Ellwangen is slightly off the main tourist trail (thank God) but very close to the A7 Autobahn. I discovered it and the Roter Ochsen many years ago on the way from Italy to Northern Germany. On my most recent visit, I noticed many changes, including a pedestrianised town centre which makes for a very pleasant and relaxing environment.
Ellwangen was and is a major episcopal seat; the prince bishops were very powerful in Swabia and the town retains many splendid ecclesiastical buildings.
The family-owned Roter Ochsen Hotel is central, its front door leading right to the pedestrianised town centre. The main building is hundreds of years old but a new modern extension has been built at the rear, with an underground car park. Our room was in the new building, spacious and well-appointed and spotlessly clean. An ample breakfast was served in the main building, with hot and cold choices. Some patrons were clearly businessmen but there were also private (mostly) German guests, for the weekend.
I can recommend both Ellwangen and the Roter Ochsen. We had our bicycles with us and there is plenty of choice for good cycling routes in the area, often with challenging hills. In May, the area was fairly quiet. Ellwangen is also a good base for other regional sights, such as the Porsche and Mercedes museums in Stuttgart, the medieval town of Dinkelsbuhl and the Swabian Alps.
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