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A blend of rich cultural traditions and charming riverside towns, Bavaria is so much more than its capital city Munich. Step outside the big city and you’ll discover impressive castles, charming city centers and family-friendly attractions set against the snow-capped Alps, which are perfect for both short and long city breaks. Spend time checking out the alluring landscapes at one these top beautiful towns in Bavaria, Germany.
Visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber to see one of the best examples of a medieval German village, with a rich history that can be seen in its collection of Renaissance buildings. A popular stop on the Romantic Road, you can wander along its cobbled lanes and soak up the fairy tale atmosphere, then explore some of its popular attractions such as the Town Hall. Walk around the old town wall, then snap a photo of the picturesque Plonlein or see the colorful displays at the Castle Gardens. It’s also a popular time to visit in winter because of its beautiful Christmas market.
Fussen is known for its violin-making industry, boasting a 700-year-old history that lures visitors in with its beautiful mountain peaks and freshwater lakes, offering easy access to Neuschwanstein Castle, one of Germany’s most fairytale-like castles, which inspired Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. A visit to the Fussen Heritage Museum is a must to learn about the town’s history, while St Mang’s Abbey is home to the oldest intact fresco in Bavaria. Its mountainous landscape is great for biking excursions, while Lechfall waterfall is a natural wonder not to be missed.
Seemingly plucked straight out of a storybook, Nuremberg is a popular day trip destination from Munich that boasts medieval architecture, a picturesque castle and a golden fountain. This city has 950 years of history, which can be seen in its Kaiserburg Castle, while Weinstadel features a photo-worthy half-timber facade. Stroll down Weißgerbergasse to soak up the city’s charm or explore the Germanisches Nationalmuseum to discover over 1.2 million objects relating to German culture, art and history. When hunger strikes, head to Zum Gulden Stern, the oldest bratwurst restaurant in the world.
Many visitors head to Bamberg on a day trip from Nuremberg, but this charming town is worthy of further exploration, where you can wander its UNESCO-listed Old Town lined with narrow streets and half-timbered architecture. Start your walking tour at the Old Town Hall to see the quaint old fishermen’s houses, then marvel at the 11th-century Bamberg Cathedral or visit the New Residence with its beautiful rose garden and pavilion cafe. Want to learn more about the city? Step inside the Historical Museum Bamberg to see objects from prehistoric to modern times.
History enthusiasts can’t miss a visit to Augsburg, as this captivating town was founded by the Romans in 15 BC. Known for its Renaissance architecture, most visitors start their exploration on Maximilianstraße, which is part of the Romantic Road. Visit the Roman Catholic Augsburg Cathedral to see its 35 relief panels depicting Old Testament scenes or head to the center to see the old Town Hall to climb its 10th-century watchtower to soak up stunning views over the city. If you’re traveling with the family, spend a day at the Augsburg Botanical Garden.
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll be lured in by this charming medieval town sitting next to the Danube River. It was the first capital of Bavaria, which means you’ll find a host of architectural gems that span two millennia. Marvel at the 344-foot high spires at the 13th-century Cathedral of St. Peter, then cross the Stone Bridge to get the best views of the Danube. To see artifacts and documents relating to the construction of the bridge, browse the engaging exhibits at the Bridge Tower Museum.
A scenic town with a history that dates back to 686, Würzburg is one of the most prominent examples of Baroque architecture in Germany. Sitting in the middle of Germany’s wine-producing region, it’s not only a great place to sample local wines, but you can visit the Würzburg Residenz, a stunning palace home to the Martin von Wagner Museum that houses a collection of antiquities and a picture gallery. Don’t miss the Court Garden, which is considered the best-preserved Rococo garden in Germany.
Lindau sits on an island on the eastern side of Lake Constance, offering easy access to nearby Austria and Switzerland. Get lost in the maze of streets lined with century-old houses, then visit the harbor for views of the Austrian shoreline. Find Maximilianstrasse to snap photos of its beautiful homes and browse its family-run shops, cafes and restaurants, then ride the ferry around Lake Constance.
A perfect destination for outdoor lovers, Garmisch-Partenkirchen features a backdrop of the Alps where you can go on skiing and hiking adventures. You can reach the summit of Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, or simply stroll the Old Town to see its beautiful frescoes and walk along the banks of the Loisach River. Want to practice your ski jump? Head to the Olympiaschanze, or Olympic Ski Jump, that was built in 1921.
Sitting at the junction of three rivers, Passau was historically known for its Bohemian salt. These days it is a quaint town with a rich history, where you can hop on scenic river cruises, marvel at the largest pipe organ at St. Stephen’s Cathedral or snap souvenir photos of Veste Oberhaus, a beautiful fortress that sits on a mountain. Art enthusiasts can step inside the Alte Rathaus (Old Town Hall) to see its beautiful stained glass windows or browse the glass art at the Glass Museum Passau.
Located in Central Franconia, Dinkelsbühl sits on the northern part of the Romantic Road. Showcasing more than 800 years of history, it’s a great place for seeing striking churches and timbered cottages, while its winding lanes offer plenty to explore. Browse the shops and artist’s studios or visit the late-Gothic St. George’s Church and its famed “pretzel window.” Make sure to see the row of gabled houses in Weinmarkt, which offers a postcard image of the city.