The Romantic Road: Cycling Across Bavaria

Can you believe it’s been over six years since Jim and I cycled along the Rhine from Mainz to Cologne? Why, we were practically children.

Just one of countless castles on the Rhine, summer 2016

On that occasion it was the sheer number and variety of castles that stick in my mind.

And on the cycling holiday before that, it is the vast, resinous pine forests of the Spreewald that I particularly remember.

But from last July – when we cycled 220 miles from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Füssen along Bavaria’s Romantic Road – it is the wildflowers that stand out.

A rich vibrancy of colour and form;

whether cornflowers in silken barley;

wheat fields speckled with summer poppies;

or dew drenched alpine meadows with orchids. 

The flowers that lined our route were astonishing in their beauty and diversity.

The call of cuckoos and the drone of insects was a near constant too

– as was regularly swallowing or inhaling a fly or two as we hurtled along.

I yearned to cycle the Feuchtwanger Rundweg just to, y’know, say that I had

We were in Germany for almost a month last summer, travelling about by train and visiting a list of German towns as long as your arm… and mine: Berlin, Leipzig, Ochsenfurt, Munich, Nuremberg, Potsdam. And, in addition, we stayed in a further eight towns on the Romantic Road cycle route – battling both to reach them by push bike and then pronounce them: #deepbreath Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen, Donauwörth, Augsburg, Landsberg am Lech, Schongau and Füssen.

As always on these holidays, we followed a fantastically well-signposted route,

using a supplied-with-our-bikes route guide

on solid reliable bikes. In eight days of cycling we didn’t get a puncture nor a breakdown and apart from an absolute soaking on arrival in the town of Augsburg, we had almost non-stop sunshine too.

So, that was nice.

We took our time, sometimes getting lost, mostly not,

stopping for food if we were hungry, stopping for food if we weren’t,

or just stopping to, well,

gaze about

or simply wonder at those crazy Germans.

If it’s Monday it must be Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the start of our cycle trip.

And if it’s Friday it’ll, obviously, be Donauworth;

and my only meeting – so far – with the mighty Danube. (Did you know that the Danube flows through ten countries – including Ukraine – and not one of them calls it the Danube. Fairly interesting? No? Oh well, suit yourself).

I had never visited Bavaria before and was charmed by the architecture:

the imposing show-off,

the quirky,

the medieval Bavarian,

and the not at all to my taste ever so billy bonkers.

We saw plenty of wildlife including fox cubs, a beaver, countless deer and, of course, storks.

A stork on a nest was a common sight on our travels – and it’s nice to know that they might even become a common sight in the UK again.

Here’s another common sight from my holiday.

See? On a whim, I grew a beard for my Bavarian adventure but I was puzzled that it turned out to be grey and white. So, what’s that about? I’m sure last time I grew one it was dark brown.

In the final few days of our week’s cycling we drew close to the Bavarian Alps.

Approaching the mountains by cycle rather than by train, plane or auto mobile, felt like a real old fella achievement.

Though I did have to stop occasionally just to check with Jim that we hadn’t crossed the fine line between challenging fun and bloody knackering hard work. (We hardly ever did, in case you wondered).

I can’t recommend Germany for cycling.

Oops. I mean, I can’t recommend Germany for cycling enough. They just make it so much easier, so much more straightforward and safer than we do.

This was the hilliest of our German bike holidays and easily the toughest – both in distance and climbs. We did have the option of hiring e-bikes but chose not to, figuring there’s plenty of time for assisted cycling in the years to come.

And using pushbikes to arrive at the the BIG mountains of southern Germany only added to our smug – and frankly unattractive – gloating self-satisfaction.

Sound required

And do you know? Even though we weren’t in Austria, the hills were actually alive with the sound of music. Straight up.

We booked this tour through a German agency, Radweg-Reisen.

They booked all of our (excellent) accommodation and supplied the bikes, panniers and tour maps.

They also transferred our luggage from one hotel to the next after we, post-Frühstück, had cycled off for the day.

The end of the tour – Neuschwanstein Castle, Füssen

As always when we reached the end of one of these holidays, it was a wrench to surrender our bikes and give up the open roads, fields, forests, small towns and villages.

Never mind.

One day I should like to go back.

My brother and me, Ochsenfurt, Bavaria

Which, given that my big brother now lives in Bavaria, is just as well!

21 thoughts on “The Romantic Road: Cycling Across Bavaria

    • Hi Diana, the alpine meadows are a particular memory. I also remember them from when I cycled over the Alps – through Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Italy, at 17! This holiday wasn’t quite as strenuous. David


  1. I was looking up photos of crows and came across your lovely pictures. Also, It is wonderful to see the the landscape on your bike tour. The crow and fox story is made me smile!
    Thank you, DeborahBee……………………..


  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful journey cycling across Bavaria! Your writing is so descriptive and engaging that I felt like I was right there with you, taking in the stunning views and enjoying the local cuisine.

    I especially appreciated the historical and cultural background you provided about the places you visited, which added a rich layer of context to your experience. Your attention to detail, such as the various types of beer and their origins, was also a nice touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alison, how lovely to hear from you. It was a smashing trip – but quite hard work too. That’s all right though – it felt like I earned my Pils. Bavaria was stunning and very different from the north of Germany which I know much better. Coaching around sounds altogether more sedate. Dxx


  4. This has just popped up in my Facebook feed. Looks amazing! We visited the area many years ago on a coach holiday and loved it. Hope to go back there one day. Glad to see you looking so well and happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Absolutely lovely, Dave. Good ol’ bicycles. Have you read Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men on the Bummel? It’s an early 1900’s humorous account of a bicycle tour through the Black Forest. Only there’s three guys instead of two.🤷‍♀️ You might (or might not) enjoy it.

    Expect an email soonish, my friend. xS

    Liked by 1 person

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