods at the famous Hohenschwangau.
4. Marktbreit am Main – Bavaria
Marktbreit am Main lies at the most southern point of the Main River. This is the home to the birthplace of Alois Alzheimer, who first identified the symptoms of what is now known as Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure to visit the Museum Malerwinkelhaus, pictured above, if nothing else to admire the charming architecture.
The Wine Valley Villages in Germany
5. Cochem – Rhineland-Palatinate
Cochem is one of the most beautiful towns along the Mosel River in western Germany. The Mosel Valley is known for its riverside towns and its Riesling grapes. Cochem is perfect for a relaxing escape from it’s larger neighbors Cologne and Dusseldorf, and enjoy a quiet bed and breakfast for the weekend. Some of the notable wineries in town are Koll & Cie. and H. Weiskopf Weingut.
Also, a visit to Cochem wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the Reichsburg Castle. To get to the castle from the center of town there is a steep 14 minute walk up Schlossstraße (translates to castle street), but you will be rewarded with views over the town of Cochem and the Mosel River.
Pro Tip: Burg (Castle) Eltz is 25 minutes away from Cochem and other Moselle Valley towns. You definitely don’t want to miss out on a side-trip to this famous castle!
6. Bernkastel-Kues – Rhineland-Palatinate
Bernkastel-Kues is another medieval, wine-growing town to explore along the Mosel River. Like its neighbor Cochem, Bernkastel-Kues is known for its Riesling grapes and charm. Bernkastel-Kues is also an easier side-trip if you happen to be in Trier as these are only 30 miles apart.
Did you know is that Bernkastel-Kues is actually two towns, Bernkastel and Kues, split by the River Mosel River? The Marktplatz in Bernkastel is the medieval heart of town and unanimously agreed to be among the best preserved town-square in Germany.
When exploring the Martplatz, make sure to check out the towns most photographed building, the Spitzhäuschen (Pointed House). The pointed house was build 1416, and remains one of the oldest structures in Bernkastel. Don’t stop at just taking photos, also make your way inside for a surprise wine bar.
7. Ahrweiler – Rhineland-Palatinate
Ahrweiler is a wine-growing village in Germany located in the Ahr Valley. What sets Ahrweiler apart from the towns in the Mosel Valley is that red wine is king in Ahr.
You can find the “Rotweinwanderweg” or red wine trails. If you are interested in more wine hiking trails in Germany, you can find more details and maps here.
8. Rüdesheim am Rhein – Hessen
Rüdesheim am Rhein is a wine-growing village located along the Rhine Valley in Germany. Like the Mosel Valley, the Rhine Valley is known for its dry-white wines, especially Riesling wines.
In the center of town you cannot miss the Drosselgasse street which is always a lively spot with many taverns and restaurants. One of my favorite activities in Rüdesheim is to walk the Niederwald in Rudesheim along the vineyard or take the cable car up above the vineyards via the Seilbahn Rüdesheim. You can book your ticket in advance here, or purchase them day of, there are plenty of cable cars for everyone!
There is also a Medieval Castle, Brömserburg, in the middle of town which is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum taking you on a wine journey in Germany from ancient times to the present.
The Mountain Villages in Germany
9. Quedlinburg – Saxony-Anhalt
Alright now you are in for a treat! Quedlinburg is a very small town in north-central Germany near the Harz mountains where charm and character seeps from every windowsill and cobblestone.
Quedlinburg is most known for its medieval streets lined with half-timbered houses, but you can also find modern touches as well. You will walk along these streets with your jaw to the ground that architecture like this still exists today. My favorite part of Quedlinburg is to walk around trying to find the quirkiest buildings.
Towering over the village, you can also find the Quedlinburg Castle. The castle complex includes Romanesque-style Church of St. Servatius, which houses the tomb of 10th-century German king Henry I.
10. Wernigerode – Saxony-Anhalt
Ever dreamed of taking a steam train through the idyllic Harz forest in Germany? Wernigerode is home to the famous Harz Railway steam train that travel daily from Wernigerode to Brocken (the highest point).
The Harz Mountains of northern Germany are shrouded in legends of witches and warlocks conspiring with the Devil himself up at the Brocken. Taking the steam train through the forest is such a fun activity for both kids and adults. There are also hiking paths from the center of town to Brocken which allow you to hike parts of the way and take the stream train other parts.
The main town square in Wernigerode is one of the most charming I have seen in all of Germany. In the main square you will find the town hall or “Rauthaus” in a striking peach color with gold accents and detailed carvings. Situated at the foot of the Harz mountains, this village in Germany provides opportunities for both culture and exploring.
Don’t forget to check out the Wernigerode Castle which houses a spectacular museum and has sweeping views of the town.
Pro Tip: Buy you tickets for the Harz Railway here, or you can pick up tickets at the railways station in the center of town.
