The Romantic Road in Germany is one road trip that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Stretching along the southern region of the country, snaking its way between Baden-Württemberg and the northern part of Bavaria, the road is loosely based on the old Roman route and passes through the country’s famous medieval sites. Along the way, you’ll pass through some of the most romantic and charming cities in Germany, hence Romantic Road. Here’s a list of the road’s towns from North to South starting in Würzburg and ending in Füssen. Come follow along, as the road’s top spots are explored and explained.
The charming town of Würzburg is usually the first and largest town stop on a visitor’s Romantic Road journey. Situated directly by the river Main and surrounded by hills, Würzburg is rich in history and home to the UNESCO World Heritage site Residence palace. It also happens to be located right in the middle of one of Germany’s most prominent wine-producing areas.
Some of the sights that are worth your time include the:
- Würzburg Cathedral: Created in honor of the Irish martyr St Kilian. The Würzburg Cathedral’s current location was selected in the 11th century, but it was badly damaged in aerial bombings during World War II. Much of the building collapsed after the second World War in 1946, but the cathedral was reconstructed.
- The Neumünster: St. Kilian’s and his two assistants’ bones were rediscovered at Neumünster. Today, it is the Würzburg parish church.
- Würzburg Residence: Former residence of the Prince-Bishops. This Baroque palace is situated just on inner city’s edge. The interior of the palace incorporates decorations and art from all over Europe.
- Marienberg Fortress: Another former residence of the Prince-Bishops. This fortress is situated on the opposite side of the River Main. A large portion of the current building dates all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
There are numerous sites to see in Würzburg, so be sure to take your time when traveling through. The Fortress, as well as the Neumünster, are both situated on hills surrounding the city and are your top two spots to look out for. 1 – 2 days are recommended to explore and visit all the sights.
Our next stop along the Romantic Road, just south of Würzburg, Heading south from Würzburg, is Tauberbischofsheim. This historic town is situated in the western region of Tauber valley. The Germans lovingly call this region “the lovely Tauber valley”. One of the main attractions in town is the Castle Kurmainzisches.
Tauberbischofsheim is not quite as busy as Würzburg, which certainly adds to the flair. It’s a stop nonetheless not to be neglected.
Just past Tauberbischofsheim lies Lauda-Königshofen, which is the name given to two nearby towns – Königshofen and Lauda. Lauda is the larger of the two, but both towns are well-known for their vineyards and picturesque hills.
Bad Mergentheim is one of the biggest towns in the Tauber Valley and also a spa resort. The town is well-known for its mineral waters and close ties to the orders of medieval knights. Its roots can be traced all the way back to before the Roman Empire.
The town was first mentioned in the 11th century and would soon be home to three German chivalric orders: the Knights of St John, the Dominican Order and the Teutonic Order.
In the town’s historic center, you’ll find the Castle of the Teutonic Knight as well as the Museum of the Teutonic Order.
In the 19th century, the town’s mineral, or “spa,” waters were discovered. Today, the town is one of the largest spa resorts in Baden-Württemberg.
Creglingen is a small town with a fairy-tale like setting. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, woods and vineyards.
Although the town is small, there are plenty of things to see and do. A very historic site in town is the Herrgottskirche, or Church of Our Lord, which was built during the 14th century after a farmer found a communion host perfectly intact in the field. The church’s famous wooden alter was created by Tilman Riemenschneider. The church can be found just one kilometer from the town’s historic center.
Aside from the church, there’s also the Thimble Museum, the Fire Service Museum and the Kloster Frauental Museum to explore.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is, arguably, the most famous town along the Romantic Road. It’s one of the last intact walled medieval towns in Germany. From the moment you step inside the city’s walls, you take a trip back in history.
The town is said to date back to the 10th century with the construction of its castle. The town’s walls and much of its buildings were created during the 11th century.
There are many things to see and do in this historic town, including:
- The Schäfertanz, or shepherds’ dance, which is a summer festival.
- Rothenburg Wine Festival, which takes place during high season. The festival features local food and wines as well as concerts.
