Miltenberg sits by the River Main in Bavaria, 45 miles southeast of Frankfurt in southern Germany, located on a narrow strip of land between the river and the Odenwald mountain range. Indeed, this strategic location has been of massive importance for thousands of years, though it would be the Romans who would build the first lasting fortifications, the Limes. Of course, where there is strategy there is usually a castle and it was such a structure that the town itself grew up around, being founded around 1200. As the town developed, so did its reputation for popular pink sandstone and the legacy of this sought-after commodity can been seen as you explore Miltenberg’s beautiful Old Town.
Miltenberg is a solid slab of German history packed with traditional cross-timbered houses, Franconian restaurants, bakeries and shops – as well as what is believed by many to be the oldest inn in Germany, Zum Riesen. Elaborate signs hang from the shop fronts, unique weathervanes decorate the rooftops, and the town’s streets are packed with historic statues and emblems. The town’s most prominent landmark however, has to be the aforementioned castle, which as well as being a fascinating place to explore offers an informative museum and some beautiful gardens, not to mention some incredible views, too. Other prominent landmarks include the twin towers of St Jakobus’ Church, built from distinctive pink stone which the town became so well-known for and the Mainz and Wurzburg gates, which mark the entrance to the Old Town.
The Old Town is filled with charming timber-framed buildings, one of the most prominent being the Haus zum Riesen (The Giant) on the Haupstrasse. A remarkable grey gasthaus dating back to 1190, it still features old-fashioned rooms with beamed ceilings and is well known for serving traditional Bavarian food and drink – veal sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels and locally brewed beer take pride of place on the menu, although the area also has a good reputation for wine.
The picturesque centre is home to the town museum, the old town hall and the Schnatterloch (historic marketplace), which lights up at Christmas as only a German Christmas market can. Miltenburg is no slouch in summer either, with the Old Town Festival (Altstadtfest) being held on the first weekend of July and the newly renovated Mildenburg Castle being one of two venues hosting the annual Mildenburger Theatertage (Theatre Days), which usually takes place in the second half of July.
Miltenburg is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Bavarian fare, with the historic architecture and authentic atmosphere to match, so it’s well worth taking time out to sit back and drink it all in.