A triad of nature, culture and hospitality has been the trademark of the Romantic Road since 1950. It is the best-known and most popular German holiday route and runs from the Main to the Alps. The name Romantic Road expresses what many domestic and foreign guests feel when they see medieval towns or the dream castle of Neuschwanstein: Fascination and being transported back to ancient times.
From Würzburg to Füssen, the Romantic Road offers travellers a wealth of western history, art and culture. On the way from north to south, the landscape changes: river valleys, fertile farmland, forests, meadows and finally the mountains. Würzburg and the wine, the Tauber valley and Rothenburg, the Ries, the Lechfeld, the Pfaffenwinkel and the royal castles.
Type of route: holiday route
Topic: art, culture, cuisine, nature, activated
Start/finish: Würzburg / Füssen
Length: 460 km
Federal States: Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg
Holiday regions: Franken, Taubertal, Swabia, Allgaeu / Bavarian-Swabia, Upper Bavaria
Cities: Würzburg, Wertheim, Tauberbischofsheim, Lauda-Königshofen, Bad Mergentheim, Weikersheim, Röttingen, Creglingen, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Schillingsfürst, Feuchtwangen, Dinkelsbühl, Wallerstein, Nördlingen, Harburg, Donauwörth, Rain, Augsburg, Friedberg, Landsberg am Lech, Hohenfurch, Schongau, Peiting, Rottenbuch, Wildsteig, Steingaden, Halblech, Schwangau, Füssen
However, a trip along the Romantic Road offers much more than beautiful landscapes and culinary delicacies. The Romantic Road lives from the harmony of culture and hospitality, from ever new views of diverse landscapes, from cities with impressive magnificent buildings that have preserved their face for many centuries. Balthasar Neumann created the Würzburg residence, in the Taubertal you can meet Tilmann Riemenschneider, Carl Spitzweg was fascinated by Rothenburg od T. and Dinkelsbühl, in Ries there is geological history to touch. In Augsburg you come across the Romans and with the Fuggerei the first social housing estate from the 16th century. The Wieskirche as one of the most famous works of art of the Rococo is in the Pfaffenwinkel. Hohenschwangau, but above all Neuschwanstein, the world-famous castle of the Bavarian fairytale king Ludwig II, are dreams of times gone by turned to stone and close the Romantic Road at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.
If you are traveling by car, mobile home or motorcycle, simply follow the brown signs that connect the individual cities along the road.
Cyclists can cycle from Würzburg to Füssen on the specially signposted Romantic Road long-distance cycle path along the green signs for 500 kilometers, which is part of the ADFC cycle path network under the designation D 9.
The blue signs mark the long-distance hiking trail, which is also a real connoisseur's trail for around 500 kilometers through dreamy landscapes and romantic cities. Of course, individual sections are also always worthwhile if you use your motorhome as a base.
In 704, Würzburg was first mentioned in a document as the "Virteburh" fortification. The city was an important economic, spiritual and sovereign center as early as the Middle Ages. The supraregional importance remained high until the industrial revolution. The result was an impressive cityscape, comparable to outstanding central European old towns such as Krakow. This was badly damaged in the Second World War, in particular by the bombing on March 16, 1945. During the reconstruction, important individual monuments such as most of the churches in the old town were externally reconstructed, but only a few town house ensembles and traditional islands. The Würzburg Residence, which was also partially badly damaged during the war and subsequently restored, with its courtyard garden and Residenzplatz was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981.
Marienberg Fortress is just a stone's throw from the city center on the left bank of the Main. It is lined with vines and looks down on the old university town with its domes, towers and bridges. A delightful hiking trail leads from St. Burkard to Marienberg Fortress. In addition, Marienberg Fortress can be reached on foot via Tellsteige and the grounds of the State Garden Show from 1990.
The town of Weikersheim lies on the Romantic Road, the Württemberg Wine Route and the Tauber Valley Cycle Path, each of which leads past many places of interest. The Main-Tauber-Franconian Cycle Eight, the Tauber Valley Panorama Trail and the Main-Tauber Valley Way of St. James, which is about 180 km long, also pass through the town.
