best hidden towns in europe best hidden towns in the world most charming towns in the world oberstdorf germany

I love nothing more than discovering hidden little gems, whether it’s an under-the-radar designer, a charming restaurant, a giant swan or ice cream sandwich float, or the best little town in Europe you’ve never heard of.

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Or maybe you have. In which case, why didn’t you tell me!?


I also love Little White Dresses and Giant White Marshmallows.

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So I am very excited to share Oberstdorf with you.

hotel bergruh oberstdorf germany




the hills are alive; the best town in  europe you've never heard of

With the exception of Rome and Paris, if we have the chance to be in Europe, we almost always opt to head into the countryside. There’s just nothing quite like it.


And the Alpine countryside in Bavaria, along the German-Austrian border, is the kind of landscape that inspires you to twirl and sing the hills are alive…truly!

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It was here, in the tiny Alpine village of Oberstdorf, that Fred Baby and I spent a blissful summer weekend.


We happened upon this little slice of paradise rather randomly. After a search of “weekend trips from Munich” lead me to Neuschwanstein Castle, I searched only to discover that all hotels in the area were sold out. It suggested similar hotels in another area, Oberstdorf.


After a quick search, I saw that it fit the criteria we were looking for — in the countryside but not more than a few hours drive from Munich. We looked through a few photos — literally less than 12 hours before boarding our flight (nothing like waiting until the last minute!), and on a whim, booked what looked like the nicest hotel, Hotel Bergruh.


After 15 hours of traveling, we landed in Munich around noon on Friday and headed straight for our rental car. A two-hour drive along the most pristine highway ever (this is Germany after all) and we arrived in Oberstdorf, rubbing our bleary eyes partly due to jetlag and partly because we couldn’t quite believe such a storybook place existed.


If you’ve had the good fortune to experience a town like Davos, Switzerland, it’s very similar, but even more quaint. If not, watch the Sound of Music — it’s nearly the same. (Sidenote: Fred Baby has a family home in Scheibbs, Austria, which literally is like the Sound of Music, if you’re interested in exploring more charming towns in Europe you’ve never heard of.)


Oberstdorf is a place where women wear dirndls and men are often seen in lederhosen. A place where if the sweet ringing church bells don’t wake you from slumber, then the melodic cowbells will.

happy cows oberstdorf germany

We had zero agenda for the weekend, other than to relax and revive from our jetlag.


We holed up at the Hotel Bergruh, where we quickly fell into a routine: wake up at the crack of dawn for breakfast at our hotel, hike/walk/explore, lunch at our hotel, nap, dinner, bed. Repeat.

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It was at our hotel’s restaurant that I had the best käsespätzle of my life (like a grown-up version of mac n cheese). Our waiter explained that it was a local specialty, as it contains four different kinds of cheese from the region. He also advised that it’s normally consumed with fresh cracked pepper on top. And I’m so glad he did. The combination reminded me of the most blissful of dishes in Rome, cacio e pepe.

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Speaking of Italian cuisine, the one night we managed to leave our hotel for dinner, we had a lovely cozy meal at Trentino just across the border. Besides the good food, it’s fun to say “Let’s go to Austria for dinner!”


Oberstdorf, Germany’s southernmost town, is a sporty spice’s paradise, a town people come to for the hiking and for the flying. Against the bright blue skies, we spotted not one, not two, but upwards of 20 paragliders soaring above the mountains. If ever a place inspired flight, it is here in this tiny little village in the Alps most of us have never heard of.

While I’m not much of a ski town kind of girl, mostly because I don’t ski and I hate to be cold, I love a good ski town in the summer. The beauty, the pace, the air. But I’m sure it’s magical when covered in the snow too.

giant marshmallows hail bails the alps alpine mountains swiss alps german alps bavaria oberstdorf

Another favorite sight: giant marshmallows sitting plump in the fields.

a tiny little town in the Alps you've never heard of.

I’ve been obsessed with the “giant marshmallows” (which are actually bales of hay) since our first trip to Switzerland, where the large white dumplings dot the verdant green rolling hills, so it was an extra sweet treat to spot them again.

giant marshmallows bails of hay switzelrand germany oberstdorf germany

If you are looking for a storybook escape where life is simple, breathtaking and peaceful, an Alpine village like Oberstdorf in the summertime can’t be beat.

For our Alpine adventures in Bavaria, I wore a modern dirndl of my own (re: a floaty white babydoll dress). Here’s where you can get the look…


Dress: Maeve | Shoes: old but similar | Sunglasses: Zara (not available online but love this pair & this pair)

Photos: Fred Moser

Let’s keep in touch!


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