Romantic Settings the Scent of Vineyards and Alpine Charm in Germany
08 April, 2016
Fantastic medieval castles, beautiful scenery, enchanting villages, splendid vineyards, tasty cuisine and a touch of romanticism – what more could you want in a getaway? Well, all that and more awaits you on one of the most popular itineraries in Germany, known as the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße, in German).
The route starts at Würzburg, which lies about 110 kilometres south-east of Frankfurt, and ends in Füssen, 82 kilometres south-west of Munich. Between those two points, you will come across over 60 towns and villages steeped in culture, as well as stunning scenery. In all, an itinerary covering some 400 kilometres to savour what was once an important trade route in the Middle Ages and, since 1950, one of the leading tourist magnets in Germany.
The Main Sightseeing Spots
As there is a lot to see on that long trip, we have made a selection of the places we consider the standout spots to stop at.
Würzburg. Situated in the heart of Franconia’s grape-growing region, this town is famous as the home of a veritable jewel of Baroque architecture – the Würzburg Residence, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber. One of the best preserved medieval towns in the country and one of the major attractions on the Romantic Road, so be sure to make a stopover to visit it. We recommend strolling along the medieval wall to soak up the panoramic views it affords of the city and its surrounding area.
Dinkelsbühl. Another of the gems you will encounter along the Road is this picturesque town, which managed to avoid destruction in both the Thirty Years’ War and the Second World War. It is thus well preserved and the essence of its medieval past intact. A striking feature that meets eye when walking through the town is its numerous towers, numbering sixteen in all.
Nördlingen. While less frequented than the previous ones, much of the historical charm of this beautiful medieval town in Bavaria has been preserved. Curiously, the town was built over a crater caused by the impact of a meteorite that fell to earth over 15 million years ago. It covers an area measuring 25 kilometres in diameter.
Augsburg. The largest city along the route and one of the oldest in Germany. It was founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago. Having enjoyed independence for a period of its history, the city flourished and generated considerable wealth, becoming one of the most prosperous in Europe. A prominent city landmark is the Rathausplatz, a large pedestrian square in the very heart of the Altstadt, while other noteworthy sights include Renaissance and Baroque buildings.
Wies Pilgrimage Church. Located in Steingaden, this is a must-see spot for art lovers, as the architectural style of the building is among the most noteworthy in the Bavarian Rococo.
Neuschwanstein Castle. Wrapping up our list of recommendations is this stunning piece of architecture which was actually the model for the castle design in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. No wonder, then, that Neuschwanstein means “new swan stone”. Overlooking the Pöllat Gorge in the Bavarian Alps, its construction was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria – the “Mad King” – in 1866.
The best way to get around along the Romantic Route is by car, as it gives you greater autonomy when moving from one town to the next. You can pick up a hire car at Frankfurt airport. The route is signposted, so you just have to follow the indications to find your way. Those who prefer an alternative means of transport can take the coach, for which tickets can be booked in advance for specific legs of the journey. The more intrepid among you can also enjoy the pleasure of cycling through the bucolic landscapes as, on the whole, the route does not present any steep slopes.
Since this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany, we recommend that, if possible, you schedule your trip for the spring or autumn, as in summer it is far more crowded.
Now that you’re up to speed with the ins and outs of this fantastic route, it’s time to plan your own itinerary. Check out flights to Frankfurt here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
08 April, 2016