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The Romantic Road is popular for tourists visiting Bavaria in southern Germany. It goes for over 400 km from Fussen in the south to Wurzburg to the north and includes a number of picture perfect cities and towns. We started in the south in Fussen and drove north. While our plans didn’t allow for a visit to Wurzburg, it will definitely be on a future itinerary.
Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castle
Neuschwanstein is the fairy tale castle that inspired Walt Disney. Even if you don’t know the name, you have probably seen pictures of this amazing castle. This castle was built by Ludwig II in the late 1860’s. Ludwig, who is often referred to as the fairy-tale prince, designed the castle as an ode to the work of German composer and conductor- Richard Wagner.
When visiting the castle with kids, don’t second guess yourself- take the horse and carriage ride up. It’s fun and it’s worth every cent. Plus, there is still plenty of walking to do when you get off. Also, you are not allowed any strollers. We used a soft baby carrier to bring our youngest daughter who was a year old at the time.
2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
When you think of Bavaria, you are probably imagining a small town that looks like Rothenburg. Our family couldn’t get enough of this enchanting medieval town. It’s well-preserved and easy to walk around the town, but it can get quite crowded during the day as it’s a popular tourist stop on bus tours. If you are in Germany in November and December, I would recommend visiting their Christmas market. However, the town has several shops that offer a beautiful selection of Christmas ornaments year round and one of them has a small Christmas museum. For school-age children there is also a Medieval Crime Museum check out their webpage to see if it's suitable to your children though. Also as you walk around town, keep an eye out for the life-size Nutcrackers! More on visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids >
3. Wieskirche Pilgrimage Church, Pfaffenwinkel
A beautiful Rococco* church on the Romantic Road. The church has its beginning in a statue of Christ that shed tears. Because of the numerous miracles that came to be associated with the statue, a church was constructed for the many pilgrims that wanted to visit. While it’s a popular stop for tourists, because it is set in a very peaceful, countryside location it didn’t feel busy. And, after visiting the church, our family enjoyed a walk through the garden area outside the church.
*Style of architecture at the end of the Baroque period. Think beautiful, curvy, ornate decorations. They used a lot of light colors with gold.
Augsburg is one of Germany’s oldest cities. It used to be an independent city-state until it joined Bavaria. As an independent city it was quite wealthy. Take a walk down Maximilianstrasse to see how the wealthy used to live including the Fugger banking family. The Fuggerhauser (Fugger House) is on this street and is where the wealthy family used to reside. While it is not possible to go inside- you can visit the Damenhof, an outdoor courtyard, which was the Ladies’ Court. The house and courtyard are all done in Italian Renaissance style. A bit further down and you will reach the Rathaus Platz (town square) with its iconic Town Hall.
However, what you really don’t want to miss out on is visiting the Fuggerei. This a complex of apartments built by the Fugger family to support poor Catholics. While it was built in the 16th century, the complex still operates today by the current Fugger-Babenhausen family. There is also a Fuggerei museum where you see an original and a current apartment.
With a bit of extra time, you could also visit the Augsburg Puppet Museum and Theatre. The
website is in German, so use chrome and a pop-up screen should ask you to translate it.
When you visit the Romantic Road with the kids you will either begin or end in the charming city of Wurzburg. Despite heavy bombing during WWII that destroyed much of the city, its most important buildings were rebuilt by women (trummerfrau) after the war.
The Residenz is a palace that was constructed for the Bishops of Wurzburg. It is an ornate rococco palace with frescoes by the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The Imperial Chambers and impressive Mirror Cabinet are only accessible for those on a guided tour. There are three English tours offered daily. Also, for parents with prams, you’ll have to check in your pram/stroller, but they do offer their own strollers for use while you are inside the palace. There are large gardens outside the palace that the children will also enjoy.
Another must see while you are in Wurzburg is the Marienberg Fortress. The fortress is having large-scale, long term renovations; however, where ever you are in Wurzburg you will be able to see this imposing Fortress on a hill, so you might as well visit it. There are daily tours at 3 pm. It also houses a museum with a range of items from prehistoric artifacts to a history of Wurzburg.
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