Not to be confused with the Romantic Road, the Romantic Cities are a collection of destinations in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Earning their name through a list of charming and captivating features, these towns are perfect for a leisurely break with your loved one. Their proximity to each other means that it is easy to create your own tour around the area and the fact that Frankfurt-Hahn Airport is close by gives you a simple route in and out. Buses and trains are also a great option for travelling between these seven places if you don’t want to rent a car.
So what are the Romantic Cities and what is there to see?
Regarded as one of Germany’s most lovable small towns, Speyer features an impressive amount of sights for its size. The most famous of these is the UNESCO-listed cathedral, which was the burial place of German kings and emperors for over 300 years. Other attractions include the Technology Museum, which features spaceships, submarines and jumbo jets that you can walk inside of, and the Altpörtel city gate – which you can climb for great views. To get a true idea of Speyer’s atmosphere, though, take a stroll along Maximilian Street between the aforementioned cathedral and city gate.
Mainz is another destination where you can sample some of the region’s wines. In fact, the Kupferberg Sekt Winery is the perfect place to do this as it takes you on a journey through the history of sparkling wine, down into the historic cellars, before giving you the chance to taste it for yourself.
The city itself is home to many bustling market places that are dominated by fantastic buildings such as St. Martin's Cathedral and the Church of St. Stephen. The most beautiful of these squares is the tranquil Cherry Garden, home to a baroque fountain and a tree stump which remembers the orchard from which the courtyard got its name. One thing that shouldn’t be missed, though, is the chance to learn about the printing press. Named after its inventor, Johan Gutenberg, Mainz’s museum features a working press and the famous Gutenberg Bible.
Another of the lesser-known Romantic Cities, Idar-Obsterstein is a gemstone town where these precious materials were once mined. The mines themselves, the Gemstone Museum and a magical cave experience will teach you all about the history of this industry, whilst the jewellery shops in the Old Town will offer the chance to purchase something for yourself. Aside from shining stones, this town, created by two districts combined, has historic castles at which visitors can marvel. The Felsenkirche is built into the rock and is the subject of an intriguing tale of fratricide, whilst the ruins of Oberstein Castle stand high on a hill above the streets.
The largest of the Romantic Cities could possibly be the most romantic of them all. It is found at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, has the breathtaking landscape of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley as its backdrop, and is home to various dramatic castles which all have a different story to tell. As well as Castle Stolzenfels, Marksburg Castle and Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, this part of the Rhine is where you will find the alluring Loreley Rock, from which a siren of the same name once lured fishermen to their death, or so the story goes.
Beauty lies around every corner in Koblenz, in the form of man-made structures like the Town Hall and the Basilika St. Kastor and the natural elegance of the Rhine Parks. One of the best ways to appreciate all of these sights is from 850 metres above the ground, in one of the gondolas of the cable car.
The Roman influence in Trier is something that quickly becomes apparent. The various ruins and monuments are listed together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the 1,800-year-old Porta Nigra, the city’s main historic gate. As well as the Roman sights, the charming Hauptmarkt will give you an idea of what Trier would have been like during medieval times when bustling markets would have taken place here. Away from the main city centre, there is a slightly more relaxed atmosphere in Zurlauben. This former fishing village features some great intimate restaurants and wine cellars along the Moselle River.
If you didn’t get your fill of local wine in Mainz, Worms will allow you to do so. Although it doesn’t have the best reputation in the UK, Worms is the birthplace of Liebfraumilch, which is still cultivated today from the original vineyard.
The city is also the setting for one of the most famous stories in Germany. The Song of the Nibelungs is an epic poem that has become legend in these parts. It tells of dragon slaying, love and murder and is re-enacted via various different forms of media at the Nibelungen Museum. In the year that celebrates 500 years of reformation, we would be remiss not to mention the largest Reformation monument in the world. The Luther Monument stands in Lutherplatz and depicts the man himself surrounded by pre-Reformers.
If you would like to visit one, some or all of the fascinating Romantic Cities, we can help you plan a tour that is tailor-made to you. Just tell us when and where you would like to go and we will put it together. Call us on 0800 988 3369 for more information.