A Drive Along Germany's Romantic Road Reveals Medieval Germany at its Finest
Germany's Romantic Road was once a trade route through Bavaria. Now it's a mostly scenic drive featuring walled medieval cities, towers, half timbered houses, and lots of tourist resources.
The entire drive is a little over 260 miles, and takes you from the town of Würzburg in the Franken wine growing region to Fussen, where you can stay while visiting the castle called Neuschwanstein.
The Towns of the Romantic Road
Würzburg: if you like your wine, you'll like Würzburg and its outdoor cafes and excellent restaurants. The Residenz Palace is a World Heritage Site, and you'll want to visit it along with the Marienberg Fortress.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Rothenburg is a must stop on the Romantic Road. Not only is it one of Germany's best preserved medieval towns with walls you can walk around, but it has a torture museum for when things get a little too romantic for you. Find out more about Rothenburg, Germany, including pictures, a map, and hotel recommendations. Rothenburg also has a thriving Christmas market.
Dinkelsbühl: I have to confess I like Dinkelsbühl best of all (yes, for me the town is even more evocative than Rothenburg). You can walk along the walls or get guided by a night watchman if you like. Find out more about Dinkelsbuhl, Germany.
Augsburg, the third largest city in Bavaria, has a lot to see; you won't want to just stop in for a peek-there are some serious sites here.
Home to Mozart and Brecht, Augsburg has done a real nice job renovating classic buildings and transforming them into interesting museums. Allow at least a couple of days.
Pfaffenwinkel: It's a small region rather than a town, but, according to Germany Travel's Birge Amondson, "this part of Bavaria (called "Pastor's Corner") is famous for its churches and pristine landscapes; a must-see is the pilgrimage church Wieskirche ("Church in the Meadow") in Steingaden; this rococo masterpiece is on the list of the UNESCO world Heritage sights."
Landsberg am Lech is yet another picturesque medieval walled city 35 km south of Augsburg along the Lech river, but Landsberg has a twist. It's known for its prison, in which Adolf Hitler was incarcerated in 1924 and where, in cell 7, he wrote Mein Kampf.
This is Bavaria's highest city and the place where lots of folks stay to visit the castle of Neuschwanstein (and the interesting but lesser known Castle Hohenschwangau). If you crave life in a small town, you might select a hotel in Fussen (book direct), but if you like the country, and want to walk from your hotel to Neuschwanstein and/or Hohenschwangau, you can also stay in the village of Hohenschwangau. We had a good stay at the Hotel Muller.
Where to Stay
If you'd like to do the Romantic Road from a base in Bavaria, you may wish to rent a vacation house or apartment in the countryside and visit the towns from this "hub". HomeAway lists over 2400 vacation rentals in Bavaria you can choose from.
Many people would choose Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber as a hub for the Romantic Road.
More Romantic Road Resources
You can get further travel planning information from Germany Travel's Birge Amondson, who has written a Guide to the Romantic Road in Germany. She also offers a Romantic Road Photo Gallery.