Two routes in one, this 1250km tour showcases the “real Germany” more than anything else on the D-route network.
The Romantic Road, from the Austrian border through Bavaria to Würzburg, is the cycling equivalent of the famous motoring tour. The original concept of the 1950s main road route was to navigate through small towns, past castles and other scenic landmarks – and to reinvent Germany as a tourist destination in the process.
The colourful timber-framed houses, historic churches, vineyards and bierkellers couldn’t be more German if they tried, and needless to say the latter two are better experienced by bike rather than by car. The cycling route follows quiet lanes and cycleways which roughly run parallel to the original motor tour.
After spells beside the Main and Fulda, the route joins the river Weser at Hann (Hannoversch) Münden. The upper Weser very much continues the picturesque, tourist-friendly quality of the Romantic Road. Passing through the gap at Porta Westfalica, the scenery widens out to the North German plain and a riverscape of lakes, windmills and agriculture. The historic Hanseatic trading settlement of Bremen is the finest city en route. Though its coastal outpost of Bremerhaven is rather more contemporary, it’s still an interesting coda to what is regularly voted one of Germany’s favourite bike routes.