As much as I think that the “golden age” of rail travel is not a thing of the past; the convenience of air travel is unmistakable, and the Autobahn is a speed demon’s dream (for which I admit that I’m one ;-).
Sometimes, though, it’s best to take your time and smell the proverbial roses.
There’s nowhere better to do this in Germany than on the German Avenues Route a.k.a. Deutche Alleenstrasse that is the true definition of leisure travel.
The German Avenues Route is the longest tourist route in all of Germany, managing to just about go through the entire country! If you were to travel all 2,900 km (1,802 mi) of it (hope you got a lot of vacation time), you’ll have gone through ten of Germany’s sixteen federal states; taking you from the Baltic Sea all the way to Lake Constance.
I’ve divided the German Avenues Route for you into thirteen sections in case you only have time to do a part of it, which would A) be too bad ’cause you couldn’t see it all; and B) give you an idea of which parts you really want to see if you didn’t have the time to do the entire thing.
“Officially,” the German Avenues Route is actually divided into ten sections instead of thirteen. However, you’d have to be on two sections at the same time that way, or they dismissed a crucial connection, or you’d mix things up fairly easily. So, I divided this route into (more logical) 13 Sections so you can better relate to them; and so that you always know where you’re coming from, where you’re heading to, and where to go next. Sounds good? :-)
There are going to be a whole bunch of avenues with trees left and right the streets. Just follow my “route plans” as outlined under each section’s headline, respectively, and you’re ready to fly.
German Avenues Route — Section 1 (Rügen – Rheinsberg)
Rügen – Kap Arkona – Altenkirchen – Wiek – Trent – Kluis – Bergen auf Rügen – Sellin – Putbus – Garz – Stralsund – Steinhagen – Grimmen – Loitz – Demmin – Malchin – Dahmen – Malchow – Sietow – Röbel (Müritz) – Rechlin – Mirow – Wesenberg – Rheinsberg
Technically, the route starts on the northern tip of the island of Rügen (called Kap Arkona), which is part of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania. It’s the largest island in Germany with chalk rock formations and Stone Age graves.
Stop in Sellin for a look at a grand Baltic coastal health resort and take a ride on its steam locomotive.
Arriving in Rheinsberg will give you your first look at the route’s castles. Schloss Rheinsberg was once home to Frederick the Great, now more famous for its Konzerthaus (Concert Hall) and photo perfect lakes.
German Avenues Route — Section 2 (Rheinsberg – Wittenberg)
Rheinsberg – Neuruppin – Fehrbellin – Kremmen – Nauen – Roskow-Weseram – Brandenburg (Havel) – Golzow – Bad Belzig – Wiesenburg – Straach – Wittenberg
Further south of Rheinsberg is Lutherstadt Wittenberg, hometown to none other than Martin Luther. Wittenberg’s Schlosskirche, or Castle Church, is housed with priceless works of art.
One thing to know about the Deutsche Alleenstraße is that just south of Wittenberg, the German Avenues Route splits off.
German Avenues Route — Section 3 (Wittenberg – Dresden)
Wittenberg – Pretzsch (Bad Schmiedeberg) – Torgau – Sitzenroda (Schildau) – Luppa (Wermsdorf) – Oschatz – Meißen – Weinböhla – Dresden
If you travel to the southeast, you can head off towards the historic town of Dresden in Saxony that’s the center of art and culture, as it was before WWII. If you’ve come this far to Dresden, don’t forget about the grand Zwinger Palace and the Hofkirche.
German Avenues Route — Section 4 (Dresden – Plauen)
Dresden – Heidenau – Dohna – Glashütte – Dippoldiswalde – Schmiedeberg – Frauenstein – Sayda – Pfaffroda – Olbernhau – Zöblitz – Marienberg – Wolkenstein – Annaberg-Buchholz – Raschau-Markersbach – Schwarzenberg – Aue – Neidhardtsthal (Eibenstock) – Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz (Muldenhammer) – Schöneck (Vogtland) – Oelsnitz (Vogtland) – Plauen
Looping around to Plauen brings you just about the Bavarian and Czech borders and the 1st McDonalds in East Germany. I wonder what the builders of the early 12th century Johanniskirche think about the nearby Micky D’s…
German Avenues Route — Section 5 (Plauen – Kaltensundheim)
Plauen – Reuth (Vogtland) – Schleiz – Ziegenrück – Pößneck – Saalfeld – Rudolstadt – Stadtilm – Arnstadt – Crawinkel – Oberhof – Steinbach-Hallenberg – Viernau – Kühndorf – Meiningen – Kaltensundheim
Martin Luther might have been born in Wittenberg; but, he went to school in the Thuringian town of Erfurt, which is only 20km or 25 minutes north of Arnstadt, one of our big stops on Section 5 of the Alleenstraße. If it wasn’t for the ceremony at the Kaufmannskirche on the Main Square we wouldn’t have the work of Johann Sebastian Bach — his parents were married right here.
