I've just read about the Fairy Tale Road from Hanau (near Frankfurt) to Bremen. I'm assuming this is NOT the same as the Romantic Road? I don't see anything in Rick's Germany book about it. Anyone ever done this? Sounds really cool. Thanks.
It isn't in the RS books, because Rick hasn't gone to any of these cities and towns. (that we know of) There are all kinds of interesting routes that go through Germany. The Fairy Tale Road and the Romantic Road are just 2 of them. One of my favorites is the Half-Timbered Route as this connects towns that are chock full of this kind of typical German architecture.
Look at the towns that are included on the route, do they have what you want to see? Marburg for example is a gem of a town, as is Fritzlar. The 2nd page of this website lists the towns, and if you click on them you can see what the town looks like, hotels, museums, etc.
I haven't specifically driven the Fairy Tale Road, but I've visited several towns along it. The emphasis is that the towns have a literary connection to the various fairy tales, not necessarily that they have a "story book" look about them (although several do). Unlike the Romantic Road, though, I think the region you drive through is quitea bit more scenic, whereas the Romantic Road could just as well be any secondary road in Bavaria. And as Jo mentioned, there's several dozen such themed routes that criss-cross Germany, such as the above mentioned Half-Timbered Road, the Romanesque Road, the Alpine Road, the Castle Road, the German Wine Road, the Iron Road, the Mountain Road, the Niebelung Road, the Siegfried Road, the Industrial Road, the Orange Road, etc.
I agree with Jo, Fritzlar and Marburg are absolute highlights, and both are about as "story book" as you can imagine (and without all the trinket shops you'll find in some of the Romantic Road towns). Fritzlar even retains its town wall, and the immediate region is filled with castles, including one, Felsburg, which remains remarkably well preserved. Hanau has a nice Altstadt, but the rest of the city is pretty industrial. Alsfeld has a pretty large Altstadt as well, but my visit was cut short by bad weather. Kassel is modern. I've only driven through Göttingen, but it looked nice.
Ignore the fact that Mr. Steves doesn't write about it. It says nothing about the quality, uniqueness or interest of a particular town or region. Several years ago, a few of us were virtually begging people to give Gent a try, with little success. Now, it's in the Blue Book, and suddenly one of the most common questions on the Belgium section of this website is "Should I stay in Gent or Brugge?" I suspect the same thing would happen for the Fairy Tale Road should a certain guidebook author ever decide to include it among his recommendations.
Thanks for the tips everyone! This sounds so cool. I just might have to move it up to the top of my "must do" list. I know there are certain things Rick's books don't cover, but that doesn't make them less interesting or worthwhile to some people. :-) Thanks!