The Romantic Road captures classic Germany in the 28 towns that make up its route. Beginning in Füssen on the mountainous Austrian border and just a stone's throw to Neuschwanstein, the fantastic castle built by Bavaria's "Fairy-Tale King," Ludwig II, the road follows an old trading route along the Lech River up through the handsome Renaissance city of Augsburg. From there, it winds northwest through pastoral countryside to the best-preserved medieval town on the continent, Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber, before ending in Würzburg in central Germany, an hour from Frankfurt.
- Toward the Alps. Alpine meadows provide a spectacular landscape for the fairy-tale castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau near the Austrian border. The marvelous Wieskirche (Church of the Meadow) is just up the Romantic Road, where the mountains give way to rolling fields and beer beats out wine in the small inns of towns like Landsberg and Schongau.
- Central Romantic Road. After crossing the Danube from the south, the route takes you through the influential city of Augsburg before continuing on through the lovely Tauber valley. Vineyards slope down the hills to the small valleys, broken up only by the walled fortifications encircling charming old towns such as Nördlingen, a medieval town built in a meteoric crater; Dinkelsbühl; and Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber.
- Northern Romantic Road. Wine lovers should plan an extra day for the Frankish capital of Würzburg, where they can sample delicious local wines and view the Residenz Palace. A short distance down the Tauber River is the spa town of Bad Mergentheim, well known for its healing waters and 900-year association with the German Teutonic Order.