Welcome to beer country. The well-signposted Beer and Castle Route runs 500 km along the B85 road from the East Bavarian "City of the Three Rivers" Passau to Bad Frankenhausen in Thuringia on the southern slope of the Kyffhäuser Mountains. The route promises plenty of cosy, sociable drinking spots, art, culture, nature and good food, a lively combination of activities that combine fun, history and of course, the amber nectar itself.
Peppered with a wealth of attractions, the Beer and Castle Route offers visitors a varied insight into tradition, sagas, legends, modern life, art and architecture and the chance to experience a piece of German history while surrounded by the unspoiled countryside of scenic nature reserves, romantic rivers and sleepy valleys.
A place to linger
Fans of German history will find ample opportunity for excursions in the Kyffhäuser Mountains, the jewel in the crown of this route. In addition to the spellbinding Barbarossa Cave (Barbarossahöhlen), you should also make sure to visit the Thuringian Forest and the famous Rennsteig trail. The Thuringian Saaleland and Thuringian Highlands (Schiefergebirge) that so fascinated Goethe are also unmissable.
A place where travel becomes an experience
The inspirational perfection of the Franconian Forest and Franconian Switzerland has long held a place in the hearts of big-city folk who have grown weary of tarmac and pavements. Meanwhile the town of Jura in the Upper Palatinate region is known for its austere beauty and incomparable richness, and the Bavarian Forest for its endless, mysterious woodland: the perfect place to lie back and gaze dreamily at the sky.
Come along for the ride!
Plan a boat trip on the Danube or watch a glassblower at work. Memorials to a by-gone age, the impressive fortresses and imposing castles along this route are also pieces of "living history", which often had prosperous cities grow up around them.
Four letters, just one word: beer
The beer along the route is of course provided by the breweries, each of which has its own secret recipe. Those who enjoy a cosy beer with friends have the chance to compare the skill and ability of master brewers from both Thuringia and Bavaria. However, beer lovers will certainly find it hard to choose! The range of beers on offer is extensive and includes dark full-bodied beers, fine Pilsners, refreshing wheat beers and smooth bock beers.
Beer makes the world go round
On a brewery tour or visit to a brewery museum, you can find out how best to enjoy beer, and much more besides. Poets, philosophers and crowned heads of state loved beer and love it still. What's more, every 23 April marks the anniversary of the German Beer Purity Law which came into effect in 1516. Four letters, over one thousand brands and each with its own unique flavour: beer is firmly cemented in cultural history. The sheer variety of the Beer and Castle Route means that each and every traveller is sure to discover something of interest.
Length: approximately 500 km
Theme: culture, gastronomy
Amberg: old quarter, Theuern Castle, museums
Apolda: castle, museums
Bad Blankenburg: Greifenstein Castle, bird of prey centre (Adler- und Falkenhof)
Bad Frankenhausen: salt water spa, leaning tower, Kyffhäuser monument
Bayreuth: UNESCO World Heritage Site, Festival Theatre, Maisel Brewery and Cooperage Museum
Kronach: Heunischenburg fortress, Fortress Rosenberg
Kulmbach: Plassenburg Castle, Bavarian Museum of Brewing and Baking
Ludwigstadt: Lauenstein Castle, Slate Museum
Mitwitz: moated palace, Upper Palace, St. Jacob's Church (Jakobskirche)
Passau: the City of the Three Rivers, Veste Oberhaus fortress, cathedral
Regen: Weißenstein Castle, glass forest
Rudolstadt: Heidecksburg Castle, palace
Weimar: Goethe's Garden House (Goethes Gartenhaus), National Museum, Duchess Anna Amalia Library (Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek)
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