At the northern end of the Romantic Road, Wurzburg, Germany, is an old city nestled in a vineyard-filled valley on the Main River.
Located 60 mi/95 km southeast of Frankfurt, the city is dominated by the Marienberg Fortress, the home of the powerful Prince-Bishops of Wurzburg, who transformed the city into one of the 17th century's finest. Inside the fortress are a museum and an eighth-century church. Catch the bus or climb the fortress' steep vine-covered hill for a magnificent view of the city.
The Residenz, with its grand staircase and ceiling frescoes by Tiepolois that illustrate the four then-known continents, is one of the finest baroque palaces in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage site. A Mozart festival is held there in June, and the region's delicious white and rose wines can be sampled in the gardens in summer.
Also in town are the cathedral, St. Mary's Chapel and the Old Bridge, which is lined with statues of saints. Do not miss the Mainfrankisches Museum, which shows 80 sculptures of Tilman Riemenschneider, all masterpieces of the transition period between late Gothic and Renaissance characterized by the expressiveness of their faces.
The best places in Wurzburg to sample the local dry and crisp Franconian white wines are the Burgerspital in Theaterstrasse 19 and Weinhaus zum Stachel (Gressengasse 1, near Marktplatz), both very atmospheric old taverns. The regional cuisine is also excellent there.
If time permits, take an afternoon boat trip to Veitshochheim, the Prince-Bishop's hunting palace, which has one of the most outstanding rococo gardens in Europe.
Nearby Miltenberg is a little village that looks just the way a fairy-tale German city should look—half-timbered houses, an old market square with a fountain, narrow streets, and a city wall with gates and turrets. One of its attractions is that it's very similar to Rothenburg, but with fewer tourists.
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