Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vacation Itinerary Planner: The Romantic Road, Germany

On this famous and popular 50-year-old vacation route from the Main River to the Alps between Wurzburg and Fussen, the traveler will discover an extraordinary cultural variety. Tiepolo's frescoes can be admired in the Wurzburg Residenz. Picturesque towns such as Rothernburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbuhl cast a spell on each and every visitor. In Augsburg one can retrace the footsteps of the ancient Romans and the Fugger merchant dynasty. In addition, the lovely Wieskirche or Chutch in the Meadoe, one of the most famous examples of Rococo architecture, is situated on the Romantic Road near Steingaden. The last stop on this famous road is King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein Castle.

1. Wurzburg
Wurzburg is a pleasing harmony of history, culture and wine. This university town and former royal seat is idyllically situated on either side of the Main river and offers a vibrant atmosphere and an endearing charm. It has gained a name as the centre of the Franconian winegrowing region and, not least, as a city with exceptional places of interest.

2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town with a big reputation. Nowhere else will you find such a wealth of original buildings dating from the Middle Ages. You can't help but ask yourself whether time has stood still, as you amble past the beautiful old houses, secluded squares and tucked-away corners of the old quarter, where towers, taverns and town gates alternate with fountains, fortifications and former storehouses.

3. Dinkelsbuhl
Dinkelsbuhl is one of the archetypal towns which give the German Romantic Road its character. Along with its two neighbours (Rothenburg to the north and Nördlingen to the south) it is one of the only remaining walled medieval towns in Germany and its imposing minster and the timbered buildings give visitors a strong picture of how the towns appeared in the Middle Ages.

4. Augsburg
Augsburg, with its Mozart heritage, is one of the most historically significant cities in Germany – not to mention one of the prettiest. As you stroll through the city's ancient streets, it doesn't take much imagination to gain a sense of Augsburg's importance as a prominent financial centre, international trading hub and focal point for the fine arts in the days when the Fugger banking empire was at its peak.

5. Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein is known all over the world as a symbol of idealised romantic architecture and for the tragic story of its owner. After losing sovereignty in his own kingdom, Ludwig II withdrew into his own world of myths, legend and fairytales.

6. Wiskirche
The Pilgrimage Church of the Scourged Saviour at the foot of the Alps is considered a perfect example of Bavarian rococo architecture. Around one million visitors come here every year from all over the world – to look, marvel, pray, attend services, enjoy the summer concerts and, of course, for quiet contemplation.

7. Fussen
Fussen is located at the very end of the Romantic Road (or the beginning if you are travelling in the less usual direction). It is hard to think of a better spot for a grand finale. It is located on a lake (the Forggensee), has the River Lech flowing through the centre, and is set against the spectacular backdrop of the Alps.

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