A thirty minute trainride from Stuttgart, Germany is the small town of Schwäbisch Gmünd. Though a much lesser known destination for tourists, the town is well worth visiting for its architecture, charming alleyways, and historic town center.
My friend’s Opa lives in this charming town and we visited for a few weeks in 2014. I really enjoyed exploring the city and the surrounding attractions. Cities like Schwäbisch Gmünd that are more off the beaten path offer an unexpected cultural experience. Below are my highlights of Schwäbisch Gmünd.
Historischer Marktplatz, or the Old Marketplace, has beautiful well-preserved buildings. Marktplatz is a great place for people watching and many events take place in this city centre. The scenic square is a great place to grab a beer or sit down to eat.
Marienbrunnen – the fountain of Mary is in the middle of the square.
The Holy Cross Minster is gorgeous both inside and out! On weekends, there’s a market in the city center and next to the church.
Johanneskirche, or the Church of Saint John, is a Romanesque and neo-Romanesque style church in the southeastern part of Marktplatz.
You can climb the tower of Johanneskirche for some stunning views of the city from above!
Forum Gold und Silver
This modern structure certainly sticks out amongst the surrounding architecture in town. This was built by a gold and silver merchant for the State Garden Show in 2014 – when I was visiting! It represents the 600-year-old tradition of goldsmithing in Schwäbisch Gmünd.
You can take Bus 4 from Schwäbisch Gmünd to see medieval castle ruins at Hohdenrechberg. This is a beautiful hike on a sunny day, about 1km walk from the bus stop.
The castle was built between 1200 and 1250, likely by Ulrich von Rechberg. There are beautiful views from the castle ruins in all directions. Interestingly, the castle survived occupation by the French and other attacks but was ultimately burned in a fire caused by lightning.
Small towns give a more genuine experience of local culture. What are your favorite lesser-known destinations?!