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STUNNING City Halls in Germany | Atemberaubende Rathäuser in Deutschland | Town Halls in Germany | Top City Halls in Germany | Beautiful Town Halls in Germany | Germany Road Trip Ideas | Scenic Driving Routes in Germany | Scenic Towns in Germany | Best Places to Visit in Germany | Where to go in Germany - California Globetrotter

In towns and cities all over the world, the city hall (Rathaus) is the focal point for residents and tourists alike. Whether it be the politics behind the city hall, simply as a meeting point or main attraction, they draw us in either their elegance. It functions as a seat of government, a place of of significant events within the city as well as a place to bring people together on daily basis. Each and every single one is unique, portray characteristics and symbolism of the town and you’ll never find the same one twice. The elegance of each town hall portrays the city’s wealth and importance dating as far back as the Medieval times. 

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With this little Germany listicle, hopefully you’ll find a few new locations to visit for a summer road trip through Germany, especially if you don’t mind a little combination of both small back road towns in Germany as well as a few of the larger cities. You’ll get to explore many of the most scenic routes in Germany driving through the German countryside, through several states and discovering hidden gems in Germany! You’ll delve into a variety of architectural styles ranging from colorful, half-timbered, Medieval era gems to Renaissance and Gothic to the extravagance of Neo-classicism. Get out the maps, you’re gonna need to start planning the ultimate German road trip because I’ve asked a few bloggers to contribute the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cherry of top town halls in Germany. 

Aachen Town Hall (Rathaus Aachen) – North Rhine-Westphalia

By: Frau Karen from Wanderlustingk

The Rathuis in Aachen is a Gothic style building dating back to the 14th century.  During one of the fires of Aachen, the roof and the towers burned, however the repairs resulted in a baroque style renovation of the interior and parts of the exterior.   It’s possible to tour the Rathuis in Aachen to see the mix of styles and to imagine the many coronations that took place within this stunning building.  If you visit Aachen, be sure to go upstairs to admire the frescoes along the ceiling dating back to the mid-1850s. Although most of the building today is reconstructed, it’s worth visiting Aachen to get a taste for Germany’s past.

Tip: Combine a visit to Aachen with Münster!

Augsburg City Hall (Augsburg Rathaus) – Bavaria

The Augsburger City Hall was built by Elias Holl between 1615-20, the city hall dominated the Rathausplatz (square) and is one of Germany’s finest examples of Mannerist architecture; a combination of Renaissance and Medieval styles that eventually led to the Baroque style. Many believe it to be one of the most significant secular Renaissance buildings north of the Alps! Inside, you’ll find one of the most exquisite halls with a splendid gold decor and gilded walnut ceiling called the Goldener Saal located on the third floor. Like many cities in Germany, Augsburg was heavily damaged during the Second World War and on February 26, 1944, an air raid reduced the city hall to rubble and wouldn’t be fully restored to its original glory until 1996! 

Tip: Combine a visit to Augsburg with Landsberg am Lech or Munich!

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Bad Urach Town Hall (Bad Urach Rathaus) – Baden-Württemburg

Though practically unheard of, the small half-timber framed town of Bad Urach sits along the German Timber-framed Road (Deutsches Fackwerkstrasse) jus5 45 minutes between both Stuttgart and Ulm. In the heart of the historic town is the Bad Urach Town Hall which was built in 1440, extended in 1562 and renovated in 1907/1908. The timber-framed town hall was used by butchers and bakers on the ground level at the front and was later used as a fruit market in 1939. Lined on either side my other colorful half-timbered houses, the Town Market stands the tallest and the most prominent. (More on Bad Urach coming soon!)

Tip: Combine Bad Urach with a visit to Kirchheim unter Teck or Esslingen!

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Bamberg Old Town Hall (Bamberg Altes Rathaus) – Bavaria

While each Rathaus in Germany is stunning in their own right, Bamberg‘s Old Town Hall might win any contest for most picturesque building in Germany. Located in the middle of the stone-arched Obere Brücke (Upper Bridge), on an artificial island in the Regnitz River, with stunning Lüftmalerei (murals) and half-timbered charm. Though the Old Town Hall wasn’t built for its picturesque appeal, it was supposedly built in 1467 over the river because the bishop of Bamberg refused to grant any land for its construction which goes to show the defiance of the town’s burghers (citizens) who so badly desires a city hall. The city hall compromises three historical districts within Bamberg, the episcopal town, the island town and the market gardener’s town. 

