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Romantic Road: 3-Day Road Trip

Neuschwanstein Castle

Romantic Road: 3-Day Road Trip

By Nicole
Winding through southern Germany, the Romantic Road is a picturesque route from Würzburg in the Franconia wine region to Füssen in the foothills of the Alps that highlights some of the most charming Bavarian towns along the way. Determined to explore the Romantic Road, J and I rented a car and took a 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.
Duration: 3 days / 2 nights
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

Day 1

🛧 Flying to Frankfurt. We flew from New York to Frankfurt on a red-eye flight, which got us to the Frankfurt airport in the morning. The Sixt Car Rental rental stand was located conveniently in the lower level of the airport, and we had the keys to our Audi in 10 minutes.
Würzburg
Frankfurt ➝ Würzburg (~1 hour drive, 75 miles)
Our first stop on the Romantic Road started at the very beginning in Würzburg. Renowned for its architecture, art, and wines, Würzburg is a beautiful town straddling the Main River and famous for the Residenz, one of the finest baroque structures in Germany.

♦♦ 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.

  • The Domstrasse Wurzburg

    The Domstrasse

  • Pretzels

    Pretzels

  • Alte Mainbrücke

    Alte Mainbrücke

  • Marienberg Fortress

    Marienberg Fortress

  • St. Mary's Chapel

    St. Mary’s Chapel

  • Marktplatz

    Marktplatz

  • Marktplatz

    Marktplatz

  • Winzerbratwurst

    Winzerbratwurst

  • Würzburg Residence

    Würzburg Residence

  • Inside the Würzburg Residence

    Inside the Würzburg Residence

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Würzburg ➝ Rothenburg ob der Tauber(~45-minute drive, 40 miles)
♦♦ Romantik Hotel Markusturm. In Rothenburg, we stayed at the charming Romantik Hotel Markusturm. A former toll house from 1264, the hotel is located by the old town wall and right next to the Market Square. Our room was large and traditionally decorated. As a converted historical building, the hotel had no elevators, which is a consideration for those who need one, but offered a complimentary breakfast buffet. I enjoyed the hotel’s charm and location.

♦♦ 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.

  • Rothenburg Market Square

    Rothenburg Market Square

  • Romantik Hotel Markusturm

    Romantik Hotel Markusturm

  • Rothenburg at Night

    Rothenburg at Night

  • Night Watchman's Tour

    Night Watchman’s Tour

Day 2

Rothenburg ob der Tauber
♦♦♦ Town Walls. In the morning, we went straight to the town walls after breakfast. This is a great way to see just how large Rothenburg is and also to soak in beautiful views on both sides of the wall. Get there before it gets crowded, either first thing in the morning or at sunset.

♦♦♦ 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 Town Wall

    Rothenburg Town Wall

  • Rothenburg in the Morning

    Rothenburg in the Morning

  • Schneeball

    Schneeball

  • Käthe Wohlfahrt

    Käthe Wohlfahrt

Dinkelsbühl
Rothenburg ob der Tauber ➝ Dinkelsbühl (~30-minute drive, 30 miles)
Our next stop was Dinkelsbühl, which is one of the only remaining walled medieval towns in Germany. We visited Dinkelsbühl on a Sunday, so most of the shops were closed and the town was quiet, but even so, the charm and beauty of Dinkelsbühl was undeniable. Highlights include St. George’s Minster, Wine Market, and Old Town Hall.
  • Outside of Dinkelsbühl

    Outside of Dinkelsbühl

  • Dinkelsbühl

    Dinkelsbühl

  • Dinkelsbühl

    Dinkelsbühl

Schwangau
Dinkelsbühl ➝ Schwangau (~2.5 hour drive, 140 miles)
♦♦ Das Rübezahl. Nestled right in the middle of expansive farmlands at the foot of the mountains, Hotel Rübezahl was a great place to stay during our time in Schwangau. Offering spa facilities, free bike rentals, views of the castles, and delicious food, the hotel was a nice escape. I loved the location of the hotel but struggled to give it a higher rating due to the haughty attitude of some of the staff and even guests. Otherwise, this was a relaxing retreat that I would recommend to anyone visiting Schwangau.

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.

  • Lake Forggensee

    Lake Forggensee

  • Schwangau

    Schwangau

  • Cow Encounter

    Cow Encounter

Day 3

Schwangau
♦♦♦ Neuschwanstein Castle. After admiring the Neuschwanstein Castle from a distance, we finally visited in the morning after breakfast. The Neuschwanstein Castle was located a quick 10-minute drive from the hotel and is really beautiful from all angles. Some tips for visiting: Book your tickets in advance! You can only see inside the castle through a tour group, and they fill up fast on the day of. Unfortunately, Mary’s bridge, from which the iconic pictures of the castle are taken, is closed indefinitely; however, you can still get a similar vantage point off-trail by climbing next to the bridge (against the rules, but you will see many people doing this). Exercise caution if you go this route!
  • Neuschwanstein Castle

    Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Neuschwanstein Castle

    Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Hohenschwangau Castle

    Hohenschwangau Castle

Our visit to Neuschwanstein Castle marked the end of our 3-day road trip along the Romantic Road. Along the way, I enjoyed exploring the walled towns of the Rothenburg and Dinkelsbühl and how they contrasted with the expansive openness of Schwangau. Even in just a few days, I felt like I was able to see enough to appreciate the diverse scenery and experiences offered on the Romantic Road. With well-constructed roads and clear signage, the Romantic Road and the German Autobahn are easy to navigate for an unforgettable road trip.

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Comments 6

    1. Nicole Post
      Author
      Nicole

      Thank you for the very kind words! I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and find it helpful. Foodetcaetera is amazing too!

      Nicole

  1. Tamara Weber

    This looks like a plan for a serious, romantic vacation I should book with my husband! Thank you for all of the insight into the area and all of the things that you can do while there.

    1. Nicole Post
      Author
      Nicole

      The Romantic Road was a great trip that I highly recommend! Hopefully this post is helpful when you book a vacation of your own.

      Nicole

  2. Winnie Scholten

    Wow, if I had just three days to do all of these things, I would want to pack as much into the vacation as I possibly could. Thank you for sharing all of this!

    1. Nicole Post
      Author
      Nicole

      Winnie – a great thing about the trip is that we didn’t feel very rushed doing everything in 3 days either! Thanks for reading.

      Nicole

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