Travel tips for visiting the Limes route, Germany
The airports at Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Nuremberg are all well placed for accessing the Limes Route.
Many airlines fly to Frankfurt including British Airways, United, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. Airlines such as KLM, germanwings, Air France and Air Berlin fly into Nuremburg. Ryanair flies direct between Manchester and Stuttgart.
Visitors from the European Union and European Economic Area do not require a visit to visit Germany, nor those from the USA, Australia and Canada for short stays. For more information see: www.germany-visa.org/do-i-need-a-visa/
Germany’s public transport network is good. Trains and regional S-Bahn services provide a way of getting between cities and suburbs.
Hiring a vehicle means being able to travel along the Limes Route and pausing where you want when you want.
The weather in Germany is changeable. Summer months, from June into September, tend to be characterised by warm, sunny days, but be prepared as thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rain are by no means uncommon near to the Alps, so it makes sense to travel with waterproof clothing as well as sunscreen. The average highest temperature in Heidelberg is around 26˚C in August. From mid-October the frequency of rain tends to increase and snowfall is a possibility on high ground. Snow and icy roads are common during winter, from December until February.
Time difference: GMT +1
Electrical Current/Plugs: Electrical current is 110 volts AC and plugs are standard American two or three round pins.
Currency: The currency in Germany is the euro, where €1 is made up of 100 cents. €5, €10, €20, €50 and notes are widely accepted but some businesses do not accept higher denominations.
ATMs: Are widely available in urban areas.
Credit cards: Are widely accepted in hotels, shops and restaurants but cash is often preferred by servers in bars and cafés.
More to see and do
You can cycle across Germany whilst following remnants of the Roman frontier. The Deutsche Limes-Radweg (German Limes Cycle Path) runs close to the Roman boundary wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for more than 800 kilometres. Keen cyclists can cover that distance over six days. The longest single day section is the 165-kilometre stretch between Miltenberg and Lorch. Spreading the journey over a couple of weeks permits more time for viewing towers, forts and museums along the way.
The base of a triumphal arch that once stood 13 metres high and 9.5 metres wide stands protected by the elements in an angular glass structure at Dalkingen. The arch was built to honour a triumphal campaign led by the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Severus Antonius — Caracalla as he is better known. The site was rediscovered by archaeologists during an excavation undertaken in 1973 and 1974.
Several watchtowers have been reconstructed along the 550-kilometre frontier. At Idstein ( www.roemerturmidstein.de) a three-storey, 12-metre tall tower has been built close to the location of original, Roman-era foundations. The reconstruction was completed in 2002. It opens between 2.30pm and 5pm on the second and fourth Sunday of each month, allowing visitors to gain an impression of what it was like for guards to view the surrounding landscape from the viewing platform. Depending upon the time of day and weather, horns, flags and flaming torches would have been used to transmit signals between the 900 towers along the frontier. Entry to such towers would have been via a ladder to a door on the first floor during Roman times but, to make it easier for modern guests, the entrance is now on the ground level.
At Welzheim the gatehouse of the Ostkastell Roman fort has been reconstructed. It forms part of an archaeological park featuring the ruins of an original corner tower, reconstructions of Roman statues and a Mithraeic shrine. The Staedtisches Museum Welzheim ( www.museumwelzheim.de) displays military and civilian artefacts, including shoes unearthed from the fort, in a Roman section that was opened in 2013.
Mainhardt is a spa town known for the therapeutic quality of its air. During Roman times more than 500 men would have guarded the fort that measures 177 metres in length and 142 metres wide. Local guides are available to lead tours of the area. The town has a museum dedicated to archaeological finds from the Roman era. Work tools, crockery and items from everyday life count among the artefacts displayed.
Saalburg Museum ( www.saalburgmuseum.de) is part of an archaeology park that hosts Roman-themed events throughout the year. Volunteers don togas, uniforms and gladiatorial gear to bring the Roman era to life.
The Deutsche Limes-Strasse website ( www.limesstrasse.de) has an English language version that can be viewed by clicking on the union flag icon in the top right corner of the desktop version.
The website of the German National Tourism Board ( www.germany.travel) has a page providing an overview of the Limes Route ( www.germany.travel/en/leisure-and-recreation/scenic-routes/german-limes-route.html).
The Limes-Cicerones website ( www. limes-cicerones.de) is available only in German but can prove a useful source of information about events along the historic frontier. It is handy for contacting members of the association of qualified guides that operates along the route.
An app, Virtuelle Limeswelten Mobil, can be downloaded to Android smartphones and tablets. The app features maps and information, videos and images, plus GPS navigation and Augmented Reality. It encompasses a virtual reconstruction of 60km of the Upper German-Rhaetian Limes frontier — the section between Widdern and Alfdorf — which was scanned from a helicopter using laser technology.