For a city break that veers away from the traditional tourist destination Memmingen is Germany’s low-key alternative that still has plenty to offer in terms of small-town charm, while making the ideal relaxing base to explore the surrounding regions, while still getting to enjoy the impressive German countryside.
The classiest hotels in Memmingen hide modern luxuries behind historic facades – four-star Hotel Weisses Ross (Salzstrasse 12) is housed in a 15th-century building and attracts most of the city’s well-heeled visitors, although the industrial-minimalist vibe channelled at the RiKu Hotel (Schweizerberg 17) tends to draw a younger, funkier crowd. You only have to drive a short distance from the city centre to find yourself in peaceful countryside dotted with country house hotels. Schloss Lautrach (Schlossstrasse 1, Lautrach) wows guests with its landscaped grounds and outdoor games area, while nearby Gasthof Rössle (Deybachstrasse 16, Lautrach) offers rural charm at budget-friendly prices.
With a population of under 50,000, Memmingen has an atmospheric rather than an extensive shopping district. Most of the larger stores cluster around the area between the main marketplace and the Schrannenplatz, while the pedestrian Kramerstrasse zone houses a small selection of boutiques and traditional craft stalls. Maximilianstrasse has recently undergone a major redesign, and its new Reischmann fashion and sports shop (Maximilianstrasse 12-18) is now the favoured hangout of the town’s young trendies. If you’re looking for a bigger retail fix, then Munich’s countless designer stores and daily markets are just a short drive away from Memmingen’s Allgäu Airport.
Bavarian cuisine is traditionally simple and rustic, and many of Memmingen’s restaurants serve up the warming specialities of the region – but there is diversity here if you know where to look. Historic wine bar Weinstube Weber am Bach (Untere Bachgasse 2) is one of the most sophisticated venues in town, whether you’re planning dinner or just a preprandial aperitif. Tanivera (Hallhof 9), a recently opened Italian eatery in a refurbished building, is gradually acquiring kudos among local gourmands; although if you’re prepared to head into Memmingen’s suburbs then Ristorante Palazzo (Goldhoferstrasse 7) is still considered to be the best Italian in town.
Memmingen in Bloom
Every year on the Saturday before Mothering Sunday, a riotous spring market comes to Memmingen. There are stalls selling wine, flowers, arts and crafts and local produce, as well as a car show, fashion show, dancing and music.
Based on a 400-year-old tradition, this festival celebrates the end of the Bavarian academic year. It features street parades, present-giving and dancing in the market square, as well as a church service aimed at kids of all ages.
This historic tradition originated back when the stream that flowed through Memmingen had to be drained once a year for cleaning. The residents would gather to fish all the trout from the stream, and one of them would be named the ‘Fisher King’. The Fisher Day festival now runs every year, and has barely changed since the day of its inauguration.
Like many German cities, Memmingen celebrates the coming of autumn with a colourful market and fun fair. Amusement arcades, rides, food stalls and live music are just some of the fair’s attractions.
Memmingen’s Christmas Market is only 50 years old, but it’s among the most magical of its kind in Germany. The mayor and the ‘Christ child’ open the market by torchlight before the first Sunday of advent.