Where are the most idyllic small towns in Germany? Below you will find five of the prettiest German small towns! All of these must-see small German villages are within 3 to 4 hours from Berlin. I’ve traveled to all these places by train and can highly recommend it.
This post will give you information:
- Which towns are the most idyllic in Germany
- The top attractions in each small town
- Where to eat
- Where to stay
Most Idyllic Small Towns in Germany
- Lüneburg – Distance from Berlin 2 hours, 45 minutes by train. (135 miles / 217 kilometres)
- Schwerin Distance from Berlin 2 hours, 45 minutes by train. (114 miles / 183 Kilometres)
- Lübeck Distance from Berlin 3 hours by train. (175 miles / 282 kilometres)
- Görlitz Distance from Berlin 2 hours, 45 minutes by train. ( 135 miles / 218 kilometres)
- Meissen Distance from Berlin 3 hours, 30 minutes by train. ( 94 miles / 151 kilometres)
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Lüneburg is also known as the “salt town” as it has a long history of salt mining. This medieval village is located just northwest of Berlin. It is one of the most idyllic small towns I visited in Germany.
This small German village in Lower Saxony is as charming as you could ever imagine. If pressed, I would say it is my favorite of all the places I visited on this list.
Lüneberg is a medieval old town with Red Brick Gothic-Style buildings. The first recorded deed was found in ancient records dating back to 956 AD.
This is one of the best small towns near Berlin that is incredible at Christmas. Imagine drinking glühwein and eating roasted chestnuts in this most idyllic small German Town!
Top Attractions in Lüneberg
- Salt Museum visit the historical salt mining museum of Lüneberg.
- St. John Church The oldest Lutheran church in Lüneberg. Built-in the 14th century.
- Wasser Tower (with viewing tower) This museum is unique as you start from the top of the viewing tower. On your way to the bottom, each floor has historical information.
- Am Sande Market Square is the leading market square in Lüneberg, with an abundance of shops and restaurants.
- Rathaus (town hall) was completed in the year 1720, located in the market square.
Where to Eat in Lüneburg
- Altes Brauhaus since 1505! Enjoy some traditional German food modernly interpreted along with some delicious beer or wine.
- Rohms Deli slightly upscale experience yet still casual. This deli, which should not be thought of as a “deli” is serving up fresh and inventive cuisine.
- Capitol has you covered from breakfast to dinner. This place can cater to your every meal.
Where to Stay in Lüneburg
- Anno 1433 Hotel is located in the old town of Lüneburg. 12 room smoke-free guest house with a lot of style and character.
- Altstadt Gästehaus Drewes Wale private little apartment-style rooms. More like an Airbnb than a hotel. Very highly rated
If possible, visit this lovely small town during Christmas as I did. The Weihnachsmarkt is spectacular!
This most idyllic small German town is truly magical! Schwerin is located north of Berlin and sits on Lake Schwerin. This German village town has the largest castle in northern Germany, Schwerin Castle.
Schwerin Castle is a neo-Renaissance-style palace with elaborate gardens. Open to the public, it was a true highlight of my trip to this charming village.
The architecture in Schwerin is of the Medieval era. You can expect cobblestone streets and an impressive Market Square.
Top Attractions in Schwerin
- Schloss Schwerin plan for a few hours to thoroughly explore the interior and exterior grounds.
- Boat Tour (food & drink provided) Check for seasonal availability
- Staatliches Museum Schwerin an art museum exciting monthly exhibits from around the world.
- Schwerin Cathedral beautiful red brick church constructed in the year 1270.
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Where to Stay in Schwerin
- Hotel Niederländischer Hof Schwerin located within walking distance to the central train station in Schwerin.
- Weinhaus Uhle vintage building restored with modern style and convenience. An excellent choice to stay central in Schwerin
- Weinhaus Wöhler traditional style building, upgraded with modern style rooms. Pet-friendly.
Where to Eat in Schwerin
- La Bouche Bistro & Bar modern bar and bistro highly rated among locals.
- Schwerin Gourment Factory if you are looking to treat yourself to something special, visit this upscale, yet affordable restaurant.
- Müllers for some delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes check out Müllers, located in the center of Markt Square
- Altstadt Brauhaus a fantastic brewery serves all the classic German dishes! There are limited vegan options, but a few vegetarian choices.
Visiting Lübeck was a real surprise. I was staying in Hamburg and decided to make a quick day trip. I have returned to Lübeck twice since then! Still accessible from Berlin, just a bit further away than some of these other idyllic small German towns.
Upon arriving at Lübeck you will be greeted with the most impressive Gothic style gate I have ever seen. It is the most distinguishable symbol of Lübeck and of the medieval period that it was constructed.
Once you pass through this red-brick gate that has been fully restored after WWII you will be in the old city of Lübeck. The old city of Lübeck is on an island surrounded by the Elbe river.
What I found to be the most impressive about Lübeck was its many churches and market squares.
Top Attractions of Lübeck
- St. Mary’s Church ( Marienkirche) – This is Germany’s third-largest church, and its architecture is the model for numerous Gothic churches in the Baltic region.
- St. Peter’s Church – Destroyed in WWII, but fully restored, this church has a viewing tower that I highly recommend. There is an elevator to the top for those that find themselves weary of the stairs.
- Lübeck Cathedral – This Romanesque architecture church is the oldest place of worship in Lübeck.
