The town’s guiding principles are as progressive as they come, despite the temporal paradox that brings back visitors from the past.

Schmilka has all the elements of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale from the 19th century, including half-timbered houses; a remote location in the wooded hinterland of eastern Germany; pointed rocks encircling the town on one side, and the Elbe River on the other. You have to sprint up and down the village’s only road, which is naturally cobblestoned, in search of a Wi-Fi signal. The structures are around 200 years old, and the beer and meals are prepared using the same old techniques. Schmilka was a well-liked vacation spot 200 years ago, says local art historian Andrea Bigge.

Technically speaking, Schmilka is not a municipality in and of itself, but an enclave of the bigger town of Bad Schandau. However, it’s not difficult to locate a small, secluded country village in a park where mountain climbing and hiking are common activities for environmental lovers.