The German Half-Timbered Houses Route – an ancient, eco-friendly craft

This 2,800km route between the river Elbe and Lake Constance links nearly 100 romantic, atmospheric medieval towns in which different styles of half-timbered architecture are perfectly illustrated.

Solid exteriors, small windows – half-timbered buildings are not only charming, they are also living examples of an aesthetically pleasing and very ecological technique of building with wood. Germany's longest scenic route of international stature is divided into seven regional sections, all offering wonderful insights into the multifaceted, quintessentially German half-timbering craft. In a landscape full of contrasts, spa resorts and festival towns alternate with nature reserves and romantic beauty spots. Germany's half-timbered architecture comes in a wealth of different styles, shapes and colours. This route links a unique heritage of half-timbered buildings, in terms of both quality and quantity, with striking architectural configurations, bold designs, splendid ornamentation and brightly coloured paintwork. This is a journey through 1,000 years of history, and each region has its own recognisable style of construction. In addition to architectural gems, this route offers many cultural riches, such as where Friedrich Schiller was born, where Goethe fell in love with Charlotte, where the Brothers Grimm wrote their fairytales and where äppelwoi cider and bockbier were invented, not forgetting the world's biggest Christmas candle, Germany's only ivory museum and much more besides. Whether you do the trip by bike, car, train or motor home, you're certain to discover why half-timbered buildings in Lower Saxony are so different from those on Lake Constance.

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