Guide to Germany's Romantic Road

Castle Neuschwanstein in winter
Ingmar Wesemann / Getty Images

The Romantic Road is a scenic drive through Bavaria that leads you from the Franconia wine country to the foothills of the German Alps.

Follow the Romantic Road and your heart, finding unspoiled nature, picturesque towns with city walls, towers, and half-timbered houses, hidden monasteries, medieval castles, and romantic hotels.
This 261-mile long scenic route makes the journey your reward.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

TripSavvy / Christopher Larson

The Romantic Road

The Romantic Road used to be a major trade route during the Middle Ages and has been re-branded today with plenty of old world charm. Dine in romantic courtyard restaurants, stroll through lush parks, take in historical castles, and explore the old town centers that have lost nothing of their original splendor. All the while driving alongside beautiful vineyards, clear waters, and rolling hills until you reach the majestic Bavarian Alps.

 Christopher Larson / TripSavvy

Highlights of the Romantic Road in Germany

  • Würzburg: Located in the heart of the Franken wine growing region, Würzburg is famous for its excellent wines and gourmet restaurants, colorful wine festivals, and beautiful vineyards. The architectural gem of Würzburg is the Residence Palace, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Welcome to the best preserved medieval town in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber – its fortified city center is picture-perfect. Walk atop the medieval wall that encircles the old city center, or go to the top of the historical Town Hall for a spectacular view of the region. Take a tour through the historical town with the night watchman, who is on patrol in the illuminated city center at night.
  • Castle Hotel Colmberg: Spend the night in the 1000-year-old Castle Hotel Colmberg.
  • Dinkelsbühl: The old town of Dinkelsbühl boasts 16 fortified towers, several authentic city gates, and an original ring wall. This town shares many of the charming traits of Rothenburg but is off the beaten path.
  • Augsburg: Encounter the legacy of the Romans and the wealthy traders from the Middle Ages in one of Germany's oldest cities; Augsburg's 2000-year-old past comes to life in the historical city center with its baroque townhouses, splendid boulevards, and traditional restaurants, where you can enjoy a genuine medieval candlelight dinner in old vaulted rooms.
  • Pfaffenwinkel: This part of Bavaria (called "Pastor's Corner") is famous for its churches and pristine landscapes. A must-see is the pilgrimage church Wieskirche ("Church in the Meadow") in Steingaden. This rococo masterpiece is on the list of the UNESCO World Heritage sights.
  • Neuschwanstein: The end destination for many travelers is the romantic fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, nestled in the Bavarian mountains. This site encompasses the very notion of romanticism.
Hohenschwangau Castle & Neuschwanstein Castle (Bavaria, Germany)
oriredmouse / Getty Images

Romantic Road Travel Tips

  • The Romantic Road is the most popular German scenic drive and can get very crowded in summer. A better time to visit may be fall, winter, or spring.
  • Starting Point: While you can start anywhere, Würzburg, 75 miles southeast of Frankfurt, is the traditional starting point.
  • End Point: Füssen and its iconic Castle Neuschwanstein, 82 miles southwest of Munich.
  • Getting There: Fly to Frankfurt International Airport.
  • Getting Around: The best way to enjoy the Romantic Road is by car, and you can get a rental car at the Frankfurt Airport. Take the Autobahn B3 to Würzburg, the starting point of the Romantic Road, and from there just follow the signposts for your route.
  • You can also book pre-arranged packages and tour the Romantic Road on a bus. This takes the planning stress away, but also some of the spontaneity.