The Romantic Road may have a whimsical name that conjures up thoughts of it being a historical route first forged hundreds of years ago, but it is actually a more recent introduction born from the need for increased tourism. The trail officially opened in 1950 and stretches from the Franconian city of Würzberg to the Bavarian town of Füssen.
Tourists now come from far and wide to see the historic settlements complete with medieval, Gothic and Romanesque architecture. Whether you experience the route in its entirety or sample a small section, here are some stops that shouldn't be missed.
The small town of Röttingen may seem like many others in the area, but it's the perfect place to sample some of the local wine. There are many grape varieties that grow in the region but you must try a tipple made from Tauberschwarz before you leave. The valley of the River Tauber is the only place in the world where the grape is grown.
Along with the beautiful Baroque town hall, you can also enjoy a walk along the sundial path. This is a trail stretching for about 2km, which was created in the 1980s with the help of sundial builder Kurt Fuchslocher. It features over 30 different examples of this primitive time-telling device, all in different styles.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
This is possibly the most well-known and popular stop along the Romantic Road. Its well-preserved medieval walls and Old Town attract visitors from all over the world and, up until 1920, night watchmen were employed to patrol the outer limits and protect the sleeping inhabitants.
Regardless of whether you visit in December or not, you will always experience a light dusting of Christmas spirit whilst in Rothenburg. The Christmas Museum will show you decorations and customs from Christmas past, whilst the multiple Christmas shops, courtesy of Käthe Wohlfahrt, will offer Christmas present ideas for the Christmas future.
Augsburg is one of Germany's oldest cities and so you can imagine how much history and culture can be found within its walls. It is also the only German city with its own holiday, meaning that residents get one more day of a year than everyone else in the country.
The city is filled with Baroque fountains and the palatial homes of banker families, but amongst the must-see sights is the Renaissance style town hall. Built in the 1620s, it features the Golden Hall which is adorned with lavish ceiling murals and had to be rebuilt after the Second World War. If you have had enough of history for a while, why not spend an afternoon at the botanical gardens or catch a show at the puppet theatre.
Even if you are not familiar with the name, you will probably recognise the building to which it relates. This impending castle stands on a hill-top as you reach the southern limits of the Romantic Road, just outside of Füssen, and is the mould from which fairytale castles are created. Not only did it serve as inspiration for Sleepy Beauty's castle in the Disney film, it also featured in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Once the home of the reclusive King Ludwig II of Bavaria, it has been open to the public since his death and now attracts around 1.3 million visitors every year. If the castle and its resplendent interior aren't impressive enough, the surrounding alpine scenery is sure to leave you open-mouthed.
If you would like to experience the Romantic Road for yourself, we can offer a self-drive tour as well as stays in the various different towns and cities along the route. Call for more details or use our online contact form.