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Welcome to the enchanting town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Germany’s picturesque Bavarian countryside.
A destination straight out of a fairy tale, Rothenburg captivates visitors with its well-preserved medieval architecture, delightful cobblestone streets, and charming half-timbered houses.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the top activities and attractions that make this magical town an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking a journey back in time.
From strolling through the dreamy Castle Gardens to savoring the famous Schneeballen, there’s no shortage of excitement and wonder to be discovered in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Join us as we unveil the best things to do in this captivating destination, guaranteed to leave you with memories that last a lifetime!
Table of contents:
Why is Rothenburg ob der Tauber famous?
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is famous for its exceptional preservation and authentic representation of medieval European life. This captivating town, with its rich history dating back to the 13th century, has managed to retain its original charm and allure through the centuries.
Rothenburg’s picturesque old town is characterized by its half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and impressive fortifications, including the well-preserved Town Wall.
One of the most iconic stops along the Romantic Road, Rothenburg has become synonymous with the quintessential German fairy-tale experience, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
The town’s unique blend of history, culture, and stunning architecture has made it a popular destination for film and television productions, further cementing its place in the public imagination as a timeless, enchanting escape.
How many days do you need in Rothenburg ob der Tauber?
Most visitors find that spending two days in Rothenburg ob der Tauber allows for an ideal balance of exploration and relaxation.
Over the course of a couple of days, you’ll have ample time to wander the charming cobblestone streets, visit the town’s key historical sites, and immerse yourself in the local culture.
This timeframe also provides the opportunity to enjoy some leisurely strolls through the surrounding countryside, partake in a guided tour, or simply relax at a cozy café while savoring the town’s delightful atmosphere.
Also, you’ll be able to take in the famous sights of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the evening, when the tourist crowds have left the town.
What is the famous street in Rothenburg?
The most iconic place in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is Plönlein. Almost all tourists who come to this town have photographed the historic street, fountain, and yellow house. It’s cute, charming, and a great representation of the walled Old Town.
However, this is not the only place you should visit in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. There is so much more to this fairytale town to explore!
Things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
There are many charming old buildings, impressive city walls, and cute cafes to explore in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Here is a list of some of the best things to do in this town.
However, if you are visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber just for a couple of hours, the things you shouldn’t miss are:
- Take a photo at the iconic stroll around the picturesque Plönlein
- Walk some part of the city walls
- Treat yourself to the local pastry – Schneeball
Stroll around the picturesque Plönlein.
In the enchanting town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, there are countless sights to behold, but perhaps none are more iconic than the picturesque Plönlein. This charming spot, nestled at the junction of two cobblestone streets, is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the town. With its fairy-tale ambiance, half-timbered houses, and distinctively angled roads, the Plönlein is often described as one of the most photographed sites in Germany.
As you meander through the narrow streets that lead to the Plönlein, take a moment to appreciate the architectural details and vibrant colors of the surrounding buildings. These well-preserved facades evoke a sense of nostalgia, offering a vivid glimpse into the town’s rich history. At the heart of the Plönlein, you’ll find the picturesque Siebers Tower and Kobolzell Gate, two medieval fortifications that have stood the test of time.
For a truly unforgettable experience, consider visiting the Plönlein at different times of the day. The soft morning light casts a warm glow over the buildings, while the evening hours bring a magical ambiance, as the setting sun paints the sky in hues of pink and gold. During these hours the people who are visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a day trip will not be there yet or will be already gone, so you’ll be able to enjoy it without the usual crowds.
Embark on an exciting walk along the historic Town Wall.
One of the most unique and unforgettable experiences Rothenburg ob der Tauber has to offer is the opportunity to embark on an exciting walk along its historic Town Wall. This well-preserved medieval fortification, which dates back to the 13th century, once served as a protective barrier against potential invaders. Today, it stands as a testament to the town’s rich history and provides visitors with a fascinating journey through time.
The Town Wall stretches for approximately 3.5 kilometers (2.5 kilometers are open to visitors) and is interspersed with numerous towers and gates. As you make your way along the wall, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the town’s half-timbered houses, picturesque gardens, and charming cobblestone streets. The elevated walkway also offers a unique perspective of the surrounding countryside, with lush green fields and rolling hills that seem to stretch on forever.
Along your journey, you’ll encounter several gates, including the iconic Rödertor and Klingentor, which provide excellent examples of medieval military architecture. Take the time to explore these gates, and imagine the lives of the soldiers who once stood guard, protecting Rothenburg from outside threats.
Night Watchman Tour
Experience the past on a thrilling Night Watchman Tour.
Embark on a journey through time as you experience the past on a thrilling Night Watchman Tour in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This captivating guided tour offers a unique opportunity to explore the town after dark, under the watchful eye of the Night Watchman.
Dressed in traditional garb and carrying a lantern and halberd, the Night Watchman regales visitors with fascinating tales of the town’s history, legends, and lore.
As you wander the dimly lit cobblestone streets, you’ll feel the centuries melt away, immersing you in a bygone era when the Night Watchman’s presence was essential for keeping the town safe.