- St. Giles – it’s the smallest of all the churches in Lübeck’s Old Town. You will find Gothic wall paintings and influences from the Baroque and Renaissance periods.
- St. Jacobs – The four spherical globes on the tower’s helm edge is noticeable from a distance. This church surprising was not damaged in WWII and has a 16th century fully intact organ.
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Where to Eat in Lübeck
- Brauberger Brewery Most idyllic small towns in Germany have a Brewery restaurant. Brauberger is your traditional German brewery restaurant that I just love to visit! Get your fix of beer and comfort food here!
- Restaurant Schiffergesellschaft Enjoy more than just a meal at this incredible historical landmark. This house/restaurant has a remarkable story than can be read about on their website. I would make this my number #1 choice in places to eat.
- Fangfrisch Lübeck If you are a fish lover, then this is the restaurant for you! Enjoy a variety of fish served every which way in a modern setting.
Where to Stay in Lübeck
- Hotel Lili Marleen located by the beach, not in the city center of Lübeck. Perfect for someone who wants to get away from the city but not be too far.
- Hotel Traveblick located directly in the city center. This hotel is more an Airbnb containing only 3 small apartments.
- Atlantic Hotel Lübeck located in the city center with a sleek and modern style.
Göritz is a real hidden gem of Germany. This picturesque town is located a stone’s throw from the Polish border. You can cross into Poland by walking over a bridge at the town’s edge.
It is so picturesque that Hollywood has filmed several movies here, most famously, The Grand Budapest Hotel. After seeing this place in person, I can understand why it’s one of the most idyllic small towns in Germany.
Gorlitz is very SMALL, and can easily be seen in 1 day. I had the pleasure of spending two nights, but I would only recommend one at most.
Top Attractions in Görlitz
- Picture taking at famous movie sites! Film’s such as The Book Thief, The Reader, and The Grand Budapest Hotel were all filmed here. The must-see the Karstadt department store is the “hotel” in The Grand Budapest Hotel movie.
- St. Peter and Paul Church – 11th-century church containing The Sun Organ, created in 1697. The restored organ is still used today for concerts and special events.
- Crossing into Poland – The Polish city of Zgorzelec can be reached by crossing the bridge Johannes-Paul II Stadbrücke. There are also several other paths to cross into Poland. This is just the most popular.
- Stroll through the Stadt Park – If you are fortunate to visit Gorlitz in beautiful weather, check out the city park. This park has several impressive statues and fountains.
- Silesian Museum – Learn about the Province of Silesia, formerly a Province of Prussia from 1815 to 1919. The region of Silesia is located mostly in Poland, small sections in the Czech Republic and Germany.
- Reichenbach Tower– Sadly, this tower was closed when I visited. You can enjoy magnificent views of the town from the top!
Where to Stay in Görlitz
- VIAs Appartements und Ferienwohnungen Located in the center of the old town and highly reviewed by guests. Very stylish and chic.
- Hotel Schwibbogen center of the old town. Modern style and highly reviewed.
- Emmerich Hotel This hotel is gorgeous. The room was very comfortable and stylish. Be advised; the hotel did not have air conditioning when I stayed.
Where to Eat in Görlitz
- St. John Patrician House A bit upscale, but not stuffy. You can not beat the ambiance at this restaurant. If you are lucky enough to visit in the summer, request a seat outside in the garden.
- Zur Schwarzen Kunst (The Black Arts) Rustic and cozy ambiance with delicious traditional food!
- N13 for a causal bistro with comfort food, check out this place.
Meissen (Meßen) is located just 40 minutes from Dresden. I found Meissen when searching for a fairytale-like town in Germany. Upon arrival in Meissen, I knew it was someplace very special.
The old town of Meissen is around 15 minutes walk from the main train stop. Before arriving you will get a wonderful view of this most idyllic small town in Germany.
Meissen is home to the Missen porcelain, Gothic Meissen Cathedral, Frauen Kirche and Albrechtsburg Castle. Construction began in 1260 on the Meissen Cathedral on the same hill as the Albrechstburg Castle. Visiting both is a must-do when visiting Meissen.
Top Attractions in Meissen
- Albrechtsburg– The main attraction in visiting Meissen is Albrechtsburg. This is Germany’s oldest castle, situated upon a hill overlooking the Elbe river. You can tour in the interiors of this castle and take incredible pictures of the river and town alongside it.
- Meissen Cathedral– Located right next to the Albrechtsburg castle is the Cathedral. The church has been divided into three different sections. The sections include the inner church, the choir stall, and the central nave. The visit is well worth the low price of admission of a few euros.
- Marktplatz– Exploring the Marktplatz is an excellent activity when visiting Meissen. I would suggest you need at least 2 hours to take your time visiting the shops.
Where to Eat in Meissen
- Domkeller – I loved this restaurant! I enjoyed a very tasting soup and entree.
- Am Hundewinkel traditional German cuisine in the heart of Meissen!
- Restaurant Vincenz is a highly recommended restaurant in the old town center. Cozy and traditional interiors with classic German food.
- Ratskeller historical restaurant serving up delicious food and wine. Vegetarian options are available!
Where to Stay in Meissen
- Goldenes Fass boutique style hotel right in the center of the old town. Highly recommended.
- Dorint Park hotel located just across the Elbe River from Meissen. Stunning views of Albrechtsburg.
- Hotel Goldener Löwe in the heart of the old town, this cozy and traditional hotel is highly rated from guests.
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