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The first step takes you on the B308 from Scheidegg to Immenstadt, with fine views across the foothills of the Allgäu. That soon becomes a lovely memory as you negotiate the Rohrach hairpins and the nine percent incline on the approach to the amazing Scheidegg waterfalls.
Continuing on towards Oberreute, small villages and rustic hamlets dot the landscape. Look out for isolated farmhouses and marvel at the spectacular, ever-changing vistas of the Nagelfluh Alps and the Vorarlberg Alps further to the south.
Then you reach the stunning, alpine Oberstaufen, where you can stop to ski, hike, sled or play golf. You may want to mark 18 May in your calendar as this is when the 18-day Allgäu-Orient-Rally to Jordan starts every year from here.
The drive to the Alpsee lake just outside Immenstadt isn’t quite as challenging. If you’ve brought the kids, let them expend some energy in the biggest rope-climbing centre in Bavaria and the thrilling three-kilometre year-round sled run at the Alpsee Mountain Resort. Immenstadt is a former seat of nobility and a gentle stroll around the impressive old town castle is recommended, as is a visit to the nature centre with its unforgettable mountain scenery.
Crossing the Oberjoch Pass from Bad Hindelang to Füssen via Nesselwang is an ambitious undertaking and one of the more complex challenges facing drivers, but all part and parcel of the unique character of the German Alpine Road.
This leg in the Allgäu Alps is the curviest road in Germany, with 106 hairpins to negotiate, so keep a firm grip on the wheel and one eye on the road while the other marvels at the stunning Alpine scenery. Gravity prevails as you near Füssen and several historical sites lie in wait for the eager culture vultures on board.
A boat trip is a must-do on one of the 10 or so lakes around this town along the River Lech; try the turquoise waters of the Forggensee in the shadow of the nearby peaks.
After admiring the old town with its medieval patrician houses and baroque churches from the vantage point of one of the pretty street cafés, it comes as no surprise to find that the Romantic Route goes straight through Füssen. This also serves as a starting point for visits to a number of Germany’s most famous attractions: the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau overlook Alpsee lake above the town.
The road takes you deep into the dark forests of the Ammergau nature conservation area. Schloss Linderhof is like a magical apparition in the Graswang valley. This route is a short-cut to the Garmisch-Partenkirchen area, while the Alpine Road follows route B17 from Füssen, traversing the Pfaffenwinkel region past fertile meadows and old farmhouses.
Leaving Pfaffenwinkel behind, follow the B23 along the edge of the mountains of the Ammergau to Garmisch Partenkirchen, the next stop on the route. This leg starts off at a height of 80 metres, on the Echelsbacher Bridge above the River Ammer.
Following the river, you soon reach Oberammergau, the world-famous home of the iconic Passion Play. The quaint painted houses and woodcarving workshops dotted around the centre exude charm and speak of centuries of tradition; it’s even possible to watch woodcarvers going about their business.
A few minutes of easy driving brings you to Ettal, where the Benedictine Abbey will tempt you to rest and enjoy the superb architecture and in-house brewery, distillery and cheese making facility.
This stage of the route comes to an end in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This is a town with an outstanding sporting heritage and is your gateway to the thrills and excitement of downhill skiing on Germany’s highest peak, the 2,962-metre Zugspitze, part of the Wetterstein range. Feel free to plan a few days in this sports paradise and try some canoeing, hang-gliding, mountain biking or if you dare, a climbing tour on the north face of the Alpspitze, the iconic symbol of the town.