Author: Barry Pickard
Barry Pickard is the owner of Tailor-Made Itineraries and has been designing bespoke self-guided tours for adventurous and curious travellers since 2015. He is a history graduate with a passion for travel.
The Romantic Road is a scenic route that spans across the heart of Bavaria, Germany. It takes you on a journey through rolling hills, quaint villages, and charming cities. This road trip is a celebration of the region's rich history and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for those looking for a unique travel experience. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or just seeking a peaceful escape, the Romantic Road has something to offer.
The term ‘Romantic Road’ was coined in the 1950s as a bit of tourism marketing ploy, but has become a very popular route for visitors, taking in, as it does, many quintessential German towns and attractions. The road follows old trade routes linking the north to the south, going from Wurzburg in the north, down to Füssen in the south.
You could easily spend two or three weeks travelling this route, stopping off at the many beautiful towns and villages along the way, but for the purposes of this blog, I will only be guiding you along some of the highlights of the Romantic Road from Dinkelsbühl to Füssen. I hope that one day I’ll be able to complete the full route and report back to you!
Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if travelling The Romantic Road appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the delights of this route or indeed, a general tour of Bavaria.
The Romantic Road, Bavaria
Dinkelsbühl is a picturesque medieval town and is famous for its well-preserved historic centre, which is surrounded by a 14th-century wall. The centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is a great place to wander around and take in the sights. Be sure to check out the town's many churches, including St. George's Minster, and the town hall.
Dinkelsbühl was founded in the 8th century and became an important trade centre during the Middle Ages. The town was granted the status of an imperial free city in the 13th century, which gave it a great deal of autonomy. Dinkelsbühl's fortifications were built during this time, and they helped to protect the town from attack during the Thirty Years' War and other conflicts.
Tailor-Made Top Tip: The Hotel Deutsches Haus is a superb place to eat. The food is exquisite, and the surroundings are perfectly complimentary for the Romantic Road. Although we didn’t stay overnight at the hotel, it looked like it would be an ideal stop on this route.
Nördlingen is a charming medieval town that was built inside a 15-million-year-old meteorite crater! The town was founded in the 12th century and grew in importance as a trade centre during the Middle Ages. The town was granted the status of an imperial free city in the 14th century around which time its impressive fortifications were built.
Nördlingen’s most famous landmark is Daniel, a 90-meter-tall church tower that offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding countryside. The church itself, the Cathedral of Saint George, is also well worth exploring.
The Rieskrater Museum
The Rieskrater Museum is a natural history museum whose exhibits explore the formation of the Ries Crater, its impact on the surrounding environment, and the subsequent evolution of the region. The museum also has a collection of meteorites, fossils, and other artifacts related to impact craters. The museum was founded in 1990 and is housed in a 16th-century barn.
Tailor-Made Top Tip: The town walls are a great place to get a bird's eye view of the town. You can walk along the walls for free, and there are a number of towers and gates to explore.
Donauworth is a small town that seems to have stepped out of a medieval storybook. The town's historic centre is a great place to wander around and take in the sights. Be sure to check out the town's many churches, including the Liebfrauenmünster, and the town hall.
Donauworth is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany. The town's historic centre has been largely unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it provides a unique glimpse into life in Germany during this time period. Located on the Danube River, the riverside provides stunning views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
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Augsburg is a university town, founded by the Romans in 15 BC, making it the oldest city in Bavaria and the second oldest in Germany. The city boasts a beautiful silhouette of historic architecture and is steeped in culture. I found Augsburg to be a beautiful city and one with a rich history, making it well worth visiting in its own right, independent of the Romantic Road. It has many attractions that will appeal to visitors who are interested in history and architecture.
There are many things to see in Augsburg, but the most recognisable landmark of Augsburg is the 230-foot (70-meter) Perlach Tower which served as a watchtower in the 10th century.
St. Anne's Church
St. Anne’s Church is a medieval church building that was originally part of a monastery built in 1321 by Carmelite friars. The church is notable for its elaborate interior decoration, but it’s claim to fame is that in 1518 Martin Luther stayed there with the Carmelite friars when he was in Augsburg to meet the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who wanted Luther to submit to the pope. The church converted to Lutheranism in 1545.
