Curtain call! Small cities are the next big trend. Many of these tidy and friendly places live out their traditions in a modern and inviting way… Attractive destinations independent of mass tourism include Amberg, Coburg, Günzburg, Landsberg and Limburg – each with their own individual identity. These cities all have their origins in the Middle Ages and relics of their architectural heritageremain intact or have been lovingly restored. Each day promises to behold a new adventure.
1. Romance & Nature in Landsberg am Lech
The journey begins in Landsberg am Lech, in the historical borderland between Bavaria and Swabia. The lovely historic centre is framed by a well-preserved wall dotted with sturdy towers. The Salzstadel – historic buildings where salt was stored and sold – point to the economic significance of the town during the Middle Ages.. The regional cuisine consists of Bavarian, Swabian and Alemannic classics, spiked with Mediterranean influences. The calories from a hearty meal of roasted ham hocks, dumplings and beer are best burned off on a walking tour of some local sights, such as the imposing Bayertor town gate or the beautiful hilltop church Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche.
2. Günzburg – The Lego® Capital of Germany
Our next stop is the city of Günzburg which is located directly alongside the Danube Bike Trail. The settlement history was dominated by Roman influences for 300 years before the Habsburgs arrived on the scene in the 13th century. Most of the historically valuable architectural monuments date to this period. An entirely different world full of fun and adventure awaits the young and young at heart at LEGOLAND® Deutschland – where boredom is unheard of! Another plus is the Bavarian and Swabian cuisine. Nature lovers will enjoy the seemingly endless riparian forests of Bavarian Swabia.
3. Amberg – The Loveliest City along Bavarias “Eisenstraße”
We continue on to Amberg in Bavaria’s Upper Palatinate region, which was designated a “Top City 2015” by Hotel.de. One of Europe’s best-preserved medieval towns, Amberg is home to an ensemble of well-maintained buildings from different eras. The historic old town with its narrow lanes and magnificent squares is defined by a set of mighty fortifications with a moat. Some of the most interesting sights include the palace of the prince-electors, the Eh’häusl, and the monumental Maltese Complex. Amberg’s churches are also very impressive; the Church of St. Martin, the largest hall church in northern Bavaria; St. George’s Church, with its beautiful white interiors; or the Rococo gem of the School Church. If you’re in good condition, you’ll want to make the climb up to the pilgrimage site of Mariahilfberg, the largest holy hill in the region, nestled into the landscape of the Fraconian Jura.
4. Breathe History at Coburg
Not at all far from Amberg lies Coburg. The over 950-year-old city was once a stage for German and European history. The market square smells appetizingly of Coburger Bratwurst being roasted over open pine cone fires. From the town hall, the “Moor” (Saint Maurice, Coburg’s patron saint) waves with his marshal’s staff – which also serves as an official measure of a local bratwurst. There are plenty of historic sights and attractions in Coburg, from St. Maurice’s Church to Ehrenburg Palace. As the former seat of a duchy, it is no wonder that Coburg understands a thing or two about the good life – a fact that is underscored by the many restaurants and inns, but also by the coffee roasters, butchers, gingerbread manufacturers and bakers.
5. Limburg – Timber-Framed Idyll
The citys long history dates back to 5,000 BC. Limburg is one of the few cities in Germany to have an intact historic old town centre, with narrow, winding cobblestone streets and picturesque timber-framed houses – including Germany’s oldest, built in 1289. Today these buildings house workshops, boutiques, cafés and a wide variety of eateries. Climbing up a set of steep steps takes us to majestic Limburg Cathedral, which, with its seven spires and original wall frescoes, is a fascinating sacred building from the high Middle Ages. After a detour to the old stone Lahn Bridge, it is time for an after-dark city tour with a night watchman – complete with halberd, lantern and signal horn.