Between 1570 and 1750 numbers of young noblemen from the Holy Roman Empire travelled hundreds of miles through the cities of western and southern Europe, taking two to four years, and exceptionally more. The course of their itineraries, however, did not remain the same but underwent distinct evolutions. 1 Throughout the seventeenth century their journeys took them through France and Italy among the most densely urbanised parts of the European continent. However, after 1700 the itineraries of the noblemen from the Habsburg Monarchy show a decisive shift towards more northern destinations (the Netherlands, England, the duchy of Lorraine, but also towns in the Empire). Taking inspiration from the subtitle of the present book – ‘northern metropolises and early modern travel behaviour’ – this chapter examines the reasons for this reorientation in travel culture towards the north and analyses how these changes were linked with the new perception of the sense and purpose of the Grand Tours.