There are many attractions and sights to marvel at along Germany’s oldest and most popular holiday route. The experience can also be combined with a wide variety of sporting activities:
Bike and e-bike
The route between the River Main and the Alps received a three-star distinction for quality from the ADFC [German Cyclists’ Federation]. The diverse stages along the route do not require you to have the physical condition of a professional cyclist, but they do have their ups and downs, some of them gentle, some of them less so. Especially in the southern section, with its Alpine approaches, the cyclist can expect one or two tough hill climbs. If you run out of breath, however, all you have to do is get off and push. And if you happen to be riding a trendy e-bike, you can be sure of a ‘tail wind’ to help you when the going gets tough. The inns along the way answer perfectly to the cyclists’ needs. Daily stages of between 40 and 60 kilometres are ideal. This allows you time to take in the sights, for example, magnificent castles, churches and their altars, picture-book locations and, of course, the (well-earned) culinary stopovers. The Romantic Road bus, which runs along the route every day between April and the end of October, also transports bicycles and makes it possible for cycle tourists to select any part of the route they like.
Long-distance hiking tours
The phrase ‘long-distance hiking’ often puts people in mind of the pilgrimage along the famous Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James). It is not only the spiritually motivated who have taken to hiking over longer distances and for longer periods as a way of compensating for the ever increasing strains and stresses of everyday life. The 480 kilometres between Wurzburg and Füssen are a fascinating mixture of lonely regions, enchanting places with a colourful past, cultural highlights, countless possibilities for overnight accommodation and culinary delights. The Romantic Road is divided up into 24 stages: it is possible to start anywhere and in either direction.
The northern part of the Romantic Road, especially between the Rivers Main and Danube, is an Eldorado for trail riders. The network of bridle paths is superbly well developed: prohibitions and restrictions are limited to what is absolutely necessary, so that there is nothing to inhibit the urge to explore. Horseback tours also provide enough time to enjoy the cuisine, culture and history. The medieval towns and cities along the route are an invitation to riders to come and explore. The region is traversed by a network of 130 tried and tested riding posts. They offer comfortable accommodation for riders and their horses as well as regional culinary specialities. Rental horses can be booked as well as luggage-transfer or horse-transport facilities. The trail-riding stations offer a variety of package deals for trail riders: they work out individual routes for their guests or have GPS equipment available on loan.
A canoe offers the opportunity to experience unspoilt riparian landscapes from a perspective that is appealing everywhere you look. One river that is ideal for canoeing is the Wörnitz, which winds its way along the 132.5 kilometres from its source in Schillingsfürst on the Frankenhöhe to its estuary in the Danube near Donauwörth. The most interesting section is between Harburg and Donauwörth. Canoeists should plan on up to six hours’ canoeing time for this stretch of river, which winds its way along for 19 kilometres as far as Wörnitzstein, which is already part of the municipality of Donauwörth. Here paddlers will find a weir, which means they will have to carry their canoes around it along the right bank. As a reward, there is sustenance to be found in the paddler-friendly pub ‘Gaststätte Braun Wörnitzstein’.
Golfers will certainly find it worthwhile packing their golf bags for the trip along the Romantic Road. To the left and the right of the road there are six first-class, 18-hole golf courses, which are not only a delight in terms of the landscape but also present quite a challenge for the golfer. One of these is the Golfclub Augsburg, where world-class star Bernhard Langer laid the foundation stone of his career. Golf courses situated immediately along the route:
Golf Club Würzburg, Am Golfplatz 2, D-97084 Würzburg,
Golf Club Bad Mergentheim, Erlenbachtalstr. 36, D-97999 Igersheim,
Golfpark Rothenburg-Schönbronn, Schönbronn 1, D-91592 Buch am Wald,
Golfpark Romantische Straße, Seidelsdorf 65, D-91550 Dinkelsbühl
Golfclub Donauwörth, Lederstatt 1, D-86609 Donauwörth,
Golf-Club Augsburg, Engelshofer Str. 2, D-86399 Bobingen-Burgwalden,
Walking with poles has become the trend sport par excellence. After all, we now know that it uses almost all the body’s muscles. At the same time, using the poles takes a great deal of strain off the joints and far more calories are burned than with normal walking. On both sides of the Romantic Road there are suitable routes. Wildsteig is actually the official Nordic Walking base of the DSV [German Ski Association]. A variety of scenic routes 4.9, 8.9 and 14 kilometres in length offer ideal conditions here.
The River Lech gathers enormous speed as it approaches the Danube. The region around Landsberg is a terrific invitation to take part in some turbulent rafting adventures. Sturdy inflatable dinghies will take you from the Pitzling weir under the Caroline bridge and then at full speed over the Lech weir. This broad weir was built in the 14th century to tame the unbridled fury of the river Lech. In the Middle Ages and until the end of the 19th century the river was used as a waterway. Thousands of rafts laden with merchandise docked here. For the paddler Kaufering marks the end of this turbulent adventure.
Fun for skaters on superbly well cared-for asphalt paths: this is what awaits amateur sports enthusiasts on the 80-kilometre long network of cycle tracks around Donauwörth. The sporting experience becomes even more attractive thanks to the varied and idyllic surroundings. Skaters who are unfamiliar with the area will find the new inline-skater map of Donauwörth and environs very helpful. It was worked out by the Tourist Information Office together with the Donauwörth Alpine Club. Some routes are suitable for basic training, but ambitious speed skaters can also ‘pump up the volume’ to their heart’s content on the mainly level routes.
Schwangau’s local mountain, the 1730-metre-high Tegelberg, is a playground for every grade of climber. For sporting families with experience of climbing, the Gelbe-Wand-Steig [‘yellow rock face’] is to be recommended, for ambitious climbers the steep rock face has two further climbs to offer: the moderately difficult Tegelbergsteig and the ambitious Fingersteig for very experienced climbers. There are climbing courses available for all ages and abilities. The easy climb through the yellow rock face is a good introduction to the sport, especially for children and beginners. The ‘Tegelberghaus’ ensures that culinary needs are well catered for.
The Tegelberg is also a superb mountain for paragliding. Dependable thermals guarantee superb gliding experience crowned by the view of the royal castles and the lake and mountain landscapes of the Allgäu region and beyond that into Austria. Those who do not have a pilot’s licence can book a tandem flight in which an experienced flying instructor takes over the controls while the ‘passenger’ enjoys the flight and the panorama to the full.
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