These are my Gems of Germany, from where I’ve been so far. They are not strictly “hidden” gems but they’re precious none-the-less. Also note, these are gems of Baden-Württemberg, a state in the south-west of Germany. Over the summer, James and I spent a couple of weeks there. This is also where I spent time on a student exchange when I was 16, it’s where my German family live, it’s my home state in Germany.
A beautiful university city in the north of Baden-Württemberg, famous for its castle. The Heidelberg castle looks over the city and the Neckar river.
During the Grand Alliance War in the late 17th century, Heidelberg and its palace were attacked repeatedly by the French. Once an astounding renaissance palace, iconic in the Holy Roman Empire, the Heidelberg castle now stands over-looking the city of Heidelberg in red sandstone ruins. However ruined it is, it’s still spectacular and there is still plenty to see and do in the castle grounds.
The weather was not been the best, but it was still a cool castle.
In the castle is a world’s largest filled wine barrel. It was constructed in 1751 and could hold 221,726L of wine. After taking pictures in front of a pretty big wine barrel near the entrance. We walked around the corner to find the ACTUAL largest wine barrel which was humongous. You could even stand on top of it.
Like most European towns, Heidelberg has a magnificent old town area with a beautiful cathedral, cute shops and cafes, and quaint alleyways all over the show.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg is a well preserved medieval town just across the state border in Bavaria. During the Middle Ages, it was a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1803, it became part of Bavaria, and later Germany. The name translates as “Red Fortress above the Tauber”, Tauber is the river that runs nearby. Red is presumed to be from the plethora of red and orange rooves. It is such a cute town, it feels like a fairytale when you walk through it. Perfect for a day trip.
It’s mandatory for the stores to have old-fashioned signs hanging outside. This makes it feel like you’ve travelled back in time.
Rothenburg o.d.T. is famous for their “snowball” treat. A delicious deep-fried dough wrapped up in a ball, with your choice of toppings. You can choose from icing sugar to Nutella to cinnamon. They’re very awkward to eat but delicious. One of the bakers also gave us a demonstration on how they make them.
The best views of the city are from the Town Hall tower.
Schwarz Wald/The Black Forest
We also road-tripped to the Black Forest for a day. It didn’t disappoint. Dense forest as far as the eye could see.
We walked through the forest on a raised walkway called Baumwipfelpfad (good luck pronouncing that one). Along the walkway, there were learning and activity stations with tree facts, squirrel facts, fun bridges and platforms to walk over. At the end of the walk was an awesome viewing platform in the middle of the forest, with views for miles.
Highlight: in the middle of the platform was a slide, for €2 you could slide all the way down instead of walking. Pretty simple decision, really.
Another German town, with another gorgeous city centre and lovely church. We had a beautiful sunny day to walk around Ludwigsburg.
We spent most of our time walking around the grounds of the Ludwigsburg Palace. It’s a Baroque style castle with large grounds and lovely gardens. It’s nicknamed the Versailles of Swabia.
We also found some sand from New Zealand.
A highlight, of course, was the Märchen Garten (Fairytale Garden). This garden is a child’s dream, filled with all sorts of characters from fairy tales with buttons to press, levers to pull, talking statues, mazes and heaps more. So naturally, I felt right at home. All the stories were from German fairytales, some were familiar, some not so much. But still heaps of fun. At each fairytale area, there was a shortened version of the fairytale written and an activity or scene from the story.
There we go, four perfectly beautiful fairytale locations in southern Germany. Comment below if you think I’ve missed any Gems of Germany. Where are some more fairytale locations?