Hugging a tight bend in the Altmühl River, Eichstätt radiates a tranquil Mediterranean-style flair with cobbled streets meandering past elegantly Italianate buildings and leafy piazzas. Italian architects, notably Gabriel de Gabrieli and Maurizio Pedetti, rebuilt the town after Swedes razed the place during the Thirty Years War (1618–48) and it came through WWII virtually without a graze. Since 1980 many of its baroque facades have played host to faculties belonging to Germany’s sole Catholic university.
Eichstätt is pretty enough, but is really just a jumping off and stocking up point for flits into the wilds of Altmühltal Nature Park. You'll be chomping at the bit, eager to hit a trail or grab a paddle, if you stay more than a day.