The romantic road is a scenic road trip across South Germany. Beautiful landscapes and medieval villages await you!
📕 What is the Romantic Road?
The romantic road is a vacation road strip in Bavaria, South Germany.
The scenic drive starts in Würzburg city at the river Main in the North and takes one from small towns and larger cities across Bavaria to Füssen at the end of the trip.
You can expect to see at first vineyards in the Unterfranken district and discover medieval cities and fairy tale towns in the Mittelfranken district.
Along the way the scenery will start to change, so that at the end you reach the German alps in the Schwaben district.
The regional tourism department created the Romantic road after WW2 to revive the economy and change the perspective of people. The first visitors were American army men with their families, which were stationed near Ansbach.
Over the year, the route has been tweaked and perfected further, so to show visitors the best side of the region.
Just follow the brown and white signboards on the road, which will direct you along the full route.
🗺️ Road Course
The Romantic Road Tour currently consists of a total of 29 villages, towns, and cities.
- Bad Mergentheim
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Landsberg am Lech
✨ Tour Highlights
You can pick to see all the towns on the way if you have a lot of time, or you can pick the best of them all and prioritize on those.
Here are some of the must-see places and most popular stops on the romantic road.
Würzburg is a beautiful city on the river Main. The city is located between vineyards, and its old town is inviting wine lovers from all over the world.
The Würzburg Residence is a Baroque and Rocco palace surrounded by geometrical court gardens. Lavish Fresco and Stucco decorations await you there.
The Marienberg fortress offers a stunning view of the city, river, the old Mainbrücke and vineyards. The walk-up from the gardens is well worth it if you don’t mind a little city hike. That way you’ll get to explore the city better.
The old town is a must-see, especially the Alte Mainbrücke bridge, where people hangout for a glass of white wine. The city is stunning as is, especially because the inner-city center is a vehicle-free area.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is known as Germany’s original fairy tale town and as a tourist’s favorite Christmas hangout.
Colorful regional homes, cobbled streets and a city with its original medieval walls (which can be visited!) await you here.
The city is located on a plateau and at the edge of the city walls, you can look down to the Tauber river and beyond the Bavarian forests, letting your fairy tale fantasies run freely.
The historical town is also located on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage road and a statue outside the St. James church is pointing that out.
The Plönlein is Rothenburg’s, and perhaps Germany’s, most photographed corner but of course every other corner is breathtakingly beautiful in this town.
When in Rothenburg visit the Medieval Crime and Torture Museum and the Christmas Museum.
I don’t have to tell you that the location for a Christmas market in December is splendid!
Feuchtwangen is a village and an often overlooked place along the Germany’s romantic road tour. It’s an insider tip and for all those looking for the authentic regional experience and a small peaceful spot!
The village of Feuchtwangen is known for a medieval cloister, which can be visited if it’s not under restoration.
A short walk takes one past the Romanesque courtyard and arched walls. You will find a super relaxing coffee place with an open courtyard area.
A medieval market with entertainment, food, and people dressed for the period is held in this village every year in mid-October. This is for all those who want to experience something else in their lifetime!
Dinkelsbühl is another walled city known for its colorful medieval architecture, red roofs and towers.
The city was a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire until it was annexed by Bavaria. Today, Dinkelsbühel is known for its unique atmosphere and beauty.
Houses are not allowed to use modern signboards to advertise their businesses, but instead every house has the name of the place or business written on the walls in an old German font.
The most iconic Deutsches House, the ancestral home of the count, is located at the Marktplatz, opposite the Cathedral of Saint George. It’s one of the most photographed houses in Dinkelsbühl.
The Haus der Geschichte tells the story of the city, the city’s importance, it’s people and the 30-year war.
Nördlingen is the city with the best preserved medieval walls in Germany and perhaps the world. You can freely walk up the walls and take a walk from there around the city.
You get a wonderful view of the medieval buildings and outer landscape, and you can take a look at the construction of this fascinating undamaged wall. Its purpose was to protect the inner-city walls from raids and attacks, and it did well over the centuries!
The historical inner-city of Nördlingen invites one to stick around to take in the authentic vibe of this place.
The evangelical Saint George Church can be visited, and they have a museum about the Ries meteor crater of Nördlingen (the exhibition is not in English).
