Germany top five: picturesque towns

Germany top five: picturesque towns

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

It’s no secret that Germany is a breathtakingly beautiful country. From half-timbered structures to the Bavarian Alps, outdoor enthusiasts and urbanites alike can enjoy the scenery while discovering what Germany has to offer. For the modern traveler, a camera is almost always in hand. Take a look at the top five most picturesque towns in Germany and get ready for social media “likes” galore on your photography mementos.  

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Located in the Franconian region of Bavaria, this walled city is part of the Romantic Road and exudes traditional German charm. Known as the red fortress on the river, this town is strewn with half-timbered houses, towers, oriels and cafés. An excellent example of customary architecture can be seen at the Baumeisterhaus (master-builder’s house). This house has a Renaissance exterior that features the seven virtues and seven deadly sins. Another prime example of German architecture is Hegereiterhaus (Hegereiter house). Located in the former hospital area, this house has a steep, canopied roof, narrow tower and lantern-style turret.

For a truly unique picture, visit the sky blue Topplerschlossen (little castle), which was built in 1388 as a residence and fortress. It was once home of legendary mayor Heinrich Toppler and is still fully intact. This narrow, tall and square castle is a bit of an oddity, as it looks like a house perched on a stone pedestal. Everywhere you turn in Rothenburg ob der Tauber there is a photograph just waiting to be captured of this idyllic German town.

©[Boris Stroujko]/123RF.COM


The charming town of Heidelberg sits nestled between the foothills of the Odenwald Forest and the Neckar River. This town is home to the Heidelberg Castle, which rests on top of Mount Königstuhl some 230 feet above the river. Combined with the Old Bridge, this pair makes for quite the impressive sight. An equally extraordinary sight can be found inside the castle wine cellar, where the world’s largest wine barrel is stored. Made from 130 oak trees in 1751, this barrel can hold over 220,000 liters of wine. Not to be outshined by the castle, the Church of the Holy Spirit has a steeple that dominates the skyline. Located in the middle of the old center marketplace, this church took 150 years to build and has been used for worship by both Protestants and Catholics.  

To take in some more history, visit the Old University, which was built between 1712 and 1718 and is currently home to the University Museum and Old Assembly Hall. Here you can learn about the history of the university, from its beginning in 1386 to its current state as Germany’s oldest university. There is certainly no shortage of amazing things to see in this bustling town.

©[Scott Biales]/123RF.COM


Surrounded by lakes and home to a magnificent castle, the landscape of Schwerin is sure to steal your heart. Located on an island, the fairy tale Schwerin Castle has sky-high towers, golden domes, and sparkling pinnacles. Inside the castle, the museum is open to visitors and features ballrooms, a throne room, weaponry and a porcelain collection. The Baroque gardens that surround the castle are meticulously cared for and cover 50 acres. This spectacular duo of castle and gardens are sure to leave even the harshest of critics awestruck. Don’t forget to check out the Castle Chapel for a glimpse of the golden-starred ceiling. For a picture perfect view of the castle, consider going on a sunset cruise on a ship from the White Fleet and enjoying all Schwerin Lake has to offer.  

If the theater tickles your fancy, look no further than Mecklenburg State Theatre, conveniently located opposite of Schwerin Castle. Over 120 years old, this historic theater has a large hall with plush red armchairs and a chandelier sparkling overhead. If you don’t have time for a show, opt for a guided tour instead. Schwerin is sure to leave you astounded by the sheer beauty of the combination of nature and architecture in this German town.

©[Olena Buyskykh]/123RF.COM


The Bavarian town of Füssen sits less than a mile from the Austrian border and is a hub for travelers looking for one of the most famous castles in Germany, Neuschwanstein. Sleeping Beauty fans will love that Neuschwanstein was the model for Aurora’s castle in the Disney film. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy Lech Falls, located just outside of Füssen, where the water cascades over five tiers before effortlessly flowing down the Lech River.

Inside the 700-year-old town of Füssen are Baroque churches, Gothic houses, a medieval town wall, museums, and a High Palace. The landscape creates the perfect backdrop with the Bavarian Alps reaching towards the sky. This town is ideal for anyone looking to capture the ultimate castle snapshot in perfect harmony with the essence of German nature.


Saint Peter-Ording

With the North Sea in plain sight, the beach town of St. Peter-Ording in northern Germany is the perfect place to enjoy some salty air and fun in the sun. The beach stretches for over 7 miles and is the optimum location to take in views of thatched cottages, salt marshes and sand dunes. Westerheversand Lighthouse can be viewed from the beach, and towers at 136 feet. With red and white stripes and two cottages flanking its sides, this lighthouse has all the makings for a professional quality photo.

Saint Peter-Ording also boasts 18 Protestant and two Catholic churches, including Poppenbüll church. Honoring St. Johannis, this church was built around 1113 and features Romanesque and Gothic styles. Inside, a bronze baptismal font is held up by legs representing four evangelists along with the 12 apostles gracing the exterior of the font. St. Peter-Ording has a little something for everyone.


The land of beer festivals and lederhosen has so much to offer its visitors. The stunning Alps, amazing structures and castles galore make Germany the perfect spot for a weekend getaway or weeklong leisurely trip. Load the family up, don’t forget to grab your camera, and start exploring Germany’s most picturesque towns. Now, the obvious question is: Where will you go first? 


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