Drive the Romantic Road in Germany and Rev Up Your Engine

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Everything You Need to Know About Germany’s Romantic Road

The Romantic Road is a picturesque route connecting over twenty-four charming Bavaria towns. The term “Romantic Road” was coined in the 1950s to describe this 350-kilometer (approximately 217-mile) stretch of highway in southern Germany. Specifically, the Romantic Road denotes the route between Würzburg and Füssen. Consequently, it is often called the “Romantic Road for Couples in Love.” Here’s everything you need to know about Germany’s Romantic Road.

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Drive the Romantic Road in Germany

The Romantic Road originated as a trade route during the Middle Ages. However, Germany’s Romantic Road still retains much of its old-world charm. Consequently, the road winds through forgotten sections of the countryside. It connects walled towns and picturesque villages. You can drive alongside beautiful vineyards and clear, glass-like ponds. Ultimately, the rolling hills continue until you reach the majestic foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Many travelers enter the medieval towns through an arched gateway with guard towers and cobblestone streets. Drive the Romantic Road in Germany, and you’ll find awe-inspiring gothic cathedrals, half-timbered houses, and fachwerk houses.

Starting Point:
Würzburg, 75 miles southeast of Frankfurt

End Point:
Füssen (Castle Neuschwanstein), 82 miles southwest of Munich

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Romantic Road Germany itinerary

Würzburg and the Residenz Palace

Würzburg is located in the heart of the stunning Franken wine-growing region. The town is famous for its exceptional wines, gourmet restaurants, colorful wine festivals, and delicious wines.

The architectural gem of Würzburg is the Residenz Palace. It is universally considered one of the three most beautiful castles in Europe. Vienna’s Schoenbrunn and Versailles in Paris are the other two. Take a tour and marvel at Tiepolo’s ceiling frescos, the Grand staircase, and the dreamy gardens. And end the day in the wine-tasting cellar. The Würzburg Residenz conducts daily English language tours at 11 am and 3 pm. The gardens are free to the public.

Click here to read why about the Christmas Markets or German Weihnachtsmarkts and why you should visit.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of my favorite towns along the Romantic Road, and perhaps in all of Germany. It is widely considered to be one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the country. The name “Rothenburg ob der Tauber” translates to “Red Fortress above the Tauber”, and the town’s fortified city center is stunningly picturesque. We took a walk along the medieval wall that surrounds the old city center and ascended the narrow staircase of the historic Town Hall, which rewarded us with a breathtaking view of the town square below.

In Rothenburg ob der Tauber, it feels like Christmas all year round! The Kaethe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village immerses visitors in the festive spirit by bringing together all the sights and sounds of Christmas in one enchanting location. If you’re a military member, don’t forget to bring your military ID to receive a 10% discount. Additionally, presenting a Rick Steves Travel Guide will grant you an extra 10% off. VAT forms are also accepted for those eligible. Visit the German Christmas Museum to ogle over the traditional and fantastical: ornaments, exhibits from the 19th and 20th centuries, Christmas towers, and more.

Traffic is prohibited in the historic district from 11:00 am – 04:00 pm and 07:00 pm – 6:00 am

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Dinkelsbühl

The old town of Dinkelsbühl boasts 16 fortified medieval towers and several authentic city gates. Ultimately, it is a mandatory stop along the Romantic Road in Germany. Dinkelsbühl also boasts an amazingly intact ring wall. You can tour the historic town with the night watchman. Drive the Romantic Road in Germany and stroll the medieval streets under the illumination of a handheld lantern.  The free tour begins at 9.00 pm daily from St. George’s Minster (Easter to October).

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Augsburg

Augsburg is the perfect place to encounter the legacy of the Romans and the wealthy traders from the Middle Ages. Arguably the second oldest city after Trier, Augsburg is living history. Moreover, Augsburg’s 2000-year-old past comes to life in the historical city center. Additionally, the city’s baroque townhouses, splendid boulevards, and traditional restaurants captivate the imagination.

