Romantic Road

Follow Germany’s Romantic Road

Winding its way like a wandering river through the dense green forests of Bavaria is Germany’s Romantic Road. Famed for its picturesque scenery, and ability to induce intense feelings of amour, this enchanting escape will take you through historic towns, alpine landscapes and spellbinding castles.

Here are some of the highlights of Germany’s Romantic Road:

Würzburg

The most common starting point for this grand German tour is Würzburg.

The city of Würzburg first came into fruition in the 7th century, with religious ties throughout its history. By the 12th century, in fact, it was typically known as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire.

It continued to expand until the 18th century but was victim to immeasurable damage after World War II. However, residents sought to reconstruct the city as it was pre-war.

The hilltop fortress and town offer quaint medieval architecture, with church spires penetrating much of the skyline and brightly painted establishments colouring the streets. The River Main weaves its way through the cityscape, bowing beneath the spectacular arched bridge in the centre of the city.

During your stay in Würzburg, take a stroll round the 18th century Residence Palace. The grandiose residence is designed both inside and out in a baroque fashion, with an opulent façade and ornate interior. The expansive and well-kept grounds make for a lovely walk in the typically calm Bavarian clime.

As well as the Palace, there’s several notable museums worth visiting, including the Museum am Dom.

Würzburg is also a central part of Franconian wine country, so whether it’s tasting sessions, vineyard tours or just sharing a local bottle in a wine bar, make sure you get a taste of this Bavarian speciality.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Just 40 minutes from Würzburg is the historic Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg’s storybook aesthetic is what makes it so singular. The cobbled walkways and medieval, half-timbered buildings in an array of hues not limited to sherbet yellow, peppermint green and tangy orange, are what give Rothenburg it’s fairy-tale appearance.

Wandering through the town centre is the most rewarding thing to do, taking in the beautiful Town Hall, St. Jacob’s Church and Little Square. For a secluded walk, take the gentle descent from the walled town to Tauber Valley. Stay overnight as most tourists don’t, meaning the streets become a romantic recluse under the cover of darkness. Take an evening walking tour and the ghostly stories of bygone eras are an excuse for you to cling to your partner.

 

Photo credit: Torsten Maue

Dinkelsbühl

Continue your journey south to Dinkelsbühl. Mimicking Rothenburg ob der Tauber in it’s coloured, gabled properties, fortified walls and stone towers, Dinkelsbühl is another Bavarian wonderland on your romantic road trip.

You’ll have worked up quite an appetite for German cuisine by now, so stop off at a local restaurant and tuck into Franconian sausage and fresh-caught fish, washing it all down with a Bavarian beer.

The town’s major attractions include the imposing St George’s Minster, a Gothic structure dating back to the 15th century, the modestly-designed Old Town Hall, the striking Bäuerlin Tower and the Castle of the Teutonic Order, which sounds far more sinister than it looks. The castle’s rococo chapel adds an interesting flair to the medieval establishment.

 

Photo credit: Kimba Reimer 

Nördlingen

Nördlingen is the third of this series of charming antiquarian towns, first mentioned in records in 898 A.D. Due to the popularity of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Nördlingen is often a much quieter retreat.

Its location is of major geological significance, build in the crater of a meteor that hit earth around 14 million years ago. For more information on this, head to the Rieskrater Museum, housed in true Bavarian style inside a 16th century barn.

The well-preserved city walls date back to the early 14th century, and the town itself played an integral role in Germany’s medieval history. Much like the city walls, the architecture has been maintained excellently, preserving Nördlingen’s history

The town centre is made of narrow lanes lined with quaint, candy-coloured buildings and sloping terracotta rooves, of which you can get a spectacular view from St George’s Church.

Bad Mergentheim

Bad Mergentheim; although initially the name may not sound particularly appealing, when you translate it, ‘Bad’ becomes ‘bath and suddenly you’re a lot more intrigued.

In the 19th century the town’s was discovered to have the strongest sodium-sulphate water in all of Europe. Tourists have flocked here for the town’s naturally restorative properties and high-end spa resorts, with vitality baths, saunas, a massive 170,000 square metre spa park, a sound garden and more.

The town’s history precedes the 19th century, however, with records first noting it in the 11th century. Throughout the centuries, many chivalric orders have used Bad Mergentheim as their headquarters, including the Knights of St John, the Teutonic Order and the Dominican Order. This, of course, adds to the towns romance, already heighted by the beautiful scenery, both natural and architectural, and the relaxing ambience of its leisure activities.

 

Photo credit: dmytrok

Neuschwanstein Castle

Poised atop a lonely crag deep in the forestry of Füssen is the Neuschwanstein Castle, set against an background of alpine mountains and the turquoise blue Alpsee Lake.

Famously known as Walt Disney’s influence for Disneyland Castle, the picture-perfect castle has long drawn attention for it’s 19th century Germanic beauty, made of piercing alabaster white with soaring turrets and a massive, burnt-orange entryway.

The steep climb to the summit is challenging but worth it, it makes the first view you get of the castle as it begins to reveal itself between the trees so much more rewarding.

The castle’s interior is extravagant, with rich colours of blue and gold, tapestries hung on the walls and artwork based on medieval legends, such as the Swan Knight and the Grail King

It seems as though something pulled straight out of a fairy-tale, with buildings named the ‘Knights’ House’ and a legendary history. The castle was ordered into construction by King Ludwig II. However, he never saw the final castle as he met an early death following unusual circumstances that remain unexplained to this day. This all adds to the mystery and allure of the exquisite castle.

The Alps

The Bavarian Alps bridge the border between Germany and Austria with wild, untamed landscapes. It is within this mountainous region that you will find the aforementioned Neuschwanstein Castle. It is also home to Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, at a jaw-dropping 9,717 ft. Although the ascent can be managed on foot, why not take the mountain railway or the cable car, so you can sit back with your beau and take in the scenery?

The Bavarian Alps are apparently home to some of the world’s happiest cows. It’s said that the delicious, nutritious grass is what makes them so perky. These happy cows are the reason behind Bavaria’s delicious cheeses, which you can learn to make from scratch in a local cheese-making class. Make sure to split a plate of Kässpätzle, too. The decadent cheesy pasta dish is perfect for sharing.

Don’t be misled into believing that these Bavarian Alps include only vast, awe-inspiring mountains. It is also here you will find the tranquil Lake Chiemsee, the perfect picnic spot, and picturesque green meadows coloured with scatterings of wildflower.

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