It’s one of the most picturesque medieval villages along Germany’s Romantic Road, but Nördlingen’s history goes back much further than the Middle Ages. The unique settlement lies in a 25-km-wide crater (the Ries) created by a meteorite more than 15 million years ago, and it’s a striking sight, with the crater rim marked out by the still-intact 14th-century city walls. In fact, the historic town is so distinctive that it’s even been immortalized on film, and fans of the 1970s film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will recognize it as the view from the famous glass elevator.
For most visitors, Nördlingen’s biggest draw is its characterful medieval buildings, with their gabled roofs and half-timbered facades, and with fewer crowds than nearby Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg, it’s a quieter alternative. Be sure to climb the 90-meter-tall bell tower of the Saint George's Church for a view over the town, learn about the formation of the meteorite crater at the Rieskrater Museum and take a stroll around the remarkably preserved medieval walls.
Nördlingen is located 30 km south of Dinkelsbühl on Germany’s Romantic Road.