Tip: Combine a visit to Bamberg with Rothenburg ob der Tauber!

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Bremen City Hall (Das Rathaus Bremen Senatkanzlerei) – Bremen

By: Frau Sarah from Travel Breathe Repeat

The Rathaus in Bremen is a stunning example of how seriously the Germans take their town hall buildings. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of Bremen’s major tourist attractions. It actually consists of two buildings: the Old Town Hall and the New Town Hall. The Old Town Hall building is the star. Perhaps a bit over the top with its ornate carvings and arcade, I still think it’s truly gorgeous. It was built in the Gothic style at the beginning of the 15th century and significantly updated in the Renaissance style in the mid-16th century. Much of Bremen was destroyed during WWII, but the Rathaus was well-protected and survived. Quite the feat! It’s the only Town Hall building in Europe built in the Middle Ages that didn’t endure destruction and still retains its original form.

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Coburg Town Hall (Rathaus Coburg) – Bavaria

By: Frau Lisa from Penguin and Pia

If there’s one word to describe the town hall of Coburg, it’s colourful. The town hall is located right by the market square in the old town center of the city. Coburg’s current town hall was first built in a Renaissance style in the middle of the 16th century. However, the inside wasn’t done until the end of the century in 1580!

Until 1750, the town hall complex was made up of different buildings: both the new town hall and the old one which was right next to it. After the renovation, however, this configuration was changed and the Rathaus was made into one building. This was also when the town hall got its colourful facade – much of which can still be seen until this day.

If you want to check it out, you can also go inside. You’ll find many different architectural styles from Neo-Baroque pillars to a staircase in an Art Nouveau style – only to name a few. Next to the town hall, there are many other beautiful buildings in Coburg (like a castle!) so be sure to stop by and visit the “beautiful small city of Coburg” if you’re in the area.

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Düsseldorf Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus Düsseldorf) – North-Rhine Westphalia

By: Frau Sofia from Wonderful Wanderings

Düsseldorf‘s city hall is quite interesting as it actually consists of three different buildings that all go back to a different period in history. The old city hall or “Altes Rathaus” on the northern side of the Marktplatz was built in the middle of the 16th century. It didn’t look the way it does now though, because it was renovated in the Baroque style about a century later. 
 
The “Wilhelminischer Bau” on the west side was built in the middle of the 19th century and the “Grupello House”, also on the west side, dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. Also this building was renovated in a different style. In the late 19th century, it got a more Renaissance look.
 
The Wilheminischer Bau was destroyed during the Second World War and reconstructed in a bit of a more modern way afterward. The Grupello House used to be the home of the artist who created the statue of Jan Wellem on his horse, Gabriel de Grupello, which you can see on the Marktplatz as well.
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Esslingen’s Medieval Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus Esslingen) – Baden-Württemburg

With its stark red facade, the Old Town Hall in Esslingen is without a doubt the most beautiful building in the Medieval half-timbered town surrounded by rolling hills lines with vineyards. Originally built in 1422 as a sales hall and tax house, it was to be as distinguished as possible. The Citizens’ Hall was located on the top floor also to be used as both a meeting hall and a dance hall. The Renaissance facade wasn’t added until 1586-1589 and is the most striking appearance with its curved step-gable, bell town and astronomical clock tower while the back portion is a colorful array of half-timbered beams. 

Tip: Combine Esslingen with a visit to Bad Urach or Kirchheim unter Teck!

