Road Trip in Germany: 10 Small Cities and Towns to Visit

Road Trip in Germany: 10 Small Cities and Towns to Visit

When you hear Germany, you think of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and other large famous cities. However, authentic and historically interesting Germany is hidden in small towns that have not been touched by modern architects. Small cities in Germany allow full immersion into local culture and the incredibly long, rocky and convoluted history of the country. People who reside in these towns are also more open to tourists since the traffic there is not as high as in large cities. Consider a tour across small towns in Germany to learn more about the country and see amazing landmarks from hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

Bad Wimpfen, Baden-Württemberg

Situated between Heidelberg and Stuttgart, Bad Wimpfen is a medieval gem of Southern Germany. In the 1750s, the town was drilled for saltwater resources which later gave it the reputation of a spa resort destination. To this day, thousands of people visit the town to enjoy therapeutic baths while overlooking scenic views of the European landscape.

Bad Wimpfen: Things to Do 

The Wimpfen Imperial Palace resides at the top of the hill and offers a gorgeous panorama view to its visitors. The majestic palace used to belong to the Staufer dynasty and has been a part of the town’s aesthetic since the 12th century. Step by on a Sunday at 2 pm to join a tour of the Imperial Palace and the old town.

Things to do in Bad Wimpfen

Tips for Bad Wimpfen

The most notable festival that the town has held since 1391 is called Zunftmarkt where you can witness numerous craftsmen, artists, dancers and other performers. Every year, on the last weekend of August, tourists can take a peek at the medieval arts, music and crafts presented by the locals.

 Things to do in Bad Wimpfen

Quedlinburg, Saxony-Anhalt

Untouched by the 20th-century wars, the entire town of Quedlinburg is protected by UNESCO. The town is often referred to as the birthplace of the German Nation as in 919 King Heinrich I was crowned here and ruled Germany as an independent entity. Moreover, Quedlinburg is also known as the city where the first woman in German history received the title of medical doctor.

Things to Do in Quedlinburg

The Abbesses' Palace is located on the mountain and contains artifacts aging back to the Ice and Bronze Ages. The castle museum also showcases the Quedlinburg treasures including manuscripts, jewelry, swords and other items that date from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries and have an interesting history. In fact, during the Second World War, the treasures were taken by an American lieutenant and shipped to Texas where they remained until 1992. Unfortunately, his family sold a few items but the remainder of the priceless collection was safely returned to the museum.

Things to do in Quedlinburg |

Tips for Quedlinburg

If you would like to explore neighboring towns and enjoy breathtaking views of Brocken mountain, take a ride on the steam train. Known as Harz Narrow Gauge Railways, it offers a unique experience of riding a timetabled steam train operating throughout the year. 

Things to do in Quedlinburg

Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, Bavaria

One of the three remaining German towns to have city walls still intact, Rothenburg is the best small town in Germany to visit to enjoy a medieval glare and dive into a rich history. The architecture combines medieval charm as well as features Gothic styles from the 13th century. Tourists can explore numerous unique museums and immerse themselves in local culture while enjoying astonishing views of the Bavarian landscape.

Things to Do in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

One of the most popular places to visit in Rothenburg is the German Christmas Museum which features the entire history of German Christman celebrations including cards, trees, Advent calendars and unique Erzgebirge decorations. Situated in the same building is the Christmas shop that operates from April to the end of December and provides a large array of local sweets and decorations. Another notable attraction is the Crime and Justice Museum which exhibits artifacts from German history pertaining to torture and punishment during medieval times. 

Things to do in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

Tips for Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

If you get a chance to spend a night in Rothenburg, jump on the opportunity to join the Night Watchman’s Tour. The tour does not actually occur at night but rather in the evening, at 8 pm and features a nightwatchman dressed in a black cape and carrying a lantern showing tourists around the town. You will learn a lot about the history of the town, hear entertaining stories and take pleasure in a unique and memorable experience.

