the Romantic Road: Dinkelsbuhl and Donauworth

Welcome to part one of the most disappointing day of the entire trip.

It’s my own fault really. In all the planning, this was one thing I just didn’t plan well. I really thought two days on the Romantic Road would be enough. It wasn’t. I should have known. The distance we were trying to cover on the Romantic Road over the 2 days was 541 km (or 336 miles). And hey, I’m from the West in the U.S. of A. where we drive 100 miles without thinking twice. But when I explored Southwestern Colorado last year, I only traveled about 250 miles over the course of three days. And that was just about perfect. So I knew ahead of time that we were pushing it, but I hoped it would be enough.

The other reasons it was such a disappointing day were not my fault. I was sick. Horribly, miserably sick. And also, it was foggy and rainy.

And also, and maybe this is my fault, I had really high expectations. This is the part of the trip that I was really looking forward to. For years, I have wanted to return to Bavaria with a car so I could visit some of the smaller, picturesque towns. I hoped to take it slow and easy. Stop when and where I wanted. I was planning to drive the mountain roads of the Alpenstrasse. Sigh… it was going to be amazing.

It started off great! We spent the night in Dinkelsbuhl at a really cute, friendly guest house called Goldenes Lamm. Our room was really nice, and right above the eponymous golden lamb.


After breakfast, we went exploring around Dinkelsbuhl. It’s a really beautiful town. The most popular town along the Romantic Road is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but I think Dinkelsbuhl holds its own in charm and interest.










So I need to explain the next photo. Nerd Alert: I have a slight major obsession with the Lego Minifigures Series. Just before I left, they came out with a new series that included a Bavarian man in lederhosen. I packed Fritz along with me thinking he might like to see his homeland.


I think he appreciated it. I mean, who wouldn’t want to walk these streets?






We couldn’t stay forever in Dinkelsbuhl. After all, we had 223 miles to travel, 4 towns, and one major castle. (Yeah, I was much too optimistic about how much we’d be able to see.) We headed toward Nordlingen, but ended up on a detour. We didn’t mind, though, and you wouldn’t either if your detour looked like this:



Yes, the day started off pretty amazing. Somehow, with the detour, we missed Nordlingen, though, and kept going toward Donauworth. As we neared the city, we saw fog rising from the ground. It was eery and beautiful, but a little distressing because it foreshadowed the weather we had up ahead.

The streets of Donauworth are lined with colorful gabled buildings.




As we walked along the street, we suddenly found ourselves walking through a pink gate outside the walls of the city. There was a lovely little path along a canal or creek that we took. It was just a really pleasant way to spend the morning.






But the morning was pretty much gone, and we were still quite far from our ultimate destination – Neuschwanstein Castle. I decided that, as much as I wanted to see the other towns along the Romantic Road, I really wanted to get to the Alps, visit the castle, and then enjoy the vistas of the Alpenstrasse. So as much as it hurt, we got on the Autobahn to high-tail it to Fuessen and Neuschwanstein.

But more of that later.



  1. Peggy Tee · January 10, 2013

    Sorry to hear this wasn’t as great as you hoped it was – I eventually want to do what you did and take a car to travel on the Romantic Road – I’ll take your advice and give myself lots of time to explore and enjoy it. Your pictures are fantastic though despite your professed horrible experience.

    • katie · January 10, 2013

      Thanks Peggy! And really, it wasn’t a bad day at all (other than being sick, of course). I think I had just wanted so much from the experience. As I look back on it now, I can appreciate what it was. It’s definitely a lesson in managing expectations. And more pragmatic planning. 😉

  2. Megan · January 11, 2013

    I love the multifamily homes that line German streets. They are so charming and they are what I remember most fondly about my trip to Germany. Thank you for posting such lovely pictures.

  3. cristen · January 12, 2013

    i had totally forgotten about that lady with the dogs! amazing.

  4. Anonymous · November 25, 2014

    I was in Dinkelsbuhl many years ago and stayed at the Golden Lamb – very nice. Rothenburg was almost completely destroyed during WWII and the restored Dinkelsbuhl survived mostly intact. If you liked them you should check out Nordlingen in Germany , Colmar France and Brugge and Ghent in Belgium.

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