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Frankfurt am Main City Hall (Frankfurt am Main Rathaus) – Hesse

By: Frau Megan from Meghan Starr

Frankfurt am Main has a very renowned city hall within the rebuilt Old Town. Frankfurt Römer, as it is called, is located across the square from the Old St. Nicholas Church and has served as the city’s Rathaus about 600 years ago.  Unfortunately, like many other cities in Europe, the main square of Frankfurt was decimated on March 22, 1944 and has since been rebuilt.  Due to its location in the main square of Frankfurt, it is a top tourist attraction and the square is home to one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world.  
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Hamburg City Hall (Rathaus Hamburg) – Hamburg

By: Frau Jordan from Wayfaring with Wagner

One of the most impressive buildings dotting Hamburg‘s skyline, the city hall is an architectural masterpiece. Completed in 1897, the exterior represents a neo-classical style while the interior is a mixture of several styles. As a free city for most of its existence, the extravagance reflected in the city hall denotes both Hamburg’s individual wealth and grandeur as well as the wealth of the then newly-formed German state. The total number of rooms in the city hall is 647 although hidden rooms have previously been found and many suspect that the room count is much higher. 

My favorite room in the Hamburg city hall is Tower Hall. Also know as the Hall of the Republics, the walls are lined with murals of the old city republics – Athens, Rome, Venice, and Amsterdam. The painted cupola in this room represents freedom, morality, philanthropy, patriotism, and science. To uphold the balance of government between the Hamburg Senate and Hamburg Parliament, Tower Hall is located exacted halfway between the two chambers. 
 
The city hall is one building that should not be missed when visiting Hamburg!
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New Town Hall Hannover (Neues Rathaus Hannover) – Lower Saxony

By: Frau Kamila from Kami & the Rest of the World

Before visiting Hannover, I knew there is one place that I really have to see in that city and that was the new town hall. Built at the beginning of 20th century in the eclectic style it looks more like a castle from the outside but once you get inside it gets only better. The main hall is 38 meters high and makes your jaw drop, it’s that beautiful. On the ground floor you can see four small town’s models, showing how much Hannover has changed over the years and how tragic the war was to the city. However, the biggest attraction of the town hall is the oblique elevator, the only one of that kind in Europe, that takes you to the top of the dome. From there you can admire the amazing view of the city, its surroundings and vast green spaces around.

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Heppenheim Town Hall (Heppenheim Rathaus) – Hesse

Like a one of my Christmas village houses, the Heppenheim Town Hall stands out among the rest with its deep red half-timbered beams and shingled roof. Located on the south side of the Marktplatz in an old wine-growing region along the Bergstrasse (Mountain Road) – an old south-west trading route. Although originally built in 1561, it would be rebuilt as well as much of the town in 1705 in a baroque half-timbered style after having been destroyed by fire in 1683 during the Nine Years’ War. In 1958, a carillon was added after yet another fire in the tower. 

Tip: Combine a visit to Heppenheim with Michelstadt!

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Kirchheim unter Teck City Hall (Kirchheim unter Teck Rathaus) – Baden-Württemburg

Considered to be one of the finest city halls in Baden-Württemburg, the Kirchheim unter Teck City Hall stands at the end of a bustling Marktstrasse. Built in 1722, the town hall is a medieval marvel and is incredibly picturesque as it reaches into the sky with it’s layered tower and green onion-like dome. The half-timbered town of Kirchheim unter Teck still upholds the tradition of having tower trumpeters, which dates back to at least 1524. They happened to be playing on the day of our visit and play every Saturday. The trumpeters play on all four sides of the tower. The town hall also has coffered ceilings in the arcades with the Württemberg coat of arms while the clock on the tower shows the phases of the moon – the only one of its kind in Southern Germany. (More on Kirchheim under Teck)

Tip: Combine a visit to Kirchheim unter Teck with Bad Urach or Esslingen!

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Landsberg am Lech City Hall (Landsberg am Lech Rathaus) – Bavaria

By Frau Caroline from Pack the Suitcases

The Rathaus in Landsberg am Lech is an imposing cream building with an intricate gold and green facade. It’s nestled between pastel-coloured buildings that line the quaint, cobbled main square in this beautiful Bavarian town along the Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse).
 
The Rathaus structure dates back to 1719 and the incredible facade was designed by famous German architect Dominikus Zimmermann. Inside, there are different chambers and a grand hall full of frescoes showing important milestones in the town’s history. If you plan ahead, you can also visit when it hosts a classical music concert (five times a year) and experience a trip back in time in beautiful surroundings.
 
