Take a road trip through Germany's Romantic Road

Take a road trip through Germany's Romantic Road

by Elizabeth Jones
Stripes Europe

Germany’s Romantische Straße, or Romantic Road, was developed in 1950 when the country was in dire need of a thriving tourism industry following the end of World War II. Since its creation, the Romantic Road attracts approximately 2 million visitors each year. Travel along the road filled with fairytale castles, vineyards, historic buildings, Alpine forests and other treasures are found within the 15 quaint towns that make Germany’s Romantic Road one of the most picturesque routes in the world.


Listed as the start or end of the Romantic Road, Würzburg is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Würzburg Residence palace. Since 1780, the palace displays its past inhabitants’ passions for magnificent architectural styles. From Baroque, Rococo, châteauesque and religious designs, it is easy to see why the Würzburg Residence is considered to be Germany’s most astonishing palace.


As you venture into Tauberbischofsheim, you’ll discover remnants of the Gothic walls that once stood tall protecting the village. In the town center, find the 13th century Kurmainz Castle which now serves as a museum revealing Tauberbischofsheim’s past since the 9th century.  


A fairly small town, Lauda is the best place to stop in hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants to have a glass (or two) of wine from the local vineyards. View the Tauber River from an old riverside bench or hike the many paths that run through Lauda.

Bad Mergentheim 

Relax and unwind in the spa village of Bad Mergentheim. Venture to different fountains throughout the town and pour yourself a glass of mineral water filled with magnesium and sulfate. From thermal baths, Japanese gardens, spa fountains and mineral springs, it’s safe to say you’ll find peace and tranquility here.


What was once a defensive watchtower in 1795, is now the unique Lindleinturm Museum in Creglingen. Due to its tight quarters, only six people can tour at a time, but it is well worth the free history lesson. During the spring and summer, see more than 100 kinds of wild roses at the Romschlössle. Some of the rose petals are edible – giving you a one-of-a-kind experience!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a storybook atmosphere. Discover half-timbered houses embellished with window-hanging flower baskets, tall towers nestled in between colorful buildings and cobblestone alleyways that weave throughout the walled town. Walk side-by-side with your loved one and be sure to stop in a café to munch on a Schneeball ­­­– a delicious, crunchy pastry that originated from the town itself.


Dinkelsbühl is known for its unblemished scenery drawing countless visitors each year. According to Forbes, it has “the most beautiful old town in all of Germany.” With bright-colored buildings, and imposing historical fortifications, see for yourself as you wander around by foot or take a guided carriage ride.


While Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl are quite picturesque, Nördlingen provides the same enchanting setting but with less crowds. Climb to the top of the gothic St. George Church and overlook Nördlingen’s peaceful ambience.


A must-see along the Romantic Road is the well-preserved Harburg Castle. Stay overnight or enjoying a romantic dinner inside the castle walls. Take a stroll along the lush greenery found in the courtyard and head towards the peak of the castle to soak in a panoramic view of Harburg.


Spend time on the main street of Reichstrasse, lined with cafés, restaurants, gelato shops and bars. At 11 a.m. or 4 p.m. be at the Rathaus, the city’s town hall, to witness the carillon atop the building play a composition from the opera, “Die Zaubergeige,” (“The Magic Violin”) by Werner Egk.


Welcome to the halfway mark of the Romantic Road! Augsburg is the largest city along the route and is incredibly popular for its ties to the Mozart family. Leopald Mozart, was the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Mozart House in Augsburg showcases Leopald’s family history, travels and life in both Augsburg and Salzburg, Austria.


Landsberg delivers the same renaissance appearance as it did back in the 13th century. Don’t miss the Bayertor, one of the largest defense gates in Bavaria. Created in the 15th century, the gate’s beauty and middle-aged architecture make it a top landmark on your road trip.  


Situated above the Lech River is Schongau, popular for its many medieval fortifications and history. The town is nearby what was once the Via Claudia Augusta, a Roman road from Italy to Augsburg that was once an important trade route. Schongau was also a part of the Salt Road that linked from Berchtesgaden, home of Germany’s most popular salt mines.


Right down the road from Schwangau is King Ludwig II’s famous Neuschwanstein Castle, which hosts approximately 1.4 million tourists each year. Take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage up to the castle and delight in the scenic terrain that surrounds you. While touring Neuschwanstein is a must, don’t neglect its neighbor, Hohenschwangau Castle. This fortress served as Ludwig II’s summer residence and its beauty is quite impressive.


Marked as the end, or beginning, of the Romantic Road, Füssen is nestled in between Alpine forests and the Forggensee Lake with the Lech River streaming through the heart of the town. Just outside Füssen, discover the gorge of Lechfall with its streaming turquoise waters. Noted as being in the top 100 most beautiful geotopes in Germany, Lechfall is well worth the experience.

From exploring charming villages, hiking a few of Mother Nature’s finest creations, absorbing many history lessons and touring some of the world’s most enchanting castles, it’s easy to see why experiencing Germany’s Romantic Road is an adventure of a lifetime. Book your hotels, pack your car and get ready to make wonderful memories on your road trip along the Romantic Road.

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