German Avenues Route — Section 6 (Wittenberg – Duderstadt)
Wittenberg – Coswig (Anhalt) – Dessau-Roßlau – Köthen (Anhalt) – Nienburg (Saale) – Staßfurt – Winningen (Aschersleben) – Hedersleben – Harsleben – Halberstadt – Dingelstedt (Huy) – Badersleben (Huy) – Athenstedt (Halberstadt) – Osterwieck – Vienenburg – Goslar – Langelsheim – Neuekrug (Hahausen) – Seesen – Echte (Kalefeld) – Northeim – Nörten-Hardenberg – Ebergötzen – Seulingen – Duderstadt
Note that there’s an alternative route from Wittenberg to Dessau-Roßlau: via Radis – Oranienbaum-Wörlitz!
And another alternative is available from Köthen to Staßfurt: via Könnern – Alsleben – Warmsdorf (Güsten)!
Coming along the western part (instead of heading east toward Dresden part of the route) you’ll find yourself in Dessau-Roßlau in Saxony-Anhalt. It has a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Georgium Castle, and ten (!) churches to scope out for its artwork.
Then on it goes to Duderstadt, where photographing its massive half-timbered Town Hall building, built in 1302, is in order.
German Avenues Route — Section 7 (Duderstadt – Kaltensundheim)
Duderstadt – Teistungen – Berlingerode – Heilbad Heiligenstadt – Leinefelde-Worbis – Kallmerode – Dingelstädt – Mühlhausen (Thuringia) – Weinbergen (Höngeda) – Großengottern – Schönstedt – Bad Langensalza – Behringen (Hörselberg-Hainich) – Eisenach – Marksuhl – Dönges (Tiefenort) – Dorndorf – Stadtlengsfeld – Weilar – Dermbach – Zella (Rhön) – Kaltennordheim – Kaltensundheim
When you get to Eisenach you must, must, MUST see the mighty Wartburg Castle. Filled with legends and interesting tales, the Wartburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
German Avenues Route — Section 8 (Kaltensundheim – Koblenz)
Kaltensundheim – Fladungen – Ehrenberg (Rhön) – Gersfeld (Rhön) – Ebersburg – Eichenzell – Fulda – Schlitz – Lauterbach (Hesse) – Herbstein – Grebenhain – Gedern – Hirzenhain – Ortenberg (Hesse) – Düdelsheim (Büdingen) – Altenstadt (Hesse) – Ilbenstadt (Niddatal) – Wöllstadt – Friedberg (Hesse) – Bad Nauheim – Ober-Mörlen – Usingen – Weilrod – Haintchen (Selters (Taunus)) – Weilmünster – Freienfels (Weinbach) – Weilburg – Runkel – Limburg – Diez – Flacht – Niederneisen – Hahnstätten – Burgschwalbach – Katzenelnbogen – Holzhausen – Nastätten – Miehlen – Dachsenhausen – Braubach – Lahnstein – Koblenz
Fulda is another awesome stop along the German Avenues Route. Along many rolling hills and meadows is the St. Salvator Church of the famous Abbey and the Schloss Fulda. Plus, the Altes Rathaus is a fantastic example of framework architecture.
German Avenues Route — Section 9 (Höxter – Dortmund)
Höxter – Vörden (Marienmünster) – Nieheim – Bergheim (Steinheim (Westphalia)) – Horn-Bad Meinberg – Heiligenkirchen (Detmold) – Schlangen – Bad Lippspringe – Paderborn – Delbrück – Lippstadt – Eickelborn (Lippstadt) – Soest – Möhnesee – Ense – Wickede – Fröndenberg – Schwerte – Holzwickede – Dortmund
Höxter, in addition to having plenty of timber framed houses, is also a haven for skydivers, rowers, and hikers. Don’t worry about getting lost, its 18km hiking trail loops around offering plenty of lookout points.
Dortmund is next on the German Avenue Route and was once on the Medieval Salt Route. Its Opera House is divine and the Reinoldikirche has been here since the 9th century.
