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Germany is studded with fairytale-like villages which enchant visitors with their old town centres, winding cobbled alleys and half-timbered houses. Germany’s Timber-Frame Road stretches all the way from Lake Constance at the Swiss border to Stade in northern Germany, and connects the most scenic spots along the way. We’ve made a list of the most enchanting places to visit en route.
Constanz and Lindau are among the better-known cities on the German side of Lake Constance, but the much smaller Meersburg scores with a medieval town centre of well-preserved timber-framed houses, overlooked by a hilltop castle (Alte Burg). In combination with the idyllic views of the lake and the Swiss Alps in the distance, Meersburg offers countless picture-worthy spots.
There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Bad Urach and considering the town has a population of just around 12,500 people, we can’t blame you. But nonetheless, Bad Urach claims a worthy spot on the list of most scenic places along the route. Nestled at the foothills of the Swabian Alps, Bad Urach is a popular spa town is known for its mineral thermal waters and stunning town centre. Add the impressive Bad Urach waterfall, the castle ruins and endless hiking opportunities on the surrounding peaks to the list, and you have a well-rounded day trip from Stuttgart.
An hour further north and towards Stuttgart, Esslingen lures with even more timber-framed vistas. The purling Neckar River and several canals cut through the historic downtown district, and jumping aboard a boat for a sightseeing tour is a viable option. Whether you walk or paddle, brace yourself for lots of picture-perfect spots along the way. In spring and summer, most of the medieval houses are decorated with fresh flowers, only adding to the magical atmosphere.
If you follow the Timber-Frame Road for only a bit, you end up in another city which often makes the list of Harz highlights. You may have seen images of Wernigerode’s iconic town hall whose twin towers soar high above the cobbled market square. The cluster of timber-framed houses, the so-called ‘wonky house’ and the early 12th century Wernigerode Castle, create several settings for memorable holiday shots that will look as if you’d travelled back in time.
The Harz Mountains offer a plethora of things to do, be it hiking and cycling in summer or skiing and shoe shoeing in winter, all the while marvelling at the scenic landscapes. And while most people come here for the natural wonders, the cities and villages of the area are not to be neglected. Stolberg is often overlooked, even though this gem of a town makes for a perfect romantic stopover. The streets of the historic town are seamed with well-preserved timber frame houses, most of them granting views of Stolberg Castle.
This gem of a town is an insider’s tip located halfway between Kassel and Göttingen in Lower Saxony. A tour around town is loaded with architectural gems, including the jaw-droppingly beautiful Renaissance town hall, the old city fortification, the Welfenschloss palace and more than 700 timber-framed houses which have been meticulously renovated, catapulting Hann. Münden on the list of significant spots of timber-framed architecture in Europe.
Celle curls up to the Eller River, approximately 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Hanover. Looking back on a history of more than 1,000 years, Celle is a bundle of preserved medieval architecture. Time has seemingly stood still in the old part of town, with hundreds of timber-framed houses and the towering ducal castle in the background. If you have time to spend, amble along the small roads and alleys, visit the historically important landmarks and soak up the unique atmosphere.