Fascinating castles, picturesque streets, and the snow-capped Bavarian mountains are some of the things that come to mind while preparing the ultimate Germany itinerary. However, if you plan your vacation during the peak season, you’ll find these places teeming with tourists from all around the world.
If you want to spend a peaceful, serene trip and enjoy the essence of European heritage at the same time, the beautiful small villages in Germany are the best places to check out.
Whether you go for the snowy villages of the north or the lake-view destinations in the south, each one will seem as if it’s right out of a fairy-tale storybook.
Excited? Here’s my list of the most beautiful villages in Germany you should visit at least once in your lifetime.
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town located on the outskirts of Stuttgart and near Nuremberg. One sight of the town is bound to transport you to the middle ages. Its cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses provide the ideal serene setting to spend a romantic evening with a loved one, so pack one of these top travel purses for a night out on the town.
You can stop by some prominent landmarks on your trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and enjoy the artistic architecture of the middle age, including the remains of its old town walls.
Some of the most notable landmarks include the Toen Hall (Town Hall), the Old Forge, and the Builder’s House. Sadly, much of this gorgeous town and its old buildings were destroyed during World War II.
But much of the town and the market square were rebuilt and still feature excellent half-timbered buildings that are completely timeless.
Suppose you’re visiting during the winter season. In that case, the simple village’s beauty is further accentuated by snow and Christmas lighting, transforming it into a town right out of a Disney movie.
The town is located only 115 km from Stuttgart, so you can easily take a day trip and return to your lodgings in the evening.
Besides that, the streets sell delicious German treats throughout the evening, so you can enjoy the view while indulging in German food culture. Beyond the town’s beauty, there are plenty of great things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
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Believe it or not, Schwerin’s small town is the capital of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany. One of the smallest state capitals globally, the village is surrounded by seven lakes that you can visit to feast your eyes on the beauty of mother nature.
On the other hand, the small town’s rustic medieval structures are overshadowed by Schwerin Castle. The castle is one of the most popular tourist locations in the country.
It is built on an island between two of the seven lakes around Schwerin, namely Lake Schwerin and Lake Burgee. That’s why you’ll have to take a short boat ride to reach the castle and explore it with your children.
Along with experiencing your favorite period drama settings in Schwerin village, you’re sure to be awestruck by the magnificence of the castle and the Altes Palace.
Furthermore, visiting renowned tourist attractions like the State Art Museum can be a fantastic learning experience for you and your children. Similarly, you can enjoy a peaceful evening appreciating the artistic aspects of classical music at the town’s Opera Festival.
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Nuremberg is a famous village in Germany known for the historical occurrences in its vicinity that shaped 20th Century Germany. Apart from the landmarks and exhibitions related to the Nuremberg Trials, there’s a lot to witness in the town.
Most importantly, the small village is dotted with beautiful architectural monuments, some of which have been around for more than a millennium.
The town’s considerable heritage was destroyed during World War II, but it was rebuilt nevertheless and restored with its original version’s intricacy.
That’s why Nuremberg is the perfect place if you wish to see modern building techniques embrace medieval ornamental architecture, combined with the beauty of nature set as a picturesque background.
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Heidelberg is a charming little village located on the banks of the Neckar river. If you want to witness Germany in its original splendor before the Allied forces destroyed it, Heidelberg is the ideal place to see it.
Although the city was a celebrated hub of industries and had a pivotal position in the Reformation era, it wasn’t subjected to as much destruction as its contemporary German towns and cities.
That’s why you can take a trip down memory lane through its streets and enjoy the rustic originality of the organically grown city developed over centuries. Not to mention, the town boasts a Baroque city center that attracts tourists throughout the year.
Similarly, if you’re traveling with daughters who love their Disney princesses, the town sports a monumental castle that you can explore with your family.
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Ramsau is a miniature village where you can experience everything that European rural living has to offer. The town has a population of only 1800 people, making it ideal for a romantic getaway for two or even a family retreat with your loved ones.
The small village attracts tourists seeking breathtaking views of the German Alps and the rivers and lakes set as a background for the picture-perfect castles and vistas.
Besides sightseeing, you can take up many activities in the village, like taking a tranquil boating ride on the Königssee and Hintersee lakes.
The most notable architectural sites in the vicinity include the onion-domed church and the towering Watzmann Massif. If you’re lucky enough to visit during the winter, you’ll see the village transform into a setting from the movie Frozen.
Besides that, if you travel during the spring season, the village has vast meadows which fill up with multi-colored flowers — a sight to behold and cherish for a lifetime.
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If you love the cool breeze laced with sea salt that you usually experience at secluded beaches, the village of Ahrenshoop in Northern Germany is the ideal vacation destination for you.
Located near the Baltic sea, the village developed alongside its shore, which gives a unique charm to the destination you won’t find anywhere else when it comes to beach vacations.
Its timber cottages with thatched roofs provide a vivid reminiscence of the nail-biting scenes from ‘The Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Hansel and Gretel.’
The best part is, only a thousand people inhabit the small village.
Most importantly, Anrenshoop is easily accessible through the city of Rostock. So, that you can plan a weekend getaway or day trip with your family.