Basilica of SS. Ulrich and Afra
The Basilica of SS. Ulrich and Afra originated from the Roman tomb of St. Afra who was martyred in 304. The building is a great example of Gothic architecture in Germany and has beautiful Renaissance tower and onion dome. The interior of the basilica conserves three enormous and very precious altars, each of which is considered a masterpiece of the German sculpture of the period.
The Maximilian Museum is a large, public museum housed in a palatial building erected in 1546 in Augsburg, Germany. It houses a notable collection of decorative arts. Augsburg was the leading German centre of sculpture, painting, and, especially, of fine work in gold in silver from the late Middle Ages until the modern period. The museum offers a unique wealth of outstanding works of goldsmith art, late Renaissance bronze art, scientific instruments, clocks and machines, historical models, city history and arts and crafts objects. They all come from the imperial city period when Augsburg was the art metropolis of Germany.
The Römisches Museum is a museum located in the church of St. Magdalena, exhibiting finds and excavation results from the Stone Age to Roman times, the Middle Ages to the present day. The museum is an archive for historical research in the city and is home to a collection of objects from the Stone Age and from the Urnfield Culture which had one of its largest centres in the area of modern Augsburg.
Tailor-Made Top Tip: There are many more attractions to visit in Augsburg, and if possible, try and stay three days in the city.
Read on to find out about the towns of Schongau, Steingaden, Schwangau and Füssen.
Schongau is located very close to the former Roman road to Augsburg, Via Claudia Augusta (47 AD). By the Middle Ages, it was an important hub and a commercial centre on route between Verona, Augsburg and Nuremberg and a salt road from Berchtesgadener Land into the Allgäu. Through trade, Schongau experienced a period of prosperity until the time of the discovery of America, which resulted in relocation of the great trade routes. Schongau is surrounded by fortified walls built in the Middle Ages and parts of them can still be walked around.
Tailor-Made Top Tip: We had a lovely meal at the Cafe Bistro Ballenhaus, which is located on the main square. Well worth eating there when you visit the town.
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The beautiful little town of Steingaden is set in pleasant rolling Alpine hills and is known as being the home to the ruins of Steingaden Abbey, which was founded in the 12th century.
Tailor-Made Top Tip: The beautiful Baroque church, the Wieskirche is located nearby and well worth a visit. The church was built in the 18th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The lovely little village of Schwangau is an ideal place to base yourself if visiting the nearby castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
Füssen is nestled at the foot of the Alps and has a long history, dating back to the Roman era. The town was originally a fortified settlement, and it was later an important trading centre and was to have an important violin-making industry during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today, Füssen is a charming town with a lot to offer visitors. There are a number of historical churches and museums to explore, as well as its own castle, Hohes Schloss, which dominates town. Füssen is also a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside, including the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.
Read on to find out which other towns are on The Romantic Road.
Which Towns are on The Romantic Road?
There are actually 29 locations along the 285 miles of The Romantic Road, making this an action packed route for lovers of history, art and culture. The recommended route starts at Würzburg and ends in Füssen, with the climax being Neuschwanstein Castle. But, to be honest, I don't feel that it matters in which direction you go.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Landsberg am Lech
How to Travel The Romantic Road and Where to Stay
I found that hiring a car and driving The Romantic Road was a very easy way of seeing all the sights on this amazing journey. The route from Würzburg to Füssen uses very good B-grade roads, which are in perfect condition and are double or sometimes single lane. If you do not fancy driving, the towns on the route are connected by public bus and by the Romantic Road Buses, which operate the route betweeen April and October. The bigger towns are also connected by the Deutsche Bahn. To get to the route in the first place, there are nearby aiports at Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart
As for accommodation, there are options all along the route, with the main centres to stay being Würzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen, Augsburg, Landsberg am Lech and Füssen. For a more comprehensive round up of options and a discount a coupon, check Booking.Com.
The Romantic Road is a journey like no other, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a family adventure, this scenic route has something to offer for everyone. So, pack your bags, get behind the wheel, and experience the magic of the Romantic Road for yourself. From the rolling hills of the Bavarian countryside to the charming cities that line the route, this journey is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Related Blog Posts
If you would like more information on Bavaria, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:
Comment below and let us know what your favourite stop on The Romantic Road was.
Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if travelling The Romantic Road appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the delights of this route or indeed, a general tour of Bavaria.
Join me next time on my adventures when I continue to explore The Romantic Road, visiting the fairy-tale castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau and the village of Hohenschwangau. Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.
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