Note: many of these campsites and landmarks are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 regulations. Be sure to check local restrictions before planning your trip, and check out these 5 tips for a safe road trip during COVID-19, so make your trip the best it can possibly be.
Romantische Strasse (translating to Romantic Road) is the dream road trip across Southern Germany. Spanning roughly 400 kilometres and 16 towns, there is no doubt that this is one of Germany’s most beautiful routes. Travellers can experience the simple nature along the way, from lush meadows to snaking rivers, and marvellous hills. There is of course, an admirable culture of hospitality and medieval charm throughout this road. Understandably, figuring out where to begin and how to plan your trip can be overwhelming. But worry not, this romantische strasse itinerary will provide all the details you need to make this an unforgettable motorhome road trip. It is worth noting that some of the destinations on this itinerary may not be for everyone, so don’t hesitate to customise it to meet your own interests!
Day 1: Würzburg to Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
via Tauberbischofsheim, Lauda-Königshofen, Bad Mergentheim, and Creglingen.
Kick off your trip in the beautiful city of Wüzburg, one of Germany’s oldest cities, whose history dates back to 1000 BC. There is quite a bit to see and do here, so it might be worth spending a few nights in the area before starting your romantic road road trip. You can start the day by exploring the residence palace gardens, after taking a guided tour of the palace. Afterwards, be sure to scale the Marienburg Fortress, a castle built in 704 AD, so get some spectacular views of the city! You can also book a free walking tour to explore important historical monuments in the city, like the Old Main River Bridge and Marienkapelle.
Once you’ve satisfied your desire to explore Wüzburg, hit the A290 to start driving along the romantic road. After 38 kilometres, you’ll reach the first stop of the day: Tauberbischofsheim. This is the first village on the valley of Tauber, with Rothenburg Ob Der Taur on the other side. Like most of the destinations in this trip, Tauberbischofsheim is quite small, and the best way to enjoy the city is to stretch your legs and explore its medieval charm. If you’re interested in learning more about the city, you can always visit the Tauberfränkisches Landschaftsmuseum. Expect to spend roughly one hour in this town.
A short 10 kilometre drive away is the town of Lauda-Königshofen, notorious for its vineyards. To get the best experience in this cosy town, you can follow a tour of the old city and go wine tasting! For only £9.00, you can take a three-hour tour of the city while enjoying local wines, one of the best activities on this romantische strasse itinerary.
The next two destinations on the trip are Bad Mergentheim and Creglingen respectively. These two towns are quite small, so the best way to enjoy them is to visit by a small restaurant or cafe for lunch! However, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding a parking spot for your motorhome, you can skip these sites.
After 19 kilometres, you’ll reach your final destination for the day: Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber. This is one of the more popular destinations on the romantic road, and can get quite busy during the day. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of countless tourists during the day, then be sure to take the City Tour with the Night Watchman. It’s an excellent way to explore town peacefully. If you visit during December, be sure to visit their famous Christmas markets! They’re especially magical when they’re lit up at night.
Settle at your campsite for the night. Camping Tauberromantik is a short 20-minute walk for the city centre, for only £23.50 per pitch per night for two adults during the low season, and £25.90 at high season. It is worth noting that the campsite is closed until March 2021 for renovations. Should you wish to tour the romantic road before then, consider staying at Morenhof Franken. Although it is further away from Rothenburg than Camping Tauberromantik, it is the perfect place to stay if you have children, or want a campsite that allows you to enjoy the region’s nature. Prices range from £22.75 to £34.50 for two adults per night.
Day 2: Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber to Nördlingen
Wake up and start your day in Rothenburg’s city centre! Enjoy some delicious pastries at some of the local bakeries, such as Brot and Zeit. Most bakeries open at 7:00, which is perfect if you want an early start to your day. To get fantastic views of the city during the day, be sure to walk around the 900-year-old city walls. There isn’t an entrance fee to walk along the wall, making it the perfect activity if you’re travelling on a budget. Afterwards, explore the Castle Garden. Although the castle was destroyed, its beautiful garden remains, displaying an impressive array of plants. It’s an excellent place to walk around, with the added bonus of amazing views of Rothenburg. Be sure to also take the time to admire the medieval charm of the town, which is best done by simply getting lost in its cobbled streets.