Weikersheim Castle is the ancestral seat of the Lords of Hohenlohe in Weikersheim. The original moated castle in the Tauber reservoir was extensively enlarged as a Renaissance-style palace from 1595 onwards. The three-axis baroque garden from the early 18th century in front of the south wing opens up the grounds to the wide landscape of the Tauber valley. Weikersheim Palace was acquired by the state of Baden-Württemberg in 1967, restored in the following years and is now open to the public. The palace garden of Weikersheim is a paradise in unique preservation. Count Carl Ludwig von Hohenlohe-Weikersheim had the baroque garden, rich in form, laid out on the south side of his castle in the first half of the 18th century. (Visitor information)
Rothenburg is known for its well-preserved medieval old town with many winding alleys, towers and small squares surrounded by half-timbered houses. It is regarded abroad as the prototype of a medieval German town and has been used as a backdrop for numerous film productions. For this reason, the city has become a centre of attraction for tourists from all over the world.
What is outstanding about the old town is that it appears very original, since despite the destruction of the war in 1945 and the simple, unobtrusive reconstruction, practically no modernist breaks are recognisable.
Among the most important sights are the numerous half-timbered houses and squares such as the Plönlein, St.-JakobsChurch with its retable of the Holy Blood by Tilman Riemenschneider, the town gates and the walk-in town fortifications. The historic town centre is embedded in the largely unspoilt landscape of the Tauber river valley.
Your motorhome holiday on the Romantic Road can be particularly romantic if you visit one of Germany's oldest Christmas markets, the "Reiterlesmarkt", during Advent. All year round you can visit Germany's most famous Christmas museum in Rothenburg, where you can learn all about Christmas in Germany. You can also do your Christmas shopping here all year round.
Dinkelsbühl is another highlight on the Romantic Road with an exceptionally well-preserved late medieval townscape. The old town with a total of 780 houses can call itself a "European cultural monument". 77 % of the houses are more than 350 years old, 44 % - almost half - were built in the late Middle Ages up to around 1500 - unique in southern Germany.
In addition to the impressive half-timbered houses, the outstanding buildings include the Catholic St. George's Minster and the Protestant St. Paul's Church, the Old Town Hall, the historic town mill at the Nördlinger Tor and the baroque Teutonic Order Castle.
Dinkelsbühl is a town of towers, which you can also discover from ever new perspectives on a walk around the town wall. The walk leads through the idyllic town park, the impressive old and new promenade, through town ditches and past orchards, always in the shadow of the old fortifications.
Nördlingen lies in the middle of the so-called 'Nördlinger Ries', an almost circular meteorite impact crater of approx. 20-24 km in diameter, which was formed approx. 15 million years ago. From the ground, the crater rim appears as a forested chain of hills all around on the horizon. In 2022, the Ries Geopark was elevated to UNESCO Global Geopark status.
Nördlingen, first mentioned in a document in 898 AD, was an independent imperial city in the Holy Roman Empire from its elevation by the Hohenstaufen King Frederick II until its incorporation into the Electorate of Bavaria in the course of mediatisation in 1802. Due to its location at the crossroads of two major trade routes (Frankfurt/Würzburg-Augsburg and Nuremberg-Ulm), Nördlingen was an important trading centre from the Middle Ages until the early modern period.
The loss of economic importance and standstill caused by the devastation of the Thirty Years' War and the shifting of trade routes contributed to the extensive preservation of the medieval townscape and ultimately made Noerdlingen a destination for cultural tourism. In 1215, Noerdlingen was granted city rights by King Frederick II and became an imperial city. In that year, the first town wall was built, the ground plan of which is still visible today.
The completely preserved city wall from 1327 has five gates with gate towers, eleven other towers and two bastions. Nördlingen's landmark is the approximately 90-metre-high steeple of the Gothic St. George's Church, built between 1427 and 1505 and called 'Daniel'.
For motorhomers, there is a conveniently located caravan park in the north-east of the town on the Kaiserwiese.
The Renaissance Town Hall is one of the main sights in Augsburg. Stadtwerkmeister Elias Holl built the most important secular building of the German Renaissance between 1615 and 1620. The Golden Hall is one of the most imposing representative rooms in Germany and conveys the splendour of the imperial city.
