bavaria europe germany Romantic Road

The Romantic Road Germany Travel Guide // Tips, Maps & Itinerary

The Romantic Road in Germany is a popular tourist route that spans 220 miles (350km) between Wurzburg and Fussen, and along the way you’ll discover dozens of picturesque villages and medieval walled towns. When researching our most recent trip, all it took was one quick Google search and I was sold.. the Romantic Road sounded like magic. Keep reading for photos, a suggested itinerary, and 3 things I wish I knew before embarking on the Romantic Road Germany road trip.

A Guide to Germany's Romantic Road / Suggested Itinerary, Map and Travel Tips

3 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE TRAVELING THE ROMANTIC ROAD

TRAVEL FROM NORTH TO SOUTH

My first mistake was starting the journey at Neuschwanstein Castle because I fell head over heels in love with the Bavarian Alps. In fact, I’ll go as far as to say it’s one of the most beautiful areas of Europe that I’ve been to. Anytime you set the bar that high, you leave yourself vulnerable for disappointment.  I highly recommend starting in Wurzburg and traveling South to Fussen so that you get a proper grand finale.


RELATED POST: Everything You need to Know about Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle


Traveling the Romantic Road in Germany

THE ROAD IS NOT ROMANTIC 

The term “Romantic Road” is quite possibly the best travel marketing ploy ever. When I think of a romantic road, a slow, windy route through perfect scenery comes to mind. This route looks very similar to driving through the middle of the United States. A lot of farm land.. not much to look at .. quite possibly the least romantic road I’ve ever driven.

THE JOURNEY EASIER THAN IT APPEARS

While there are 28 stops on the official Romantic Road Germany map, some of these towns are so small, you can drive through them in 10 seconds. Before our road trip, I was worried that 4 days wouldn’t be enough time because I wanted to see everything. I didn’t realize that there’s not actually anything to see in some of the towns towns. Several times, we got off the highway to check out what the smaller villages had to offer, and we didn’t see a single person.

ROMANTIC ROAD GERMANY MAP

The Romantic Road Germany // Map of 28 Towns and Villages

DISTANCES BETWEEN THE MAIN TOWNS

From North to South 

Würzburg
Tauberbischofsheim 23.5 miles (38km)
Lauda-Königshofen 6 miles (10km)
Bad Mergentheim 7 miles (11km)
Creglingen 15.5 miles (25km)
Rothenburg ob der Tauber 12 miles (19km)
Dinkelsbühl 28 miles (45km)
Nördlingen 20 miles (32km)
Harburg 10.5 miles (17km)
Donauwörth 7.5 miles (12km)
Augsburg 27 miles (44km)
Landsberg am Lech 24 miles (39km)
Schongau 18 miles (29km)
Pfaffenwinkel (Rottenbuch) 10.5 miles (17km)
Schwangau 18 miles (29km)
Füssen 2.5 miles (4km)

The Romantic Road Germany // A Complete Guide + Suggested Itinerary

HOW TO TRAVEL THE ROMANTIC ROAD

RENT A CAR

The easiest way to travel the Romantic Road is by car. Having a vehicle allows you to set your own schedule and it gives you the most freedom to see and do what you want. Frankfurt and Munich are the closest big city hubs on opposite ends of the Romantic Road, so it makes it super easy to pick up and drop off a rental car at either of these cities. Wurzburg is 73 miles (119km) from Frankfurt and Fussen is 82 miles (132km) from Munich.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

It’s possible to use public transportation, but you will be restricted to limited routes/times/etc. For info on how to see the Romantic Road via public transportation click here.

CYCLING

There is a 460km long network of designated cycleways on the Romantic Road and cycling is one of the most popular ways of traveling it.

A Guide to Germany's Romantic Road THE ROMANTIC ROAD GERMANY // 4 DAY ITINERARY

This was our itinerary for traveling the Romantic Road (except we did it backwards). While we did move quickly through some of the towns, I never felt super rushed with only 4 days. Ideally, I think 5 days would be the perfect amount of time to see everything. 7 days if you really want to take your time and stop in some of the less popular towns.

Germany's Romantic Road // Travel Tips, Photos + a 4 Day Suggested Itinerary

DAY 1

Pick up your rental car in Frankfurt and drive to Wurzburg.

WURZBURG

Home to Marienberg Fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Residenz Palace, Wurzburg is one of the larger towns on the Romantic Road.  You’ll also notice tons of vineyards on the hills; Wurzburg is the center of Franconian Wine Country.

