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Bavaria at its autumnal and beery best

Visitors flock to Munich for Oktoberfest, but those who spread their wings a little further find medieval villages, forests of autumnal golds and cities waking from summer slumber.

History

FAIRYTALE CASTLES ❶

Southern Germany is famed for its castles and two of the most fantastical are near Füssen, below the Bavarian Alps. Start at Schloss Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig II’s 19th-century pile, also the model for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle (neuschwanstein.de). Next, hop across to the Neo-Gothic Schloss Hohenschwangau, where Ludwig grew up (hohenschwangau.de; combined castle ticket £20).

WIESKIRCHE ❷

In 1730, a farmer in Steingaden witnessed the miracle of his Christ statue shedding tears. Pilgrims poured into town in such numbers over the next decade that a new church was built to house the weepy work. The Wieskirche is Unesco-listed and one of Bavaria’s best-known Baroque churches. Inside the circular structure, eight white pillars are topped by gold capital stones and swirling decorations (wieskirche.de; free).

ROMANTIC ROAD ❸

From the vineyards of Würzburg to the foot of the Alps, the 250-mile-long Romantic Road is a popular journey through southern Germany that ends at Ludwig II’s crazy castles (romantic-road.com). The route can be done by tour bus, but a car will give you more flexibility to see the ostentatious palaces, Bavarian churches and chocolate-box medieval towns and villages, such as Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - November 2016
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