Germany does plenty of things well. At the top of that list just might be medieval villages.
I mean, let’s be real. This is why most folks from overseas travel to Germany. A stop in Berlin or Munich is a nice bonus. But what people really want is to traipse around medieval cobblestones in quaint villages older than the countries they came from.
So let’s give the people what they want. Let’s go to Quedlinburg.
Where is Quedlinburg?
Quedlinburg is in the northern-central heart of Germany just outside of the Harz Mountains. Berlin or Leipzig are the closest big cities to the village.
Want more Germany? Read my guide on the places to visit in Germany off the beaten path.
How to get to Quedlinburg
You can get to Quedlinburg from anywhere in Germany. But your easiest connection will come out of Berlin. The journey is roughly 3.5 hours with one transfer in Magdeburg. The transfer window is usually long enough that you shouldn’t have to worry too much about delays forcing you to miss your train to Quedlinburg.
On the whole, it’s a simple, pleasant ride into town. But due note that the main train station in Quedlinburg is roughly a kilometer outside of the city center. So you do have a little bit of a schlep ahead of you with your bags once you arrive.
Best time of year to visit Quedlinburg
Like most of Germany, summer will be the most popular time of year to visit Quedlinburg if you want a better shot at sunny skies and agreeable weather for walking around in town and in the nearby Harz Mountains. That said, the Christmas markets during the wintertime are supposed to be nice, for those who enjoy such things.
Things to do in Quedlinburg
The main thing to do in Quedlinburg is simply to walk around and enjoy the city. It really is the stuff of postcards. But below, I’ll give you some things to walk to.
If you’re in Quedlinburg for the medieval vibes (sans actual medieval plagues, of course), then chances are you also want to see some castles in Germany. Quedlinburg Castle is on the more modest spectrum of German castles, but it does have a lovely garden and castle wall from which you can look out over the city.
Hike the Harz Mountains
The Harz Mountains are without question my favorite part about Quedlinburg and visiting this region. It’s a wonderful landscape with thick forests that birthed plenty of legends of witchcraft and such. That’s why you’re likely to find witch sculptures and kitsch all around the region.
The easiest way to access it is to hop on the regional train back at the Quedlinburg Station for just three stops to Thale Hauptbahnhof (main station). In Thale, it’s a short walk west to enter the park. If you’re feeling extra sporty, you can head out on a hike or run along the Harzer-Hexen-Stieg –– The Harz Witches’ Trail that stretches 100 kilometers across the Harz Mountains. (I hiked it once before.)
Restaurants in Quedlinburg
Culinary options in small-town Germany, naturally, vary drastically from their big-city counterparts. Your options will primarily be German food, Italian, and sometimes, one Greek restaurant decked in every stereotypically ancient Greek kitsch. Quedlinburg is no different, but they’ve also got a couple of famous cheesecake cafés with supposedly a bit of a rivalry.
Café & Restaurant am Finkenherd and Vincent – Café & Käsekuchenbäckerei
This article, in German, basically describes a bitter dispute between the owners of Café & Restaurant am Finkenherd and Vincent – Café & Käsekuchenbäckerei. It’s a classic argument of who has the original cheesecake recipe and it’s the kind of story I’m usually interested in learning more about. But when I reached out to the respective owners, neither wanted to talk to me about the ordeal.
Still, I figured we could try the cheesecake and compare! And as I describe in the video above, we got turned away from Café & Restaurant am Finkenherd. A man smoking a cigarette stood at the doorway and just shook his head at us when we tried to enter. I asked if it was full and he nodded.
It was, in a word, bizarre.
So we went across the way to Vincent and tried a variety of cheesecakes that you can see in the video. Despite their terse rejection to speak with me via email, they were quite jovial in person and we enjoyed ourselves profusely.
Every German town has a brewery and this is the one for Quedlinburg. I can’t speak about the food. We only came for a quick drink before dinner. But the beer did the trick and its exactly the kind of German ambiance you want in a small village like Quedlinburg.
Weinstube am Brühl
This is one of the nicer restaurants in Quedlinburg where you’ll get white plates topped with beautifully prepared dishes, the sauces splattered on the sides like an abstract painting. And just for your knowledge, “Weinstube” means “wine bar.” So if that’s your jam, then do peruse their wine menu and ask for the good stuff.
Remember how I mentioned that a good number of small German towns and villages have a kitschy Greek restaurant? Well, this is it for Quedlinburg! Except, this one isn’t too kitschy beyond the name written in some kind of warped Greek script. It’s housed in a traditional Quedlinburger half-timbered building and you can sense that inside. (It can get cozy.) There’s a friendly taverna-style vibe, making it a great spot for a casual dinner with friends while visiting Quedlinburg.
Named after the famous German writer, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (they love him around these parts of Germany), Schiller’s is a dependable destination for a solid meal with friendly staff and diverse dishes.
Le Feu – Der Flammkuchen in Quedlinburg
I’ve been here a couple of times, specifically for lunch. You’ll find it in a scenic, medieval courtyard leading into the high-rounded ceilings of the place. You can get pizza here if you want a break from the German fare or you can double down with Flammkuchen, which is essentially German flatbread pizza.
Hotels in Quedlinburg
I’m not usually an Airbnb guy. But when you’re traveling with an odd number of people, it can make sense. That’s what happened on my second visit to Quedlinburg. We traveled with a third person, so getting an Airbnb with two bedrooms was the most affordable option. Plus it was nice to stay in an actual apartment in such an old town. Now that I’m typing this, I think I’ve generally had better luck with Airbnb in small towns than in big cities. Take from that what you will.
That said, I have stayed at a hotel in Quedlinburg.
Romantik Hotel am Brühl
This is where I stayed on my first visit, which was kind of a silly choice considering the name and I was traveling solo. As the name indicates, it was, indeed, a romantic hotel meant to celebrate love and such. But as I said, I was traveling solo. It’s never not weird to check into a romantic hotel when you’re alone.
That caveat aside, it was a very lovely four-star hotel. So I can happily recommend it if you’re traveling with a partner. (Or a throuple. It’s the 21st century! Who am I to judge?)