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This village between Rothenburg and Bad Mergentheim is just an overnight. Stop in the early afternoon, walk through the town, climb up to the castle, and you've seen it. However, the food at the recommended hotel here, the Krone, is so good you may want to make Niederstetten your headquarters for car day trips over the maze of tiny back roads to towns such as Rothenburg, Bad Mergentheim, Tauberbischofsheim and Creglingen. Even Würzburg is daytripable.

From Niederstetten, follow the Vorbach river north for about 10 kilometers and you’re in Weikersheim, which has a fine market square that adjoins the rather spectacular 16th-17th century Schloss Weikersheim. Its meticulously-kept grounds are extensive with formal gardens and statuary. Indoors, the Knight’s Hall is much praised.

For some great country driving, proceed west to Dörzbach, then along the twists and turns of the Jagst river to Krautheim, Schöntal and Möckmühl. From there you can head north through Adelsheim and angle back east to Bad Mergentheim, Weikersheim and back down to Niederstetten.

Hotel Krone

Clean, comfortable guestrooms in a modern style more reminiscent of business conferences than German country charm. Still, it’s family-run and a fine value. The restaurant is a cut above, getting a deserved red Karte designation from Michelin. Most main dishes are in the €14-€20 range. Winners for us were juicy Zwiebelrostbraten (steak and crispy onions), with wondrous roasted potatoes, and four thick lamb chops baked to rosy perfection and accompanied by butter-laden gratin potatoes under a crust of cheese. A half-liter of local red wine is about €10 and draft beer costs €2.1. Try to avoid the English menu as it doesn't list all the dishes available.

Hotel Gasthof Krone Markplatz 3, D-97996, Niederstetten, tel. +49/07932/8990, fax 89960, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Doubles from €88

This is a part of Germany rich in back roads and interesting villages. A great euro-beater option is take a vacation rental for a week. There is good selection at the tourist office website. One that looks attractive is unit #2 of Ferienwohnung Siedler (tel. +49/07932/8361), which comes with kitchen, bedroom, tiled bath, living room, balcony, and regional decor at the extraordinary price of €25 per night. Even at our current nasty exchange rate that’s $271 for two persons for a week in very pleasant surroundings.