Romantic Road Germany
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Nördlingen, Germany

Nördlingen is one of the most attractive of the towns in the central part of the Romantic Road.

As all the tourist guides mention, it shares with its neighbours to the north (Rothenburg and Dinkelsbühl) the distinction of being one of the only remaining walled medieval towns in Germany.

Nördlingen, however, is far less crowded than the other two and offers an additional attraction of geological interest - being located in the crater of a meteorite impact and with its impressive tower being built of the rock formed from that impact.

Nördlingen Germany

How to get to Nördlingen

Air Travel

The closest airports to Nördlingen are located at Munich, Nuremberg, Memmingen and Stuttgart.

Distance to Nuremberg Airport: 111km
Distance to Memmingen Airport: 137km
Distance to Stuttgart Airport: 150km
Distance to Munich Airport: 152km

Although Munich is the most distant option, it is probably the most suitable for those arriving on scheduled flights from further afield. The other airports have varying degrees of options with internal flights or low-cost carriers.

Train Travel

Nördlingen has a railway station to the east of the town. Nördlingen is on a regional rail line, which generally connects to the main rail hubs through the town of Donauwörth to the south.

Where to stay in Nördlingen?

Nördlingen accommodation map

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Nördlingen History

Nördlingen is located near a Roman settlement built on the road north from Augsburg (an important point on the Via Claudia Augusta route from Italy).

The "official" first mention of Nördlingen comes in 898 when "Nordilinga" is used - the 1100th birthday festivities took place in 1998.

Nördlingen grew to prominence because of its importance in trade in the area. It was a Free City and the local fair was one of the most important in this region in the Middle Ages.

The historic centre of Nördlingen Germany

Testimony to that can be seen in the numbers of houses and buildings which still exist that used to house tradesmen's goods or a market for their wares.

The town walls and fortifications had been built in the 14th century and Nördlingen was the site of a battle between Catholic and Protestant forces in the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century. Nördlingen eventually lost its independence and became part of Bavaria at the start of the 19th century and is now the administrative centre of the Donau-Ries area.

Meteorite Crater - Geopark Ries

Nördlingen sits near the impact point of a meteorite which hit the earth around 15 million years ago.

The crater "ring" can be seen quite clearly from the top of the "Daniel" (the church spire, which is itself built from the suevite stone created by the impact). The view to the right is taken from the top of the tower.

The meteor is thought to have been around a kilometre in width and the crater that it formed is one of the best-studied in the world. American astronauts underwent geological training here before their trips to the moon.

It is the site of the National Geopark Ries, which offers group tours and walking trails in the area, as well as the Ries Crater Museum in Nördlingen, with plenty of information about the impact and meteorites.

Museums in Nördlingen

As well as the Ries Crater Museum, Nördlingen boasts some other interesting exhibitions.

The Town Wall Museum is situated in the Löpsinger Tower (pictured on the right) and covers the history of the fortifications around the town.

The Town Museum is located to the north of the town near the Ries Crater Museum and concentrates on the development and economic ups and downs of the town over the centuries.

Outside the town walls and behind the railway station is the Bavarian Railway Museum, with an open-air display of historic rolling stock.

Nördlingen Tourist Office

The Nördlingen Tourist Office is located in the central square area, in the Leihhaus behind the Town Hall. It is open Mon-Fri year round, and on weekends and public holidays in the summer months. Daily guided tours of the town are offered in German in the summertime.