Germany's Best Scenic Drives

The Roads Best Traveled in Germany

The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) in Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, Europe
••• Michael DeFreitas/robertharding/Getty Images

Do you like road trips? Then hop in the car and make the journey your reward. Germany offers many scenic drives and themed roads that will lead you past quaint villages, medieval castles, and unspoiled countryside.

Enjoy the delicious spoils of your travel from favorite foods to wine culture, and find a room at the numerous bed and breakfasts that line the route. Signs marked with Zimmer frei ("room free") are a gateway to a truly homey German experience. Also keep an eye out for Germany's Coolest Hotels.

From the Romantic Road, and the Castle Road, to the Fairy Tale Road, and the Wine Route, here are the roads best traveled in Germany.

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    Neuschwanstein Castle
    ••• dbtelford/Flickr

    Follow your heart and the Romantic Road, a 261 mile long drive through Bavaria. The Romantische Straße was actually created by English-speaking travel agents in the 1950s, but the draw brings in visitors from around the world.

    The road leads you from the Franconia wine country to the fairy tale castle Neuschwanstein in the foothills of the German Alps.
    Along the way, you can enjoy the Bavarian countryside, which is dotted with picturesque towns, half-timbered houses, hidden monasteries and romantic hotels. Also visit Würzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Castle Hotel Colmberg.

    Note this is the most popular German scenic drive and can get very crowded in summer.

    Guide to the Romantic Road plus photos of the Romantic Road.

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    The Alte Brucke (Old Bridge) in Old Town, Heidelberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, Europe
    ••• Michael DeFreitas / robertharding/Getty Images

    If you want to see as many castles as possible in the least amount of time, take a ride on the Castle Road. Travel back in time with a route lined with more than 70 castles and palaces. Visitors will find everything from romantic ruins, to picture perfect castle museums, and even castle hotels.

    The Castle Road, which is over 625 miles long, consists of a series of small, winding back roads with easy to follow signs. If you want to plan it out before you get behind the wheel, the website is in English and has a very good map of the route, including exact distances between castles and cities.

    It starts in Mannheim and leads you all the way to Prague in the Czech Republic. With so much to see on the Castle Road, it is recommended to pick just a few castles that you want to explore in depth and enjoy the magnificent view of the other castles from afar.

    Guide to the Castle Road

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    Germany, Hesse, Hanau, Steinheim am Main, Platz des Friedens
    ••• Martin Siepmann/Getty Images

    Explore the country of the Brothers Grimm along the Fairy Tale Road, which connects the towns and landscapes that were the inspiration for their most famous fairy tales; hike in Little Red Riding Hood's forest, visit the castle of Sleeping Beauty, and climb up the tower from where Rapunzel let down her hair.

    The Fairy Tale Road starts in the town of Hanau, the birthplace of the two brothers Jacob and Wilhelm; it brings you to their home in Steinau where they grew up and through all the cities where the Brothers Grimm studied and worked.

    Almost all the towns along the Fairy Tale Road offer family-friendly activities, such as puppet shows, parades, concerts, and lovely statues of your favorite fairy tale characters. The route is particularly lovely around Christmas when Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) lend their considerable charm. 

    Guide to the Fairy Tale Road

  • 04 of 04
    Wine fields in autumn,Rhineland-Palatinate,Germany
    ••• Ursula Sander/Getty Images

    The German wine road in Rhineland Palatinate is the country’s oldest scenic drive. Starting in the southwest of Germany, the 50 mile long route snakes through Germany’s second largest wine growing region all the way to the French border.

    Enjoy Palatinate's 1000-year old viniculture in quaint wine villages, old-world restaurants, colorful vineyards, and at local harvest festivals. Soak up some local flavor at open-air farmer’s markets and wine festivals, which are celebrated throughout late spring, summer, and especially during the fall.

    Note that on the last Sunday in August the wine route is closed for traffic and only open to walkers, hikers, bikers, and inline skaters who visit the seasonal open-air wine bars along the way.

    Guide to the German Wine Road and photos of the German Wine Road.