Things to do in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber

Füssen, Bavaria

Nestled in the majestic Alpes, Füssen is known for being a Bavarian town at the highest altitude. Thanks to its location, the town is a famous destination for winter sports enthusiasts and professional athletes. Historically, Füssen was an important trading location and a center for lute craftsmanship. Nowadays, tourists can enjoy stunning medieval and Gothic architecture, fabulous resorts and priceless art exhibitions among other places to visit in Füssen.

Things to Do in Füssen

The Füssen High Palace is one of the remaining well-preserved late Gothic castles in Southern Germany and holds an impressive collection of gothic and Renaissance artworks. Another noteworthy landmark is the former St. Mang's Benedictine Monastery which was founded in the 8th century. The town is covered with breathtaking baroque churches where you can explore the oldest, over a thousand years old fresco in the region.

Things to do in Füssen

Tips for Füssen

While visiting Füssen, you can take a short train ride and take a peek at the most popular tourist destination in Germany, the Neuschwanstein castle as well as the lesser-known Hohenschwangau. If you would like to learn more on-site without spending too much on a personal tour guide, consider a unique mobile phone city tour option. When you arrive at the site, you can call a local number and listen to a pre-recorded history of the landmarks. 

Things to do in Füssen

Lindau, Bavaria

Lindau was built on lake Constance or Bodensee in German and borders both Switzerland and Austria. The old town is bejeweled with medieval buildings and located on an island reachable by a bridge from the mainland. In the summer, you can explore hiking, sailing, cycling and even swimming. In colder weather, places to visit in Lindau extend to numerous museums, marvelous baroque architecture and easy access to the neighboring countries.

Things to Do in Lindau

This Bavarian gem attracts millions of tourists with its picturesque harbor view that includes The New Lighthouse aging back to 1853 and The Old Lighthouse from the 13th century. You can visit The New Lighthouse and enjoy an incredible view of the city, lake and surrounding mountains.

Things to do in Lindau

Tips for Lindau

During your Lindau tour, you can stop by Mainau island, better known as Butterfly island. Local botanists work extremely hard at preserving and nurturing the island with 120 butterfly species, more than 30 thousand rose bushes and dozens of other common and rare plants. You can even witness giant sequoias that are more than 150 years old.

Things to do in Lindau

Bamberg, Bavaria

Situated in Northern Bavaria, Bamberg holds the title of the city with the first published German book. Even though it is still debated, researchers believe that Gutenberg printed an updated edition of the Bible in the German language in Bamberg. Filled with 16th-century palaces, churches dating back to the 11th century and residences from various time periods, the town has an interesting eclectic look and feel. In 1993, Bamberg was recognized by the UNESCO organization and remains protected under its guidelines.

Things to Do in Bamberg

Bamberg is an ideal scene for architecture nerds and allows visitors to see how this art evolved throughout the centuries. The Bamberg Cathedral dates back to the 11th century and showcases the early Gothic style. The Altenburg Castle originates from the same century but has undergone numerous renovations and adopted later styles. At the same time, things to see in Bamberg offer a Renaissance glare through the Neue Residenz and Schloss Seehof.

Things to do in Bamberg |

Tips for Bamberg

Besides fascinating and rocky history, awe-inspiring views and endless mountain chains, Bavaria as well as Germany as a whole is also known for breweries. The most impressive local Bamberg brewery, Schlenkerla has been the town attraction since 1405. On your Bamberg tour, try a famous smoked beer that is still manufactured and served in an old-timey way, using wooden barrels.

Things to do in Bamberg

Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate

On the opposite side of the country, you can explore Trier, a city with a fascinating historical background. Founded in 15 BC, Trier was the capital of the Western Roman Empire. The town still holds the influence of the Roman era, including Imperial baths, an amphitheater and one of the original four city gates called Porta Nigra. Nowadays, places to visit in Trier offer an eclectic style from the Roman empire with Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and modern architecture.

Things to Do in Trier

Nowhere else in Germany will you see so many well-preserved artifacts from Roman times. Take a chance to discover the Imperial baths and the remaining gate to grasp the atmosphere and culture of the period. Trier is also on the UNESCO World Heritage site list that includes Roman ruins, a 4th-century cathedral and the 13th-century Church of Our Lady. 