Note: There is quite a bit to do and see in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, especially if you're visiting during some of their festivals, such as the Master Draught. Consider staying an extra few nights to make the most of your time here. This is personally my favourite destination on this romantische strasse itinerary, and would highly recommend spending some time here!
Next, head out to Dinkelsbühl along the A7. This is one of the best-preserved towns from the Middle Ages in Germany, making it a popular destination along the romantische strasse. To really get the feel of bustling town life, be sure to plan your visit to Dinkelsbüh on Wednesday or Saturday. The town hosts a large market on the market square from 7:00-13:00 from April through September and 8:00-13:00 from October through March. And if you’re visiting during the holidays, be sure to visit their Easter and Christmas markets! Getting lost in the town and wandering along its streets is the best way to appreciate its beauty, especially if you decide to climb to the top of St. George’s Kirche for admirable views of Dinkelsbühl.
After driving for 32 kilometres, you’ll arrive at Nördlingen, your final destination for the day. There is, undoubtedly, no place on earth like this town, as it was built on a 25-million-year-old meteor crater. This is especially notable when you look at the city from a birds’ eye view – you’ll see that it has a characteristic circular shape. Nörlingen’s city walls are the only fully preserved in all of Germany, giving the town a timeless aura. To end your day, climb St. George’s Tower to admire the sunset over the town.
You can head out to your campsite after having a delicious dinner in Nördlingen. Only a 15 minute drive away, Ringlesmühle Campsite is the perfect natural retreat, with a pond and barbeque area for late-night campfires. At £15.30 per night for two adults and a campervan, this is an ideal location for family trips. It is worth noting that the campsite opens from Easter (March/April) until the end of October. Should you visit in the winter, check out the Motorhome Parking Space in Nördlingen. As indicated by the name, this is just a parking space for £4.50 a day with very basic facilities. It is conveniently a few minutes away from the city centre by foot, making it perfect for a quick pitstop.
Day 3: Nördlingen to Augsburg
via Harburg and Donauwörth
Head down to the Cafe Kasarm, a small cafe with a cosy garden by the old city walls. Nördlingen is quite small, so you can see most of the city by walking around the city wall. Like the other destinations on this trip, it is recommended to just wander around the streets to get the most out of your visit.
The first stop of the day is Harburg, a small town along the Wörnitz River. It’s a popular destination because of its castle, which is open year-round. Take a minute to step inside the castle and feel like royalty. For the small price of £2.70, you can enter the castle to explore on your own. However, it is recommended that you take a Harburg Castle tour to learn more about the history of the castle, and get access to special parts of the castle.
After touring the castle, hit the road for 12 kilometres, to reach Donauwörth. This small town has been a monumental site for many historical events, especially conflicts in the past. Visiting this town feels like stepping in a time capsule -- it has maintained its antique charm, even though some of the building s have been renovated or restored. Exploring the city is enough to stir anyone’s appetite, so be sure to pass by the Posthotel Traube. This hotel has been open for nearly 300 years, and has hosted notable guests such as Wolfgang Mozart! How many people can say that they’ve eaten at the same place as Mozart?
Follow the A25 for 44 kilometres to arrive at Augsburg. This is the biggest destination on the trip with lots to offer both in and around the city, so it is worth considering spending an extra few days. Upon your arrival, climb the Perlach Tower to get a phenomenal view of the city, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch the setting sun’s rays from above. If you don’t want to climb up an exhausting 70 metres of stairs, take a tour of the Fuggerei neighbourhood for only £3.60. The rent hasn’t been raised since 1502, so residents pay only £0.79 cents annually! After the sun sets, enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in Moritzplatz, the centre of the city. There is no better way to end your day than with a pint of classic German beers and Schnitzel.
Spend the night at Lech Camping, a short 15 minute drive from Augsburg city centre. Its scenic location by a small lake and grassy plains makes this the perfect place to rest. The campsite offers bikes to rent, free of charge, so you can bike to Augsburg! You can stay at this family-friendly campsite for £25.50 per night for two adults. Alternatively, you can stay at the Bella Augusta campsite, which is slightly closer to the city centre for a quieter atmosphere. It is similarly priced, at £21.20 for two adults per night, excluding environmental tax and electricity.
