Unpretentious, intimate, and non-touristy Miltenberg is centered on one main street that runs its entire length. Dating to 1237, this small Bavarian city has charm to spare — there’s a castle here, as well as quirky half-timbered buildings at every turn — without that overly precious vibe some historic towns project. Set right on the Main River (look for flood marks on the Old City Hall), Miltenberg is all about simpler pleasures, such as soaking up the ambience and perhaps tossing back a few local Faust beers.
What We Love
It's Not Reconstructed: Miltenberg is the rare German town that wasn't reconstructed after World War II. There are old touches everywhere — carvings, an ancient water system, historic buildings — that are truly authentic.
The Fountain With a Backstory: There's something different about one cherub on the pink sandstone fountain in Market Square: He's exposing his derriere toward the home of the official who cheated the sculptor.
The Town Museum: Dating to 1542, the splendid house that holds the Museen der Stadt Miltenberg is worth a visit. Exhibits trace the city's history, with information in English.
Best Known For
Crazy Half-Timbered Houses: They're beautiful — and crooked. Miltenberg's houses show their age with slanted floors and tilting walls. The main street narrows in the “Schwarzviertel” (Black Quarter), the oldest part of town, where sunlight is scarce.
Gasthaus Zum Riesen: A great photo op, Germany's oldest royal inn (it dates to 1411 and its name means "The Giant") dominates an intersection.
Faust Brewery: Located on the main street, west of Market Square, Brauhaus Faust is more than 350 years old. Inexpensive tours include samples.
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Who It's Best For
Wandering Architecture Buffs: The old buildings will fascinate you — and it's impossible to get lost here, so poke around all the town's nooks and crannies.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Souvenirs Are Scarce: Tourist-friendly knickknacks are not common here.
Gayle Keck is a San Francisco-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.