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German castles route


Germany offers some of the most famously beautiful road trips in the world including this, the German Castles Route, which traces a path between the whimsical spires, crumbling ruins, tapering towers and massive stone walls of no less than 70 castles and palaces in southern Germany.

But it’s not just the castles that are the stars of this tour. The scenery throughout could be lifted from the pages of a child’s fairytale. From cobbled lanes to half-timbered houses, dense forests to dramatic ravines, you’ll be enchanted at every turn.

Getting there

The tour starts in Mannheim, which is a 362 mile from Dunkirk, 402 miles from Calais or 305 miles from our port in Ijmuiden near Amsterdam. From Mannheim you drive to Bamberg along Germany’s famed Castle Route - a total distance of 270 miles - visiting enchanting medieval villages, handsome historic cities and a glorious succession of castles, palaces and fortresses along the way.

Day 1: UK - Mannheim

After your Dover-Calais, Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam crossing you drive to Mannheim in the south west of Germany. Unlike most German cities, Mannheim’s streets and avenues follow a ‘grid’ pattern, earning it the nickname ‘City of Squares’.

Mannheim Palace is its most notable building. Fashioned in red and yellow sandstone and Germany’s largest baroque palace, it houses the University of Mannheim. The iconic water tower and elegant Friedrichsplatz gardens are also must-sees.Overnight in Mannheim.

Day 2: Mannheim - Heidelberg

Today you leave Mannheim and drive 12 miles to Heidelberg, whose mighty castle has become synonymous with the city. Built on the slopes of Mount Konigstuhl, these evocatively romantic ruins are one of the most famous landmarks in Germany.

The city itself is beautiful too. Huddled on the banks of the river Neckar, the baroque red-roofed old town is studded with lively restaurants, galleries, cafes and bars - all testament to Heidelberg’s status as Germany’s oldest and most famous university town. Overnight in Heidelberg.

Day 3: Heidelberg - Bad Wimpfen

From Heidelberg it is a 36 mile drive south and east to the spa town of Bad Wimpfen, passing the evocative ruins of Hornberg Castle on the way.

The largest and oldest castle in the Neckar Valley, Hornberg was built in the 11th century and was once the home of knight Gotz von Berlichingen, who lived here from 1517 until his death in 1562.

Leaving Hornberg you drive to Guttenberg Castle with its grand turrets and towers housing a museum, tavern and bird of prey centre. Both castles offer authentically restored restaurants and accommodation so you can stay overnight if you wish. Otherwise, continue and stay overnight in Bad Wimpfen.