Day 4: Augsburg to Schongau
Via Landsberg am Lech
Augsburg has countless bakeries scattered across the cities, and grabbing some freshly baked goods is the best way to start your morning. Because the city is so big, the best way to cover the popular sites in the city is by taking a tour. You can either take a group tour, public city tour or bus tour. Each tour visits different parts of the city, so you can pick one that perfectly matches your needs. Before continuing the road trip, take the time to walk around the Augsburg Botanical Garden, which has thousands of different plant species, and quite surprisingly, a beer garden, where you can enjoy a nice pint.
Drive along the A17 until you reach Landsberg am Lech. This colourful town is home to an impressive 15th-century basilica, the Stadtpfarrkirche Maria Himmelfahr. The architectural detail in this building is impressive enough to take anyone’s breath away and is definitely worth taking a peek at. The city also hosts the Ruethenfest every four years to celebrate the town’s history. It is a nine-day celebration, with lots of parades, bonfires, and musical performances taking place along the decorated cobbled streets. The next festival is scheduled for 2023, so keep an eye out if you plan to travel then! If you’re organising your trip before 2023, be sure to check out the town’s Christmas markets if you travel around late November.
Hit the road again for 29 kilometres, until you arrive at Schongau, your final destination for the day. This is quite a small town, making it quietest stop on this romantische strasse road trip. Take the evening to walk around the cobbled streets to explore this small town. Old town Schongau (or Altstadt Schongau) is an excellent place to roam around. End your day with a pint of locally brewed beer at the family-owned Schongauer Brauhaus.
End your day at the Terrassen Camping am Richterbichl, a budget-friendly campsite a short 15-minute drive from Schongau. You can enjoy spending your time at the lush foothills of the alps for only £13.50 a night for 3 people. Alternatively, you can spend a few nights at the Campsite St. Alban, a lakeside campsite that’s a 36-minute drive from Schongau. Prices vary according to the pitch but expect to spend roughly £27.08 per night for two adults.
Day 5: Schongau to Füssen
Via Rottenbuch and Schwangau
Kick off your day by taking a hike around the natural areas surrounding Schongau, after having breakfast at a local cafe. The difficulties of the hiking trails vary, so everyone can find a path that perfectly meets their needs.
Drive along the A23 to reach Rottenbuch. This is a smaller town with beautiful natural landscapes surrounding it. However given the numerous sites along the road, feel free to skip this town, or only pass by for a short break if you’re on a tight schedule.
Continue driving along A17, where you’ll reach Schwangau, the village of royal castles. It is home to the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle, which inspired Walt Disney to create the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. The castle was built for the King Ludwig II of Bavaria, however, he died before the castle was completed. You can’t enter the castle unless you sign up for a guided tour. It is recommended that you buy Neuschwanstein Castle tickets online, because buying the tickets in person can be a hassle. Although the tickets are on the pricier side, seeing the marvellous interior makes it worth every penny. While on the road, take the time to make a small detour to visit the Linderhof Palace and Park in Ettal, which was also commissioned by King Ludwig II. It is best to visit during the summer because the smaller buildings and grotto will be open then.
Only 4 kilometres away lies Füssen, your final stop of the trip. Upon your arrival, be sure to try some local Bavarian cuisine at one of the many restaurants in the town, such as the Gasthof Krone, before heading down to the Kurcafe to try some local desserts, like the Sissi-Torte.
Retreat to your accommodation after enjoying a walk around Füssen. Camping Brunnen is located right by the shores of Forggensee lake offering a wellness area to help you relax and unwind from your trip. Although this campsite is on the pricier side (£8.10 - £13.5) depending on the pitch, in addition to £7.20 per adult), it is definitely worth every penny. Camping Bannwaldsee is a budget-friendly alternative, only an 8-minute drive from Füssen. The price ranges from £14.40 - £21.70 per night for two adults, depending on the season.
It is with noting that Füssen and its surrounding regions have a lot to offer, so I recommend you spend a few extra nights so you can go exploring. Some of the nearby activities include walking to Hohenschwangau castle, or taking a boat ride across the Forggensee Lake.
Now that you know where to travel and where to stay, you’re almost ready to embark on an unforgettable romantische strasse road trip! Of course, you’ll still need a vehicle for transportation, be sure to check out motorhomes for hire! Their wide selection guarantees you’ll be able to find the perfect vehicle to meet your needs in just a few clicks. So pack your bags (and masks!) and hit the road! The romantische strasse awaits.