Don’t be deceived by its simplicity.
The small village has lots of fun outdoor activities to offer, including the vast amount of hiking trails at the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, birdwatching, and walking across the dunes.
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If you’re a hiking enthusiast who always packs your gear along for hiking and exploring, Schiltach is the ideal destination for you.
Located amid the dense Black Forest, the village is a treat for nature lovers. You can hike through its dense vegetation, go fishing in its streams, or watch the unique wildlife. Moreover, the town itself is a beautiful sight to behold. Lined with medieval-style cottages and timber houses, the village is one of the most photogenic towns in Europe.
Especially if you’re traveling with your sweetheart, taking a long romantic walk down its cobblestones streets is a memory you both will cherish forever.
Similarly, you can enjoy authentic European cuisine at the Timber-Frame road or recline for a picnic alongside the Kinzig River.
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Meissen is one of the larger towns on our list of beautiful towns in Germany. However, it gives tough competition to its contemporary towns in terms of heritage and traditional European culture.
Tourists visiting Europe for the first time should definitely put Meissen on their itinerary. That’s because the town inhabited by 30,000 people offers everything European culture stands for.
Set against the beautiful background of the Elbe river, the town boasts the tall towers of the Albrechtsburg castle. The monumental palace overshadows the city and looks exactly like an illustration from a Grimm Brothers’ fairy-tale.
Additionally, Meissen is also known worldwide for its porcelain production. If you’re traveling with children, you can stop by the celebrated factory with them.
This can provide them with an educational experience to remember.
Similarly, its cobblestone streets are lined with thatched-roof houses more than 1,000 years old. They’re sure enough to give your family a much-needed break from the technological hustle of today.
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Quedlinburg is a tiny village laden with gabled, thatched roofs and timber cottages. What accentuates this magical setting is the cobbled streets filled with vendors offering traditional German merchandise and food items.
Most importantly, along with the traditional heritage, Quedlinburg offers the natural scenery of the Harz Mountains. This creates one of the most diverse scenic views that Europe has to offer.
Similarly, you can take up adventurous sports while you’re vacationing in the village. Ski through the snowy slopes and hike through the forest areas to enjoy yourself to the fullest.
Besides that, it has a well-defined network of cycling paths and walking trails, which makes it the ideal escape for outdoor lovers.
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Miltenberg is a tiny but accessible German village located on the outskirts of Würzburg. However, if you’re traveling to Frankfurt, you can easily take an hour’s drive to the historic town and spend the day exploring its medieval heritage.
The village has historical significance dating back to the ancient Romans. They selected the site due to its strategic location beside the river. Some old ruins remain unscathed to provide testimony to the era to this date.
Moreover, the village boasts the enormous Miltenburg fortress, set against the Main River’s tranquil background. Together, both its natural and architectural attributes make it look straight out of a romantic period drama.
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Trier is another German town with a rich, Roman heritage. The tiny village is a Roman development that dated back to the 1st century. Now, the old town is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, the town attracts tourists with some of the most renowned Roman structures in the world. These architectural monuments include the Trier Amphitheater, the Porta Nigra Gate, and the remains of some ancient Roman baths.
Most importantly, it boasts the Roman Basilica. Here, you can behold the splendor of the Roman Empire by witnessing the 67-meter Emperor’s Throne. It’s breathtaking to see history come to life in the walls and halls of these ancient monuments. Set amid the village’s dainty cottages.
Similarly, Trier is also known for its vineyards. This means you can indulge in historical and natural sightseeing in the morning. After that, reserve the evenings for wine-tasting and enjoying authentic European cuisine.
One of the most famous wine options includes the Moselle wine, which originates from Trier itself. If you prefer, you can take a guided tour around the vast vineyards. Here, you’ll get some hands-on information about production and manufacturing.
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Bamberg, a town on the River Regnitz in Bavaria, Germany, is one of the most charming villages you can possibly visit. The old town has been named one of the 2019 European Capitals of Culture and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The origins of Bamberg date back to as early as the 8th century. However, its first mention dates back to A.D. 902 as a Benedictine monastery with a community belonging to Aachen.
It served as a bishopric from 1007 and was an Imperial Free City from 1253 until 1803 under the Holy Roman Empire’s protection. This Bavarian town is popular for its smoked beer or Rauchbier which tastes better than any of those you’ll find outside its breweries.
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Regensburg is a wonderful town rich in history. This is not so much a village anymore as its now a relatively large city and is the fourth largest city in Bavaria.
The town first gained Imperial immediacy in 1245 during the Holy Roman Empire. Today, the town still holds some of the original features that date back to its founding making it listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some of the most notable buildings among them are the Imperial Palace which was constructed in the year 1150 AD by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I’s son that was Magnus. One can witness its lofty towers and three gates that are still standing today.
This medieval town also has several other attractions worth visiting. For instance, there’s Reichsburg Castle which is Germany’s largest castle with more than 3,000 rooms on four floors.
This castle hosts a museum displaying medieval paintings, sculptures, and furniture for visitors to experience. Outside of the castles and outstanding history, this medieval village is also known for its annual Oktoberfest.