German Avenues Route — Section 10 (Dortmund – Koblenz)
Dortmund – Herdecke – Wetter – Schwelm – Lennep (Remscheid) – Hückeswagen – Dabringhausen (Wermelskirchen) – Altenberg (Odenthal) – Bechen (Kürten) – Herkenrath (Bergisch Gladbach) – Forsbach (Rösrath) – Rösrath – Algert (Lohmar) – Neunkirchen-Seelscheid – Allner (Hennef) – Seligenthal (Siegburg) – Niederpleis (Sankt Augustin) – Oberpleis (Königswinter) – Aegidienberg (Bad Honnef) – Bad Honnef – Rheinbreitbach – Unkel – Erpel – Linz – Leubsdorf (Rhine) – Bad Hönningen – Rheinbrohl – Hammerstein – Leutesdorf – Neuwied – Bendorf – Weitersburg – Vallendar – Urbar – Koblenz
After Dortmund, Bad Honnef is the next quality stop. Located near the former German capital, Bonn, Bad Honnef is a wine growing region, and there isn’t a much better way to end a day spent at the spa.
Koblenz is where East meets West; no, not literally — just where the German Avenues Route meets back up. Julius Caesar liked it here and so will you after you’ve seen the Stolzenfels Castle, taken a boat ride along the river, and scoped out the Königsbacher brewery.
German Avenues Route — Section 11 (Koblenz – Karlsruhe)
Koblenz – Lahnstein – Braubach – Osterspai – Filsen – Boppard – Emmelshausen – Braunshorn – Laubach (Hunsrück) – Simmern (Hunsrück) – Sargenroth – Gemünden (Hunsrück) – Simmertal – Merxheim – Meddersheim – Bad Sobernheim – Odernheim – Oberhausen (Nahe) – Norheim – Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg – Bad Kreuznach – Hackenheim – Volxheim – Wöllstein – Siefersheim – Wendelsheim – Erbes-Büdesheim – Alzey – Gau-Odernheim – Alsheim – Osthofen – Westhofen – Monsheim – Bockenheim (Weinstraße) – Grünstadt – Bad Dürkheim – Wachenheim (Weinstraße) – Deidesheim – Neustadt (Weinstraße) – Edenkoben – Hainfeld – Frankweiler – Siebeldingen – Klingenmünster – Bad Bergzabern – Steinfeld (Palatinate) – Scheibenhardt – Berg (Palatinate) – Hagenbach – Wörth am Rhein – Karlsruhe
This Section 11 is wine country, my friends. Plus, Bad Kreuznach has spa services, a Roman Villa, a huge Kite Festival at the end of May, and an Egg Market in July.
So, as soon as I’m done with fine vino and the avenues traveled & photographed so far, I think I deserved a massage (or two)… :-)
German Avenues Route — Section 12 (Karlsruhe – Freudenstadt)
Karlsruhe – Ettlingen – Malsch – Freiolsheim (Gaggenau) – Gaggenau – Gernsbach – Loffenau – Bad Herrenalb – Dobel – Höfen – Bad Wildbad – Enzklösterle – Seewald – Freudenstadt
Now we’re getting to righteous Karlsruhe, extravagant Ettlingen, and mega gorgeous Freudenstadt, which has been visited by its fair share of dignitaries and famous folk.
Mark Twain might have written about life on the Mississippi River, but it’s possible the Black Forest might have inspired him a tad bit still. If not the Schwarzwald, maybe the ruins of Kloster Kniebis did?
German Avenues Route — Section 13 (Freudenstadt – Constance)
Freudenstadt – Dornstetten – Schopfloch (Schwarzwald) – Horb – Eutingen im Gäu – Rottenburg am Neckar – Tübingen – Jettenburg (Kusterdingen) – Reutlingen – Eningen – Sankt Johann (Württemberg) – Gomadingen – Engstingen – Trochtelfingen – Gammertingen – Riedlingen – Ertingen – Herbertingen – Bad Saulgau – Altshausen – Weingarten – Ravensburg – Bitzenhofen (Oberteuringen) – Markdorf – Meersburg – Constance
Our last section of the German Avenues Route takes us from Freudenstadt to Constance at Lake Constance, which is called the Bodensee in German. Take a good look around and you can see Switzerland from here, and over two million books at the University of Constance. That makes the Solms Library in Laubach (with over 120,000 books) look like child’s play.
A perfect end to your trip along the German Avenues Route is at Constance’s Botanical Garden. There isn’t any place more beautiful to sit and start reading all those books.
German Avenues Route Web Site
For more information feel free to visit the Web site about the German Avenues Route.