Travel report: Cycling tour along the Romantic Road
From our employees Damaris, Katharina & Tanja
Rediscovering the beautiful corners of Germany was also on the agenda of many travelers in 2021. We set out to explore the oldest vacation route in Germany - the Romantic Road. Since the entire route is quite long, we start a little later and stop a little earlier. We cycle the stretch from Landsberg am Lech to Weikersheim.
When we arrive it is raining cats and dogs, so we don't see too much of Landsberg. But our hotel is very centrally located and gives us a warm welcome. The next morning it is still raining, but the weather service says it will stop by late morning. So we enjoy the excellent breakfast in peace and take our time. Our bikes come out of the dry bike garage and just in time for our start of the day it stops raining.
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Stage 1: Landsberg am Lech - Augsburg
We set off across the beautiful old town of Landsberg to the banks of the Lech River, where we follow the well-signposted bike path. We often cycle along the river bank, sometimes we cycle a little offset to the river through corn fields, meadows and occasionally forest. We don't pass through villages or towns, if we do, we only touch them on the outskirts. Instead, we experience a lot of Bavarian agriculture with cows, chickens, horses and see rabbits and squirrels along the way. It is always uncertain whether the rain will return, but the weather is keeping up until we reach the large Augsburg city forest. Here we leave the banks of the Lech, but it is very pleasant to ride through the city forest into the big city. As soon as we leave the forest, it's only a few more street turns until we're in the middle of Augsburg on the town hall square.
Thanks to good signposting and an additional GPS track, we skillfully navigate our way over the cobblestones to the hotel, which couldn't be more centrally located. Directly behind the Perlachturm in a quiet side alley we move into our quarters for today.
Of course, there is a lot to explore in Augsburg. In addition to a visit to the famous Fuggerei and the old town, we also have to take a coffee break.
Stage 2: Augsburg - Donauwörth
Over the cobblestones we make our way through the traffic out of town, today not quite as pleasant as yesterday's entry through the city forest. But eventually we rejoin our bike path along the Lech River and continue north on the flat and mostly fairly straight paths. The bike path runs the first 15 kilometers on the dam of the Lech, the water mostly in view. In Langweid we leave the Lech and cycle through villages, meadows and fields - and of course we keep a lookout for animals today! After the very flat river bike path, it now becomes a bit hillier. After a climb to the Holzen monastery we take a break in the beautiful monastery complex with restaurant.
Slightly hilly, we continue in the direction of Donauwörth, always keeping an eye on the signs for the Romantic Road.
In Donauwörth we can´t miss our hotel, it is located directly on the bike path at the entrance to the city. Here we explore the little town at the Danube with its small but very fine island in the middle of the river. Here, the Wörnitz and the Danube flow together and already more cyclists can be seen, because the Danube cycle path is also internationally known. Of course, you also have to eat well after a day of cycling, which is not difficult in Donauwörth with its beautiful old town.
Stage 3: Donauwörth - Nördlingen
This morning the animals surprise us right after breakfast on the main road in front of the hotel: Suddenly a huge flock of sheep passes through and brings the traffic to a standstill. After this surprise we realize: It is very cold and we cannot cycle without gloves. Equipped with the "Zwiebellook"(wearing many layers), we leave Donauwörth behind us and cycle along the Wörnitz with a view of the wide landscape. The bike path often runs on small side roads, but there are hardly any cars on them. We pass many small villages before reaching Harburg. Here, Harburg Castle towers high above the town. Both the small town on the Wörnitz River and the castle are perfect for a break. The climb to the castle is steep and can only be done on foot, but after 10 minutes it is already done.
Then we soon reach the edge of the asteroid crater, also called Nördlinger Ries, in the middle of which Nördlingen lies. We imagine we can see the rim of the crater, even though we are not geologists. More than 14 million years ago an asteroid hit here and left a crater with a diameter of about 25 km. This is excellent to see especially from the air, with the bicycle it is rather difficult to see.
We are curious about Nördlingen, because we have read that there is still a city wall that can be walked around, which encloses the old core of the city almost in a circle. So we strengthen ourselves in the hotel, situated at the edge of the city wall, quickly with a coffee and off we go on the city wall. We are thrilled by the view of beautiful alleys and houses. Here a small stream, there a beautiful courtyard - the city exudes a wonderful flair from the Middle Ages and is still down-to-earth and not overrun by tourists.