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Mittenwald’s main street, Obermarkt, is lined with elegantly carved gables and colorful paintings.
They are as historic as it gets. The ceiling of St. Peter and Stagholeg Mosaic Church has frescoes depicting angels playing violin and other stringed instruments.
The village is often called the most beautiful small town in the Bavarian Alps.
The old town features plenty of historic buildings but one is extremely unique the Violin Museum. The Violin Museum conserves 200 instruments made in the workshop Mittenwald from around the 17th century, including 200 violin instruments made by the first violinist in the old town.
This makes for a great weekend trip away from Munich and a way to immerse yourself in the Bavarian Alps in true German fashion.
Many travelers come to Meersburg to walk the cobblestoned streets, but many people visit its notable medieval buildings and castles, including the Old Castle and the New Castle, which may be seen from afar when you’re in the village.
If you’re hungry and want to eat, there are several restaurants nearby that are must stopovers in this fairy tale town. Beyond the scenery within this beautiful village, Meersburg is set right along the shores of Lake Constance and offers scenic views of the snow-covered peaks of the alps.
Lake Constance is the third largest lake in Central Europe. It’s one of the main tourist attractions for locals and visitors alike. This is the largest body of water in Baden-Württemberg, the lake extends to the borders of Switzerland and Austria.
Constance can be easily reached by car or train. If you’re driving, head over to the other villages that are located on its shores such as Rüdesheim am Rhein. If you’re taking the train, stop at Konstanz to visit villages like Lindau or Überlingen.
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17. Rüdesheim am Rhein
Rüdesheim am Rhein is a town in the Rhine Valley right along the Rhine River. It’s world-renowned for producing Riesling wines, particularly Drosselgassse, a cobblestoned street in the center. Drosselgasse is a lane studded with businesses, taverns, and restaurants in the heart of town.
The region is well-known for its historical significance and is thus frequently used as a filming location. This is pretty town is must have on your bucket list of German old towns if you looking to wine and dine or include this on your stops during a Moselle River or Rhine River cruise.
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Sieseby is a quaint, peaceful village in the north of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. The name of it originates from Old Danish Sísa by, meaning “a settlement belonging to Sísa”. It’s surrounded by lakes, forests, and meadows with many interesting villages in its vicinity.
The place is also home to medieval castle ruins so you can get an idea about how the villages used to function during medieval times.
There are a variety of activities to participate in during your stay, including walking the villages, going on water biking excursions, or camping out at one of the many campsites available.
If that’s your thing, you can also go kayaking or fishing.
Celle has one of Europe’s largest collections of medieval castles and a listed half-timbered house dating from 1292. Significant attractions and notable buildings include a 16th-century church with Renaissance in the interior and a 17th-Centre Baroque theater.
Celle is situated on the Aller River and is well positioned for walking in the bucolic heaths of lower Saxony. It is the oldest surviving example of baroque theatre in Germany and is situated close to the Aller Valley area.
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Altena is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It’s located at the banks of the river Ruhr and it’s noted for its half-timbered buildings. The city is also well known for its historical significance from the middle ages.
In particular, Altena is home to one of the oldest castles in Westphalia from the 12th century. The castle was rebuilt in a preserved condition and has been open to visitors since 1971. The old town also features a museum dedicated to daily life in medieval villages.
There are many restaurants that can be found in this town that offer regional foods such as Wok dishes or traditional German dishes that include sausages and pork knuckles.
Burg Altena used to strike it rich by mining silver wire, which was used in the armory of medieval kings. August is celebrated in Burg Altena as a traditional Middle Age festival, with events dating back to the 16th century.
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Small Village Near Germany: Vaduz, Lichtenstein
Vaduz in Lichtenstein is another beautiful small village near Germany (yes, we know it’s a country but it’s still small enough to have a village feel) with medieval-style architecture ideal for memorable family photos.
What makes this village popular is the Lichtenstein Castle located on the edge of a cliff.
It was built by a German duke in the 17th century. The castle exhibits all the grandeur of medieval architecture, even though it was made quite recently. The towering monument set against the mountainous greenery will leave you awestruck.
Similarly, the small village is famous for its cozy inns. They offer authentic German delicacies that you can devour throughout your trip.
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If you want help finding villages in Germany that will capture your heart, or if you need a travel itinerary to follow for the best villages in Germany, then sign up for our free travel newsletter.
We’ll send you monthly updates on where we’re going and what villages are worth visiting. With this information, it should be easy to find a village near German cities like Berlin or Munich with rich history and romantic landscapes.
So the next time you visit Germany, don’t forget to visit these hidden gems among the popular tourist attractions. Bon Voyage!
What are the best German countryside towns to visit?
This is a bit subjective depending on what you are looking for in a leisurely stroll or strict German villages with medieval-style architecture. Meersburg has beautiful half-timbered houses and a low-key vibe that beckons you to roam it slowly without rushing through narrow cobblestone streets. This might sound like an easy choice but there’s also Bamberg (2019 Capitals of Culture) if suits your needs as well as Trier (the oldest town in Germany), and Regensburg.