Augsburg city has been around since roman times. The emperor Augustus named it after himself.
The city was an important trading point for centuries in Europe and became wealthy thanks to that and the Fugger family.
Jacob Fugger was perhaps the richest man in the history of the world, and in today’s estimation he would have been worth $330 billion! He was a sly catholic banker, merchant, and miner and everything that made money in Europe was connected to him, indirectly or directly.
The Fuggerei, known as the €1 rent per year settlement was built by Jacob Fugger, and it can be visited today.
The Augsburg houses are colorful and stunning as well. The cobbled streets are almost everywhere. The city is also known for its age-old canal water management system, which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Rathausplatz main square, Perlachturm tower with the fountain in honor of the emperor Augustus is at the center of the city. Don’t miss the stained-glass windows from the 11th century, Germany’s oldest, in the Augsburg cathedral.
The city of Füssen is known for the fairytale castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau which lie to the east of the city. The Neuschwanstein castle, built by king Ludwig II, inspired Walt Disney in the Disney logo.
The Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castle can be visited, but you have to book a slot in advance. A spot to visit the most beautiful castles of Germany is not guaranteed when booked a week in advance.
The historical city was an important trading post during roman times, as it was situated along the via claudia augusta (roman trade route) and is one of the oldest cities.
Colorful buildings in the Altstadt (old city center) make for a beautiful photo with the alps as a backdrop.
Enjoy a cold Bavarian beer while relaxing near the city fountain. The Benedictine monastery of St. Mang from the 9th century nearby can be visited, including the Hohes Schloss (High castle of Füssen).
📜 5 day Romantic Road Itinerary
Day 1 – Würzburg residency, Marienberg view point and a glass of wine at the old main bridge
Day 2 – Rothenburg ob der Tauber city walls, museums and the delicious food.
Day 3 – Feuchtwangen, Dinkelsbühel and Nördlingen
Day 4 – Augsburg old town, cathedral, Fuggerei.
Day 5 – Füssen castles and old town
🚗 Starting Point and Getting There
The total length is 285 miles (ca. 459 km) and usually, you would start in the north in Würzburg and travel slowly downwards to Füssen. Yet, you can start at the bottom in Füssen too and do the trip in reverse.
Another option is to choose a starting point somewhere in the middle, such as from the Bavarian capital Munich to go up towards Würzburg or down to Füssen.
The best way to tackle the rout is to fly into Frankfurt international airport, one of the largest airports in Europe, and hire a rental car at the airport to drive to Würzburg.
The drive from Frankfurt to Würzburg is about 70 minutes long via the A2, and 75 miles (ca. 121 km).
You can also decide to fly into Innsbruck, Austria and take a car up to Füssen through the scenic beautiful Austrian alps. That way you get to see some of Austria too!
🌨️ Weather and When to visit?
Bavaria is great all year round. We did the romantic road in October 2021 in fall and the surrounding was just lit with colorful foliage.
If you want to experience Christmas markets, then December is your season.
If you wish to see yellow fields and flowers everywhere, then spring and summer are your choice.
Summers can be hot and busy with tours and buses filling up popular sights. Winters can be ice-cold.
November and the 3 weeks after Easter are always the most quiet times of the year but many tourist establishments such as hotels, restaurants, and museums will be closed too.
As long as you want. You can choose which towns you want to visit. In fact, you will have to prioritize if you are tight on time.
That’s going to be tight but yes, essentially you can do the romantic road in 3 days. Visit Würzburg in the morning and Rothenburg ob der Taube in the evening. Skip some towns from Day three in the Sample itinerary or reduce the time spent in Augsburg or Füssen to do them both on one day.
If you have more days to spend in the region, then add Wertheim, Harburg, Donauwörth, Landsberg am Lech and Schongau to your must-see places!
Yes, you can stay in a castle hotel on your trip! The Schlosshotel Harburg is one and the other is the Colmberg Castle near Rothenburg ob der Taube.
The Romantic Road can be partially done by train, but it’s not the best option if you want to see all the main places. You can take a train from Würzburg to Rothenburg and from there to Nuremberg and further down to Donauwörth, Augsburg and Füssen. The problem is that the towns of Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen, to just name a few, can not that easily be accessed by train. In that case, you would have to take a local bus to get to those towns.