Romantic Road GERMANY

Created in the aftermath of World War Two to attract tourists to Germany, the Romantic Road is an exceptionally pretty drive. Starting in wine country and ending at the foot of the Alps, it makes its way through rolling green countryside where tiny villages punctuate the landscape. Small farming buildings and church steeples. The route takes in some of the most intact medieval towns in Germany, including the only three remaining towns with complete stone walls encircling them. Crooked and brightly coloured half-timbered houses that looks like they belong in fairytales, and winding cobblestone streets happily filled with more locals in than tourists. World Heritage sites and castles. As is usually the case, exploring leads to the greatest rewards on trips like this. We bypassed most of the major destinations on the Romantic Road, and spent our time exploring the smaller towns. There’s no where along this route that isn’t jaw-droppingly picturesque. In fact, it’s often hard to believe that real life actually exists in towns this pretty.

A footworn path through the Franconian vines, from the top of the vineyard down to the village below, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, GermanyAn old winding cobbled street, with a medieval tower at the end and vineyards beyond the town wall, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

A footworn path through the Franconian vines, from the top of the vineyard down to the village of Sommerhausen below; An old winding cobbled street in Sommerhausen, with a medieval tower at the end and vineyards beyond the town wall.

A hillside full of vines laden with red grapes in the Franconian wine country, small villages dot the valley amongst the vineyards, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

A hillside full of vines laden with red grapes in the Franconian wine country, small villages dot the valley amongst the vineyards.

The window of an old house with green shutters, the ubiquitous pink and red geraniums in a window box, and grape vines growing above, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, GermanyA cobblestone street runs around the inside of the village's medieval wall, whilst colourful bunting is strung down the main street, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

The window of an old house in Sommerhausen with green shutters, the ubiquitous pink and red geraniums in a window box, and grape vines growing above; A cobblestone street runs around the inside of the village of Sommerhausen’s medieval wall, whilst colourful bunting is strung down the main street.

Pumpkins for sale from a blue trailer via an honesty system on a village road, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

Pumpkins for sale from a blue trailer via an honesty system on a village road in Sommerhausen.

A four-storey red and white half timbered house at the end of a cobblestone street, looks like it belongs in a fairytale, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, GermanyA road through the hilly vineyards in Franconian wine country, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

A four-storey red and white half timbered house at the end of a cobblestone street in Sommerhausen, looks like it belongs in a fairytale; A road through the hilly vineyards in Franconian wine country.

Vines growing on the houses hang over cars parked in the old narrow streets, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, GermanySign on the corner of a building points the way to one of the many Weinstube, or wine taverns, in the small village, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

Vines growing on the houses in Sommerhausen hang over cars parked in the old narrow streets; Sign on the corner of a building points the way to one of the many Weinstube, or wine taverns, in the small village of Sommerhausen.

Pretty buildings line the cobblestone streets in the small walled village, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, Germany

Pretty buildings line the cobblestone streets in the small walled village of Sommerhausen.

Pumpkins decorate the step of an old arched blue door, with grape vines covering the house, Sommerhausen, Bavaria, GermanyLocal Frankish zwetschengen sold at fruit and vegetable stand at a street market, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

Pumpkins decorate the step of an old arched blue door, with grape vines covering the house; Local Frankish zwetschengen sold at fruit and vegetable stand at a street market in Bamberg.

A statue of Empress Kunigunde on a bridge over the river Regnitz in Bamberg, she was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire in the 11th Century, Bamberg was her favourite residence and place of burial, Bamberg, Bavaria, GermanyVery crooked multi-storey old houses dating from the Middle-Ages along the river Regnitz, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

A statue of Empress Kunigunde on a bridge over the river Regnitz in Bamberg, she was Empress of the Holy Roman Empire in the 11th Century, Bamberg was her favourite residence and place of burial; Very crooked multi-storey old houses dating from the Middle-Ages along the river Regnitz in Bamberg.

The river Regnitz runs through the city and is lined with shoulder to shoulder old houses dating from the Middle-Ages, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

The river Regnitz runs through the city of Bamberg and is lined with shoulder to shoulder old houses dating from the Middle-Ages.

In the residential streets a woman hangs out the top window of her old ivy-covered house and smokes a cigarette, Bamberg, Bavaria, GermanySmall flower arrangements for sale at a street market, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany

In the residential streets of Bamberg a woman hangs out the top window of her old ivy-covered house and smokes a cigarette; Small flower arrangements for sale at a street market in Bamberg.

