If you haven’t heard of Schwäbisch Hall you are not alone but don’t let its obscurity stop you from visiting.
So Schwäbisch Hall is not one of those towns that you will find on must-see lists. I think that’s the beauty of it as it isn’t touristy at all but authentically German.
With its beautiful half-timber buildings and cobblestone streets, you’ll fall in love in an instant. The town may not be known by a lot of tourists, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a German that doesn’t know Schwäbisch Hall.
Where is Schwäbisch Hall
Next to Maulbronn, and Bamberg Schwäbisch Hall is one of my favorite towns in Germany. The town of Schwäbisch Hall lies in the valley of the Kocher river. It’s a historic town that once flourished with salt production dating back to medieval times.
The saltworks closed down in 1925, but the small town still flourishes, especially with all the students that come here to study German at the Goethe-Institute.
Its medieval roots are still visible by its towers, wooden bridges, Fachwerk houses (half-timber houses) cobblestone streets and partially preserved city wall. Upon entering it, I felt like I was entering a time warp that threw me back 800 years.
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Strolling Through Schwäbisch Hall
I found the varying architectural styles of Schwäbisch Hall fascinating. Next to the Fachwerk houses is a Baroque City Hall. The steps of the city hall are converted to a stage in summer when the town has its annual open-air theatre. I didn’t get to experience it first-hand but I have been assured that if you love theatre then it’s worth coming to see it.
Across from that is the Roman-Gothic St. Michael’s Church. I was in awe of so many different architectural styles in one marketplace! There is such a mix of styles that it feels like you are walking through a time-lapse. As you can imagine, my imagination had a great workout here.
Much of the town center is still in its original state, which considering that the town did see a cascade of soldiers through World War II and once the Allies had taken control, is pretty amazing.
St. Michael’s Church is worth a visit in itself. I can normally be in and out of a church in a matter of minutes, but this one held my attention with its interesting artifacts, including a mass leg bone grave dating back from the middle ages.
The bones were uncovered during an archeological dig and yeah, it is a little creepy but adds to the medieval town charm in its own way.
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And did I mention that there are a lot of Fachwerk houses…
The Residents & Culture
I find these houses with their laundry hanging out to dry adorable. They remind me of something out of a fairytale movie. Again, it’s the time warp effect I think. It really does get my imagination and creativity going.
Perhaps these houses with their hanging washing are inhabited by some of the 2000+ students who study German at the renowned Goethe Institute. I can’t think of a more picturesque setting for learning German. Not to mention the German air of the place, it’s so … German.
Despite having a population of just under 40,000, Schwäbisch Hall residents represent over 100 different countries. I don’t blame them… I mean who wouldn’t love this quaint little town with all its old charm? Maybe sometime in the future, I might consider moving here myself.
Although the town no longer has its saltworks, the locals still celebrate the salt festival which happens annually. The town gathers around the market square and enjoys a few days and nights of festivities. It is an age-old tradition that is still carried on today.
What Else is There To Do in Schwäbisch Hall?
The area around Schwäbisch Hall is rich with culture, history and some great hiking and biking trails. Once you’ve explored the town I suggest you inquire at your hotel about some of the trails nearby and enjoy the scenery and the fresh air.
Don’t forget to enjoy a local beer or wine at the pub and enjoy the local Schwabish cuisine that is hearty and filling, not to mention absolutely delicious.
Accommodation in Schwäbisch Hall
Romantik Hotel Der Adelshof is perfectly located in the town center. The hotel has a stone facade and a traditionally furnished interior that are perfect considering the medieval setting. You can hire bikes from the hotel to explore the town or inquire at the front desk about hiking trails in the area.
Hotel Kronprinz is located just 5 minutes away from the main train station. The balcony rooms offer beautiful views of the old town square. Enjoy some R&R in the wellness spa that is located in the hotel’s historic cellar. As a plus, especially if your visiting in the colder season, the bathrooms have heated flooring.
Hotel Sonneck is known for its cozy rooms and its restaurant that serves simple down-to-earth meals common to the region as well as locally sourced wine. Guests are free to enjoy the onsite game room as well as the terrace where they enjoy views of the town.
Stadt-gut-Hotel Gasthof Goldener Adler is situated in a 15th-century building that is half-timber. This beautiful hotel is located in the Marktplatz just 300m away from the Kocher river embankment. Enjoy Schwabish meals on the summer terrace which is on the market square. Bike hire is available from the hotel and you can inquire about hikes and walks.
Schwäbisch Hall might be off the beaten path, but once you visit I can guarantee you’ll want to come back again and again.