Stage 4: Nördlingen - Dinkelsbühl
We leave Nördlingen and let the cycle path signs of the Romantic Road guide us through villages, fields, meadows and forests.
Today the sun is shining splendidly - for the first time on our tour so far. Shortly after passing the Maihingen monastery, we have to make the most of it and lie down on the grass. A bike tour can be this quiet and relaxing. Only the grasshoppers hop around us and seem to have more energy than we do.
Today's stage has few sights, but we like the landscape and the sun very much, so we pause again and again. The slightly hilly route runs mostly on small side roads, field and bike paths, which are also partly roughly graveled. Not so easy to drive such a path when it suddenly goes steeply downhill.
We reach Dinkelsbühl without any accidents. On a well-marked bike path and without much traffic, we are already in the middle of the center and in front of our hotel. Honestly, we had not informed us about Dinkelsbühl and are now even more amazed! What a beautiful old town! Every alley and every house seems to be freshly renovated, not a single "new" building in the whole town, none that stands out in a style-opposing way. No, you can tell immediately that great importance is attached to preserving all houses and alleys in their original character. We are honestly thrilled and do not go back to the hotel until we have seen almost every alley and every house.
We are surprised that there are not more tourists here, we do not know a better preserved old town with the typical clichéd images that a medieval town offers. But we are also pleased that no mass tourism floods the alleys here yet.
Stage 5: Dinkelsbühl - Rothenburg
We leave Dinkelsbühl a bit wistfully and think to ourselves: What can the well-known Rothenburg do that Dinkelsbühl can't?
On today's stage we get lost for the first time: we don't know whether to follow the signs or the GPS track. There are also a few uphill stretches on our route, which has been quite flat so far. Therefore, it seems quite long to us today, until we suddenly cross a small stream, which according to the sign should be the Tauber. Well, then we can't be far from Rothenburg ob der Tauber!
In fact, only 10 kilometers later we are standing in front of the imposing city gate and right after that we are in the middle of the hustle and bustle. We are not used to so many tourists anymore! Over the cobblestone streets we fight our way through the people on our bikes until we are standing at the Röderturm right in front of our hotel in the middle of the old town, the location couldn't be better.
We are very excited about the hotel, we have been working together for a long time and so far only know it from photos. It convinces us in every detail - family-run and with a charm that could not be more fitting for this city and the historic building. All the rooms are individually furnished, and there are flashes of history from the city and the family history everywhere. There are not many houses like this anymore - we take our hats off to the Berger family!
Back to Rothenburg: If our first impression was still, it is bustling and difficult to conquer by bike, we have to realize on a tour on foot that the city is really beautiful. Much more urban and yes, more touristy than our dear Dinkelsbühl. But the location above the Tauber, the view from the castle garden over the valley and on the city and the picturesque houses have earned the city the reputation.
Stage 6: Rothenburg - Weikersheim
Since today's stage is not too long at 45 kilometers, we first decide to take another tour through and around Rothenburg. We hike down into the Tauber valley and enjoy the view of the city from below.
The weather shows itself from the very best side for the last stage, the sun is shining and it is warm! The gloves have long been stowed away, we can even cycle in a T-shirt at times.
We like the Tauber valley, for us it is scenically the most beautiful stage. On cycle paths far from major roads, we cycle past vineyards, sometimes a little further away from the Tauber, sometimes directly on the banks. On the way we enjoy coffee and cake and once at least our feet have to be dipped into the water.
So we reach Weikersheim, which after the bustling Rothenburg now seems very small, contemplative and quiet. The large castle is already impressive from the outside, but we are too late to visit the interior.
We use the last dinner before our journey home to talk again about the sights and animals we have discovered along the way.
A trip where the overnight stops are the highlights. The bike paths are mostly paved, but also often enough only graveled and lead through our typical German cultural landscape with agriculture, meadows and forests - only rarely do we pass smaller towns. But this also means little traffic and peace and quiet in nature. While the first stages are almost flat, it is a bit hillier from Donauwörth on. Nevertheless, the bike tour on the Romantic Road is well doable even for inexperienced cyclists. For us, it was a very nice, varied trip that we are happy to recommend to our guests with a clear conscience.