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.
Nuremberg (Nürnberg / Nuernberg) is truly one gem of a city, disguised in all the major tourist hotspots in south Germany. It is the first city that came to our minds, while still learning German in Goethe Institut, Mumbai, when someone suddenly blurted ‘Christmas Market’ in the class. Yes, it is the ‘City’ that should be very high on your bucket list or wish list, whatever you call it these days, when you think in terms of Christmas Markets and all things Christmas.
Nuremberg is famous for the biggest Christmas Market not just in Germany, but in the whole of Europe. It is also one of the oldest Christmas Market that has been running annually during the Advent Season since centuries. The Christmas Market is called “Christkindlesmarkt” in the local language (Image below).
But Nuremberg is not just famous for its Christmas Market, it also has a beautiful hill top Castle of its own called the “Kaiserburg Nürnberg” that sits right in the middle of the old town, which hosts an amazing Imperial Castle Museum (image below) with artefacts dating back to the 18th Century. The views from top of the Nuremberg Castle (images below) are simply mesmerising. Nuremberg or Nürnberg, as the city is called in German, competes well with any other European city in its beautiful tiled roofed homes (images below), some of which are over hundreds of years old. The city has a strong medieval flair with its fortified walls and watchtowers (image below) along the old city centre. At the old towns main square is the “Schöner Brunnen” (images below), literally meaning ‘beautiful fountain’ which is partly gold plated and the famous Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) which looks breathtaking during the Christmas time with its beautiful lighting and decorations (images above).
Another very important ‘first’ for Nuremberg which very few people know, including a lot of locals, is that Nuremberg was the first city to introduce the Railways in Germany. It was the contemporary Nuremberg’s factory owners who invested heavily in the introduction of a pilot project to lay the first railway track between Nuremberg and the neighbouring city of Fürth (also in Bavaria) along the already existing road, connecting the two town.
On December 7, 1835 at 9 am, the first Steam Locomotive (named Adler) driven train left the Nuremberg Station towards the Fürth station to complete the 8 Km distance. It was named Die Ludwigs-Eisenbahn Gesellschaft (The Ludwig-Railway Company) after King Ludwig of Bavaria.
England had inaugurated its first commercially run railway between Manchester and Liverpool just five years prior (1830) to this event happening in Germany. The transfer of technology was in-fact from England to Germany really quick in this case. The Stephensons Company built the first locomotive called “Adler” for the Nuremberg-Fürth Railways. The original Locomotive ‘Adler’ is still on display in the German National Museum (Deutsche Bahn Museum), Nuremberg.
The fact that Nuremberg was chosen as the first city to get the Railways in German Empire at that time, itself proves its rich cultural, political and economical past. Nuremberg has a very rich history of Kings, Business owners and Banks right since the 14th – 15th century. This, in addition to the fact that, there was a lot of trade happening between Nuremberg and Fürth along the Chaussee (Middle Ages Rural Highways) pushed the factory owners to take this risk and build the first Railways in Germany.
This event led to, the so called ‘frenzy’ of Railway boom in the German Empire. Germany saw a rapid expansion of Railway-Network in the next four to five decades until Carl Benz and Gottlieb Diamler independently and simultaneously invented the first motorised cars around 1885 in Germany. Railways in Germany also hugely shaped the two world wars in the 20th century. That’s also the primary reason, why The German National Railway Museum (Deutsche Bahn Museum / DB Museum) is located in Nuremberg, which I personally highly recommend every rail enthusiast to definitely visit when in or around Nuremberg.
Nuremberg also had its share of the dark history. It was a city were the NS Party met regularly during the 1930 for their rally and party meeting and even started constructing the worlds biggest Congress Hall (Kongresshalle) on the NS grounds, where 1400 people were working on the construction permanently. The construction never saw its completion due to the interruption during the second world war. The unfinished structure had reached a height of 39 meters till 1945. The NS Party never met here but in the Luitpold Hall (image below) located nearby.
Nuremberg is the second largest city in the state of Bavaria, second only to the states capital ‘Munich’, and has a population of around 500,000. Along with Fürth, Erlangen, and Schwabach it forms a metropolitan area with a total population of over 780,000. The larger Nuremberg Metropolitan Region has over 3.5 million inhabitants. The local dialect is called Franconian. More than 90% of Nuremberg was bombed and destroyed during the second world war. After 1945 it was carefully rebuilt in a medieval style with a Bavarian charm.
The city has more than 50 museums a few of which I have already mentioned above. I highly recommend visiting the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg with its Museum, the DB Museum (especially for Railway History fans), The German National Museum, House of Albrecht Dürer (The Great Renaissance Painter of Germany), Nuremberg Toy Museum, Nuremberg Transport Museum and the Neues Museum Nürnberg (Modern Art Museum).
HOW TO REACH?
By Air:- Nuremberg has its own airport ‘The Albrecht Dürer Airport’ located 5 km north of the city with continuous flight to other German cities, major European cities and popular tourist destinations on the Mediterranean coast and Canary islands. It is also surrounded on all sides by cities with airports of their own. Stuttgart Airport (230km; approximately 2hr 30mins), Frankfurt Airport (230km; approximately 2hr 20mins), Munich Airport (161km; approximately 1hr 45mins), Leipzig Airport (275km, approximately 3hrs).
