In the summer of 2017, my partner and I decided to take a road trip across south-west Germany. The main goal of our trip? To cover all the UNESCO world heritage sites in this part of Germany. And yeah. That’s a thing. We decided after the trip to make this a yearly tradition, because you know. Why not?
Before I blab on about our journey, let me back up a bit. So why south-west Germany? Well, we live in the region, and were in desperate need of a vacation. But money was tight, so we thought well how about a good ol’ road trip. Turns out that they are not really popular here, which I found odd, cause people seem to love RVs here. And what do you do with any RV? Go on road trips!
Anyway, I digress. We loaded up my partner’s car with our back-packs, a six-pack of water and snacks, and were ready to go. Not to forget a special road trip playlist! Our trip lasted a grand total of 6 days. We covered 805km of Autobahns and Bundesstraßen across 4 states, and visited 7 world heritage sites.
Day 1: Maulbronn-Speyer-Heidelberg
We started the day quiet early so that we could beat the rush-hour traffic on the Autobahn. Maulbronn monastery, which was listed as a World Heritage site in 1993, made a lasting impression on me. Although it was a sunny day, and I had my fleece on, it was still chilly inside the abbey for me. I kept wondering how the monks survived in the winter time there. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to walk around the abbey and soak in the old frescoes. I highly recommend taking the audio guide, which is also available in English.
After spending some hours at the abbey, we continued northward towards Speyer. The seat of the Bishop of Speyer, the Speyer Cathedral was added to the heritage list in 1981. Consecrated in 1081, it is the largest Romanesque cathedral in the world. The red sandstone walls, the chapels and sculptures, the crypt and the organ, together make the cathedral a testament to Romanesque architecture in medieval Germany.
After visiting the Speyer Cathedral, or Dom as the Germans would say, we drove north-west to the beautiful city of Heidelberg, where we ate a lovely Lebanese dinner and spent the night. Although not a UNESCO world heritage site, it is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a ‘City of Literature’.