You’ll also find the tourist information office inside for everything you need to know to explore the pretty town and surrounding area, including a free map so you can find your way around and discover other beautiful buildings nearby. Keen photographers and Instagrammers will be spoilt for choice!
 
Tip: Combine a visit to Landsberg am Lech with Augsburg or Munich!
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Lüneburg Town Hall (Lüneburg Rathaus) – Lower Saxony

By: Frau Nicole from Letters of Travel
 
Isn’t it beautiful? In the light of the rising sun, the actual white façade of the historic town hall of Lüneburg glows almost gold and tells the story of princes, tyrants and councilors who have come in and out of the city over the centuries.
 
Built around 1230, the venerable building has been rebuilt and expanded over the centuries, and is today a testimony of many periods of history and the seat of the Lüneburg administration. It is also the largest Medieval town hall in northern Germany, as it actually consists of several buildings along the entire street. From the style of the typical northern German brick Gothic to the Baroque façade of the main building at Ochsenmarkt, which was added in the 18th century after a heavy storm.
 
The city hall is also impressive with its sophistication and pioneering architecture at the time. A guided tour of the artfully appointed rooms and halls, such as the column free Fürstensaal, the old archive or the Ratsstube, richly decorated with oak carvings and murals, tells of the time when the superiors were still chosen by the city’s 40 most influential families.
 
Back on the market square, take a seat at the old Luna Fountain and enjoy at every full hour the chimes that ring out of the pointed Town Hall Tower. The bells come from Meißner porcelain and play alternately well-known songs.
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Michelstadt’s Medieval Town Hall (Altes Rathaus Michelstadt) – Hesse

Built in the late Gothic style in 1484, the town’s most prominent feature, the 15th century timber-frame town hall is something straight out of a fairy tale with its pointed gables and bay turrets. Considering that town halls were the focal point of each town, the main floor served as a market hall beneath the 500-year old wooden stilts in the heart of the main square, the Marktplatz. Michelstadt‘s Medieval Town Hall is so delightfully charming that it’s on one of the national postage stamps! The master builder’s identity still remains a mystery although there are some speculations. As one of my favorite half-timbered houses in Germany, I even bought a miniature replica as part of my Christmas village!

Tip: Combine a visit to Michelstadt with Heppenheim!

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Munich New Town Hall (Neues Rathaus München) – Bavaria

Though you might feel that this city hall is reminiscent of Vienna or even Brussels, the Neues Rathaus in Munich is one of the most iconic landmarks not just in Bavaria but in Germany. Located next to the Old Town Hall, the impressively large square, the Marienplatz, is in thanks to the sheer size of this Flemish Gothic style city hall which has dominated the square since the late 19th century. But beyond the elegance of its appearance, many flock to the city hall for the famous Glockenspiele (Clock chimes) whose figurines having been twirling around since 1908 depicting stories of Munich’s history. For a truly amazing view of the city hall, climb the Peterskirche (Peter’s Church) just opposite, or perhaps even take the elevator up the Rathaus Tower.

Daily at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (the 5:00 p.m. show is omitted from November through February).

Tip: Combine a visit to Munich with Augsburg or Landsberg am Lech!

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Historical City Hall of Münster (Historisches Rathaus Münster) – North Rhine-Westphalia

By: Frau Roxanna from Gypsy with a Day Job

The unique Gothic architecture of the Münster City Hall makes it one of the most stunning Rathauses in all of Germany, as well as one of the most interesting.  The building forms the centerpiece for the Prinzipalmarkt, the main marketplace of the city. This portion of Münster was virtually flattened during WWII, but rather than start anew, the community rebuilt an exact replication to preserve their remarkable history.

Not only was the city once a powerful Bishopric in the Holy Roman Empire, the Rathaus was also a theater of negotiation, and the site of the signing, of the Peace of Westphalia.  This treaty would end two wars, initiate the formation of the sovereign nation of Denmark, and become the foundation of European order that still stands. This treaty is celebrated in a museum and replication of the Peace Room, or Friedensaal, within the Rathaus.

