Pack the car and get ready to drive Germany’s most beautiful road –
Flickr user ptwo
In the second instalment of my “take to the road” series, I’ll be taking you down Germany’s scenic Romantic Road, one of the country’s most-visited driving routes. I love exploring roads less travelled during my adventures around Europe, but this part of Germany has drawn me back time and time again, whether in spring or during the grape harvest in late summer and autumn. Before departing for any trip, it’s a great idea to do a little research to make sure you don’t miss out on anything exciting, so check out my guide to the Romantic Road.
A little about the road…
In German, the road is called Romantische Straße. It’s 350 kilometres of breath-taking scenery, taking you through some quaint villages and historic cities, and past impressive castles and churches. The Romantic Road isn’t exactly a hidden gem, attracting approximately two million visitors each year. However, even with the crowds, you’ll find this part of Germany to be an incredibly welcoming experience, with plenty of interesting stops along the way. Here are some of my favourite.
The start of the road, Würzburg is a city surrounded by green hillsides, situated around the River Main. It sits within one of Germany’s best and biggest wine producing regions, so it’s a great place to spend a few days before starting your journey on the road. I love visiting the city’s many churches, and there’s also a beautiful 16th century bridge to discover.
The city of Würzburg is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, Residence Palace. A grand baroque palace, it was built between 1720 and 1744, and the interior boasts elaborate marble columns, intricate detailing and a grand staircase, while the outside has beautifully manicured court gardens.Würzburg Residence Palace © Flickr user ptwo
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
One of the Romantic Road’s most popular spots, Rothenburg ob der Tauber boasts timber-frame houses and is one of the best examples of a medieval walled village in Germany. It’s one of Bavaria’s most popular tourist destinations, and if you hang around until after dark, you’ll see the night watchmen as they patrol the city’s walls.
Indulge your sweet tooth…
Don’t miss out on the town’s speciality dessert – schneeballen. Knots of pastry dough are deep-fried and then coated in sugar, creating a really delicious treat! You can also find them with a range of other toppings, one of my personal favourites being chocolate and pistachios. For some of the best schneeballen in town, head to Diller’s Schneeballen.Don’t forget to try some delicious schneeballen when you’re on the road.© Flickr user GoRun26
About halfway down the Romantic Road, Augsburg is the largest city along the route, and is also one of Germany’s oldest. Dating back over 2000 years, the city is home to a stunning cathedral, a Renaissance City Hall and a marionette theatre. Take a well-deserved break from your journey and spend a few hours exploring this magnificent city.
Stretch your legs…
Head west from Augsburg to the city of Ulm and see the incredible Ulm Minster church. Its huge steeple stands at 530 feet high, and it’s even possible to climb the tower and enjoy the panoramic views from the top – but you have to climb the 768 steps first!
Its name comes from the German word for “priest’s corner” and Pfaffenwinkel certainly lives up to this title. With a number of churches and monasteries in the area, you can explore Pfaffenwinkel for hours. Quaint hillside villages surround the Romantic Road, which conveniently passes straight through this small region.
Don’t miss out…
Undoubtedly the most popular church in the Pfaffenwinkel area is the Wieskirche, near Steingaden. Built in a rococo style, this church is an important pilgrimage site and features an opulent gold and white interior.The opulent interior of the Wieskirche.© Flickr user Michael Mertens
The last stop on your Romantic Road trip is the pretty town of Füssen. Found in a picturesque location at the base of the Alps, it’s the perfect place to round off your trip. Spend a couple of days seeing the Gothic castle, abbey and even the nearby ski resort on Tegelberg mountain.
Experience a real-life fairy tale…
Füssen is close to a handful of beautiful castles, but arguably the most impressive is Neuschwanstein Castle. When I first saw it, I was blown away, and you’ve undoubtedly heard of or seen pictures of this famous structure, and may recognise it as the inspiration behind Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty’s fairytale castles at Disney. Sat on a hilltop, it’s known as the “castle of the fairy-tale king” (King Ludwig II). So spend some time exploring this magical place, which was originally built as a private retreat for the king.The final stop, Neuschwanstein Castle is a sight to behold.© Flickr user Rob Faulkner
Start your road trip…
… with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. You can travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, so you can spend more time exploring the roads of Europe.