A former trade route, Germany's Romantic Road is a 220-mile (350km) portion of highway stretching from central Germany to the southern border with Austria. A popular route for holidays in Germany, the Romantic Road is actually a modern concept meant to encapsulate the typically Bavarian atmosphere and culture of the villages and towns along the way.
Easy to follow, with signs posted in several languages, the Romantic Road is an ideal route for seeing fairytale castles and charming, quintessentially German towns. Travellers should note that the route is so popular now that the best sites tend to be overrun with tourists in the peak summer months (June to August). Spring and autumn are good alternatives for those who prefer to skip the crowds.
The Romantic Road starts in Wurzburg, a town famous for its wineries and gourmet restaurants. Visitors should be sure to see the Residence Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From there, the road goes to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl, two of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany, and the 1,000-year-old Castle Hotel Colmberg. The 2,000-year-old town of Augsburg, an old Roman trading centre, features beautiful buildings and traditional Bavarian restaurants. Pfaffenwinkel and Neuschwanstein are key stops on the route, famous for their churches, castles, and pretty rolling countryside.
There are many ways to travel the Romantic Road: by train, bus tour, car or even bicycle. Hop-on, hop-off bus tickets are available from Frankfurt, and bicycles can be hired at any train station for only a few euros.