The hall remains a central location for city residents for less global events. At the time of our visit, a traditional pre-wedding event drew a crowd as a young man sought the hand of his beloved.  His love had to be proven by sweeping the steps of the city hall clean, while onlookers tossed obstructions before him. 

Tip: Combine a visit to Münster with Aachen!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Town Hall (Rathaus Rothenburg ob der Tauber) – Bavaria

By: Frau Arzo from Arzo Travels

Rothenburg ob der Tauber has become popular over the last few years and it is no secret it is amazing. One of the main attractions there is the town hall – the Rothenburger RathausIt is located in the town center – in the heart of the Market Square, so it is impossible to miss.
 
Some parts of the buildings date back to the 13th century but the main work, as we know the town hall now, was done in the 16th century. Thanks to some restorations, it is still very well maintained. The foundation was founded way earlier though and dates back to 1240. The town hall has an interesting Renaissance facade which makes it pretty picturesque. 
 
From April to October you can climb up the 220 steps (for a small entrance fee) and enjoy fantastic views over the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
 
Tip: Combine a visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber with Bamberg!
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Wernigerode City Hall (Rathaus Wernigerode) – Saxony-Anhalt

For some unknown reason, many travel guides leave Wernigerode off of the things to see in Germany, yet the town is strikingly beautiful with its ochre-colored, double-spired, half-timbered Gothic town hall. Like something straight out of a fairy tale book, the Wernigerode Town Hall dominates the main square along with other half-timbered buildings with cafes and restaurants encircling the “Benefactor Fountain”. Originally established as a Spelhus (public house) in 1529-1544 after the New and Old Town of Wernigerode had merged and given its own Council Constitution. It was also used for hosting town dances, travelling artists and weddings, which today still take place here. Today, it is often described as “a Pearl of Medieval timber-framed architecture”. Again, I loved the Wernigerode Rathaus so much I bought a mini-replica for my Christmas village!

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So, if you’re looking for road trip inspiration for Germany, look no further. Any of these towns are well worth the visit and are all dominated by their city halls, all the focal points of each. And how could they not be? They’re each so stunning and unique in their own ways, each incorporating symbolism, history and architectural influences from their regions.

Many of these towns make for a perfect scenic drive in Germany through the countryside and several of them can be combined. Each is also well worth a longer stay if you’re looking for vacation ideas for Germany giving you the time you need to explore the most beautiful towns in Germany at a slower pace!

 

If you’re interested in visiting Germany and are looking for more information, I highly recommend using the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide! Without these guides, I would be lost! This is my travel Bible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I might make a little extra spending money, at no extra cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own and these products/services have been found useful during our travels and come highly recommended to you from yours truly!

Other Day Trips in Germany:

40 of the BEST Day Trips from Frankfurt

The Most Picturesque Half-timbered Towns in Germany

The Romantic Castles of King Ludwig II of Bavaria

The ULTIMATE List of Day Trips from Munich

The BEST of Germany’s Romantic Road

The BEST of Bavaria

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Replies to STUNNING City Halls in Germany

  1. Wow this is quite a mammoth guide! Germany really does have some spectacular town halls – I remember one of the first German phrases I learned at school, Wie komme ich am besten zum alten Rathaus? (My grammar is a lot shakier now!) And there’s a good reason, so many wonderful places to discover. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  2. This is a great guide. I’ve seen most of them and they are all beautiful, but my favorite is Neues Rathaus in Munich (probably because it’s my hometown).
    #CityTripping

  3. Germany’s city halls are stunning! I remember coming off the metro at Hamburg and just gawping at the sheer size of the Rathaus!