This unforgettable experience not only provides a glimpse into Rothenburg’s storied past but also allows you to see the town in a completely different light – quite literally – creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Rathaus observation tower
Ascend the Rathaus observation tower for breathtaking views of the town.
Prepare to be awestruck as you ascend the Rathaus observation tower for breathtaking views of the enchanting town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Situated in the heart of the old town, the historic Rathaus, or Town Hall, serves as an architectural masterpiece and an important landmark.
The entrance fee to climb to the observation tower is only 2.5€. Climbing the narrow and steep spiral staircase of the tower reveals a panoramic vista that is nothing short of spectacular. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to appreciate the town’s charming half-timbered houses, quaint cobblestone streets, and medieval fortifications in all their glory. The sweeping view of the surrounding Bavarian countryside, with its rolling hills, lush forests, and picturesque villages, only adds to the awe-inspiring experience.
Wander through the enchanting Castle Gardens (Burggarten).
If you are visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber in spring or summer, immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature as you wander through the enchanting Castle Gardens (Burggarten). This tranquil oasis, nestled on a hillside overlooking the town, offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets of the Old Town.
The meticulously maintained gardens boast an array of vibrant flowers, lush greenery, and majestic trees, providing a feast for the senses as you meander along the winding pathways. As you explore the garden, you’ll discover charming nooks, picturesque fountains, and carefully crafted sculptures that add to the captivating atmosphere.
The Castle Gardens also provide an exceptional vantage point for admiring the stunning vista of the picturesque Bavarian countryside.
Savor the delicious local treat of Schneeballen.
Indulge your taste buds as you savor the delicious local treat of Schneeballen. This scrumptious pastry, whose name translates to “snowball,” is a true delight and a must-try delicacy when visiting the town.
Made from strips of sweet dough that are carefully shaped into a ball, the Schneeballen is then deep-fried until it achieves a golden-brown crispness. To complete this delectable confection, it is typically dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with chocolate, or covered in a variety of flavored icings.
As you bite into the crispy exterior, you’ll be greeted by a tender, flaky interior that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Schneeballen can be found in numerous bakeries and confectionery shops throughout Rothenburg, making it the perfect treat to enjoy as you explore the town’s charming streets and attractions. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in this mouthwatering local specialty during your visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber!
Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Delve into the fascinating world of the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum.
This intriguing museum offers a unique glimpse into the often-gruesome history of law and order during the Middle Ages. As you explore the extensive collection of exhibits, you’ll discover an array of historical artifacts, including instruments of punishment, torture devices, and legal documents that illustrate the complex and sometimes brutal nature of the medieval justice system.
Interactive displays and informative panels provide valuable context and insights into the societal norms, values, and beliefs that shaped the laws and practices of the time.
A visit to the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum not only promises a captivating and educational experience but also serves as a thought-provoking reminder of the progress humanity has made in the pursuit of justice and equality.
Marvel at the stunning architecture of Rödertor, one of Rothenburg’s iconic gates.
Prepare to be captivated as you marvel at the stunning architecture of Rödertor, one of Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s iconic gates. Constructed in the late 14th century, this impressive medieval structure stands as a testament to the town’s fortified past.
As you approach Rödertor, you’ll be greeted by its imposing presence, complete with a soaring tower, sturdy walls, and intricately carved details. The gate’s remarkable preservation allows you to imagine the days when it served as a vital defense mechanism, protecting the town from potential invaders.
As you pass through the arched entrance, take a moment to appreciate the craftsmanship and engineering that has endured the test of time.
Admire the captivating artwork and design within St. Jakobskirche.
Immerse yourself in a world of spiritual and artistic beauty as you admire the captivating artwork and design within St. Jakobskirche, one of Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s most revered landmarks.
This magnificent Gothic church, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, boasts an impressive array of ornate features, including intricately carved altarpieces, stunning stained-glass windows, and exquisite woodwork.
As you explore the church’s sacred halls, be sure to pay special attention to the world-famous Holy Blood Altar, a masterful creation by renowned German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. This extraordinary work of art features intricate carvings that depict scenes from the Bible and houses a precious relic – a rock crystal capsule believed to contain a drop of Christ’s blood.
The serene atmosphere within St. Jakobskirche invites quiet contemplation and provides a perfect setting for appreciating the breathtaking artistry that adorns its walls.
German Christmas Museum
Immerse yourself in festive cheer at the captivating German Christmas Museum.
Immerse yourself in festive cheer at the captivating German Christmas Museum, a delightful destination that brings the magic of the holiday season to life all year round.
Located in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, this charming museum showcases an extensive collection of Christmas-related artifacts, ornaments, and decorations from different time periods and regions.
As you wander through the beautifully designed exhibition rooms, you’ll be greeted by the warm glow of twinkling lights, the sparkle of delicate glass ornaments, and the intricate craftsmanship of traditional wooden nutcrackers. The museum also delves into the history and evolution of Christmas traditions, providing fascinating insights into the customs and celebrations that have shaped this beloved holiday.
Whether you’re a Christmas enthusiast or simply seeking a joyful and enchanting experience, a visit to the German Christmas Museum is guaranteed to fill your heart with the spirit of the season.
