When you plan your itinerary in the Alps you think of big cities, like Zurich or Munich. Yet there are many more gems in the mountains, waiting for you to discover them. Most of them are stuck in time, being true medieval towns which offer amazing views.
Innsbruck is located in the middle of the Alps, which makes it a great ski destination. The main attraction in the city is the Golden Roof, a 15th century ensemble of buildings decorated with copper tiles. You can try Tirolean cuisine and enjoy the apple strudel, along with other delicacies. For the adventure-seeking tourists, Innsbruck offers the Hungerberg funicular. Use it to reach the 7,500 foot Hafelekar peak in 20 minutes. From the top, you can admire the breathtaking view.
Kufstein was disputed for a long time by Germany and Austria, because it sits at the border. It became Austria’s territory in 1814. The main attraction is the Fortress, built in 1205. The impressive building overlooks the area, as it sits on the hill. The Heroes organ is another popular attraction in Kufstein. The world’s largest open-air organ, Heroes is being put to use daily, at noon. The sounds it makes can be heard from miles away.
Kufstein is home to the Riedel Glass Company, where artisans still demonstrate the ancient technique of glass blowing.
Fribourg is divided in two sides by the river Saane; one side is speaking French, the other one is speaking German. This is the first interesting fact about this city. The cobbled streets are lined with 15th century buildings which make every step you take a step back in time. Fribourg’s landmark is St. Nicholas Cathedral, built between 1283 and 1490. It offers an amazing view over the entire town, if you dare to climb the 368 steps of the spire.
Because the city is packed with universities, there are many cafes where you can enjoy craft beers, wine and other drinks.
Regensburg is on the UNESCO list of historic monuments, so the medieval structures in the town are well-preserved. Despite the fact it’s a small town, it has an university, which provides a nice vibe across it’s historic streets. The local attraction is the 12th century Stone Bridge, built over the Danube. However, the 2nd century Roman tower and the Old Town Hall with its torture chamber are waiting for visitors. When in Regensburg try the homemade sauerkraut and the local sausages. After gathering your strengths, climb up the spire at Dom St. Peter or admire the stained glass which dates back to 14th century. The cathedral is famous for its boys choir that sings on Sundays and holidays.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
This town looks like it jumped out of a children’s book. It’s Germany’s best preserved medieval town and it’s pretty crowded. The best view in town is in Plonlein, where the mix of medieval houses and towers provide the most picturesque spot in the area.
Given it’s location in the wine growing area of Franconia, the town is a must-see for white wine enthusiasts. If you want to taste some beer, the Zur Holl tavern, the oldest houses in town, with a wall dating from 900AD, is the place to go.