The Authentic Villages in Germany
11. Monschau – North Rhine-Westphalia
Visiting Monschau you feel like you are stepping back in time. And you wouldn’t be wrong as this German village has remained largely unchanged for 300 years. Monschau is known as the “Pearl of the Eifel” due to its location in the hilly Eifel region with a historic heritage as the center of the textile industry in the 18th century. Today, Monschau remains the center of the Eifel region of Germany.
Come here for the narrow, cobblestone streets, traditional half-timbered houses and, the picturesque Ruhr River passing through town. The roads in the main town is car-free. This makes visiting for the Christmas markets a special treat, because glühwein and homemade goods stands are set up all through the main streets.
12. Heidelberg – Baden-Württemberg
Heidelberg is a dreamy village at the foot of the Odenwald forest. In the center of the Old Town is the Marktplatz square, which boasts one of Heidelberg’s many beautiful fountains, grand period houses, cafés and even more pretty little shops. Heidelberg is most famous for the towering Heidelberg Castle that looks down on the Altstadt, or old town, and the Old Bridge that crosses the Neckar River.
13. Gengenbach – Baden-Württemberg
A gateway to the Black Forest, Gengenbach is a popular village on the Eastern side of the Schwarzwald (or Black Forest) with half timbered houses and quaint narrow streets and is part of Germany’s Romantic Road.
If you are visiting Germany at Christmas time, one reason to stop by Gengenbach is to see the rathaus, or town hall, which is converted into a massive advent calendar. The 24 windows of the town halls are each decorated with a different Christmas scene with a new window revealed each night until Christmas.
There is also an enormous Christmas tree that sparkles nightly as a crowd gathers to watch the show. Gegenbach’s market opens on the last day of November till the 23rd of December.
14. Idstein – Hessen
Idstein is part of the Deutsche Fachwerkstraße (or German Timber-Frame Road) due to its well preserved historical Altstadt, or Old Town. The Deutsche Fachwerkstraße connects towns with fine “fachwerk” buildings and houses leading from the river Elbe in the north to the Black Forest and Lake Constance in the south. Walking through the Alstadt in Idstein you will see the bright pops of blue and oranges which makes Idstein stand out from the rest.
15. Marburg – Hessen
Marburg is characterized by its narrow winding streets and being the birth place of the German fairytale. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were students at the Marburg university where they were largely dedicated to researching the early history of German language and literature, including German folktales. The Grimm brothers later popularized traditional oral German tales such as Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Rumpelstilskin and Snow White.
Not to be missed while visiting Marburg is one of Germany’s oldest Gothic Cathedrals, Elisabethkirche. A visit to Marburg wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the towering castle, Landgrafenschloss, which looks over the town as it always has since the 13th century. Origins of the hilltop fortress reach back to 1000 AD, making it one of Germany’s earliest hill forts.
The Seaside Villages in Northern Germany
16. Lübeck – Schleswig-Holstein
Lübeck has been one of the most illustrious cities in Germany for global trade, due to its location near the Baltic Sea. This has brought many influences from outside of Germany to Lübeck that are evident in both architecture and culture. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the most notable Brick Gothic architecture cities in Germany, which dates to its time as the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League, a powerful trading organization.
17. Warnemünde – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Warnemünde is a German port town along the Baltic Sea with sprawling beaches and a famous marina with shops, restaurants, and small fishing boats in many colors. This town is a popular seaside resort town for locals in the region. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled if you are having lunch or dinner on the marina or beach, the seagulls here are very hungry!
18. Rügen Islands – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
Rügen Island is located on the Baltic Sea and is known for its beaches and white chalk cliffs of the Jasmund National Park. It is attached to mainland Germany via the Stralsund bridge which makes a road trip here very easy by car. As you would expect, this is another popular German resort destination for locals, especially those from Berlin.
Come here to relax on the sandy beaches under rows of striped umbrellas, seaside resorts, superb architecture, rejuvenating spas. Whether you like water sports, long walks, or a lazy holiday of gazing at stunning sights this town is for you.
Map of the Most Beautiful Villages in Germany
Feel free to click the star next to the map title to save this map to your personal google maps for future reference. This way it will be visible on your mobile phone as well!
I hope you have enjoyed this list as much as I did putting it together. Let me know in the comment below which was your favorite or if you have a favorite small village that I didn’t capture here. No who is ready to plan a trip to the small villages in Germany?
Looking for more Germany inspiration? You may also enjoy these posts:
- 12 Unique Things to Do in Cologne, Germany
- 7 Best Photo Spots in Cologne, Germany
- How to Visit the Cherry Blossom Avenue in Bonn, Germany
- Cochem, Germany: Discover the Gem of the Mosel Valley
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What Camera Gear Do I Use?
- Camera Body: Canon EOS 6D Mark ii
- Wide Angle Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8
- Zoom Lens: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Super Zoom Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
- Portrait Lens: Tamron 35mm f/1.4
- Drone: DJI Mavic Mini 3 Pro with RC Controller
- Camera Bag: Vegan Leather Backpack
- Tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller
- SD Card: SanDisk Extreme Pro 256 GB
- External Travel SSD: SanDisk Extreme Pro 4 TB