germany's romantic road - overview

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For many of us, our earliest childhood fantasies were, in fact, German in origin. Fueled by images from the Brothers Grimm and Disney's Snow White (whose castle was modeled after Neuschwanstein), millions of American children whiled away the hours in a world of Germanic fairy tale castles and charming princes.

Which explains why Germany seems at once familiar and nostalgic. Even to those who've never been.

Today, it's possible to see much of what we imagined as children, perfectly preserved. Medieval walled towns, Alpine villages, and fabulous castles and palaces, just waiting to be explored.

Begin your journey in Heidelberg, a university town since 1386. Towering over the city, the huge pink castle is one of Germany's most imposing. A student population of 30,000 keeps this ancient city young, and there's an up-beat energy in the Heidelberg's squares and open-air cafés.

Follow the winding Burgenstrasse or Castle Road south from Heidelberg. A dozen medieval castles ? many of them now luxury hotels ? line both sides of the Neckar River for fifty miles. Wine lovers can visit the vineyards along the way. And bikers will find an excellent cycle path along the river's edge.

Join Germany's Romantische Strasse or Romantic Road in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Europe's most perfectly preserved medieval city. After exploring Rothenburg, follow the Romantic Road through Germany's most charming towns ? Dinkelsbuhl, Nordlingen and Donauworth ? visiting whichever churches, town halls, and castles strike your fancy along the way.

In Schwangau, visit the world's most beautiful castle, Neuschwanstein. And explore the Bavarian Alps from your base in Garmisch, Germany's top Alpine resort.

End your trip in Munich, Bavaria's capital. It's museums, palaces, and restaurants rival those of any European capital. But it's beer halls and beer gardens are unequalled anywhere. Equal parts sophisticated, cultural center and frat party, Munich is everyone's favorite German city.

Neuschwanstein Germany

Rothenburg Germany

Mittenwald Germany

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