Romance? What’s that?

So it’s almost Valentine’s Day. We go through this every year. The heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are flung onto store shelves the day after Christmas which, incidentally, is around the time you should’ve started looking for a date. Maybe you’ve actually managed to dazzle a great guy or gal into being your Valentine. Either way, it’s an excuse to #TreatYoSelf and, in the name of all things romance, we highly-recommend a trip to Germany to take in the Romantic Road.

Never heard of it.

Not to worry. Here’s a brief history:

Three years after World War II, Germany still had a bit of a PR problem. In an attempt to position the country as an ideal ‘holiday’ destination, politicians and tourism experts came up with an idea for way to transport tourists from one quaint little town to the next – the Romantic Road. By 1950, the road connecting Würzburg in the north and Munich in the south was in operation, stringing together a few dozen atypical and charming German towns across a fairytale countryside. What could be more romantic?

Even if you find yourself woefully or wonderfully unattached, the Romantic Road brings you the best Germany has to offer in the way of food, sightseeing, and culture. Here are a few ways you can experience it:

Drink Your Way Across the Country *hiccup*

Germany's Romantic Road | Travel Tilt
A bockspeutal of Riesling from Bürgerspital Winery

Who needs love when there’s beer and wine? Famous for it’s wineries, vineyards, wine cellars, and wine, Würzburg sits in the heart Franconia, Germany’s only wine region. Sample something dry and white at the city’s Bürgerspital winery. Fun / drunk fact: the area’s best wines are bottled in a bocksbeutal — an oblong-shaped wine bottle specific to this region.

If you prefer a frothy pint to a frosty wine glass, congratulations. You’re in the right place. Head south on the Romantic Road and stop in… basically any city along the way. You’re in Bavaria, where beer is literally considered a basic food group. More important than where you drink, is perhaps what you’re drinking. Bavaria brews several distinct types of beer, but below are the basics. The great news? You can’t possibly go wrong.

  • Export Bier – pale, bottom-fermented
  • Helles Bier – lager
  • Pilsener
  • Dunkles Bier – dark beer
  • Zwickelbier / Kellerbier – hoppy and strong
  • Hefeweizen – wheat beer

It’s important that you prepare for your journey filled with love / alcohol by learning the words to this beloved Oktoberfest drinking song. G’SUFFA! (drink up!)

Germany's Romantic Road - Wurzburg Dom
Würzburg’s Cathedral of Saint Kilian, erected in the 11th century, stands tall over the city.

Forget Island-Hopping. Go Castle-Hopping!

The German word for castle is schloss – not to be confused with sloshed / what’s going down at the biergarten. When you’re done drinking (or between drinking) Germany’s Romantic Road is the perfect place to do a little house hunting. (Ladies, feel free to jot down some square footage numbers and take notes on the medieval decor.)

The Romantic Road is dotted with massive medieval castles including the Gothic-style Hohes Schloss in Füssen and the majestic 11th-century Harburg Castle, which towers over the River Wörnitz in Harburg.

Though, without question, the crown jewel of Bavaria’s castles is the magnificent Schloss Neuschwanstein. Nestled in the Alps, Neuschwanstein castle is the fairytale castle of Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria and has been a symbol of Bavarian tourism for most of the 19th century. Most impressive for it’s postcard-worthy exterior, the inside was never finished. However, the roughly dozen or so rooms that were completed (including the state apartments and throne room) are truly remarkable and completely worth the 12€. To go inside the castle, make reservations in advance.

Germany's Romantic Road - Schloss Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

Make It A One-Of-A-Kind Cycling Trip

The Romantic Road is especially accommodating to cyclists of all levels of experience and ability – there’s a designated cycling path that runs the entire route, separate from but adjacent to the main road. The Europabus coach service also provides transportation to cyclists (and their bikes) along the way.

The total distance is just under 300 miles (450 km) and it’s recommended that the trip be split into 10 segments with time for stopping over and sightseeing at points of interest along the way. The terrain is surprisingly flat for most it, even when you get into the foothills of Alps. This online shop offers inexpensive bicycling maps and guides of the region.

Germany's Romantic Road - Bad Mergentheim
Bad Mergentheim, a cyclist-friendly stop along the Romantic Road

The Romantic Road is an incredible journey – even if your current love life is a romance-free zone. Happy Valentine’s Day, travelers!

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