By Train: Nuremberg was the first city to get the railways in Germany and is hence a major hub for the German railways with trains coming in from all the corners of the country on an hourly basis. It a big railway junction where a lot of people change trains, so expect big crowds when travelling with train to this city. To check the connections click here.
By Car: Nuremberg is extremely well connected by Roads and its proximity to A3, A6, A9 and A73 (National Highways) makes it very easy to reach.
WHERE TO STAY?
Nuremberg has a over 200 hotels and plenty of hostels. To name a few: Melter Hotel, Hotel Five, Hotel Drei Raben, Hotel Victoria, Hotel Elch, Design Hotel Vosteen, Hotel Prinzregent and Hotel Novotel Nuremberg are a few elite ones that offer good amenities. The A & O Hostel Nürnberg, City hostel Nürnberg and Five Reasons Hostel are a few of the good hostels for travellers on a budget. People of Nuremberg have some fabulous Airbnb to offer.
I would finally like to thank all the readers for taking the time to read my second blog. All the photos were taken by me on my iPhone except the two pictures from the books on the Railway History of Germany.
On a closing note I recommend everyone to visit Nuremberg especially during the Christmas Market season so as to enjoy the city in its true colours.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg o. d. T.) is one of the most beautiful cities that one simply cannot miss when in Germany. It is a small town located near the Autobahn 7 (National Highway Number 7) or simply A7. It is a one town that I can highly recommend to every visitor or tourist coming to Germany or Europe.
The city has a population of only around 11,000 but boasts of high influx of tourist every year. The city was founded in the middle of 13th century just like many other nearby located German cities. It remains unique, due to the fact that the old city centre has an almost complete Citywall around it which is accessible to everyone wanting to go around the wall on foot. It is a unique feature which very few other German cities can offer. The entire old town is located within the city walls and has no modern structures. Its boasts of 42 gates and watchtowers which are in a really good condition and most of which are open to the tourists. It is a true fairytale town which seems to be frozen in time and shows us how people must have lived in the middle ages.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is named so, because it was founded as a small town around a red fort (Rothenburg in German) around the river Tauber (ob der Tauber in German).
The best time to visit the city, is one of the following four times of the year, firstly during the Christmas Market Time in December during the Advent Season, the Meistertrunk Festival (with World Heritage Festival Status), the Reichstadttage or the Tauber Openair-Festival. The typical summer months are packed with foreign tourists ranging from Far East to the American west coast. So I highly recommend to avoid the peak season. To enjoy a more local flair I personally recommend the Christmas Market season in December, where you will see more locals and inland tourists from nearby cities.
Rothenburg has a lot of beautiful museums, but the “Must Visit” ones are das Mittelalterisches Kriminalmuseum (The Middle Ages German Criminal Museum), Das Rothenburgmuseum (The Rothenburg City Museum), The Handwerkhaus Museum (Handicraft Museum) and last but not the least Das Weihnachtsmuseum von Käthe Wohlfahrt (The Christmas Museum), which is an all year round one stop shop for all things Christmas.
There is so much to see in this small pretty town which inspired Walt Disney himself to create Disney Land, which is built according to the blue prints of this quaint little town. The picture below is a famous structure in Rothenburg o. d. T. which features confidently on the cover page of Lonely Planet Germany current Edition. It is the famous Plönlein with the Sieberstor (left) and the Kobolzeller Tor (right).
Churches which are worth a visit are St. Jacobs Church, Wolfgangs Church, Blasius Chapel (today a memorial for the fallen soldiers of both the World Wars) and St. Johannis Church with the famous Steinmeiyer Organ.
Things which you should be ticking of your bucket list while in Rothenburg o. d. T. is taking a walk around the wall which completely surrounds the city, visiting the Plölein (image below),
visiting the main town hall with the famous platform at 60 meters height for an amazing view of the old town (image below),
and visiting the Burggarten (Palace Garden grounds) and taking a panoramic view of the southern part of the City with its beautiful and ancient city walls. (image below)
Some of the views that one gets to enjoy while taking a quite walk on the city wall.
HOW TO REACH?
By Air:- Rothenburg o. d. T doesn’t have its own airport but is surrounded on all sides by cities with airports of their own. Nürnberg Airport (80km; approximately 1hr 15mins), Stuttgart Airport (165km; approximately 1hr 30mins), Frankfurt Airport (185km; approximately 1hr 40mins), Munich Airport (240km; approximately 2hr 15mins).
By Train: Rothenburg o. d. T. has a main Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof) and is connected by Deutsche Bahn (German National Railways) but the connection is limited and trains come in only from one direction.
By Car: Rothenburg o. d. T. is well connected by Roads and its proximity to A7 (Autobahn 7 / National Highway Number 7) makes it easy to reach.
WHERE TO STAY?
Rothenburg has a lot of great hotels and hostels. Hotels like Historik Hotel Goldener Hirsch Rothenburg, Hotel Reichs-Küchenmeister, Romantik Hotel Markusturm, Hotel Rappen, Burghotel, Gästehaus am Plölein are a few elite ones that offer the middle ages flair. The Youth Hostel Rothenburg o. d. T. is a good place for travellers on a budget. People of Rothenburg o. d. T. are also offering amazing deals with Airbnb.
Lastly I would like to conclude on a note, where I can only recommend everyone in or around this beautiful town to surly visit it, doesn’t matter when you do it.