Our Romantic Road, Germany

In Europe, Germany, Our Journeys, Road Trips, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

A road trip along the Romantische Straße not to be rushed

Germany’s Romantic Road or to give it its correct name Romantische Straße is a magnificent picturesque trail in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The enchanting route stretches 285 miles (460km) through chocolate-box towns, the foothills of fairy-tale castles and scenery that will stop you in your tracks.

Looking past the orange ochre painted Hohenschwangau Castle to the white Schloss Neuschwanstein in the Bavarian hillside against a backdrop of mountains

Schloss Neuschwanstein high on the hillside in Bavaria

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Gary and I have visited this region of Germany on several occasions, often picking up the Romantic Road and winding our way through the breath-taking countryside. Though, sometimes it’s the lure of a twisting alpine lane that leads you off onto another meandering route.
 
So, don’t worry if you end up deviating from the official trail, take it in your stride and weave your back later.

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Where to start?

Well, to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter, as it really depends on where you’re coming from and which locations take your fancy. As there are so many beautiful places to choose from. We’ve covered sections of the Romantic Road from north to south, south to north and also jumped on it in the middle.

White, frosted, trees contrast against the stone city walls of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  There are several towers in the wall, each with a terracotta tiled spire.

A wintery scene in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Officially there are two towns where the Romantische Straße starts and finishes. These are Würzburg in the north and Füssen in the south, which is actually within yodelling distance of Austria. So, you could even nip across the border and tour around some Austrian alpine lanes too.

Looking across lush green long grass on the banks of a lake in front of Dinkelsbühl's medieval walls with the old town visibile.

Dinkelsbühl Medieval walls and Faulturm

In total, there are 29 towns that you can visit along the route, and all with their own unique tales to tell. I’ve come to realise that on our few visits we’ve only just scratched the surface. There is so much intriguing history to uncover from centuries past.

A reference guide

I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them  extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.


Würzburg

Out of simplicity on my part, I’m going to start at the northernmost location that Gary and I visited along the Romantic Road. We will then wind our way south through the enchanting highlights along the way.

Strolling across the cobbled old main bridge in Würzburg on a damp, grey, day.  The bridge is intersected on either side by stone statues of religious figures.

Walking across the Alte Mainbrücke in Würzburg

The city of Würzburg is a delightful place to start, take a stroll around the streets of the Old Town to really get a feel of Bavarian history and culture. Visit the eye-catching Romanesque Würzburg Cathedral and one of the cities, many museums and galleries.

Looking across from the old main bridge in Würzburg to a riverside restaurant with a waterwheel dipping into the river.

On the Alte Mainbrücke in Würzburg

The part of the city that we loved was down by the River Main. Strolling across the Old Bridge, you get a wonderful view of the Marienberg Fortress perched high above the town. As Würzburg is located in the heart of a wine-producing territory, what better place to stop and enjoy a tipple of the region.

Did you know?

That the striking Baroque Residence Palace in Würzburg has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is an extremely popular location along the Romantic Road route, and it is so easy to see why.
 
When you first step within the Medieval city walls that encircle the town, you feel like you have walked onto a movie set. The beautifully preserved half-timbered homes and shopfronts are enchanting and just make you smile.

A selection of typical buildings lining Marktplatz in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.  Each building is in a different muted colour, with shop signs in a uniform script font.

A view across Marktplatz

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a town you’ll need to spend some time discovering. It’s incredible that such places still exist and can honestly give you a flavour of the Medieval past.
 
You may even recognise Rothenburg ob der Tauber from some of the scenes in movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When you visit, see if you can spot the Rat Catchers carriage.

Looking along a cobbled lane on a through an archway on a frosty day. This is one of the routes into  Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Entering the town from the south

A view along one of the cobbled streets that lead into Rothenburg ob der Tauber through a gatehouse in the base of a tower.  Alongside the tower is a typical, half-timbered, house with the steep roof of this area.

The Siebersturm in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

One of the local delicacies you must try here is the Schneeball. It’s made from strips of shortcrust pastry rolled into a ball and often covered with different flavourings. Be warned it’s messy, and it’s filling, but it’s fun.

Day trip from Munich

If you’re in Munich and would love to have a taster of the countryside beyond, then jump on this enchanting day trip. You’ll not only be touring along the Romantic Road; you’ll also get the chance to visit the medieval walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.


Dinkelsbühl

Dinkelsbühl is another striking town along the Romantic Road and was lucky enough to be spared the devastation of WWII. So, the bountiful number of colourful half-timbered buildings lining the medieval streets is just incredible.

