If you are looking for a beautiful place and experience a real fairy-tale feeling you should add Rothenburg ob der Tauber to your Germany itinerary. Find out about the best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the best places to visit – plus more travel tips.
Believe me, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a place that is worth a trip. I am sure you will not be disappointed and if you are wondering what to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the best places to see and visit and best things to do you’ll find the answers in this blog post.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
- 1 TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
- 2 Why Visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber?
- 3 How to Arrive in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 4 A Day Trip From Munich or Frankfurt to Rothenburg
- 5 Where to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 6 More Rothenburg Travel Tips
- 7 PLACES TO VISIT IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
- 8 WHAT TO DO IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER – THINGS TO DO AND SEE
- 9 Walk Around the Old Town Walls
- 10 Chill at the Burggarten (Castle Garden)
- 11 Head to St. James Church
- 12 Getting Lost in the Streets
- 13 See Plönlein
- 14 Pay a Visit to The Christmas Museum
- 15 Have a Coffee at Cafe Einzigartig
- 16 Get to Top of Town House Tower
- 17 Visit the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
- 18 Do a Night Tour
- 19 Visit Christmas Markets
- 20 FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST ACTIVITIES IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
- 21 PIN ME FOR LATER – ROTHENBURG THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Before talking about the best things to do, here are some quick tips to ease your itinerary.
Why Visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber?
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the southern part of Germany (in Bavaria), and though I am German, it took me quite a while to finally visit. And all I can say is: It took me way too long! I cannot believe I had not been to this town before.
After one day in Rothenburg on der Tauber, I am happy to say that it has become one of my favorite cities (towns) in Germany because it feels like you are in a fairy tale. It is one of the first (or last) stops of the RomanRoad – road trip. The end (or beginning) of the more than 400-kilometer long road trip (where you will pass many medieval towns and pretty castles) is Neuschwanstein Castle near the Austrian and Swiss border.
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In June of this year, when I was heading to Switzerland to do my annual road trip, I decided to have a layover in Rotenburg (UPDATED: I revisited again, one year later just because it is so pretty).
The minute, I “entered” Rothenburg, I fell head over heels in love with this gorgeous city/town (p.s. I still believe that Bremen, my home town is actually the very best place to visit in Germany though 🙂
How to Arrive in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
By car: I came by car, as I was heading to Switzerland afterward. There are parking options in the Old Town, but at very busy times, it might be difficult to find any (and it definitely cost money in the daytime; free parking from 6 pm until 9 am).
While I headed to Switzerland afterwards, Rothenburg is a popular stop when doing a road trip through Southern Germany.
By train: Rothenburg ob der Tauber (there are several Rothenburg in Germany but some are spelled a bit differently, so make sure to look for the correct one) has a train station and it is very easy to get there by train — it takes about 2-3 hours from Munich (the capital of Bavaria), and then you can either walk to the old town or take a bus.
A Day Trip From Munich or Frankfurt to Rothenburg
Though I do recommend staying longer than 12 hours (not because there are so many attractions per se but so you have the town to yourself once the day visitors are gone), there are several organized tours from cities like Munich or Frankfurt. If you are interested in doing an organized tour, you can click here and see what options are available.
P.S. For tours I either book via Viator or -lately – with GetYourGuide. I think both are good, though I like the organization of the GetYourGuide websites a bit better.
Where to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Here are some hotel recommendations (which have very good reviews):
€€€ – Hotel Herrnschlösschen
€€ – Hotel Eisenhut
€ – Hotel zur Silbernen Kanne – I booked my room 2 or 3 nights prior to my arrival. I was looking for a budget hotel located directly in the old town of Rothenburg as I knew I was not going to spend much time in the hotel, so I did not care much about the amenities, etc. However, I was surprised in a lovely way by this hotel that I stayed at. It was very basic, but cute, and had a great location.
More Rothenburg Travel Tips
Bring cash — seriously, several restaurants and cafes denied me service because I could not pay in cash. There are ATM but I did not want to withdraw money from a bank that is not mine because of the fees.
Luckily, I found some cash in one of my bags back at the hotel and went back to have dinner, but I am not sure how many cafes actually accept debit/credit cards.
In some parts of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is free wifi (just have to log in once) – do we not all love free wifi? 🙂
Do you remember when I wrote, “when I entered Rothenburg…” at the beginning of my post? The reason I phrased it like that is simple: Rothenburg´s old town is surrounded by walls, with several towers rising up.
The minute I passed one tower and was inside the “wall,” I felt like I was in a theme park — one without roller coasters, but with a fairy-tale theme.
The beautiful and colorful timbered houses that line the path (though there are also some newer houses) make for plenty of eye candy to enjoy. The more I saw, the more I liked Rothenburg – but it is really tiny.
PLACES TO VISIT IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
WHAT TO DO IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER – THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Here are my ideas for things to do in Rothenburg in one day or two.
Walk Around the Old Town Walls
One of the very best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is to walk the old town walls.
Rothenburg’s old quarter has about 42 towers and most are along the city wall.
I recommend walking along the old town walls early in the morning or in the evening — the path is very narrow and does not allow two people to walk next to each other.
Some parts are even so narrow that it might be difficult to walk if you carry a few extra pounds with you. Great views are guaranteed!