  4. So many magnificent city halls – what a collection! I love the Bamberg one -such an unusual building. City Halls in the UK are dull buildings generally or else neo classical in design. These are so picturesque and all unique. I haven’t seen any of them I don’t think – I’ve missed out! #CityTripping

  5. We LOVE Aachen. The kids love it, I love it and my husband has presented at a few conferences there to enthusiastic audiences so he loves the place too. Have you visited the AMAZING model train store across the square from the Town Hall? I will have to see if I can make my way around a few more of the city halls in Germany – they are all stunning. #FarawayFiles

  6. They are all pretty as a picture but I think I like the Rathaus at Lüneburg the best. What a beauty! I love wandering through these towns and coming upon these wonderful buildings. I think that’s what I miss about Europe the most. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  7. Oh aren’t these beautiful? I do think that the city halls in Germany are some of the finest in the world. They look like little palaces with their spires, turrets and ornate decorations. Thanks for sharing this great selection. I’ll add it to my file of fabulous things to do in Germany. #FarawayFiles

  8. Such a cool idea for a post! I can´t believe I’ve been to so many places in Germany and yet haven´t seen the most of City Halls in your list! I’ve only been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, Hamburg and Dusseldorf! #feetdotravel

  9. What a great idea for a post! I do love the architecture and some of the city halls are so colorful. Makes me want to visit more of the smaller towns in Germany. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  10. Hmm…they’re all wonderfully unique but I am particularly captivated by the last one – it looks as if it’s from a fairy tale – well, they all do 🙂 I’d love to see them all in person!

  11. I LOVE it when you do European architecture posts. I am right with you on this one, even though I haven’t been to Germany. My favourite town hall in Europe so far (from what I’ve seen) would have to be in Brussels, Belgium. It is so intricately-built, and a little different to these ones in Germany. They’re all so beautiful though. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  12. Wow, what an impressive collection of buildings! Coburg looks the most interesting, I’ll have to add that to my itinerary of places to visit next summer! #Theweeklypostcard

  13. While some of these types of government buildings in Germany were totally or partially destroyed during WWII in some ways it is amazing that they were not all destroyed. To be able to see such beautiful buildings for oneself and know they have survived over so many centuries of history and are still with us as city halls or now as tourist attractions is quite awe-inspiring. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  14. What gorgeous buildings! It’s interesting to see the different architectural styles and influences. Definitely something for everyone! Love Coburg’s colorful town hall, but wow – the palatial Hannover town hall is stunning! Not to mention the quaint half-timbered town halls. Interesting variety, and more than a few places that are working their way into our dream itinerary. 😉 Great collab, frauen!

  15. I love the idea of your post 🙂 and as always it is great. When I am reading it I regret that I don’t travel to Germany more often. Pin fo later. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  16. This is a great collection of city halls! I wish I could live closer to Germany so that I could visit each one of these. I’ve only seen Munich New Town Hall so far and I realize I’m missing a lot. Your blog is a great resource for wonderful places to visit in Germany. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  17. This architecture is incredible, some wonderful photos.

    I’m actually pleased that we have visited a few of these towns, however, my list of towns to visit has just increased by reading this post.

    We’re off to Bremen and Munich later this year so looking forward to seeing the Rathaus there. #farawayfiles

  18. Wow great list! I haven’t spent much time travelling in Germany (more a Southern Europe lover) but will pin this as one day we may explore it a bit more!

  19. Stunning pictures Lorelei! I absolutely adore this traditional architectural style of Germany, and someday I hope to be able to see some of these in person. Thanks for sharing. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  20. Wow, great collection of stunning City Halls! I did not know that the elegance of each city hall portrays the city’s wealth. How fascinating with their interesting architecture. I have not seen any of these and bet they look more spectacular in person. I need to spend more time traveling Germany. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

  21. Am I allowed to have a favourite? Of course I can have a favourite haha Bamberg Old Town Hall is the one for me, although there are a few others which come a close second. I am also a fan of half-timber architecture (I’m from the UK so if course!) so I think that’s why I’m drawn to a few of these beautiful buildings! #feetdotravel

  22. I love Germany and the architecture in the country is so stunning. I really have to make it out to more places and see some of these first hand. Love the Hannover one! Great post!

  23. These really are amazing! The history and architecture that can be found in Europe is something I really miss living in Australia. I love the option to join many of these cities into a scenic drive. I will definitely want to do that when I go to Germany! Can you believe I still haven’t been? 😀

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