The Hessian town of Elz was once along a very important trade route between Frankfurt and Cologne during the Middle Ages. Even though the town lost prominence over the centuries, it doesn’t mean the town itself isn’t pretty wonderful to see.
If you’re looking for the quintessential fairytale town, then you’ve found it in Elz. In fact, many of the town’s timber-framed buildings date to around the 17th century. The Rathaus, or Town Hall is a tad older, built in 1561.
Two others that are worth mentioning are the Loer House and the Bausch House. But, just about everywhere you turn around you’ll find that you’ll want to take photos of.
None of these Cinderella-type houses are the town’s landmark; nor is the 13th century Church of St. John the Baptist (this one is right near the Town Hall) or the Chapel of St. John. For that you’ll have to find the medieval Coat of Arms on the courtyard wall of the Monastery Schönau.
You won’t find it all serious business in Elz, as there are quite a few festivals that always make life worth living. The Elzer Kirmes is the St. John the Baptist Church festival on the third weekend of September.
For good eats you’ll want to try the local specialty called Zwetschgenkuchen or plum cake during the Kirmes festival. Don’t worry about pronouncing this plum cake, just eat it with whipped cream, and all will be right with the world. ;-)
At Christmas time the town sets up an outdoor ice skating rink with a 14-day Christmas Market set up around it.
When the weather’s warmer you’ll find plenty of hiking trails along the Westerwald, and an outdoor pool complex with everything from swimming to table tennis and volleyball.
With so much to see and do in Elz, I’m scratching my head wondering why on Earth this town isn’t as popular as it once was.
Oh well, I guess that leaves more room on the ice rink for me and you… ;-)