The Romantic Road - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to The Romantic Road

The Romantic Road

A former trade route, Germany's Romantic Road is a 220-mile (350km) portion of highway stretching from central Germany to the southern border with Austria. A popular route for holidays in Germany, the Romantic Road is actually a modern concept meant to encapsulate the typically Bavarian atmosphere and culture of the villages and towns along the way.

Easy to follow with brown signs posted in several languages, the Romantic Road is an ideal route for seeing fairy-tale castles and quintessentially German towns, but is so popular that many of the best sites tend to be overrun with tourists.

The Romantic Road starts in Würzburg, a town famous for its wineries and gourmet restaurants. Visitors should be sure to see the Residence Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From there the road goes to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl, the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany, and the 1,000-year-old Castle Hotel Colmberg. The 2,000-year-old town of Augsburg, an old Roman trading centre, features beautiful buildings and traditional Bavarian restaurants as well.

Pfaffenwinkel and Neuschwanstein are also key stops on the route, famous for their churches, castles, and pretty rolling countryside.

There are many ways to travel the Romantic Road: by train, bus tour, car, or even bicycle. Hop-on, hop-off bus tickets are available from Frankfurt, and you can also hire bicycles at any train station for only a few euros if you have a valid train ticket.

Information & Facts

German is the official language. English is also widely spoken and understood.

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents. ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. The major credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in many large shops, hotels and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash. Travellers cheques are best cashed at exchange bureaux, as banks often won't change them. The quickest and most convenient way to change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that are ubiquitous features on all German streets. Banks are closed on weekends, but exchange bureaux at airports and main railway stations are open daily from 6am to 10pm.

GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).

The largest town along the Romantic Road, Augsburg is also among the oldest cities in Germany with a history stretching back 2,000 years. Established as a Roman trading post, the city has been an important site for religion, politics and the military throughout its life. The city has many interesting buildings, including several ornately decorated churches and baroque houses. Augsburg is also known for its traditional German restaurants, and is a popular stop both on the Romantic Road and on journeys to the Bavarian Alps in the south.

A less-crowded alternative to Rothenburg, Dinkelsbühl is another scenic medieval town on the Romantic Road. Surrounded by 16 towers along its fortified 10th-century walls, the town centre is lined with 16th-century houses and churches and a few good historical museums. A good way to see the city is on an evening tour led by the town's night watchman. No visit to Dinkelsbühl is complete without sampling the locally-made gingerbread, a town specialty.

The fairytale castle built by King Ludwig II (known as 'Mad King Ludwig' until his death in 1886) has become the trademark of the German state of Bavaria, with its Gothic wedding-cake tiers and towers. Day tours to the castle are available from Munich, or self drive via Garmisch. From the parking lot there is a steep half-mile (one km) climb to the castle, but one can ride in a horse-drawn carriage. The interior of the castle is as extravagant as its outer aspect, particularly the King's apartments, which are decorated entirely with hand-embroidered silk, elaborate wall and ceiling paintings, and carvings.

Known as the best-preserved medieval town in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (or just Rothenburg) is an absolute must-see for anyone travelling on the Romantic Road. The 13th-century fortified walls are undamaged, and encircle a quaint city centre with a number of interesting buildings and museums. For the best view of the city, head to the top of the tower at the historic Town Hall. Rothenburg's only negative is its popularity, which sees it often completely overrun by Romantic Road tourists.

The popular starting point for the Romantic Road, Würzburg is a lovely and lively town. The former comes from its picturesque location in the heart of the Franconian wine region, with rolling hills, pretty vineyards, and many beautiful buildings. The town is famous for its '100 churches', and the Residential Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Far from being a sleepy historical town however, Würzburg is home to some 50,000 students who keep the nightlife jumping. A number of excellent German restaurants and colourful wine festivals add to the appeal. Located at the very northern tip of Bavaria on the Main River, Würzburg is linked to cities like Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich by train and makes an excellent excursion or weekend trip, even if you don't take the Romantic Road south.

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