Nördlingen, a hidden Medieval Gem in South Germany
Nördlingen (Noerdlingen), when I hear this name, the first thing that comes to my mind is a medieval town, a former free imperial city with completely intact medieval walls that surround this pristine old town on all sides, yes 360° completely going around the old city centre. Infact, Nördlingen boasts to be the only city in Germany, and not just in south of Germany but I mean it, entire Germany, that has a completely intact city wall that goes right around it, which were originally built during the Middle Ages. These can be accessed all round the year and are well maintained by the city council for the tourists flocking to this beautiful town. Most important of all it is free of cost to walk around the wall.
The second thing that comes to my mind when I hear Nördlingen is that it has the Bavarian National Railway Museum. It has a great collection of all the Oldtimer Locomotives from the Bavarian State Railways. It also hosts regular festivals with everything railways and model trains in and around the town.
The next thing that comes to my mind when I think about this beautiful town, is that it has around 72,000 tons of micro diamonds in in its walls, streets and the stones used to build the houses in this town. There is a whole documentary on this topic recently launched by BBC News.
Another interesting fact about Nördlingen is that it is located entirely inside of the Crater formed by a meteor, that hit the this part of the Earth around 15 million years ago.
The Wall has a total of five gates along the its length, with the Löpsinger Tor (Löpsinger gate) hosts the City Wall Museum, a must visit in oder to understand the History of the City wall. You can start at any of the gates, one just need to take the stairs up the gate and follow either clockwise or counter-clockwise to be able to finish a complete circle around the town. Personally I always preferred to Park my car near Löpsinger Tor at the free open air car park and simply begin my walk from the Löpsinger Gate clockwise till the Reimlinger Gate and then descent to the town levels, take a walk on the beautifully cobblestoned streets of Nördlingen.
I usually visit my favourite cafés and restaurants every time I am in this town. I personally recommend Samocca and Cafe Altreuter whenever you are in Town. They both serve amazing food and desserts. Cafe Samocca is a special chain of Cafe in this part of Germany where all the employees are people with special needs. I make it a point to visit this cafe not just in Nördlingen but in Aalen, Schwäbisch Hall and wherever I find one.
PLACES of interest in Nördlingen and nearby:
BAVARIAN RAILWAY MUSEUM is one very unique museum located at this town’s railway station. Although the first railway was started in the city of Nuremberg, Nördlingen was given the honour of hosting this beautiful collection of locomotives under the roof of this beautiful and historical. The museum is open all round the year and hosts unique events like the assembly of model train collectors and sometimes special exhibitions showing personal collections of people living in and around this town. It is always useful to look into the museum’s website before visiting this beautiful museum
RIES CRATER MUSEUM is another unique museum in this town, one of its kind in the entire country. It is regarded as a special geological collection, the contents of which deal with the natural catastrophe that took place in this region around 15 million years ago. The “Meteorite Crator Nördlingen Ries” that was formed by the impact of this astroid, is the result of this catastrophe. Along with this creator, the nearby “Steinheimer Basin” was also formed. These two geological features represent the only two confirmed impact structures in and around Germany. Hence I highly recommend visiting the Ries Crater Museum and if possible the Steinheimer Basin.
CITY WALL MUSEUM has one of the richest and most varied collectionsof this formal Imperial town. This museum not just gives one an insight into the formal Imperial history of this beautiful town, but also takes one through the settlement history of this region right from Stone Age to the Middle Ages. Another section of this museum hosts objects from the famous battle of Nördlingen, that took place just outside the city walls in the 17th century during as the 30 years war. It also hosts one of the most beautiful paintings by Friedrich Herlin, Hans Schaeufelin and Sebastian Taig. These paintings depict the religious faith of the people of this town as well as the prosperity and political significance of this imperial city at that time.
ST. GEORG’S CHURCH with DANIEL TOWER is a Protestant church located in the middle of the historical old town. It was built in the 1427 as a Roman catholic church which was then later on converted to a Protestant church during the Reformation years. Due to its strategic location and the beautiful vantage point that it offers to any tourists that dares to climb its Daniel tower, it is one of the most visited structure in Nördlingen. I highly recommend visiting this church not just to be mesmerised by its late Gothic architecture, but also to be stunned by the beautiful views that it offers when one climbs to the top of the Church’s tower famously know as Daniel Tower. The entrance to the tower is from the backside of the Church and not from within the Church like in Ulm. So one has to leave the Church and go behind it at the foot of the tower and then Enter. It has a nominal Fee of around 2 Euros.
WALKING THE CITY WALL is one of the most important thing that one can do as a tourist. One is free to start at any of the five gates that offer an entrance to the city walls. The town council has convieniently built Parking Lots near all the important historical Gates of the City Wall so as to facilitate quicker access to the tourists.
NÖRDLINGEN is a town in the Donau-Ries district, currently in Swabia, in the State of Bavaria in South-Germany and has a population of around 20,000. The city has been inhibited since the prehistoric times and there have been archaeological findings in the Large Ofnet caves near the town. It was a former imperial free city.
HOW TO REACH?
By Air:- The closest airport to Ulm is the Memmingen – Allgäu Airport located 130 km (approximately 1hrs 20mins) south of the city and Nuremberg Airport 110 km (approximately 1hrs 25mins) located north of the city with continuous flight to other German cities and popular tourist destinations in and around Germany. It is also surrounded on all sides by cities with airports of their own. Stuttgart Airport (150km; approximately 1hrs 45mins), Frankfurt Airport (265km; approximately 3hrs) and Munich Airport (150km; approximately 1hrs 30mins)
By Train: Nördlingen is a major railway station for the German railways with trains coming in from three directions. The trains come in from North from Nuremberg, from west from Stuttgart or Aalen and from south from Munich or Augsburg. For connections please click here.
By Car: Nördlingen is extremely well connected by Roads and is locates on the crossroads of B25 and B466 (Bavarian State Highways) makes it very easy to reach. The German national highways A7, A8 and A8 (Autobahn) are not that far away from the city of Nördlingen. They can be reached by the surrounding Bavarian state highways B25 and B466.
WHERE TO STAY?
Nördlingen and the surrounding areas have a over 200-300 hotels and a few hostels. To name a few: 2nd Home Hotel, NH Klöstern Nördlingen, JUFA Hotel Nördlingen, Ecome Hotel, Donautaler Wohlfühloase, Alte Brauerei Mertingen and Landhotel Garni Engelhard are a few elite ones that offer good amenities.
The Youth Hostel Association of Germany’s Hostel (Jugendherberge Dinkelsbuehl), Zur Dorfmühle and 1st Motel / Hostel & Monteurhotel are the few hostels available around the town.
People of Nördlingen do offer some fantabulous Airbnb’s and if you are on a Night Budget you could also try your luck with Couchsurfing. Just download the apps and search away.
I personally visited the town quite a few time before i decided to Write this blog and it is not located that far away from where I am living (Aalen). I highly recommend each and everyone to visit the sleepy town to experience its beautiful culture and heritage and ofcourse to walk its wall with Friends and famiy. Best time to visit is during the Christmas Market in December and in Summers.