The Romantic Road
After having talked about Würzburg, I would like to introduce you to one Germany’s most liked scenic routes, the “Romantische Straße” along which you will see old medieval towns and villages paired with quaint scenery. First stop is Tauberbischofsheim, known for its fencers. And the town where I went to school. A short side trip through the valley of the Tauber will bring you to Bronnbach a former monastery dating back to 12th century. It has a very romantic setting and today it is a place known for its cultural program with concerts. And it is a great place for a hike in lush forest.
A tip for wine lovers
Coming back to the” Romantic Road” (English translation for Romantische Straße) you will continue in a southern direction. On this side of the scenic route the most interesting sites are more scarce then towards its end in southern Bavaria and so you will have to take some turns and side steps. If you are interested in wine you probably want to leave the road in Königshofen and take the short drive to Beckstein. In this village you will find a cooperative wine-growers association that was voted Germany’s best in 2014. I highly recommend a wine tasting there. More to follow under the culinary section.
Bad Mergentheim, a small town with lots of history
Coming back to the main road you will soon arrive in a small town called Bad Mergentheim. It used to be one of the centers of an association called the “Teutonic Knights” which was founded around 1190 during the crusades in the holy land. You can explore their castle and learn a lot about medieval times in Europe. As the prefix Bad suggests this is a town with hot springs. The water counts amongst the best healing waters in Germany. And of course such a town has a thermal aquapark. As a kid I loved our visits to the Solymar. They used to have a tidal pool with huge waves and this was the closest I could get to an ocean. They don’t have that tidal pool anymore, but two waterslides, a newly renovated outdoor pool filled with water from the hot springs and a huge wellness and spa area.
Welcome to the sequel of my last entry.
Würzburg, a franconian city
Würzburg was during my childhood days THE big city and going there was always something very exciting for me. First of all we mostly went there to do some shopping and I knew I wouldn’t come home empty handed and since we mostly spent the day, lunch in a restaurant was part of the deal. My preferred restaurant was place called Marktbärbel a place where they served not only traditional food, but also great Pizza. 80% of the old town were destroyed just a couple of weeks before WWII ended, but the officials did a great job in rebuilding most of the important sights. So if you are interested in culture you will find a lot to explore. One of the most important buildings is the Residenz, built for the catholic bishops in the 18th Century. A part from being one of the biggest ensembles in Germany of the baroque era you can explore art from some of the most important artists of that time. Very impressive and well known is the huge center staircase. Considering that after WWII this place was in ruins, I find it’s splendor even more impressive. I have to admit that I am a huge fan of parks and gardens and so I most certainly recommend a visit of the gardens. And there is more to explore: High above the city sits the castle called “Feste Marienberg”. Huge fortress stile site enclosed by impressive walls. My favorite memory of this place is a big folk festival in the park I attended when I was a teenager. And if you are in the mood for a pilgrimage you can climb the over 300 steps to the church called “Käppele”. But you can also drive up to that church, park the car and just enjoy the fantastic views of the town and the surrounding area. Really awesome.
Whenever I come to a town for the first time, I just love to stroll around and feel the atmosphere of the place. Sort of surprise me! kind of style. I am not that much into completely pre-planned visits and decide once I am there what I feel like doing. Of course this is also a question of the current weather conditions when I am there.
Here you have the choice of ticking off the important sites, take a stroll along the river banks or explore the shops in the pedestrian zone in the heart of the city.
Within the vicinity of Würzburg there is a lot more to see, like the castle and gardens of Veitshöchheim, and of course tons of wineries. But don’t drink and drive. About those wineries I will write more later in my culinary section.
So this will be my first article. During my childhood we did explore our region a bit, mostly when we had visitors from the outside, but not exclusively. It’s been a while since I visited most of those places, but I think I can give you some tips for your next visit. The area known as Tauberfranken is not on top of the touristic areas of Germany, but it still is worthwhile to explore and there is a lot to see. There is a lot of talk about reducing the speed and pressure in our lives, so here is a place where this is possible. The scenery is filled with rolling hills, vineyards and huge forests. Hiking is very popular and you will find a lot of easy trails around. And on top you will explore a lot of medieval culture. It’s also the perfect place for a romantic hideaway.
Following a few of my favorite spots:
Mespelbrunn Castle in the Spessart
As a kid I loved the visits of the Renaissance castle of Mespelbrunn. It sits at the end of a valley surrounded by vast forest. And actually the home of the brothers Grimm (the fairy tale guys) isn’t that far away. Summer weekends can be busy, since it is a popular tourist spot. But if you want to hike, you’ll find yourself in tranquility once you have left the castle behind. Quiet and romantic trails make it possible to relax and breathe in the good fresh air. But beware the region used to be a popular hiding spot for robbers in the old days. There even is a very famous story around about those days: „The Tavern in the Spessart“. The tavern really did exist, but the site had to make place for the current highway. The woods did offer a lot of spaces to hide. So dear reader, if you plan on coming here, you might want to choose a week day.
One general thing: If you plan on visiting this region, I would recommend to set the GPS to the avoid Highways mode and drive along the byways. It’s definitely worth it.
Highlights along the river Main
For example you could drive from Mespelbrunn through the vast forest of the Spessart towards the valley of the river Main to a cute small town called Miltenberg. The medieval old town is host to Germanys oldest restaurant dating back to 1590. If you want to relax, you can take a river cruise. There are several routes to choose from and from May through September the ships depart several times a day. If you feel more like exercise you can climb the hill and visit the ruins of the castle and enjoy the great views.
And since you are already on the shores of the river Main, you might as well follow it upstream to another small town called Freudenberg. Here you can visit the distillery of Ziegler. They make high quality liquor out of almost every fruit you can find here. Their signature product is a schnaps made out of wild cherries. More to follow on this later under the culinary section.
Talking about cute small towns. Following the river further upstream you will come to Wertheim am Main. At the confluence of the rivers Main and Tauber you will find another historic town. This one is one the many that has been nicknamed Venice of… for its many bridges. There are river cruises on offer and of course a hill with a castle in ruins on top. Shopaholics will find their paradise across the river in the Outlet Center of the “Wertheim Village”. But don’t overdo it. Remember, I told you that this will be a relaxing trip.
With this I will end todays excursion and give you a break.