Wurzburg / The Romantic Road Germany Wurzburg is an eventful first stop so I would suggest spending half a day here if you want to see it all. Because we did this itinerary backwards, it was our last visit and we had arrived after the most popular attractions were closed. Instead, we walked across Alt Mainbruecke bridge and along the river, where we found a small beer garden overlooking the town.

Wurzburg / The Romantic Road Germany From Wurzburg, drive towards Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber (45 minutes). If you want, you have the option to stop in Bad Mergentheim along the way. Stay the night in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber.

WHY YOU SHOULD STAY OVERNIGHT IN ROTHENBURG

Over 2.5 million people visit Rothenburg each year but only 500,000 book a room. Walking around in the evening after the tour busses went home, was a completely different experience and we had the village to ourselves. As an added bonus.. it looks magical at night.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber / Germany's Romantic Road Because of it’s popularity, Rothenburg is one of the more expensive towns to stay in. To save money, pick a hotel or B&B outside the city wall. We found an AirBnb for $35/night in August. It was a 5 minute walk to the wall.

DAY 2

Wake up early and spend half a day exploring Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber.

Germany's Romantic Road // A Complete Guide

ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER 

Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber is one of the most famous and picturesque destinations on the Romantic Road. Unfortunately with that, comes large crowds. Despite the massive amounts of tourists, I still fell in love with Rothenburg’s charm.  For a list of things to do, what eat and where to stay, check out the related post below.


RELATED POST: ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER // GERMANY’S CUTEST MEDIEVAL WALLED CITY


Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, a town along Germany's Romantic Road // Travel Tips, Photos + a 4 Day Suggested Itinerary

After spending the morning in Rothenburg, head South to Dinkelsbuhl (35 minutes).

DINKELSBUHL

One of the best preserved medieval towns in Germany, Dinkelsbuhl is a former Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire. I didn’t read much about Dinkelsbuhl before we visited but it was one of my favorite stops. We also happened to be here during a festival, so it was extra lively.

Dinkelsbuhl on Germany's Romantic Road // Travel Tips, Photos + a 4 Day Suggested ItinerarySpend 1-3 hours enjoying Dinklesbuhl and then drive to Nordlingen (30 minutes) where you’ll stay the night.

DAY 3

NORDLINGEN

Nordlingen was super interesting because it’s located in the center of a large meteor crater. If look at a bird’s eye photo of the town, you’ll see the distinct circle outline.

Nordlingen Map : The Romantic Road Germany

Nordlingen is the only town in Germany with walls and battlements that can be walked all the way around. Personally, I didn’t love Nordlingen so we only spent about an hour and a half here.

Nordlingen on Germany's Romantic Road // Travel Tips, Photos + a 4 Day Suggested ItineraryAfter spending some time in Nordlingen, move on to Augsburg (1 hour). On the way to Augsburg you have the option to stop at Donauworth or Harburg.

AUGSBURG 

Augsburg is Germany’s third oldest city and it’s of one of the largest in Bavaria. We didn’t spend a ton of time here as I wanted to focus on the smaller, more quaint towns and villages.

The Romantic Road Germany

If you’re interested in Augsburg’s history, spend the rest of the day here.

In the afternoon, if you have the time, I highly recommend driving to Fussen (1hr 30min) so you can wake up early and beat the crowds at Neuschwanstein Castle. If not, spend the night in Augsburg.

DAY 4

Use the early morning to explore the famous, fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle. Or, if you stayed in Augsburg, wake up early and drive to Schwangau (home of Neuschwanstein).

Neuschwanstein Castle on Germany's Romantic Road // Travel Tips, Photos + a 4 Day Suggested Itinerary


RELATED POST:  Everything you Need to Know About Visiting Neuchwanstein Castle


FUSSEN & SCHWANGAU

To beat the crowds, we arrived at Neuschwanstein when it opened, and our entire visit lasted about 3-4 hours.

Fussen, a town along the Romantic Road Germany // Travel Tips, Photos + a 4 Day Suggested Itinerary

After touring the castle, you can spend a little time walking around the small village of Schwangau. Then, make the quick drive to Fussen (5 minutes) and spend the rest of the day here.

In the afternoon, it’s time to head to Munich to drop off your rental car.


RELATED POST : 5 THINGS TO DO IN FUSSEN GERMANY


ALTERNATIVE SUGGESTION

If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve re-arranged my entire itinerary to spend much more time in Bavaria. If you find yourself getting deja vu along the Romantic Road (a lot of the towns are very similar) and need a change of scenery, consider skipping some stops and adding days on the Southern end of Germany. It’s 10x more romantic than the official Romantic Road. Seriously.


