We took advantage of today’s beautiful weather to make a day trip in our immediate vicinity. In the research we came across 3 great places, which we all did not know yet and which we were able to combine into a beautiful route: Miltenberg, the castle Mespelbrunn and Aschaffenburg. And so we went a day to Lower Franconia in the northwest of Bavaria 🙂
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The historic town of Miltenberg
Our first stop early in the morning was Miltenberg, a small town on the Main with about 10,000 inhabitants.
Things to know about Miltenberg
The historic Miltenberg is picturesquely embedded on the left knee of the Main quadrangle between the hills of Spessart and Odenwald. Due to its proximity to Frankfurt (75 km), Aschaffenburg (38 km), Würzburg (75 km) and Darmstadt (63 km), numerous visitors flock to Miltenberg, especially on weekends and public holidays. Visitors are attracted by the medieval half-timbered houses, the well-known Schnatterloch and the Mildenburg, which towers over the city.
On the road that leads down from the Main Bridge into the city, we found a free parking space and from here – even before the first breakfast bars opened – we started our tour through Miltenberg.
The historic old town
Our first port of call was the historic market square, also known as the “Schnatterloch” and surrounded by many beautiful half-timbered houses in the centre of the city. In the original sense, the “Schnatterloch” is a gorge-like drainage ditch that led to the Main. The term “Schnatter” derives from the medieval word “snade” (snow or border), because the rainwater moat was originally the city boundary. In the middle of the market is the red sandstone market fountain, built in 1583 by a sculptor. At the end of the square is the Schnatterlochturm in a southerly direction.
When we were at the market square just before 9 a.m., we were the only tourists. Gradually, a few people came to the square, who were looking for a cozy place on the terrace of a breakfast café. That was perfect, because we were able to take photos undisturbed and let this great scenery work on us.
Right next to the market square is the church of St. James, the Catholic parish church of Miltenberg. The church has existed since the 13th century, but over the centuries it has often been rebuilt and expanded. Particularly striking are the classicist towers from 1830, which still play a decisive role in shaping the cityscape to this day. In addition to the Church of St. James, there are other churches in Miltenberg, such as the Franciscan Church on Engelplatz, the Evangelical St. John’s Church and the St. Lawrence’s Chapel with the adjacent St. Lawrence Cemetery.
From the market square we walked along the beautiful, cobbled streets of the old town and passed the old town hall. In addition to its function as a city scale, it used in previous years as a dance and council hall as well as a department store and warehouse, where the merchants passing through had to offer their goods for sale. Today, the Civic Hall is available for events of all kinds.
On the fork main road/giant alley is the picturesque inn and hotel “Zum Riesen” from the 12th century. An inscription on the beautifully decorated facade has revealed to us that this inn is the oldest inn in Germany. After researching a little in the aftermath, we found out that the title “Oldest Inn of Germany” actually claimed two other inns in Germany: the “Herberge zum Löwen” in the Black Forest and the inn “Zum Roten Bären” in Freiburg im Breisgau.
The outer city boundary of Miltenberg is on the one hand the Würzburg Gate in the east of the city and on the other hand the Mainz Gate in the west. Both gates were first mentioned in 1379 and until the 18th century there were still gatekeepers here, who were responsible for the entrance to the city as well as the paving customs.
High above the city is the Mildenburg, which can be reached very easily on foot from the historic market square. The castle, built by the Archbishops of Mainz at the end of the 12th century, was used to secure the position of power and to establish a customs office. The Mildenburg has a varied history of expansion, conquest, destruction, reconstruction and multiple changes of ownership. Today, the Castle Museum presents both ancient art (16th to 19th centuries) and contemporary art (20th and 21st century).
We found the view from the castle, which offers a fantastic view over the Main Valley and Miltenberg, particularly beautiful.
From Miltenberg we went on to the water castle Mespelbrunn, which is about 30 km away, which is hidden in a remote side valley of the Elsava valley in the Spessart. You can find the blog post here.