The biggest city on the aptly named Romantic Road, Augsburg is also one of Germany’s oldest. So much here is iconic Bavaria, from the medieval guild houses to the Renaissance town hall. What’s more, the textile trade and banking industry stuffed the city’s pockets. Augsburg lies within easy day trip distance from Munich and makes for an engaging visit.
Baroque fountains and churches of various centuries pepper the centre of Augsburg and its main stretch, Maximilianstrasse. For a glimpse at the good life, tourists can visit the Fugger Palaces, home to the city’s primary banking family. Other claims to fame include the Mozart Haus Augsburg, where the composer’s father was born, and the Luther Stiege, a museum showcasing the life of Martin Luther. The 1620 Town Hall is, of course, a point of interest. The city also has a strong athletic hold. The 1972 Munich Olympics inspired the construction of the world’s first artificial whitewater course, Eiskanal. Today, one can even whitewater kayak down the city’s mediaeval canals.
Augsburg is well served by train, as the Hauptbahnhof station is served by a designated Munich-Augsburg line. The city is well connected internationally as well, with a TGV running to Paris, and overnight trains reaching Amsterdam and Vienna. From Munich, however, the journey is an easy one, lasting less than an hour.
Founded by stepsons of the Roman emperor Augustus, Augsburg is a rare find in Germany, as 2,000 years is a long time for a little Bavarian town to last. Augsburg became a Free Imperial City in the 13th century and flourished on a trade route to Italy. The Fugger family was the German equivalent of the Medicis and much of what visitors enjoy in the town owes to their investments.