RELATED POST: BAVARIA OFF THE BEATEN PATH 


The Bavarian Alps


PIN IT // ROMANTIC ROAD GERMANY

Traveling Germany's Romantic Road // Maps, Photos and a 4 Day Itinerary   Germany's Romantic Road Travel Guide  // Maps, Photos and a 4 Day Itinerary 

Have you been? What was your favorite stop on the Romantic Road Germany road trip?

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Comments (11)

  • Hello, we are thinking of spending one night in Rothenburg/Colmburg (coming from Munich) and one night in Fussen (then going to Salzburg). With only 2 nights, is it better to stay in these 2 places or stay 2 nights at one? The trip is in July. Is Romantic Road south or north better (i realize it’s not the road itself). Thank you.

    Reply
    • mm

      Hi Zhanna,
      I think you could easily spend 1 night in each place and it would allow you to have a more relaxed journey and it would break up your driving time. I preferred the southern half of the Romantic Road WAY more. If I were to do it again, I would spend almost all of my time in the south. I did love Rothenburg though, so I do recommend it. Hope this helps!

      -Lindsey

      Reply
      • Lindsey,
        Thank you for your help!
        Zhanna

        Reply
  • Wanting to add this on to Salzburg and Oktoberfest this September….Any thoughts on an itinerary?

    Reply
    • mm

      Hi Jennifer! I just helped a friend who is doing this exact trip during Oktoberfest. This is her (rough) itinerary:

      Fly into Munich and spend a few days at Oktoberfest. Rent a car and drive to Rothenburg (2.5 hours) in the morning. Spend the night in Rothenburg and take the next day to drive down the Romantic Road, stopping in Nordlingen, Dinkelsbuhl and maybe Augsburg. Rothenburg to Fussen is only 2 hours so you can plan to spend as much or as little time stopping in the towns as you want. She’s staying in Fussen that night, waking up and doing Neuschwanstein in the morning and the rest of Fussen in the afternoon. From there, she’s spending another night in Fussen, waking up early and driving to Berchtesgaden. Then from Berchtesgaden, driving to Salzburg.

      You could cut Berchtesgaden and drive straight to Salzburg from Fussen (2 hr 45 min and the drive is BEAUTIFUL). Or, if you don’t want to hold onto your rental car for that long.. go from Fussen back to Munich (1 hr 40 min) and take the train to Salzburg (1 hr 45 min).

      You could also, obviously, do this in reverse as well.

      Hope this helps!
      Lindsey

      Reply
  • A friend of mine, years ago, told me of his itinerary that started in Frankfurt, rented a car to drive south and see all the main stops. But then, to return to Frankfurt, went through Austria and Switzerland to then turn north back to the airport. I am trying to find a scenic, romantic trip with my wife that would do that. Many of the itineraries I have seen so far are one way, 7-day tours, so I am still searching. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • mm

      Hey Ken!
      I haven’t traveled in this direction before but I just did a little bit of research. I’m not sure how much time you’re allotting but this would be the rough route I’d be interested in taking.

      If you enter Austria after Fussen, you can stop at Reutte (20 min from Fussen) and then take the 198 highway West. I’ve always wanted to go to Lech (1 hr 15min from Ruette). From Lech you could make your way to Feldkirch (1 Hour). From Feldkirch, head to Zurich (1 hr 30 min). From Zurich to Basel (1 hr 15 min). Basel to Colmar, France (52 min). Colmar to Baden Baden Germany (1 hr 30 min). Baden Baden to Frankfurt (2 hr). Stopping in the little towns along the way (if time permits).

      Google image search some of these towns and see if it gives you a bit of inspiration for your trip! Hope this helps,

      Lindsey

      Reply
  • Hello
    We are planning to rent a car and drive from Munich to Frankfurt starting on the 28th December, 10 days all up. I have been doing some research and have read that some towns/ attractions are closed at this time of the year. Also wondering what the road conditions are like at this time of the year as we are from Australia and not used to driving in freezing conditions. Really pleased I found this site as we will now spend more time in the south. Just wondering where we should spend New Year’s Eve if you have any suggestions I would really appreciate your advice.

    Reply
  • Hi,

    A small group of us are planning a trip to Germany. We will flying into Munich to spend 2-3 days at Oktoberfest. From there, we wanted to do a 5 day drive through the romantic road before catching a plane from Frankfurt to Norway.

    Do you have any suggested itinerary for this.

    Thanks so much,

    Jade

    Reply
    • mm

      Hi Jade,
      I have a 4 day itinerary in this post and then I’d suggest any extra time be spent in the southern half as it was much prettier. I would even consider going a little into Austria since it borders Fussen, is a quick and easy stopover and incredibly beautiful!!

      Lindsey

      Reply

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