The Romantic Road covers approximately 350 kilometres and links central Germany with the southern states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. It was once a trade route but now brings travellers from all over the world eager to explore southern Germany's many markets, beer halls and castles. Germany's Romantic Road is beautiful any time of year, but the festive and picturesque Weihnachtsmarkt - Christmas markets - bring the medieval towns and villages to life!
Begin your journey in Nuremberg located on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. Once regarded as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Nuremberg is known for is world-famous Christmas markets located inHauptmarkt Square in the Old Quarter. This Christmas market is highly regarded for its handmade ornaments and gingerbread sweets, and draws over a million shoppers each year.
Take E45 northwest to Würzburg, which has settlements that date back to the Bronze Age, so it's no surprise that Würzburg's Christmas market is hundreds of years old. Perhaps the most atmospheric of all Bavaria's Christmas markets, each night over 100 beautifully decorated booths are illuminated by the glow of festive lights.
From Würzburg, head south on E43 and you are less than an hour's drive from your next stop. Rothenburg is a remarkably well-preserved walled city with cobblestone streets and quaint courtyards that create the illusion of a medieval village stuck in time. In Rothenberg, Christmas can be experienced all year long with a Christmas market of exceptional beauty and charm.
It's another short trip to Dinkelsbühl,your next destination on the Romantic Road. Continue south on E43 until you reach the turn for the ancestral home of the Counts of Drechsel-Deufstetten. This is whereChristoph von Schmid wrote his famous Christmas carol "IhrKinderleinKommet" (O Come Little Children), lending special significance to its Christmas market. Make sure you get plenty of pretzels, sausages and other Bavarian treats for the two-hour trip to your next stop.
Located a few kilometres from the Austrian border, Füssen is the home of a pair majestic castles built by Mad King Ludwig II: Hohenschwangau, which overlooks Swan Lake, and Neuschwanstein, which served as the inspiration for the famous castle at Disneyland. The Christmas market is located in the heart of Füssen's Old Quarter where colourful decorations transform the baroque inner courtyard of St. Magnus Abbey into a winter wonderland with Austria's Northern Limestone Alps serving as a stunning backdrop.
Proceed north on 17 to Augsburg, Germany's third oldest city. Located on the edge of Augsburg Western Woods Nature Park, it's also one of Germany's greenest cities. Once the site of intense feuding between Catholics and Protestants, the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 ensured that everyone could celebrate together in its lovely Christmas market, one of the oldest in all of Germany. Once you've strolled the festive streets, you'll be ready to return to Nuremburg for any last-minute shopping for everyone on your list!
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