Germany's scenic routes
Germany may not be home to world-famous scenic roads like California's Highway 1, Australia's Great Ocean Road or Italy's Amafli Coast. Nevertheless there are enough themed routes to inspire a scenic detour.
German Wine Route
Germany's oldest tourist route, the German Wine Route, snakes through the country's second largest wine-growing region near the French border. Along 85 kilometers, visitors may experience diverse interpretations of Germay's typical crisp white wine: Riesling. The rolling vineyards often line picturesque rivers or host castle ruins from the Middle Ages.
The Fairytale Road
Hanau, above, is the birthplace of the legendary fairytale duo, the Brothers Grimm. It's the starting point of the Fairytale Road, which meanders through eight nature parks and various villages relevant to fairytale lore, like Alsfeld where visitors can see the "home" of Little Red Riding Hood or the Snow White Museum in Bad Wildungen.
The Black Forest High Road
From Freudenstadt to Baden-Baden, the Black Forest High Road follows the main ridge of the northern Black Forest and offers panoramic views from the mountains into the Rhine Valley and Alsace. Must-sees along the way include Mummelsee, near where this sunset photo was taken.
The German Football Road
Grab your bicycle to hit the German Football Road, which links 15 towns in Germany's largest state, North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, stadiums are practically as holy as churches. Each of the towns highlights a stadium, along with other attractions like a taste-testing at Fiege brewery in Bochum. Because when it comes to soccer in Germany, beer is just as important as the ball itself.
The Romantic Road
Based loosely on an old Roman trading route, the Romantic Road was Germany's post-war solution to luring tourists back to its attractions. Medieval walled towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl are featured along with the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle, above, and the impressive Alps.
The Alpine Road
The Alpine Road runs 450 kilometers through southern Germany's Alpine foothills, encompassing not only the mountains but also two important bodies of water: Lake Constance (which contains the island of Lindau) and Lake Königssee.
Route of Industrial Culture
Should you grow weary of Germany's countless castles and wine trails, hop on the Route of Industrial Culture. The path links 400 kilometers of industrial relics turned cultural playgrounds throughout Germany's Ruhr region. The former coal mine, Zeche Zollverein (known as the "Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr") is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. It houses the Ruhr Museum and a design school.
German Half-Timbered House Road
Winding alley ways and cobblestone streets make up the town of Limburg an der Lahn, pictured above, a landmark on one of Germany's six regional Half-Timbered House Roads. Nearly 100 towns and villages make up the entire 2,800-kilomter route, which highlights regional characteristics of half-timbered home design.
The Romanesque Road
With its figure-eight shape, the Romanesque Road is so named because it highlights medieval churches, monasteries, cathedrals, and castles built in the noticeable architectural style. Although the Magdeburg cathedral, above, is constructed mostly in Gothic style, its sanctuary reflects strong Romanesque influence, qualifying it for the Romanesque Road.