If you have visited Germany a hundred times over, especially through Frankfurt and Munich. Or if you’re living here, in the end you will get out of the cities. My first German experience was a small Düsseldorf saga. But the one that really landed me here, was a part of my small town German experiences was Pforzheim in the state of Baden Württemberg. Naturally, I moved around a few small dorfs in that area and have a few to name that I really enjoyed. Not suffering from Schizophrenia (ref: last post). But after having spent the whole of my childhood in a Delhi of 20 million people, and also full of memories by virtue of birth in a much smaller Srinagar city and Nadur gaam, I have a thing for small towns. You know your neighbours, you talk in local languages, are forced to imbibe by the “rules”, you are forced to get out of your comfort zone, unlike big cities with for H&Ms lacing the High Street like every other big city.
[List] My best small town German experiences
5. Maulbronn: Is a UNESCO Heritage Site and has a really old monastery. You are lucky to find good service at the two restaurants near the monastery but the experience is unique. You can hike a bit around in the hills and it is a good half a day out.
4. Waldburg: It was the first small-town I visited in 2012 (in picture here), and while the wine quality may not be exactly French, but the Vineyards are bootiful and so is the whole hilly area. It is great to drive in and go for a Vineyard trail/ hike which is truly rewarding. I was lucky to be going there with someone who was from the area so got a good helping on Schnapps from the nearest village and also a great tour!
3. Ansbach: I had a great experience primarily led by the fact that my friend Silvia is from here and we had a fabulous day at her home. But the town has its stories especially the one with the “lost prince” (Kasper Hauser), interesting city centre and surprisingly will provide for a lot to be done. The more touristy Rothenburg is also close by.
3. Schönau am Königssee: From Munich by train you have to get into Austria, get out and get back again. It is a border town and has one of the most beautiful lakes around with the backdrop of the Alps. There’s hiking, trains up hills and everything that makes you think through all your priorities in life. If nature in this form doesn’t move you, what will?
2. Schwaebisch Hall: A river runs through it. It’s pretty, hilly providing for great overview points, a great walk, well preserved in its old city areas and has great museums. I have been there twice now, and was never disappointed by the food. You could also cover Limes on the way- which is again a UNESCO heritage site with a wall preserved from Roman times.
1. Ludwigsburg: Because it has two of my favorite castles, great walking potential, a surprisingly high variety of restaurants of different kinds, great food, a film school that’s well known (and potential for films/cultural events), festivals in all seasons. It’s sort of nice, flamboyant and yet livable. The Christmas market is really pretty! It is only 15-20 minutes by train to Stuttgart, so there’s always something more to do.
Small town on next year’s list: anything close to the Lake Konstanz region. What did I miss?
PS: I do not consider Heidelburg, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Trier etc. “small” so didn’t put them on the list- since they are usually better known as well- apart from being larger in size and population from most of the ones above. Garmisch was just there too, but narrowly missed out. I have lived in the two South German states and hence the obvious bias.