15 German Fairytale Villages You Need to Visit at Least Once

Castle Boosenburg in the vineyards of the Mittelrhein oder Middle Rhine region, Rudesheim, Germany
Castle Boosenburg in the vineyards of the Mittelrhein oder Middle Rhine region, Rudesheim, Germany | © imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Marion Kutter

Got Germany on you bucket list? Then you’re probably picturing enchanting castles, alpine views, Berlin nightlife and Oktoberfest. But there’s so much more to the Land of Poets and Thinkers. The country is studded with small towns that spread their share of fairytale magic. Each of them feels wondrous with winding cobblestone alleys, medieval townhouses and countless memorable photo stops.

1. Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

The Berchtesgadener Land district in the southeastern corner of Germany is all about the scenery. Ramsau, a village with a population of about 1,800 people, lures people to the Alps with amazing vistas. Among the delights here are the purling river, the onion-domed church, and the tranquil Königssee and Hintersee lakes. With snowfall, the entire region transforms into a winter wonderland before vast meadows become flower fields in spring and summer.

If you feel like further exploring the area, check out the best things to see and do in Berchtesgadener.

2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber


This is the epitome of a German fairytale village, often feeling like a scene straight out of the medieval era. The old town of Rothenburg – one of Europe’s hidden treasures – is a web of winding cobbled alleys which are seamed with immaculately-preserved half-timbered townhouses shining in all colours; regularly, it makes the list of the prettiest towns in the country. The fairytale atmosphere doesn’t just draw tourists; it even attracted the filmmakers of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts 1 and 2, 2010 and 2011).

3. Black Forest

Natural Feature, Forest

When you want to try skiing somewhere other than the Alps, Black Forest is a good choice. In fact, Germany’s oldest ski club, dating back to 1895, is located here, and it continues to attract thousands of skiers every year. Offering breathtaking views of hills, valleys and spas, the proximity to the town of Baden only adds to its convenience.

4. Frankfurt

Bahá'í Temple

Frankfurt has the reputation of being a concrete business city and is more often than not visited only for its airport. However, over a weekend in Frankfurt, you will find that it has a lot to offerfor all tastes and ages. The city’s skyline displays an amazing harmony of contemporary architecture and impeccably preserved ancient buildings. Get your culture fix at some of the awesome galleriesor museumsacross the city. Also, this attractive destination maintains its medieval heart at Römerberg Square, the most charming part of Frankfurt. Distance from Nuremberg: Approximately 224 km (139 miles) Frankfurt, Germany

5. Goslar

Market, Museum, Natural Feature

Highlights of the area include The Imperial Palace of Goslar, which is a historical building complex at the foot of the Rammelsberg hill, based in the south of the town of Goslar and north of the Harz mountains, in central Germany. A visit to one of the most beautiful houses built, Siemenshaus is a must-see, and journey along the famous mountain road.

6. Ahrenshoop

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

A salty breeze, the sound of the Baltic sea, and enchanting cottages along the shoreline are the essence of Ahrenshoop. Once a fishing village, it’s impressively established itself as a popular resort town without losing any charm. The small village of only 637 people occupies a spot on the narrow peninsula about an hour north of Rostock; it’s the perfect base for a relaxed weekend of dune walks, birdwatching and cycling.

Spending some time in Rostock? These are the top things to see and do.

7. Schiltach

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Spitalstrasse in Schiltach, Black Forest, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
© Juergen Wackenhut / Shutterstock

The dense forests, extensive hiking trails and high-end spa hotels are the biggest draws of the Black Forest, but there’s more to discover. If you venture to the eastern end of the national park, don’t miss out on Schiltach. It’s an idyllic village that curls up to the Kinzig River. It’s composed of medieval half-timbered houses so vibrant that they’ve earned Schiltach a spot along the renowned Timber-Frame Road, which celebrates the most picturesque historical spots in Germany.

Make the most of the area with our pick of the best things to do in Germany’s Black Forest Region.

8. Meissen


The claim to fame Meissen has – if you can even call it that – is high-end tableware and crockery. It’s where the long-established Meissen porcelain factory has its roots. But, there’s much more to the village than delicate china. It is studded with imposing architecture from a 1,000-year-long history, most notably Meissen Cathedral and Albrechtsburg Castle. The oldest castle in Germany, it overlooks the historic town and surrounding vine-clad hills.

Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Meissen.

9. Miltenberg

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

An hour away from both Frankfurt and Würzburg, Miltenberg lies on the Main River. It was once a strategically important location, drawing the Romans to the site as early as 155 AD. Today only ancient ruins testify to the early settlement, which eventually developed into the Miltenburg fortress in the 13th century. The town itself charms with half-timbered houses, a historic market square and scenic river views.

If you combine your visit to Miltenberg with a trip to Frankfurt, check out these cool and unusual things to do in Frankfurt.

10. Sieseby

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark

Schlei-Region, Schleswig-Holstein, Northern Germany
© Gerhard Roethlinger / Shutterstock

Sieseby is a gem of a town, known for white-thatched cottages divided by lush rose bushes and hedges. There’s also an undeniable maritime flair, which naturally comes with being located at the Schlei Fjord, a North Sea inlet. Life here is slow-paced – make the most of it by renting a small boat for the day.

Looking for proper island life? These are the best islands to visit in the North Sea.

11. Rüdesheim am Rhein

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

That the Rhine River is the most romantic of German waterways is no secret; between Bonn and Rüdesheim the landscape shines with vineyards, castle-crowned hills and scenic ruins. Rüdesheim itself is a quaint town centred around the charming Drosselgasse and the historical buildings there. It’s also the perfect village to immerse yourself in German wine culture.

Explore the town with our guide to the best things to see and do in Rüdesheim am Rhein.

12. Meersburg


Lake Constance is encircled by several stunning German, Swiss and Austrian villages, but the small Meersburg is particularly charming. Wandering around the old town here holds some picture-perfect vistas, from lakeside views to alpine panoramas. Much of the fairytale-like flair is owed to the twisting alleys, timber-framed houses and 7th-century Alte Burg castle, which towers on a hill on the town borders.

Taking a tour around the lake? Check out these unmissable attractions around Lake Constance.

13. Quedlinburg

Architectural Landmark

The Harz Mountains doubtlessly rank among the most beautiful German landscapes. You’ll find a large network of hiking trails and cycling paths, as well as ski slopes, bizarre rock formations and forested areas; the region is also known for some wonderful towns. Quedlinburg is the most magical of all, thanks to a townscape of higgledy-piggledy houses, gabled roofs and cobbled roads.

14. Dinkelsbühl

Architectural Landmark

Woernitztor gate, Dinkelsbuhl, Middle Franconia, Bavaria
© footageclips / Shutterstock

Somehow, Dinkelbühl escaped the World War II bombing raids, with the medieval town centre coning out unscathed. Located halfway between Nuremberg and Stuttgart, it attracts day-trippers from both hubs looking for pristinely-preserved remnants of an ancient city. Seeing the town illuminated by the festive lights of the annual Christmas markets is extra magical.

Discover the allure of this lovely town through our top things to see and do in Dinkelbühl.

15. Rostock

Architectural Landmark

An exploration of Rostock reveals the remains of the old City Wall, which can be found scattered around different areas of Rostock’s old town. The traditional medieval fortification structure was used to protect the wealthy Hanseatic city from potential invasions.

In search of more pretty destinations in the country? Here’s our pick of the most beautiful towns in Germany.

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