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Sabino Parente / 500px
Sabino Parente / 500px

The Romantic Strasse

In love with the Romantic Strasse

This is Germany at its most picturesque: fairytale castles, vineyards and pastel-coloured towns. Time seems to have stood still along the so-called Romantic Strasse. In the autumn this famous route is even more breathtakingly beautiful.

Discover the highlights

Würzburg > Füssen

Easy to follow and spectacularly beautiful

Inspired by a medieval trade route, the Romantic Strasse runs from Würzburg to Füssen and treats travellers to many historic and cultural highlights of Southern Germany. The route is easy to follow (there are markers along the way) and the scenery is spectacular, so be prepared to fall in love, whether you drive from north to south or the other way around.

Length: approx. 350 kilometres. Number of towns and cities along the route: 29

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Würzburg

A royal start

If you’re going to raise a glass to toast the start of the Romantic Strasse, then Würzburg is the place to be. The city lies in the middle of a large wine region. In addition to numerous attractions, Würzburg features many Weinstuben where you can sample local wines and regional delicacies. And the timing is perfect because all that driving can make you thirsty.

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Must-sees

Must-sees include the old main bridge (Alte Mainbrücke) that is adorned with sculptures of the 12 patron saints and leads to the historic fortress of Marienberg. Another worthwhile attraction is the Würzburg Residence, an enormous palace that is a World Heritage Monument.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Open-air museum

Many visitors to Rothenburg ob der Tauber feel as if they’ve stepped out of a time machine. And understandably, as this romantic town evokes the days of knights and fair maidens. Explore the medieval city centre: stroll through the small streets and lanes, take a look inside the churches and admire the pastel-coloured houses with their small windows and decorated gables. There is plenty to see and do in Rothenburg, so take the time to discover this gem of the Romantic Strasse.

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Nördlingen

Impressive

You may not realise this as you walk around, but Nördlingen is located inside a meteorite crater that is more than 14 million years old. Fortunately the town was built after the meteorite struck, otherwise there wouldn’t have been much left of the historic city centre and the medieval city wall. The wall was built in 1327 and you can walk across it. This allows you not only to admire the wall but also the houses built in traditional Old-German style.

Enjoy a tour of the city wall for a great view over Nördlingen.

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Augsburg

Golden oldie

One of the oldest cities in Germany, Augsburg features an interesting mix of historic and modern buildings. However, it’s the historic buildings in Augsburg that appeal to the romantic spirit. A great example is the magnificent city hall, built in a renaissance style. Don’t just admire the outside; visit the wonderful Goldener Saal (the Golden Hall). The room is decorated from floor to ceiling with sculptures, paintings and gold ornaments.

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Also worth a visit

A selection of other highlights along the route:

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Hohenschwangau

Once upon a time…

One of the most romantic highlights along the route is found just outside the village of Hohenschwangau: a romantic fairytale castle named Neuschwanstein. Travel to the castle by horse-drawn carriage and revel in the splendour of these photogenic quarters. Fun fact: Neuschwanstein Castle served as the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.

View the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle

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Elvele Images Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Tip

The best way to photograph the outside of the castle and its surroundings, walk over to the nearby Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge).

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Tip

Conclude your road trip with a stay in the Hotel Sonne, a fairytale hotel in the centre of town.

Füssen

Happily ever after

The end point of the Romantic Strasse, Füssen is beautifully located at the foot of the Alps and the Forggensee, a large lake that the Lech River flows into. In Füssen, relax in the medicinal sulphur springs, photograph the Lechfall or travel back in time with a visit to the ancient monastery of Sankt Mang. The library of this historic building in particular is worth a peek.

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Eibsee

One more top destination

Although Füssen is the official end point of the Romantic Strasse, why not continue for one more highlight? Set your navigation system for Eibsee and from there take the cable car to the top of Zugspitze; at 2,962 metres it is the highest mountain in Germany. Literally a top destination to look back on the magnificent route you’ve just completed.

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KLM

iFly Magazine

October 2016

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