The Fuggerei in Augsburg's old town was founded by Jakob Fugger in 1521 and is the oldest social housing estate in the world. Its 140 houses are home to 150 Catholic citizens of Augsburg. They pay an annual (cold) rent of 0.88 euros for a flat of around 60 square metres. In return, they say three prayers a day for the founding family. Several museums and the World War II bunker explain the history of this terraced housing estate.
Other sights in Augsburg include the Badstuben in the Fuggerstadtpalast, the St. Afra Diocesan Museum, St. Mary's Cathedral and the Schaezlerpalais. The "Augsburg Water Management System" has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2019. Find out more here.
In the hospital building, which also dates from the Renaissance (1623), the Augsburg Puppet Box has been performing fairy tales, plays and cabaret since 1948. From 1953, TV productions (Kater Mikesch, Räuber Hotzenplotz, Jim Knopf, Urmel aus dem Eis) made the puppet stage popular. In the hospital, the puppet theatre museum "die Kiste" displays the most famous marionettes in showcases.
The founding of the church goes back to a pilgrimage that has existed since 1739. It arose from the veneration of a statue of the scourged Savior, which was made in 1730 by Father Magnus Straub and brother Lukas Schweiger in the Steingaden Monastery in Upper Bavaria. The statue was carried during the Good Friday procession of the monastery in 1732–34, but in 1738 it came into the private possession of a farmer 'on the Wies', the location of the monastery summer and rest home a few kilometers southeast of the town. On June 14, 1738, the farmer Maria Lory noticed a few drops in the figure's eyes that she thought were tears. In the following year 1739, answers to prayer and small pilgrimages to the image of the Savior led to the construction of a small field chapel. In 1744 permission was obtained to read mass in the chapel,
The Wieskirche has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1983. This takes into account the outstanding artistic importance of the Wieskirche as a Rococo jewel. In a unique way, the brothers Dominikus and Baptist Zimmermann have created a church interior that blossoms with glorious stucco work, but never looks overloaded or too lush.
The Romantic Road ends in beautifully situated Füssen, which is framed by mountains, the Lech river and numerous lakes. The town, whose origins date back to Roman times, offers several architectural sights, such as the late Gothic High Castle with the Knights' Hall and a branch of the Bavarian State Painting Collection, the St. Mang Monastery, and the well-preserved town wall.
Since 2000, the Neuschwanstein Festival Theatre with a view of Neuschwanstein Castle has stood on the banks of Lake Forggensee. Since then, musicals such as Lugwig II and Zeppelin have been performed here.
The more than 10 lakes in the immediate vicinity and the breathtaking landscape make Füssen a paradise for hiking, cycling and water sports. There are also many opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts in the surrounding Ammergau and Allgäu Alps.
The world-famous royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are only a few kilometres away from Füssen. This makes Füssen an ideal starting point for numerous discovery tours during your motorhome holiday on the Romantic Road.
Neuschwanstein Castle: on September 5, 1869 the foundation stone for the castle near Füssen was laid. Ludwig II hoped for rapid construction progress, but the project was too extensive and the conditions on the mountain too difficult. The first thing that was completed in 1873 was the gate, where the fairy tale king lived for years. The topping-out ceremony did not take place until 1880, and the first rooms could be occupied in 1884. Neuschwanstein Castle became King Ludwig II's refuge. Today Neuschwanstein Castle is a magnet for visitors from all over the world. From the Marienbrücke you not only have a unique view of the fairytale castle but also of the imposing Pöllat Gorge.
Hohenschwangau Castle: the Bavarian Crown Prince Maximilian - later King Maximilian II - encountered a ruin here that fascinated him. From 1833 to 1837 he had it converted into a castle in the neo-Gothic style. The interior is decorated with numerous wall paintings with themes from medieval legends. The motif of the swan is omnipresent. With his wife Marie and the children Ludwig and Otto, Maximilian II used the Hohenschwangau Castle primarily as a summer residence. The royal family loved the summer freshness in the mountains, they were all passionate hikers.