Germany’s Prettiest Town: Miltenberg on Main

It’s been a few years since I last visited the villages along the River Main in Germany but it was once a favourite driving holiday, especially in early spring when the flowers were in bloom and the street stalls were full of jewel coloured blooms, wrapped in flimsy coloured paper, just asking to be taken home.  Of all the lovely medieval villages along the route one of my favourites was Miltenberg, a town with a wide main street lined with half-timbered houses and small medieval alleys.   

Main Street, Tables Ready for Lunch

The beautiful houses that line its main street span the 15th – 17th centuries and the oldest dates back to 1339: what is so unusual is that all of these half-timbered dwellings are lived in.   In consequence, there is no feeling that this is a tourist site, a place where we come to gawp and take photographs.  Instead, we wander and look, dive into interesting looking shops, and stop off at cosy taverns serving local cuisine along with the wine of the area – and, of course, beer. 

The town has a few interesting sculptures dotted around the streets most of them honouring local artisans. I was also impressed by the quality of the goods for sale in the shops, at a quality-high price I may add. Even the mannikins that modelled the clothes looked beautiful as you can see from the picture below.

Viniculture and the wine trade, wood from the surrounding forests and stone, and the fact that the town was well-placed on the river for transportintg goods, was favourable to this location at the trading artery of Nuremberg and Frankfurt and the town grew rich.

One can see Miltenberg’s importance from the magnificent half-timbered houses, especially those in the Old Market Place (the Schnatterloch) and Germany’s oldest Inn, the Gasthaus zum Riesen, dating from 1590.  It claims to be Germany’s oldest Inn and an historical document tells us that a local owner at the time was granted the right to fell a hundred oak trees for its construction.   It is known for serving some of the best food in town and is especially noted for its roast salmon.

Germany’s Oldest Inn, Gasthaus ZumReisen, dating from 1590

From the Market Square to Mildenburg Castle, which was constructed in 1200 under the aegis of the Archbishop of Mainz, is an easy walk.  The castle doesn’t really comare to other castles in Germany being a relatively small fortress, but it is worth the walk if only for the wonderful views of the old city.

A small town but a supremely beautiful one, and a recommended stop on the way to or from Nuremberg or Frankfurt.

11 thoughts on “Germany’s Prettiest Town: Miltenberg on Main

  1. I used to think these pretty-pretty towns were so boring and kitschy but I now find I look back on them as being something very special. Maybe a make-believe fairy-tale world but they have their place among the modern, brutalist architecture that is springing up.

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  2. I keep on saying I’ll go back there one day but I need a driver! So many of the places I visited with my husband are only easily accessible by car to someone like me with deteriorating eyesight and a gammy hip and knee! I suppose I could do one or two by local bus but it becomes a hassle and I love being able to drive from one village to the other, pull up and find a b&b and not have to depend on plans made well in advance.

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  3. Thank you. I’m so pleased you liked them. Part of the fun of travelling is taking pictures but I do miss the old days when we had to send the film off to the developer and wait for the result. Oh, the excitement as the packet fell through the letterbox and we could relive the memories all over again.

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