Pfaffenwinkel

Pfaffenwinkel or “Pastor’s Corner” is famous for its churches and pristine landscapes. The Wieskirche (White Church in the Meadow) in Steingaden is a must-see. The church is deep inside the Bavarian countryside. It’s a magnificent 18th-century rococo masterpiece. Located essentially in the middle of nowhere, invoking a sense of secluded romance.

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Fussen

Aka Cinderella’s Castle

Regrettably, it falls short of its hype. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth seeing. The 19th palace sits on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau. However, the number of annual visitors makes it one of the highlights of the Romantic Road in Germany. Nevertheless, Neuschwanstein offers much more than a dramatic backdrop. It was also constructed with non-medieval amenities such as flush toilets and hot and cold running water. Nonetheless, the castle remains uninhabited and incomplete.

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Need to Know

  • Neuschwanstein has 6,000 visitors a day during the summer; so the best time to visit is spring or fall.
  • The walk up to Neuschwanstein is not stroller friendly; however, transportation is available for a small fee.
  • For the best panoramic pictures, take the walk up to Mary’s bridge. The bridge crosses a spectacular waterfall and gives you a breathtaking view of Neuschwanstein and the plains beyond.
  • Do not take pictures or videos inside the castle.

You can follow the Romantic Road, and your heart, to unspoiled nature. You’ll find picturesque towns with thick city walls, time worn-medieval towers, and medieval castles. And maybe you’ll find your very own once upon a time experience.

The Romantic Road Tourist Association

The Romantic Road Tourist Association offers day trips from Frankfurt (to Wurzburg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber). Other tours from Munich (to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castles) are also available. They also offer a shopping excursion to the Romantic Road Outlet Stores from Frankfurt.

For more information on the Romantic Road and the day trips above, go to www.romantischestrasse.de.

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This article was first printed in the Summer 2011 issue of the Stars and Stripes Welcome to Europe Guide.

Comments

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yup, my old best friend said the same thing, She had the impression Germany was so dark. Wrong, its so beautiful. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

  1. Sundeep

    It looks like awesome place to spend holidays. Germany is really a beautiful country. An avid traveler myself, I would love to visit this place.

  2. David Elliott

    This road through Germany just looks so amazing. I know I have wanted to go there, but there is just something amazing and beautiful in all of your pictures and just makes it such a romantic journey. That’s awesome.

  3. blair villanueva

    Thanks for sharing this romantic road in Germany, I think one of the best experience everyone should experience. I would to have this with my Amore, Oh Germany we will meet soon!

  4. Laurie Gannon

    Your post is giving me romantic thoughts about the Romantic Road. I am in love with your photos! They are absolutely stunning. I hope to visit the area some day and write it a love letter.

    I’m swooning. And I am embarrassing myself! 🙂

  5. Wander With Ola

    Wow, the sceneries look absolutely beautiful! Würzburg and Dinkelsbühl are stunning! I’ve never been to these places before. I should add them to my bucket list! Thank you for sharing this!

  6. TessaG

    Great review, I absolutely loved Germany when we visited! We even went to Berlin, shortly after the wall came down- the destruction to large buildings was insane – I don’t think a single church had a steeple, and there were cranes everywhere!

  7. Anna

    Oh my gosh this is such a beautiful
    Place. Love the scenery and colors. I would love for my husband and I to drive there. Makes
    Me want to visit this place.

  8. Anna

    Oh wow what a beautiful places. Makes me want to come visit. Love the colors and just by looking at the photos you shared I created a lot of my travel dream there lol. Really it’s so pretty. Oh my gosh.

  9. Joanna

    I would really love to drive on this road and stop in every single village on it. They look so pretty and colorful with all those flowers! I have only been to Berlin in Germany but didn’t really like it.

  10. Catalina

    These are magic places. There are no words to describe how beautiful they are. I love Rothenburg ob der Tauber! Seems to be a fairy tale!

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