As far as scenic drives in Germany go, the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) is unrivaled, both in beauty and popularity. This 400 (248.5 miles) km stretch of road packs in the gems of Germany’s nature, culture, and history. The swiftly changing landscapes and amazing surprises en route almost always exceed the imagination and expectations of road trippers. The adventure starts at the Bavarian city of Würzburg known for its Residence. Other notable attractions on the route include the romantic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the beautiful medieval city of Augsburg, the historic town of Dinkelsbühl, Harburg Castle, the Wieskirche Pilgrimage Church, the most famous castle in the world – Neuschwanstein, and the gorgeous Hohenschwangau Castle, among others, before culminating in the rolling uplands of Allgäu. En route, road trippers are treated with jaw-dropping scenery, merry festivals, and delicious food.
As evident from its name, the 1200 km (745 miles) long Castle Road is dotted with castles, and shrouded in myths, legends, and fairy tales. The route starts at Mannheim, the confluence of the rivers Neckar and Rhine, and meanders across the border to the beautiful Prague in Czech Republic. Masterpieces along this route that prompt travelers to stop and stare include the castles of Heidelberg, Bayreuth, Nuremberg, and Bamberg, 1000-year-old Castle Hotel Clomberg, impeccably preserved medieval town Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the four-castle city of Neckarsteinach, Plassenburg Castle in Kulmbach, and more, totaling a whopping 70 castles.
The Wine Route (Weinstraße), in one of the sunniest, warmest regions in Germany, is a dream road trip for wine connoisseurs. It starts at Schweigen-Rechtenbach, an imposing sandstone gate on the French border, and ends at Bockenheim. Travelers on this 85 km (52.8 miles) long route are rewarded with wine-tasting sessions, cheerful Autumn wine festivals, and scrumptious Rhineland Palatinate cuisine. As an added bonus, travelers get to feast their eyes on rows of cherry blossoms and lush, rolling vineyards on both sides of the road.
Fairy Tale Route
Childhood bedtime stories come alive for travelers on Germany’s iconic Fairy Tale Route, stretching for 600 km (373 miles) from the town of Hanau in Central Germany to Bremen by the North Sea. The route connects the spots where legendary story-tellers Brothers Grimm were born, lived, studied, and were inspired. Trace the steps of the Pied Piper (Hamelin), visit Snow White’s hometown Bad Wildungen and Red Riding’s House in Alsfeld, and take a selfie with the Four Musicians in Bremen. The route is dotted with picture-postcard towns and as many as 20 castles and palaces, many of which have found their way into the stories we all grew up on.
Germany’s oldest scenic road, Schwarzwald Hochstrasse, is a fascinating 60 km stretch connecting Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt. This route cuts through the impenetrably dense Black Forest at an altitude of 600-1000 meters. As you drive along, you’ll have no trouble believing that little Hansel and Gretel encountered the wicked witch somewhere around here. The road offers jaw-dropping views of the dark forest, Rhine plains, and the majestic Vosges Mountains, and is dotted with lakes, waterfalls, restaurants, as well as several sports and recreational facilities.
The Alpine Route has witnessed more incredulous ‘Wow!’s than most other stretches. This drive, from Lindau on Lake Constance to Schönau on Lake Königssee, is 450 km (280 miles) of stunning natural beauty as well as its fair share of cultural attractions. The most popular stops along the way include Bad Hindelang, Füssen, Oberammergau, Bavaria’s favorite ski resort – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Tegernsee, Bad Tolz, and of course, the deserved climax of an unforgettable road trip – Königssee, arguably the most beautiful lake in the country.
If you expect to see a vast amount of citrus fruits on the Limes Route, you will be disappointed. In reality, the route is named after līmes, which refers to fortifications or border defence in ancient Rome. This road runs from Rheinbrohl to Regensburg, a total of 500 km (311 miles), and connects monuments and museums relevant to the Roman era across 80 towns. Prepare to be transported to a fascinating epoch as you explore imposing walls, watchtowers, and gates.
Buckle up for a fiery drive on Germany’s Volcanic Route (Vulkanstraße)! This 280 km (174 miles) long route from River Rhine to the Eifel Mountains links regions shaped by gushing, spewing volcanoes. En route, there are around 350 eruption sites and 40 monuments offering landscapes, relics, or information associated with volcanoes. The unique topography boasts sinkholes, crater lakes, domes, geysers, mineral springs, carbonated springs, and more, which are of special interest to geology-enthusiasts but will fascinate any curious mind.