The Romantic Road (Romantische Strasse) is a great European Bike Trip route for beginners and experts alike. This is a well signed 423 kilometer (263 mile) long distance bike route winding you through the heart of medieval Germany from Wurzburg, located near Frankfurt and ending in Fussen close to the Austrian border.
The Romantic road bike route is separate from the popular road route and has you cycling on bicycle paths and quiet farm lanes for the entire route. It has long been considered one of the great European bike routes. Basically you ride cross country on farm lanes and then on bike lanes in each town where you can stop to sightsee or pick up lunch items.
Tips for your Romantic Road European Bike Trip
- Take a bicycle touring map for although the route is entirely signed many local and regional routes intersect and it can be confusing at times and you can make wrong turns like our group did
- If using hotels or Bed & Breakfasts make reservations in advance for Friday and Saturday nights as many local cyclists take advantage of special weekend train rates to explore their own country. We experienced difficulty at times. There are campgrounds along the route if bike camping.
- Follow the Romantic Road Bike Route from north to south as you can see the impressive Alps in the distance for several days as you approach them.
- In the north part of the route you can connect with a route heading along the Neckar River to Heidelberg and in the south the Bodensee to Konigssee Bike Route heads across Bavaria towards Salzburg to create a longer journey.
What to See Along the Romantic Road Bike Route
There are lots of great things to see along the Europe bike trip route, many not well known to visitors, so check out Germany’s Romantic Road: A Guide for Walkers and Cyclists. I also used the Romantische Strasse Radweg and although it is printed in German I found the detailed maps excellent.
The Tauber Valley
The Romantic Road Bike route starts in Wurzburg with signs beside the hilltop Marienberg Fortress. You start your cycling with a long gradual uphill and gently up and down hills is the theme for this region. Houses in the picturesque towns such as Tauberbischofsteim and Bad mergentheim all have red tile roofs and flower boxes in the windows, the bike route is designed to weave through the quiet streets.
The Medieval Towns
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is Germany’s best-preserved medieval walled town and the Romantic Road bike route goes right through the middle of town, but it can get a little bumpy on the cobblestone streets. Be sure to take a stroll along the city walls and walk around the entire town.
Continue along the Romantic Road bike route and over the moat into medieval Dinkelsbuhl, another walled town. Then its on to your third walled town, Nordingen where you can again take a stroll on the town walls, but be sure to walk up the cathedral tower as well.
The Heart of Bavaria
The Romantic Road Bike Route then takes you to Harburg Castle, worth a visit, but ask for a tour in English. You reach Donauworth, a bustling modern town located on the banks of the blue Danube River (connection with Danube Bike Route). Continuing south you cycle through a large forest near Augsburg before heading down a steep hill into Landsberg am Lech, a town with many cafes along its river.
Your next stop is the hilltop and walled town of Schongau as you enter a very scenic area of chalet type houses, quiet roads, cows wandering the fields. Although hilly you have some spectacular views of the Alps in the distance. At Wies, there is a huge church worth a stop as the Romantic Road bike route goes right by the front door, although the goats kept wanting to get in our panniers.
As the Alps get closer on your long distance bicycle route you can see the famous castle of Neuschwanstein which was copied by Walt Disney for his theme parks. King Ludwig II of Bavaria built two castles here in Schwangau in the 1800’s. Cycle over to the ticket office early to purchase your admission tickets for the English language tours before the tourist buses arrive from Munich and it gets busy.
Also while in Schwangau while sitting in a roadside café you can watch the parade of cows returning from the fields each evening to their barns in the middle of town while on the road traffic patiently waits.
This European cycle vacation takes about a week although we spent extra nights in Rothenburg and Schwangau to see the castles. Your last section of your Europe Bike Trip along the Romantic Road Bike Route is a short cycle along a lake and river to Fussen, located near the Austrian border, with the final castle of the journey.