The Romantic Road explores much of the best of southern Germany and is particularly rewarding during the Christmas season.
For those thinking of planning a road trip in Germany, look no further than the Romantic Road, which explores some of the best of southern Germany. Germany has so much to see that it is quite simply impossible to do justice to it in a single trip. While Germany may not be the most romantic destination in the popular imagination (unlike France and Italy), it can still be an ideal destination for romantic couples with plenty of pleasant surprises in store.
Fortunately, the Romantic Road offers a ready-made itinerary to see some of the best of what Germany has on offer, including much of what is considered quintessentially German. Explore the Romantic Road in the autumn, and one can even time it with the famous Oktober Fest in Bavaria. While in the south of Germany, take the time to see Germany's famous Black Forest (or Schwarzwald).
The Romantic Road is called Romantische Straße in German and is a "theme route." It was established in the 1950s and runs between Würzburg and Füssen through the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.
After the devastation of World War Two that left Germany in utter tatters, Germany was desperate to rebuild the tourism industry. In the post-war times, the idea of a formal "route" was created. The Romantic Road was created just after the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany (aka West Germany) and after the end of the military administration of West Germany.
The first visitors of the Romantic Road were the friends and families of American soldiers based in the south (like Bavaria). And it soon caught on as being very popular. Who would say not to a road trip through some of Germany's most historically important cities and ancient walled medieval towns before finishing off with the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Alps?
The Romantic Road, later on, became very popular with Japanese tourists, and it spawned a whole new Romantic Road in Japan (highly recommended for folks looking for a Japanese road trip).
Related: Know Before You Go: 10 Things To Know About Germany Before You Go
The Romantic Road passes through parts of Germany that are considered "quintessentially German" in their scenery and culture.
The route connects numerous picturesque castles and idyllic towns. While it was established in the 50s, it actually dates back to medieval times when it was part of a trade route connecting the south and center of Germany. In older, it is very loosely based on an old Roman route. Today it is one of the largest magnets of tourism in southern Germany.
Key Towns:
Key Castles:
One of the castles along the route is the famous Neuschwanstein castle, tucked away in the forests and mountains of southern Germany. The Neuschwanstein is so beautiful and eye-catching that it was the inspiration for Disney's famous castle.
Some of the highlights of the road are the discovery of walking trails through the vineyards in the Tauber valley, as well as the impressive churches of the Pfaffenwinkel and a selection of traditional villages.
Related: Why Germany Has The Best Spas (& Which Ones You Should Visit)
As Christmas is coming up, plan one's road trip to explore the excellent German Christmas markets (called 'Weihnachtsmarkt') along the route. The markets typically open around midday and last into the early evening.
This market is held in the center of the old town and also has artist's stalls selling crafts in the courtyard of the town hall. It is split between the Upper and Lower Market.
This historic market traces back to the 15th century. The market gets its name from a mythical horseman, Reiterle' who visits from a parallel world looking for lost souls.
A market held in the courtyard of the Spitalhof on the town's northern edge.
Held in the central part of the town from the Marktplatz to the historic old corn warehouse.
A must-see Christmas market in the historic German city of Augsburg.
Browse the many Christmas ornaments, knick-knacks, local crafts, traditional food, traditional drink, and mulled wine (Glühwein) and spiced tea with rum.
Aaron is a first-hand traveler who has visited more than 80 countries around the world. He is passionate about traveling and opening up the world for other intrepid explorers. He can be reached on Instagram at aaronspray


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