- Introduction to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Brief history and background
- Geographic location
- Best time of the year to visit
- How to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- By air
- By train
- By driving
- Accommodation & Dining
- Best hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area
- Top local dining spots and regional cuisine to try
- Vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants
- Must-visit Attractions in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- The medieval old town
- The Town Walls and gates
- The Night Watchman Tour
- The Criminal Museum
- Activities and Experiences
- Guided historic walks
- Christmas markets
- Shopping for traditional German Crafts
- Hiking and biking routes
- Practical Information
- Information on local public transportation
- Local customs and etiquette
- Health and safety information
- Currency related information
Introduction to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Brief history and background
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a well-preserved medieval town in Bavaria, Germany. Founded in the 12th century, it quickly gained economic importance due to its strategic location on popular trade routes. The town went through periods of prosperity and hardship, with the destructive Thirty Years' War leaving it impoverished for nearly 300 years. Interestingly, this economic downturn helped preserve Rothenburg's medieval character. The 19th century saw it rediscovered by artists and tourists, effectively sparking its transformation into today's cultural hotspot. Rothenburg now thrives on tourism, its antique charm offering a unique trip back in time.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany. This picturesque town sits high above the Tauber River, hence its official name incorporating "ob der Tauber." The town sits roughly halfway between Frankfurt and Munich, making it easily accessible. Its altitude offers stunning views of the surrounding region, characterized by verdant fields and forests. Despite its relatively central location, Rothenburg maintains a peaceful, countryside atmosphere.
Best time of the year to visit
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, boasts a temperate weather making it an ideal destination all year round. However, the peak season is from May to October, when the climate is generally warm and pleasant. Enjoy the spectacular view of the town particularly during late spring and early autumn when flowers are at full bloom. Winter visits are also magical with the country's best Christmas markets. The off-peak months offer fewer crowds and cheaper accommodations. Always check the weather before your visit.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city in Bavaria, Germany, boasts captivating beauty, rich history, and a well-preserved medieval charm. Known for its iconic sights and enchanting, winding streets, the city is a perfect fit for those wanting to experience traditional German architecture and culture. Visitors can wander the city walls for unbeatable views, visit the immersive Medieval Crime Museum, and sample key culinary delights that are unique to the locale. Being popular for its Christmas market also makes Rothenburg ob der Tauber a favourite holiday destination. Its colourful facades and fairy-tale ambiance promise a memorable visit.
How to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The closest major airports to Rothenburg ob der Tauber are Frankfurt and Munich, which have flights from all over the world. From either of these airports, you can take a train or rent a car to Rothenburg. From Frankfurt, it's around a 2-hour drive or similarly around 3 hours by train. From Munich, the drive is roughly 3 hours, or about 4 hours by train. Remember to consult local travel advisories and transport schedules as timings can change. Always plan your journey in advance to ensure a smooth travel experience.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is well connected by train with stops at major cities like Munich, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart. Journey times can vary from 2 to 4 hours, depending on your starting point. Purchase tickets either online or at the station. Then take a connecting train to Steinach, if required, and from there only a 20-minute ride awaits to Rothenburg. The train station is just a short 10-minute stroll into the town centre. Ensure to check the train timings beforehand, as the frequency may vary during weekends and holidays.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is conveniently located on the Romantic Road in Germany’s Bavaria region. It is easily accessible for those choosing to drive, just off the A7 autobahn, midway between Ulm and Würzburg. Choosing to drive offers a more flexible itinerary. You can take Exit 108 from the A7 and follow signs directly to Rothenburg. Free parking is limited in the city, but there are paid parking lots available. Make sure to prepare for a walk, as the old town is a pedestrian zone.
Accommodation & Dining
Best hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area
In the heart of Rothenburg, discover the charm of Hotel Herrnschloesschen, famed for its classical, unique rooms, stellar service, and their own restaurant. Another fantastic option is Hotel Eisenhut, offering spellbinding views of the Tauber valley. For a more intimate setting, consider Bed & Breakfasts like Gästehaus Raidel. Situated in an enchanting setting, it promises a warm, cosy experience. Villa Hornburg also offers a splendid B&B experience, featuring beautiful gardens where guests can relax.
Top local dining spots and regional cuisine to try
In Rothenburg, indulge in Franconian cuisine at Baumeisterhaus; enjoy hearty traditional dishes in a cozy half-timbered construction. Don't miss trying out the famous local Schneeballen - snowball-shaped pastries with various flavors. Meanwhile, Hotel Reichs-Küchenmeister offers international and regional cuisines in a relaxed, charming setting. Be sure to savor the Franconian Sauerbraten (pot roast) paired with locally-produced wines. For a unique gastronomic experience, visit Zur Höll - the oldest house in Rothenburg transformed into a delightful restaurant. Try their Rostbratwürstchen, a delicious tribute to the town's medieval history.
Vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants
Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers delightful options for vegetarians and vegans. You can head to Eiscafé Italia for some vegan-friendly ice cream or explore the vegan options at Restaurant Zur Höll. For a quick vegan burger, stop by BioBurgerMeister. Don't worry if you're a vegetarian; there are still lots of yummy options available. Most restaurants in Rothenburg are attuned to the needs of their vegetarian customers and often provide alternatives. Always check with your server beforehand.
Must-visit Attractions in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The medieval old town
Rothenburg's medieval old town, or Altstadt, is a well-preserved journey into the past. Meander through its narrow, winding, cobblestone streets and take in the grandeur of half-timbered houses, towers, and city gates. Highlights include the exquisite town hall and the iconic Plönlein, a picturesque spot featuring a split, yellow-framed house flanked by towers. At the heart of the old town is the medieval Market Square, home to the 14th Century Rathaus (Town Hall). Explorers will also savour the views from the city walls and the enchanting atmosphere of the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop.