- Rothenburg Christmas Market. The town’s Christmas market is one of the most famous in the country. Known as the “Christmas Town,” Rothenburg is home to the famous Christmas shop Käthe Wohlfahrt.
- Meistertrunk Festival. Held in May, this festival honors the mayor’s famous wager that saved the town during the tumultuous Thirty Years’ War. The wager included the mayor drinking 3.25 liters of wine to save his city – he was successful.
- Town hall. The town’s historic town hall dates back to 1240.
- The Doll and Toy Museum with more than 1,000 objects. A wonderland for children and adults alike
No matter whether you plan on traveling during the summer or winter, there is always something to see and do in Rothenburg. If you’re trying to stay away from tourist-filled areas, Rothenburg is not the place for you.
Our next stop is Dinkelsbühl, another charming town on the Romantic Road route. It’s said to date all the way back to the 8th century, but the first mention of the town in historical records dates back to the 12th century. At the time, the town had already had a market in place.
One of the city’s main attractions is the impressive St. George’s Minster, which is situated in the heart of the town. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Old Town as well as:
- Haus der Geschichte (House of history)
- Nordlinger Tor
- Museum 3 Dimension
Nördlingen is situated near a Roman settlement, which was built on the road just north of Augsburg. This was an important stop on the Via Claudia Augusta route down to Italy.
Nördlingen is a town with a long history. It was first mentioned in 898 as Nordilinga, and was once the site of a battle between the Protestant and Catholic forces during the Thirty Years’ War.
The town is also situated near a meteor crater, which hit the earth nearly 15 million years ago. You can see the crater from the top of the church spire, which was built from the stone created by the meteor’s impact. At the Ries Crater Museum in Nördlingen, you can learn all about the meteor’s impact and meteorites.
Other museums in town include:
- The Town Wall Museum
- The Town Museum
- Bavarian Railway Museum
The medieval town of Harburg is home to one of the oldest castle fortifications in the country. The castle was built by the Hohenstaufen emperors in either the 11th or 12th century. Today, the castle is owned by the Count of Oettingen-Wallerstein, and its fortifications date back to the 18th century. The castle can be visited during the summer months Tuesday – Sunday.
In Donauwörth’s town center, you’ll find many historic buildings, but many of them have been renovated due to the second world war. The Monastery of the Holy Cross, which is located at the top of the hill, is said to house a piece of the original cross from the Crusades. Several museums can also be found in town.
Augsburg is the oldest city in Bavaria, but began as a Roman town. The original Roman settlement was destroyed, but the town would go on to become the seat of the Augsburg Prince-Bishops. During the 16th century, the town was a major trading hub.
While you’re there, check out:
- Augsburg City Hall
- Botanischer Garten
- Cathedral of St. Maria
- Perlach Tower
You can find more information on their tourism homepage.
Landsberg offers scenic views and a charming town center. Some of the town’s many attractions include:
- Herkomer Tower & museum
- Stadt Neu Museum
- Lech River
- Helig Kruez
- The Father-Lech Monument
Schongau is one of the last main towns along the Romantic Road. The town is surrounded by fortified walls, which were built during the Middle Ages. In the main square (the oldest part of town), you’ll find the Ballenhaus, which was a council chamber and storehouse built in the 15th century. Other historic churches can also be found in this historic town.
Schwangau is situated on the southern end of the Romantic Road and one of the last stops on the tour. But it’s also home to one of Germany’s most famous sights: Castle Neuschwanstein. This famous fairy-tale castle attracts thousands of tourists each year. The town also offers breathtaking lake and mountain views.
At the end of the Romantic Road sits the town of Füssen. Its natural beauty makes it the perfect place to end your unforgettable journey. Situated on a lake, the River Lech flows through the city’s center, and the town offers spectacular views of the Alps. It’s also close by the Hohenschwangau Castle, which is the less-popular sister castle of Neuschwanstein. You’ll find many museums in town as well as shops, restaurants and cafes.
Romantic Road in Bavaria
The Romantic Road is called romantic for a reason. Architecture, culture and nature are all combined on this road with many stops giving travelers different choices of where to stop and where not to stop.