Visiting Germany is like stepping into a fairy tale. The castles, narrow cobblestone streets, exposed wooden beams, forests and rolling hills make it feel so magical with such a fairy tale feel to it. After all, the Grimm brothers were German. In some towns, it’s just like instantly stepping back in time, where you can easily imagine Hansel and Gretel skipping along the path and into the nearby forest.
Being just a short drive from the Netherlands, our family enjoys visiting Germany as often as we can to discover different areas of this beautiful country. Here are some of our favourite German towns.
Monschau is a quaint little town, located in a narrow valley between the hills in the North Eifel area. The river Rur runs right through town and, depending on the time of the year, can vary from a trickling stream, to a rushing white water river. The Bed and Breakfast that we stayed at, Bürgerhaus Monschau, was located right on the edge of this river and had the most amazing view over it (see below photo). I have never slept better than that night, listening to the rushing water just outside our two bedroom family room.
On both sides of the valley, you will find some great walking tracks, that the whole family can enjoy. We followed these paths with a four and six year old, so it is definately doable with young children and gives an amazing outlook over the town. One of the tracks will lead you to the Monschau castle, which dates back to the 13th century. Although the castle is now a hostel, our kids still enjoyed running around the castle grounds and up in the tower, which is open to the public and offers a great view.
For dinner, there are so many romantic, candlelit restaurants to chose from. I can highly recommend Cafe Thelen. Although still quiet a fancy restaurant, we felt comfortable entering with two young children who cannot sit still or quietly, and they served a killer pork knuckle!
Some of the best hot chocolate that we have ever had was at the Schokoladen Cafe Hüftgold in Monschau, where you choose from the many different flavours of ‘chocolate on a stick’ to stir into your warm milk.
Monschau is quite a small town, but definitely worth a visit for a day or two. Whether it be a romantic weekend away, or a little family trip – you will not regret it.
Cochem is one of my favourite towns, located along the Moselle river, it is bursting with character with so much to discover. We stayed in the family friendly Ferienresort bungalow park just out of town, but there are also plenty of character filled hotels located in the town centre. The town of Cochem itself is enchanting due to its narrow streets and twisty alleys, the lovingly restored half timbered houses with the typical slate roofs, the historical market-place, its medieval town gates, churches and walls.
Cochem is set in a romantic part of the Moselle Valley, with surrounding hills covered in vineyards, the powerful flowing Moselle river, and of course the magnificent castle overlooking the old town. We enjoyed a walk up the hill to the Cochem Castle. From here, you will have the most unforgettable view over the town, river and surroundings. Tickets can be purchased at the castle entrance for a tour of inside the castle, but the view is for free 🙂
A thirty minute drive from Cochem is the Berg Eltz Castle. A visit to this castle is a must. It really is magnificent.
The walk from the car park down through the forest to the castle took us about half an hour and offered unforgettable views of the castle. We then opted to catch the shuttle bus back up to the car park, as the kids were tired by that stage. There are multiple hiking possibility to and around the Berg Eltz castle ranging from 1-10kms, depending on what you are looking for. This is one of the most impressive castles I have laid my eyes on.
Dinkelsbühl is one of the three most historical towns along the ‘Romantic route’ in the South of Germany. The town is still surrounded by old medieval walls and towers and great walking tracks can be found around both the inside and outside of this wall.
Within the walls, you can find original and colourful buildings, cobblestone streets, and of course the church which was originally part of a monastery.
Füssen, Hohenschwangau and Schwangau
Situated at the very end of the Romantic route, just a hop, step and jump from the Austrian border, everyone travels to this area for one reason and that is to see lay their eyes on the Neuschwanstein Castle. I am no exception. We drove all the way to this area just to fulfill a decade-long dream of mine, to see the castle that inspired Disney!
Füssen, Hohenschwangau and Schwangau are nestled at the base of the Alpine mountains and a stones through from the Alpsee Lake. The best view of these landmarks, can be seen from the castle!
You will need to park your car at the base of the mountain and then you can either hike up (a twenty minute uphill climb), or purchase a shuttle bus or horse and cart ride up to the castle. I would highly recommend purchasing your tickets to the castle online before you go as unfortunately, we learned upon our arrival around 11:30am that all tickets for that day were already sold out. Although we were unable to tour the inside of the castle, we still enjoyed the walk up to the castle and were able to enter the main gates and enjoy the incredible view from the top.
I have also recently discovered that there is a ‘German Fairy Tale Route‘ in central Germany, which focuses on the brothers Grimm and their famous stories! I look forward to adding this to our list of places to discover in this beautiful land of fairy tales.
Disclaimer: I am by no means being compensated for the above recommendations, they are simply my own opinions based on personal experience.