Roman double bridge
Discover the historic Roman double bridge and its surrounding beauty.
Venture beyond the town center of Rothenburg ob der Tauber to discover the historic Roman double bridge and its surrounding beauty. This architectural gem, nestled amidst lush greenery and gentle streams, is a testament to the region’s rich history that dates back to the Roman era.
The stone bridge, with its dual arches, creates a picturesque scene as it spans the tranquil waters below. The idyllic setting provides a perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls, picnics, or simply relaxing and enjoying the soothing sounds of nature.
As you explore the area, take a moment to appreciate the skilled craftsmanship that has allowed this ancient structure to withstand the test of time. The Roman double bridge serves as a reminder of the diverse and storied past that has shaped the enchanting region of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Uncover the rich history and culture of the town at the intriguing RothenburgMuseum.
Uncover the rich history and culture of Rothenburg ob der Tauber at the intriguing RothenburgMuseum, a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that offer a fascinating glimpse into the town’s past.
Housed in a former Dominican convent, the museum boasts an extensive collection that spans various time periods, from the Middle Ages to the present day. As you explore the museum’s captivating displays, you’ll encounter priceless works of art, historical documents, and everyday items that paint a vivid picture of life in Rothenburg throughout the centuries.
Key highlights include the impressive collection of medieval weaponry, the beautifully preserved monastery kitchen, and the stunning “Rothenburg Passion,” a 15th-century painting that showcases the remarkable skill of local artists.
By delving into the engaging and informative exhibits at the RothenburgMuseum, you’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the town’s unique heritage, making it an essential stop during your visit to this enchanting destination.
Restaurants in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers a diverse and delectable culinary scene that caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. As you explore the town’s charming streets and attractions, be sure to take the time to savor the flavors of the region at some of the best restaurants the town has to offer.
Discover the oldest house in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which has been transformed into the unique restaurant, Zur Höll. Known for its cozy atmosphere, this historic eatery offers a range of traditional German dishes, expertly prepared and served within the medieval setting. Don’t miss the opportunity to pair your meal with a local wine or beer for a truly authentic experience.
Nestled within a charming half-timbered house, the Altfränkische Weinstube is a delightful spot to enjoy a leisurely meal. This charming restaurant specializes in Swabian cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. As you dine on delicious dishes, you’ll be transported back in time by the restaurant’s quaint and historic atmosphere.
If you’re craving something sweet, look no further than Eiscafe D’Isep. This delightful ice cream parlor offers a variety of delectable homemade gelato flavors, as well as a selection of scrumptious cakes and pastries. Whether you choose to enjoy your treat on their charming outdoor terrace or take it to go, Eiscafe D’Isep is the perfect place to satisfy your sweet tooth.
For those seeking a taste of Italian cuisine in the heart of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Restaurant Michelangelo is an excellent choice. This cozy trattoria offers a mouthwatering selection of pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and classic Italian desserts, all expertly prepared with fresh ingredients. The welcoming atmosphere and friendly service make it a popular choice for both locals and tourists alike.
Where to stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber boasts a variety of charming accommodations that cater to different budgets and preferences. From quaint bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels, the town offers the perfect place to rest your head after a day of exploring its enchanting streets and attractions. Here are some of the top choices for lodging in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Located within the walled Old Town, this guest house has a unique design in each apartment, a fully equipped kitchen, and an excellent location near the Town Hall, the Criminal Museum, and the Christmas Museum. The owners will give personalized tips on what to see in Rothenburg ob der Tauber during your stay. For us, they recommended the closest playgrounds for our toddler.
Nestled in the heart of the old town, Hotel Eisenhut is a luxurious and historic hotel that offers an unforgettable stay. This elegant establishment occupies four patrician houses dating back to the 15th and 18th centuries, blending period charm with modern amenities. The hotel features beautifully appointed guest rooms, an on-site restaurant, and stunning views of the town from its terrace. Its prime location makes it a perfect base for exploring Rothenburg’s many attractions.
For a cozy and romantic stay, consider Hotel BurgGartenpalais, a charming boutique hotel situated near Castle Gardens. This delightful establishment offers individually decorated rooms, each with its unique blend of traditional and modern décor. Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet in the hotel’s quaint dining room before setting out to explore the nearby attractions.
The family-run Hotel Gerberhaus is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a comfortable and affordable stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This quaint, half-timbered hotel is situated in a quiet area of the old town, offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets. The hotel’s charming rooms, delightful garden terrace, and warm hospitality ensure a relaxing and enjoyable stay.
For those who prefer the personal touch of a bed and breakfast, Gästehaus Eberlein is a delightful option. This charming guesthouse offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with its friendly hosts and cozy rooms. Guests can savor a hearty breakfast each morning, featuring jams and fresh bread. Its convenient location near the old town makes it an ideal base for exploring Rothenburg’s attractions.
Budget-conscious travelers will appreciate the affordable accommodations at Jugendherberge Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This modern youth hostel, located within a walking distance from the medieval Old Town, offers dormitory-style lodgings. With its communal spaces, excellent breakfast, and friendly atmosphere, the hostel is a popular choice for backpackers and young travelers alike.
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