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Small German Towns With A Lot To Offer - Part 1

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Plön, Eutin, Hildescheim & Bad Doberan

The large German cities are widely known and well visited, however, Germany has a wealth of small historic towns and cities which often go unnoticed. Many combine castles, churches, museums and wonderful old towns with stunning natural beauty.

In this series we cover a few of them which we hope you will have the opportunity to visit on your next #excursion to #Europe.

#Plön and #Eutin are very close to each other and about 100km from #Hamburg or 50km from #Lubeck so can be easily visited on the same trip. If you have a little more time #BadDoberan can be reached from #Lubeck as well, 120km away. #Hildescheim is close to #Hannover, just 35km away and an easy day trip.

Plön is a #smallGermantown so everything is a short stroll away. Stunning natural beauty, historic castles with expansive gardens and a cute old town to enjoy aong the way. We stopped for just one night which was enough to gain an insight into the history, enjoy the old town and castle gardens as well as the lakes. However, a two day stop would be more appropriate to really take in all that #Plön has to offer. We visited in September which is just off season and an ideal time to enjoy the town.

The former Residence of the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Plön was built in the 17th century during the Thirty Years War and has had a varied and colourful history. The sons of the German Emperor, William II, were educated in Plön from the end of the 19th century and, for that purpose, the summer residence in the garden was extended to form the so-called Princes' House (well worth a visit). The castle survived both world wars without suffering any wartime damage and is beautifully situated.

Location : 50km from #Lubeck or 100Km from #Hamburg.

Eutin invites visitors to enjoy a charming old town, sprawling castle grounds and wonderful lake in surroundings that are calm and devoid of the hustle and bustle of larger German towns.

The castle of Eutin was founded in the 12th century and became the residence of the sovereign bishops of the city of Lübeck. After a fire in 1689 the castle was rebuilt and established a magnificent baroque park. Wide avenues, beautiful trees, a bathhouse (pictured here) and a small sun temple are all part of the castle park , which naturally incorporates Lake #Eutin as part of the landscape.

The park also provides the setting for the annual Eutin Festival, which sees major operas and operettas performed on an open-air stage every summer.

The castle was later used as the summer residence of the Dukes of Oldenburg. With the end of monarchy it was converted into a museum. There are a number of exhibition rooms that provide visitors with an insight into life at a royal court over the centuries and a very charming museum shop too.

Location : 45km from Lubeck or 95Km from Hamburg.

Hildescheim is a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 815 and is one of the oldest cities in northern Germany. When #Hildesheim obtained city status in 1249, it was one of the biggest cities in Northern Germany.

The Romanesque St. Mary's or #HildesheimCathedral with its ancient bronze doors (Bernward Doors c. 1015) and other treasures. is well worth a visit. As is the #St.Michael'sChurch (pictured here), an early Romanesque church and an example of Ottonian architecture. It was built from 1010 to 1022.

The Cathederal also houses the largest of the four surviving #Romanesque wheel chandeliers, called the #Hezilo chandelier and the older #Azelin chandelier. The "Thousand-year Rose" is a reputedly 1,000‑year‑old dog rose bush, allegedly the world's oldest living rose. It continues to flourish on the wall of the cathedral apse.

St. Michael's is the earliest surviving example of a truly Romanesque Church. The ceiling of the church is decorated with a fresco, 27.6 m long and 8.7 m wide, depicting the Tree of Jesse, the ancestral line of Jesus. The genealogy has been dated to roughly 1130. Strolling through Hildescheim reveals many beautiful and well restored buildings spanning a 500 year period with features and architecture seldom seen elsewhere.

Location : 35km from Hannover.

Bad Doberan is a pictureque town with classicist buildings built between 1801 and 1836 . However, the most famous building is the #Doberan Minster (Doberaner Münster, 1368), which was once the church of #Doberan Abbey It is the most important religious sight on the European Route of Brick Gothic housing the monumental grave of King Albert of Sweden among many treasures. The altar was created around 1300 as an enclosed altar by unknown artists. It is not only the oldest wing altar in Germany, but also the oldest in art history. Above the western entrance is the face of the astronomical clock, It was built in 1390 with the four corners depicting famous philosophers and astronomers of ancient times.

Pictured here is an octagonal burial chapel for 13 dukes of Mecklenburg, built or reconstructed in 1420 using Romanesque columns and capitals from around 1240. The location behind the high altar was a privileged burial place.

There are regular tours conducted in German which should preferrably be booked in advance as there is usually a long queue with a waiting time over 15minutes which forms about twenty minutes before the start of each tour. English tours are also available but are conducted based on demand.

#BadDoberan is also home to the "#Molli", a historic 19th century steam railway that is a tourist attraction as well as a daily commuter service in the town and to the nearby beach village.

Location : 120km from #Lubeck or 170Km from #Hamburg.

We hope this brief overview has piqued your interest and that you will follow us and this series to learn more about the other towns we have visited.

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