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The Romantic Road Tour And Rhine River Cruise
The popular "Romantic Road" tour can begin at Munich by bus, and change to river cruise at Mainz, and terminate at Koblenz. The tour is free with the eurail pass. "Romanticism", the great nostalgia of modern times finds fulfillment on this tour. Here Baroque cherubs dance through the grounds of stately homes and Madonna's smile from altars and the arches of stone bridges bravely span the rivers, and you see royal palaces and ruins located atop steep mountains. You'll visit wine villages, old Imperial townships surrounded by ancient walls, and towers will dot the countryside. There are several stops in the small towns along the way. The bus portion of this tour takes about 8 hours... and there will be a guide on the bus. The bus tour terminates at Mainz or Weisbadden. At the end of the tour, stay overnight at Mainz or Weisbadden and pick up the cruise portion from Mainz to Koblenz, which takes about 4 hours. At Koblenz, you'll be able to pick up a train to other parts of Germany.

Mainz: is a happy 200-year-old city on the Rhine. Formerly an Episcopal seat, it is dominated by its great Romanesque Cathedral dating from the 13th century. This city is also the birthplace of the inventor of movable type. The philosophy of the natives is "live and let live". The city is a pleasing composition of historical and modern architecture. Weisbaden is across the river.

The Rhine River is not only one of the great traffic arteries of Europe but a center of German civilization. Along its banks are numerous hillside castles and vineyards. After boarding the cruise boat at Mainz (Free with eurail pass), you'll see the greatest number of castles and the most beautiful scenery on this short version of the popular cruise.

Koblenz: Koblenz is located where the Rhine meets the Moselle River. What remains of the old town is interesting, particularly the Church of Our Lady, and the Romanesque Kastorkirche, where Charlemagne's Empire was divided in 843. There's also a lovely promenade along the river.

The Romantic Road: From Wurzburg to Fussen is a progression of a continuous pageant of history, art and architecture. If the founders of the places through you'll pass had deliberately set out all the worthwhile sights of the region in a continuous line, so that you could pass through them successively and see everything you wanted to see without deviating along the way, they could not have done it better than "The Romantic Road".

Wurzburg: Set high above the river is the Marienberg Citadel. At its feet, the old bridge is lined by Baroque statues of saints spanning the River Main. Masterpieces of European statue are in the Cathedral of St. Kilian. The Residertz is the former palace of the prince-bishops. The vineyard slopes surrounding this old university town are lovely.

Tauberbischofsheim: A delightful small medieval town. Especially noted for its half-timbered buildings. There's also the former palace of the Prince Electors of Mains... St. Martin's Church... Church of St. Lobia. The countryside is unspoiled.

Bad Mergentheim: A world-renowned health spa. There is a magnificent Renaissance Palace, which now houses a museum of local history.

Weikersheim: This small town is very proud of its spacious Renaissance Palace. The suite of apartments is adorned with period furniture. The Baroque gardens are among the finest in Germany.

Rottingen: A wine center with pretty half-timbered houses on market square. Brattenstein Castle is also here.

Creglingen: This medieval town houses The Chapel of Our Lord where visitors come from all parts of the world to admire the finest masterpiece of the wood-carver Tilman Riemenschneider. It's an intricate carved altar of the Ascension of Mary.

Rothenburg: This town has remained as it was in medieval times, its churches and houses nestling securely in the protection of well-preserved defensive walls and numerous gateways. It survived World War II unharmed... was named model tourist town... a name it richly deserves. It's a fairy tale city with towers, gates, old fountains and flowers. It would be difficult to recommend this town highly enough if one wants a taste of "atmosphere". The Renaissance Town Hall testifies to Rothenburg's period of great prosperity. Rothenburg warrants more time.

Schillingsfurst: The landmark of this town is the Baroque palace of the Princes of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfurst. The palace, with its many windows is built in 3 parts and can be seen from miles away. The palace is on top of steep cliffs.

Heidelberg: It is located in the valley of the Neckar where the rivers mirror an entrancing succession of feudal castles, vineyards, cathedrals and palaces. To the east are the low hills of the Swabian Forests, and to the south is the entrance to the Black Forest. Heidelberg resembles a stage set, and is even more theatrical in the summer when the bridge and castle are illuminated along with fireworks. Its castle forms an incredible backdrop. Everyone wants to spend more time in Heidelberg.

Feuchtwangen: The market square of this officially registered holiday resort is referred to as Franconia's Festival Hall. Places of interest: Romanesque Cloisters, Collegiate Church, historic burgher houses, craft workshops, and many fountains,

Dinkelsbuhl: Historic old town set in lovely rolling countryside... well preserved with 20 towers and gateways. Market Square is lined with picturesque burgher houses, St. George's Church. From the top there's a splendid view of the outline of the old town and its fortifications.

Wallerstein: A romantic small town in the Bavarian basin. The Castle of the Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein was once perched atop the high rock. The new palace houses a fine collection of porcelain.

Nordlingen: Former free Imperial city originating from a Roman settlement. Its landmark is the Daniel Tower, of the Gothic St. George's Church. From the top there's a splendid view of the outline of the old town and its fortifications.

Harburg: On the way to the Danube River and dominating the countryside is Harburg Castle. The castle, which was never captured or destroyed, is a museum today. It stands as a monument to the Age of Chivalry.

Donauworth: Both the Romantic Road and the Wornitz River have to cross the foothills of the Jura Mountains to reach the Danube River. In this former free Imperial town, the way leads along one of the most spectacular routes in South Germany... the old Imperial Road.

Augsburg: This is the oldest city on the Romantic Road with a history dating back 2000 years. On its main street are beautiful Renaissance fountains, the Town Hall, and the Perlach Tower. It is Bavaria's 3rd largest city... with art treasures from all periods.

Frieberg: There's an Old Bavarian residence on the riverbanks. Its imposing defenses are still visible in the richly turreted silhouette of the outer walls. The old town is dominated by the Baroque Town Hall.

Landsberg am Lech: Set picturesquely on the steep cliffs of the Lech River, amid a beautiful landscape. It's an unspoiled medieval Old Town. The showpiece of the town is the Gothic BAyertor, one of the most impressive gateways in southern Germany.

Hohenfurch: In the foothills of the Alps. The village contains mostly church architecture.

Schongau: A 700-year-old town on the Lech River with well-preserved walls, lying on the former Roman Road from Augsburg to Italy. Of interest are the Gothic Ballenhaus, Church of the Assumption and Basilica of St. Michael in Altenstadt. There is also an almost fjord-like lake.

Peiting: This village enjoys a reputation as a hospitable market town. The tower of St. Michael's Church dates to the 12th century. If it's clear it's worth a drive to the Hohe Peissenberg.

Rottenbuch: This is a holiday resort set high on the banks of the wild Ammer Valley. The church is very Rococo... rich in decoration.

Wlldsteig: A quiet, farming community with nature reserves and parks.

Wieskirche: The pilgrimage church is world-renowned. Built between 1746 and 1754, it's a Rococo masterpiece.

Steingaden: A holiday resort. The abbey here was founded in the 12th century,

Schwangau: A health resort and village of the royal castles.

Fussen: Town nestled at the foot of the castle rock in Bavaria's Royal Corner... surrounded by the mighty peaks of the Alps and the wooded foothills. About 3 miles southeast of Fussen are two most magnificent castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein in particular, with fantastically shaped towers, turrets, pinnacles and gables occupies a solitary perch in the midst of mountains. It is a picture from a fairy tale.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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