Our Journey Along the Romantic Road in Germany
The Romantic Road is a major draw for German tourism, based on a seemingly arbitrary route (OK, maybe with some ancient Roman associations), it was originally a promotional idea developed to draw more visitors to post-WWII Germany. It runs between Würzburg and Füssen and while the route may not have a long term history, the towns along it certainly do along with oodles of charm.
We followed the route from south to north, Füssen to Würzburg, although I’m not sure it makes a lot of difference which way you go. The south is undoubtedly more scenic with the Alps still playing a large role in the stunning landscapes so I guess it depends if you want to save the best until last or, like us, you have somewhere you need to be!
When we arrived in the Füssen it was too hot to face walking to the center so we cycled the short distance from our parking spot instead. Iain noted that he had been in Germany for at least three days and had not yet tasted any apple strudel. We rectified that as we perused the Romantic Road map and planned our next week or so along the route. The map was a freebie from the Tourist Information and we found it invaluable on the trip. I'll explain why in a bit.
Very close to Füssen is the Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy tale castle that inspired Walt Disney's famous Disneyland icon. Iain had been here many years ago while on a work trip but was happy return so I could enjoy it. We decided to get there early and we were indeed the first ones through the door (see my tips below for the visit). It's a fantastic visit, if a little hurried. I would have liked more time in each room but you have to go on a guided tour and you are pushed through at a bit of a pace. Still, we left fascinated by Ludwig II who created this masterpiece. If you are too I recommend seeting aside some extra time for the Museum of Bavarian Kings in the same town. It gives a great background on the era and the contrasting personalities of the various monarchs.
Glad for our early start, we left the castle and hit the Romantic Road. We drove the 410 km in an unhurried eight days. It was a nice relaxed pace with no long driving days. Which towns to visit is a personal choice and for me the not to miss ones were Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Those along with Neuschwanstein Castle were our favorites.
Following the route can be a little challenging. This is why I said earlier that we were glad to have a paper map. The Romantic Road is a specific route that is signposted with brown signs. All the tourist info says that following the signposts is easy. Hmm…. I would beg to differ. A GPS is not really your friend either because it usually favors the shortest or fastest route from A to B. The Romantic Road is often neither of these. Simply navigating to the next major town by GPS often bypasses the route. You have to rely more on the brown signs and the paper map. But word of warning, if you miss a sign or, as was frequently the case, the signs were lacking or, as happened to us three times on the route, there are road closures then good luck finding the road signs again. We worked out the best strategy was to navigate to the next minor town on the route by GPS but combine it with good old fashioned paper map navigation to verify.
Actually, if we did it again I think that we might just go visit the towns. It is really those places that are special but the road is not especially scenic compared to taking the major route. But I guess if you are in no hurry and don't mind a few wrong turns then why not do it.
We really enjoyed the towns and cities along the route. All of them were lovely to visit and a few were really magical. Germany is a great place to visit and we always enjoy our time here. Everywhere is motorhome friendly, the people are welcoming and everything is clean and works well. The Romantic Road was another great experience to add to our growing list of touring Germany in a motorhome.
Recommendations & Tips
Where we stayed: We visited at the beginning of June. We made no reservations.
57. Camper area; Fussen: Unglamorous parking area run by a sushi restaurant. Convenient for shopping, the town of Fussen and visiting Neuschwanstein Castle. Full motorhome service point. 15€ a night with elec. GPS: 47.58199, 10.7021
58. Parking area Landsberg am Lech. Full motorhome service point. 8€ for 24 hours, electric available. GPS: 48.05587, 10.87227
59. Riverside motorhome parking area, Augsburg. Full motorhome service point. 8€ for 24 hours, electric available. GPS: 48.36978, 10.8777
60. Donau Lech Camping, Oberndorf am Lech. In need of laundry we made a one night stop at this remote campsite. Perfectly nice and not too far off the Romantic Road. 20€ a night with elec GPS:48.67576, 10.84122
61. Motorhome Area, Dinkelsbühl. Not as convenient to town as the other motorhome parking (which was full) but this is a little nicer spot. Full motorhome service point. 12€ a night with elec. GPS:49.07837, 10.32957
62. Mixed Parking Area, with provision for motorhomes, Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Busy parking lot but lots of spaces, very convenient for the gorgeous town and grocery shopping. Full motorhome service point. 12€ a night. GPS:49.37016, 10.18328
63. Mixed Parking Area, with specific motorhome area, Bad Mergentheim. Lovely big spaces right on the edge of town, short cycle or walk through the park to reach the center. Full motorhome service point. 10.90€ a night. GPS:49.49337, 9.79417
64. Mixed Parking Area, with specific motorhome area , Würzburg. Lovely riverside spots. Short walk into the city. Full motorhome service point. 10.90€ a night. GPS :49.79794, 9.92332
You can always find details of where we stay on our overnight stays map.
Visiting Neuschwanstein. This is a very busy tourist attraction. We were there on a Tuesday in the first week of June and it was packed. If you get there early as we did or, I suspect, late I am sure you will have a better experience. You can order tickets online but they tend to be booked up quite far in advance and, at least on the day we went, the line to purchase was far shorter than the line to pick up. So we were happy that we just took our chances. There is parking for buses that will also accommodate motorhomes. We arrived there at 7.30am for ticket office opening and we bought for the very first tour of the day at 9am. It's a bit of a trek up to the entrance of the castle and while there is a shuttle bus to make the 9am tour it is cutting it fine. You have a choice of audio tour or guided tour. With both,you are still escorted through the rooms so you don't get to linger even with the audio tour. Even though it is a rushed visit we really enjoyed it. We also liked the Museum of Bavarian Kings. Buying the tickets together saves a few euros.
Paper Map: As mentioned pick up the free Tourist Info map for the route. It is super helpful with the road and cycle route, distances and brief descriptions of each town.