Things to do in Trier

Tips for Trier

Although the imperial baths were never finished due to the decline of the Roman Empire, 30 years of construction left intricate underground tunnels and a complex of pipes and furnaces. The site is available for exploration and offers a unique experience among other things to see in Trier. Additionally, you can visit the Roman museum to learn the two thousand years long history of the town, including Roman art such as mosaics, coins, jewelry and more. 

Things to do in Trier

Cochem, Rhineland-Palatinate

The smallest district capital in Germany, Cochem is home to roughly 5,000 people. One of the most beautiful German towns is known for the stunning Cochem Castle (Schloss Reichsburg) and its annual wine festival. Also largely influenced by Romans, the city did not manage to preserve many monuments from that time but did continue the great tradition of winemaking.

Things to Do in Cochem

Although the Cochem castle was rebuilt in the 19th century, some of the original elements were left intact. One of the most noteworthy places to visit in Cochem, the castle offers a scenic view of the Moselle river and the entire town. 

Things to do in Cochem |

Tips for Cochem

The most notable part of the city's history is its winemaking tradition which includes an annual festival.  One of the things to see in Cochem, you can travel to the town to immerse yourself in the local culture and partake in various wine tastings in August of every year. The festival also includes a medieval regional meal consisting of rye bread, beef broth, turkey meat, cheese, nuts and flatbread. The meal is accompanied by a retelling of stories about medieval times and live entertainment. 

Things to do in Cochem

Potsdam, Brandenburg

Probably the most renowned fact about the city is the famous Potsdam conference in 1945 that decided the future of occupied Germany. However, there are endless places to visit in Potsdam, both architectural and natural. In fact, four local parks are protected by UNESCO, including 

Sanssouci Park, the New Garden, Babelsberg Park and Sacrow Park. Join one of the Potsdam walking tours to explore the beauty of the local flora and fauna.

Things to Do in Potsdam

Compared to other towns in the list, Potsdam is not a small place and houses 180,000 people. Besides numerous parks and castles, you can explore a Dutch neighborhood projected by a Dutch architect in the 18th century. Neues Palais is a huge Baroque palace erected to impress foreigners with its size, grandiose, Rococo style and unique art. Among things to see in Potsdam is the Alexandrowka village that was built in the 1820s  by Frederick William III in memory of the Russian Tsar Alexander I. Even though the city lacks the medieval charm of other small German towns, its impressive history and gorgeous parks are worth the visit. 

Things to do in Potsdam

Tips for Potsdam

Every year in June, Potsdam’s Sanssouci Park holds a music festival devoted to depicting music from various eras in historically informed performances. Here you can listen to authentic music from the Middle Ages or Baroque as well as some modern tunes. This Potsdam attraction remains an annual tradition since 1954 and features dozens of performances over the span of three weeks. 

Things to do in Potsdam

Görlitz, Saxony

One of the most fascinating features of the town is its coexistence with the Polish town called Zgorzelec. The only thing that separates the two cities is a river and a bridge which makes the line between them quite blurry. Another notable fact is that the city was left untouched by destructive 20th-century wars and still retains medieval style paired up with 19th-century architecture. In fact, Görlitz has such a unique and incredible feel, that it has been home to a few movie filmings, including Valkyrie, Around The World in 80 Days, The Grand Budapest Hotel and others.

Things to Do in Görlitz

Built in the 1400s, St. Peter and Paul’s church is a common tourist attraction and features a famous Sun Organ which is a piece of art in itself. If you visit between April and October, stop by the church to listen to the organ music concert. Another fun activity is crossing the bridge to the other side of the river to end up in Poland. Since both countries are in the Schengen zone, there is no customs control and anyone can simply visit the other side at any time. 

Things to do in Görlitz

Tips for Görlitz

The most famous Görlitz attraction is the Film Tour which showcases the locations of movie shootings. Especially if you are a fan of a movie that happened to be filmed there, you will definitely enjoy recognizing the familiar sites and buildings. 

Things to do in Görlitz


As you can see, small German cities have a lot to offer, from gorgeous medieval architecture, breathtaking landscape, charming local festivals to vital historical highlights. Join the next journey on the free tour website and rediscover Germany all over again.

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