A tower over the arched entrance to one of the most intact walled Medieval towns in Germany, on a foggy morning, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

A tower over the arched entrance to Dinkelsbühl, one of the most intact walled Medieval towns in Germany, on a foggy morning.

Red geraniums and creepers spill out of the window box of an old stone building on the outside of the town's Medieval wall, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, GermanyLooking past layer of roofs and window shutters down the narrow streets to the church steeple, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

Looking past layer of roofs and window shutters down the narrow streets of Dinkelsbühl to the church steeple; Red geraniums and creepers spill out of the window box of an old stone building on the outside of Dinkelsbühl’s Medieval wall.

Looking along the stone wall, dotted with towers, that completely surrounds the town, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

Looking along the stone wall, dotted with towers, that completely surrounds the town of Dinkelsbühl.

The cobblestone streets, stone stables, and colourful half-timbered houses near the edge of the town wall are dwarfed by the high roof of the church, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, GermanyTourists sightseeing and locals heading home amongst the colourful half-timbered houses as the day draws to a close, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

The cobblestone streets, stone stables, and colourful half-timbered houses near the edge of Dinkelsbühl’s town wall are dwarfed by the high roof of the church; Tourists sightseeing and locals heading home amongst the colourful half-timbered houses as the day draws to a close in Dinkelsbühl.

An apple orchard just outside the town wall an a foggy morning, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

An apple orchard just outside the Dinkelsbühl town wall an a foggy morning.

Brightly coloured and very old half-timbered houses, with their overflowing flower boxes and ornate signs and lamps, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany A small, arched wooden door that leads to a vine-covered lookout tower build into the medieval town wall, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

Brightly coloured and very old half-timbered houses of Dinkelsbühl, with their overflowing flower boxes and ornate signs and lamps; A small, arched wooden door that leads to a vine-covered lookout tower build into the medieval town wall in Dinkelsbühl.

Looking through a big old apple tree just outside the town wall, across a lake to more colourful half-timbered houses on a foggy morning, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

Looking through a big old apple tree just outside the Dinkelsbühl town wall, across a lake to more colourful half-timbered houses on a foggy morning.

Where the stone wall meets the arched entrance to town and a tall lookout tower, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, GermanyDucks float on the small lake just outside the town wall on a foggy morning, with a medieval lookout tower in the distance, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, Germany

Where the stone wall meets the arched entrance to town and a tall lookout tower at Dinkelsbühl; Ducks float on the small lake just outside the Dinkelsbühl town wall on a foggy morning, with a medieval lookout tower in the distance.

Looking down on tiny houses built into the base of the medieval town wall in the only town where you can walk all the way around town on top of the intact wall, Nordlingen, Bavaria, Germany

Looking down on tiny houses built into the base of the medieval town wall at Nordlingen, the only town where you can walk all the way around town on top of the intact wall.

An old house falling into disrepair gives an insight into how these medieval half-timbered houses were built, Nordlingen, Bavaria, GermanyA shaded section of the sentry walk around the top of the town wall near the old water mill, Nordlingen, Bavaria, Germany

An old house falling into in Nordlingen disrepair gives an insight into how these medieval half-timbered houses were built; A shaded section of the sentry walk around the top of Nordlingen’s town wall near the old water mill.

Looking down on everyday local life from the top of the town wall as a lady rides her bike down the quiet cobblestone streets at the base of the wall, Nordlingen, Bavaria, Germany

Looking down on everyday local life from the top of the Nordlingen town wall as a lady rides her bike down the quiet cobblestone streets at the base of the wall.

An artfully arranged wood pile in a farm shed, Bavaria, GermanyA small farm shed filled with hay on the edge of a dense forest, Bavaria, Germany

An artfully arranged wood pile in a farm shed; A small farm shed filled with hay on the edge of a dense forest.

The crystal clear water and rich green forest at the bast of Pollat Gorge, on which the famous Neuschwanstein castle stands atop, Bavaria, Germany

The crystal clear water and rich green forest at the bast of Pollat Gorge, on which the famous Neuschwanstein castle stands atop.

A roadside crucifix in the green countryside with the World Heritage listed Wieskirche in the background, Bavaria, GermanyTwo horses at the base of Neuschwanstein don't really understand what everyone is looking at, Bavaria, Germany

A roadside crucifix in the green countryside with the World Heritage listed Wieskirche in the background; Two horses at the base of Neuschwanstein don’t really understand what everyone is looking at.

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