The main route through Dinkelsbühl with the typical three-storey buildings, with steep roofs and shops and restaurants occupying the lower floors.  Each building is a different, muted, colour

On the Romantische Straße at Dinkelsbühl

Dinkelsbühl is also very fortunate that it still has its all-encompassing city walls and ramparts. What I particularly loved here was the number of city gates that are preserved. You are still able to drive through some of the tower gates. Each of them is named after the neighbouring town that the road leads onto.

The river view from the edge of Dinkelsbühl with two of its historic towers reflected in the water.

The water around Dinkelsbühl

Along the city walls of  Dinkelsbüh towards the Bäuerlinsturm tower.

Bäuerlinsturm

You may be thinking that these attractive locations must get so busy and you’re right they do. However, all you have to do is head one or two lanes back, and it is so tranquil. You can then wander by the ancient walls admiring the local homes and their beautifully kept courtyard gardens.

Why not?

Start creating your own Romantic Road adventure by flying into Munich with easyJet or British Airways.
 
Or alternatively, like us discover more of Germany on a road trip. If your venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle and head east. Although, if you’re unable to bring your own car or you are flying into this lovely country give Rental Cars go.

Nördlingen

Now, what is a little different about Nördlingen is that it has been built within an ancient crater. It is believed that 15 million years ago a meteorite fell and formed the Ries crater, which was 1km wide, and now it is home to Nördlingen.

The historic Rathaus of Nördlingen in a sandy colour with an orange tiled roof.

The historic Rathaus of Nördlingen

Also just likes its neighbours further north along the Romantische Straße of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl. Nördlingen is another rare example of medieval town entirely encircled by its ancient walls and towers.

An ornate stone fountain topped with an iron eagle in the centre of Nördlingen

The Kriegerbrunnen, or Warrior fountain

The pedestrianised centre of Nördlingen with water jets erupting in front of a cafe against the backdrop of a historic, half-timbered, building

Streetlife in Nördlingen

Admittedly Nördlingen isn’t quite as drop-dead gorgeous as its sister towns, but nonetheless, it has plenty of charm. We strolled all around the ancient lanes, around the Tanners District and up and around the ramparts. Finishing in the lovely Marktplatz amongst the Rathaus and Tamzhaus.

Useful tips

If you are planning a trip to this beautiful part of the world, then take a look at the Romantische Straße website. It’s full of handy information about each location en-route.

Augsburg

Augsburg is one of the few cities along the route, and it is also one of Germany’s oldest towns. It was founded in 15 BC by the Romans and named after the emperor Augustus.

A view from the corner of  Rathausplatz in Augsburg past a cafe's table and chairs towards the city's historic town hall.  The Rathaus has two verdigris domes and sits alongside a church with a matching tower

The view from the corner of Rathausplatz in Augsburg

Like so many German towns and cities, the heart is often in the Rathausplatz and Augsburg is no exception. Within the large square is the imposing Town Hall; however, you need to head inside to appreciate truly its magnificent Golden Hall.
 
The main road that runs through Augsburg Old Town is Maximilianstrasse, also known as ‘The Imperial Mile’. I recommend you start at the south end and stroll all the way along; it is full of so many historical buildings, fountains and churches.

Creeping plants climb up one edge of the uniform homes in the historic Fuggerei housing project in Augsburg.

Fuggerei in Augsburg

While in Augsburg be sure to head to the Fuggerei as it is fascinating to see. It is the first social housing settlement in the world and was founded in 1521. Parts of the quaint complex are now a museum. However, it still has 150 residents who continue to pay the original annual rent of a Rhine Guilder, (which today is 0.88 Euros).

Something to make your travels easier?

  • 6-Port Desktop USB Charging Station

  • Mini Dual USB Car Adapter

  • Portable Charger 2 USB Ports Power Bank

  • Bose SoundLink Revolve, Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • USB rechargeable LED Flashlight

  • Collapsible Water Bottle

Füssen

We’ve come to the end of the road, or the beginning if you’re just starting out. Füssen is such an attractive and colourful town, and when you stroll through the cobbled streets, you have no doubt that you are in Bavaria. You can even grab your lederhosen and dirndls here.

A pedestrian street in the old town of Füssen, lined with tables & chairs of cafes on the right, and the imposing high castle on the hill above.

Strolling through Füssen towards Hohes Schloss

We stayed in Füssen for a couple of nights, one day we went out and about and explored the surrounding countryside. The other day, yes you guessed it, we visited the stunning fairy-tale castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.

Looking up at Schloss Neuschwanstein against a backdrop of the wooded mountains of Bavaria.

Looking up at Schloss Neuschwanstein

These two castles are enchanting and an absolute must to visit, and highly recommend the guided tour. Although, arrive early as they get rather busy.

Visiting the castles from Munich

If you're in Munich and fancy visiting the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace in one trip, grab your ticket here, and you’ll skip the queues.


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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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