The Town Walls and gates
Rothenburg’s medieval town walls are one of its key attractions. Walking along the entire wall provides breathtaking views of the vibrant town, robust towers, and the enchanting Tauber valley. There's also the opportunity to explore the impressive city gates. Sieberstor and Röderbogen gates are particularly captivating. Each gate has unique architectural elements that harks back to the Middle Ages. These historic fortifications ensure that Rothenburg's charms remain contained, whilst allowing visitors the chance to step right back into the past. A stroll around this town will certainly give you a glimpse of Germany's unique past.
The Night Watchman Tour
Experience medieval history brought to life in the Night Watchman Tour in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This engaging evening walk, led by a guide robed as a 17th-century night watchman, covers the town's intriguing past and notable landmarks. Engage in the intriguing tales of times when the night watchman would safeguard the town. It is an hour-long tour, conducted in both English and German. Interweave your night with history, mystery, and a touch of humor. The Night Watchman Tour is a remarkable experience not to be missed.
The Criminal Museum
The Criminal Museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a compelling attraction of the city. The museum takes you through 1000 years of criminal history in Germany, showcasing varied instruments of punishment, tortures, and sanctions. Exhibits feature items such as shame masks, thumb screws, and iron maidens, giving an unsettling yet intriguing look into the past. An interesting visit, the museum offers an excellent historical overview and unique perspective of law and order in medieval times.
Activities and Experiences
Guided historic walks
Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers guided historic walks that provide a unique opportunity to step back in time. These tours, led by knowledgeable guides, encompass key historic locations such as the city's fortified walls, the Marktplatz, and various medieval structures. One popular tour is the Night Watchman Tour, an evening journey through the city's history featuring tales of murderers, wars, and disasters that helped shape Rothenburg. Another option is the Day Watchman Tour, set in the morning and highlighting the city's rich artistic heritage. These guided walks indeed offer a vibrant, exciting dive into the city's illustrious past, guaranteed to captivate every visitor.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber turns into a picturesque winter wonderland during late November and December. Streets glisten beneath fairy lights, inviting visitors to explore the unique Reiterlesmarkt, the town's famous Christmas Market dating back to the fifteenth century. Here, aromatic smells of gingerbread, roasted almonds, glühwein, and chestnuts waft through the air. Get cozy within the winter chill as you shop for fascinating Christmas tree decorations, local handicrafts, and traditional German Christmas gifts. Don't miss an unforgettable Christmas experience in this magical medieval setting!
Shopping for traditional German Crafts
Venture into Rothenburg's cobblestone streets for exemplary shopping of traditional German crafts. The quaint city offers a range of handicraft stores featuring local artisan creations that reflect the authentic German heritage and craftsmanship. Käthe Wohlfahrt, the renowned Christmas-themed shop houses exquisitely crafted nutcrackers, ornaments, cuckoo clocks and more. Visitors are mesmerized by the skill and attention to detail seen in each unique piece. Also worth a visit is Der Teddybar, a toy shop which provides hand-crafted German toys. With friendly staff and traditional designs, these are ideal take-home mementos or gifts echoing German tradition.
Hiking and biking routes
Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers scenic hiking and biking routes, attracting nature enthusiasts. Breathtaking trails along the Tauber river, amid lush greenery, is an exquisite experience for hikers. For cyclists, the popular Romantic Road Cycle Route edges through the town, providing a mix of fairytale charm and exhilarating biking experience. Alternatively, try the Main-Tauber-Fränkischer Radachter route circling the region's vineyards. Don't forget to pack some local snacks for a delightful picnic en route. Discover Rothenburg ob der Tauber at your own pace; a small slice of Bavarian paradise is located just a pedal or step away.
Information on local public transportation
In Rothenburg ob der Tauber, getting around is quite simple. The town is compact enough for comfortable explorations by foot, especially within the walls of the old town. However, for longer distances, the local bus service, Rothenburg City Bus Line, is a practical option. Two main lines, 760 and 765, operate daily covering major places in and around the city. Rides are reasonably priced and tickets can be purchased on-board. For timetables and a comprehensive public transport map, you can visit the Rothenburg Tourism Service Centre located in the market square.
Local customs and etiquette
In Rothenburg, follow the German tradition of punctuality for appointments. It's respectful to greet people with a firm handshake. Also, keep in mind that Germans value their personal space, so avoid contact unless necessary. Noise is particularly discouraged on Sundays and during evening hours as a part of 'Ruhezeit' or 'quiet hours', so be mindful while exploring the town. When dining out, tipping around 10% is customary. Though English is widely understood, locals appreciate when visitors try using basic German phrases. Understanding local etiquette will enrich your visit to this charming town.
Health and safety information
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, generally, has a good safety record and healthcare facilities. However, travellers should maintain the usual precautions. Guard your belongings, particularly in crowded tourist areas, and avoid walking alone late at night. In case of any medical emergencies, dial 112 for ambulance services. Make sure to have your travel insurance details handy. Pharmacies are plentiful for minor health ailments - look for signs saying "Apotheke". Tap water is safe to drink in Germany and most dietary preferences are catered for in this cosmopolitan town. Ensure you're up-to-date with routine vaccinations before your trip.
Currency related information
Germany uses the Euro (€) as its official currency. Most businesses in Rothenburg ob der Tauber accept credit cards, but it’s always useful to have some cash for smaller establishments or unexpected needs. ATMs are available throughout the city, with several international banks operating in the area. Be aware of the exchange rates and possibly extra charges for foreign cards. Despite being a tourist spot, prices in Rothenburg ob der Tauber are usually reasonable. However, it's beneficial to budget your spending, ensuring your trip remains affordable and enjoyable.
Have a good trip!