Romantic Road: 3-Day Road Trip
Considerations for renting a car in Germany. After comparing several rental car companies, I ultimately rented a car from Sixt Car Rental, which offered the lowest rates for a one-way rental. Other available options included Europcar, Avis, and Hertz. Here are some considerations for renting a car in Germany.
- Be sure to check the rental car’s transmission type – a large number of the available cars have manual transmissions, and I know I have no idea how to drive one of those!
- Rent a car with GPS! I thought I would be able to rely on my phone and its international roaming capabilities, but I had very little service in some of the more remote spots along the way so the in-car GPS was essential.
- German roads and highways have excellent signage for cities, landmarks, parking, and rest areas, so figuring out the routes should not be a problem.
- On the Autobahn, Germans drive fast, so be ready to drive fast too. Stick to the right lane if driving at 150 mph is not your speed.
Accommodations: Romantik Hotel Markusturm, Das Rübezahl
Before You Go: Reserve a rental car with GPS, book hotels, purchase castle tickets
♦♦♦ A Must | ♦♦ Recommended | ♦ Point of Interest
Frankfurt ➝ Würzburg (~1 hour drive, 75 miles)
♦♦ The Domstrasse. After we parked our car, we started exploring the city by walking down the Domstrasse, the street connecting the Würzburg Cathedral and the Alte Mainbrücke (Old Bridge). Along this street, we picked up some pretzels to snack on as we made our way to the bridge.
♦♦♦ Alte Mainbrücke. The first stone bridge built in Germany, Alte Mainbrücke is a must-see in Würzburg. Lined with statues of saints, the Alte Mainbrücke offers spectacular views of the Main River and Marienberg Fortress.
♦♦ Marktplatz (Market Square). The Market Square in Würzburg is a great place to walk around and grab a bite to eat. Vendors set up shop in the square, where you can find anything from fresh flowers to sauerkraut. While we were here, we made sure to try the winzerbratwurst Würzburg is famous for. While it seems similar to a traditional bratwurst, the winzerbratwurst is made with spicier meet and local wine. Eat it with mustard, and wash it down with some beer!
♦♦ Würzburg Residence. Our last stop in Würzburg was the Würzburg Residence. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Würzburg Residence is a magnificent Baroque palace is one of the largest and most beautiful in Germany. Don’t forget to visit the gardens surrounding the palace as well.
Würzburg ➝ Rothenburg ob der Tauber(~45-minute drive, 40 miles)
♦♦ Zur Höll. For dinner, we walked over to Zur Höll, a medieval tavern serving traditional German food. The oldest structure in Rothenburg, Zur Höll’s history dates back to the 10th century. A tip for eating dinner in Rothenburg – don’t wait too late to do it as we felt many of the restaurants closed earlier than we were accustomed to in New York (although admittedly we eat late in New York).
♦♦♦ Night Watchman’s Tour. As soon as the day-trip tourists leave in the evening, Rothenburg quiets down substantially. Shops close and there aren’t many options in the way of bars and nightlife. Don’t worry though, because the Night Watchman’s Tour is a fun and entertaining to spend an hour in the evening exploring the city of Rothenburg. Led by a humorous night watchman guide, the English-speaking tour starts at 8 P.M. in the Market Square, costs 7 euros, and lasts about an hour. Generally I avoid walking tours, but I highly recommend this one – I was learning and laughing the entire time.
♦♦♦ Schneeball. When in Rothenburg, you must try a schneeball. These balls of fried pie crust come in many varieties, including powdered sugar, glazed with chocolate, or filled with marzipan. My favorite part of a pie has always been the crust, so this dessert was right up my alley. You can find them in many shops and bakery around town.
♦♦ Käthe Wohlfahrt. Christmas is celebrated all year round at Käthe Wohlfahrt, a Christmas store located in the heart of Rothenburg. Stop in to browse the Christmas decorations and trees. There is a museum upstairs as well where you can learn about the origins of tree decoration.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber ➝ Dinkelsbühl (~30-minute drive, 30 miles)
Dinkelsbühl ➝ Schwangau (~2.5 hour drive, 140 miles)
Tips: Book dinner with your hotel room – with the quaint, isolated location comes with only a few dining options nearby, and the restaurant at the hotel was quite good. Also, the website is really tricky to use to book your stay – every time we reached the final confirmation page the dates would change! I would recommend either contacting the hotel directly (but there might be a language barrier) or book through a larger site, such as Priceline.
♦♦♦ Biking around Lake Forggensee. Can I give this 100 stars? Biking around Schwangau and Lake Forggensee was my favorite thing to do in all of the Romantic Road. The lake was unexpectedly stunning, turquoise blue with magnificent views of the Alps. I loved how removed I felt from the outside world as we biked through quiet streets and between farmhouses. At one point on the ride, a herd of cows walked up right next to us, one even started licking J’s bike. Truly unforgettable, biking around Schwangau is a must.
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