Unconventional though it may be, your personal fairytale will begin in the high-rise metropolitan of Frankfurt, where your feet will first touch German soil. Upon arrival, pick up your rental car and set off on your adventure.
Gaze out the window as skyscrapers give way to rolling hills, then forests and finally vineyards. It won’t be long — roughly 90 minutes —before you find yourself in the charming town of Würzburg, the northern gateway to the Romantic Road.
The strength of character defines this place and its people. After being left in ruins following an airstrike in 1945, its citizens insisted that Würzburg be restored to its pre-war glory. They succeeded and today the town charms its visitors with a variety of architectural styles — Romanesque, Baroque, and Rococo — a domineering fortress and delicious white wine.
Begin your exploration at the 11th century Romanesque St. Kilian Cathedral in the center of the old town, then step into the neighboring Domschatz to see the opulent riches. Move on to Neumünster, a former abbey, and admire its spectacular red sandstone baroque façade. Although modest, the Rathaus (town hall) is also worth a visit, as is the adjoining Grafeneckart — a little museum with an exhibition of photographs and a 3D model of the city that depicts the devastation left behind by the 1945 bombing.
In the afternoon, cross the Alte Mainbrücke — Würzburg’s oldest bridge — and walk up to the town’s most identifiable landmark: the Marienberg Fortress. Aside from postcard scenery, this historic fortress offers gardens and several museums for you to explore. While you’re on this side of the river, visit the Käppele — an 18th-century chapel, which affords beautiful views of the fortress and old town.
A stay in Würzburg wouldn’t be complete without visiting the UNESCO-listed Residenz, one of the most impressive Baroque palaces in Germany. Take a turn through its gardens, admire its grandiose interiors, and don’t forget to look up when you get to the Treppenhaus (staircase) to see the largest fresco in the world.
Finish your day with a glass (or two) of the area’s celebrated white wine at the Juliusspital, which not only bears historical importance as a medieval wine cellar and hospital but also has the distinct honor of being the second-largest winery in Germany and a brilliant place to try the local drop.