If you take some breaks and enjoy the views it should take about 2-3 hours – and in addition, you can find out everything about the city’s defense system when walking the four-kilometer Tower Trail.
Chill at the Burggarten (Castle Garden)
If you do a day trip to Rothenburg (and do not stay overnight) you will still have enough time to visit the park.
The Burggarten is also in the old town of Rothenburg and another must-see in Rothenburg and a perfect place for a stroll or to relax. If you like to enjoy the views from the bench, do not forget to get some drinks beforehand and then…just enjoy.
This is also another fun and free activity in Rothenburg ob der Tauber and who does not like free things to do? Well, I don’t know anyone if that includes pretty views and a lovely scenery.
And though it is called Castle Garden, you cannot expect to find a castle there. The former Stauferburg was destroyed but the green garden makes up for the lack of the castle.
Head to St. James Church
A rather untypical thing to do in Rothenburg, at least for one-day visitors to Rothenburg, is to head to St. James Church. Rothenburg is situated along the Ways of Saint James to Santiago de Compostela, and so more than 1000 pilgrims arrive at St. James Church each year.
From Castle Garden you can do a 20-minute hike to Detwang district, where you will find a church with a wooden altar by Tilman Riemenschneider which dates back to the 14th and 15th century.
However, if you are just a few hours in Rothenburg, you will not have enough time to do so and then I recommend spending time in the town center itself.
Getting Lost in the Streets
Yes, I know I mentioned it before, but seriously, Rothenburg is drop-dead gorgeous and so I recommend getting lost in the old town of the city.
Before visiting Rothenburg, I was kind of tired of medieval cities and old towns (as I saw too many last year), and I was also unsure if Rothenburg could live up to its name.
But be assured: it can! Rothenburg´s old town is bigger than anticipated, though not huge, it is lovely to walk around and wander aimlessly from one corner to the next and whether you have only one hour in Rothenburg or one day – this is a must-do!
Here you´ll find some of the most interesting tourist attractions in Rothenburg and these places and buildings you should not miss while getting lost in Rothenburg: the Market Square, the Master Builder’s House (Baumeisterhaus), and the Plönlein — Rothenburg´s most photographed sight.
“Plönlein” is actually translated as a “small square at a fountain”- so the fountain in front of the lone timber-frame house makes actually is part of the Plönlein.
Pay a Visit to The Christmas Museum
Another highlight – for many – is the Christmas Museum. I woke up very early in the morning to walk around the old town walls and so I finished quite early. Too early to visit the Christmas Village (Weihnachtsdorf von Käthe Wohlfart), which is a museum dedicated to one of the most popular celebrations in the world — Christmas.
The museum is open 360 days a year! I was there before 10 am, so I could not get into it (also, I had my dog with me and dogs are not allowed).
For about 4€, you can visit one of the most famous attractions in Rothenburg and it seems to be a reason why this is one of the most popular places to see in Rothenburg old er Tauber.
Have a Coffee at Cafe Einzigartig
I do not often recommend cafes or certain restaurants because I usually just decide spontaneously where and what I want to eat.
However, if there is one cafe in the world that I could name as the cutest cafe in the world, it would be one in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This tiny, sleepy town is home to the sweetest cafe ever and I think it is even a cool landmark in Rothenburg – surely it is one of the best places to visit in the city.
Cafe Einzigartig (translated: Cafe Unique). Be assured that its name reflects its theme: that cafe is, indeed, very unique.
As mentioned above, I did not have much cash on me, so I could only afford one cappuccino (though I really wanted to try the delicious-looking cake they had in the display).
As I loved the cafe so much, I went back there on my second trip and brought enough cash…then I found out that from 2018 they accept cards. I am not sure about credit cards though, but I was happy I finally could order more than just a coffee.
Their website is in German only, but if you scroll down to the bottom, you can see the opening hours.
Wondering about more things to see in Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany?
Assuming that you followed my advice and decided to stay longer than 12 or 24 hours, it was a good choice because there are a few more things that I recommend (though I did not do them because no one gave me that great advice to stay longer):
Get to Top of Town House Tower
If you have some extra time, visit the top of the Town Hall Tower (about 2€) and climb 220 steps to enjoy (apparently) great views of Rothenburg and is one of the best sights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Visit the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Visit the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum and learn about the jurisdiction in the only law museum in Europe (not that romantic anymore).
Do a Night Tour
Do a night tour! It was rainy on the first day that I was there so I changed my plans and did not do the night tour. But, otherwise, this would have been on my list: The almost-daily walk with the famous Nightwatchman through the darkness (about 6€).
Visit Christmas Markets
The good thing about Rothenburg is that it is great to visit throughout the year. December is one of the most popular times to visit as there is the famous Christmas Markets.
So, if you are looking for the best thing to do in December (or late November) then add the Christmas markets to your Rothenburg itinerary.
Every year for a bit more than 3 weeks, Rothenburg transforms into a wintertime fairy tale – and this for the last 500 year with very little changes from its historical origins over this time.
You will find the markets at Marktplatz, Grüner Markt, and Kirchplatz and there are around 70 stalls offering snacks, souvenirs and snacks (and let’s not forget drinks, especially the popular mulled wine that is so famous – don’t ask me why).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST ACTIVITIES IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
I hope, this post has helped you to find out about the best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is a small town but full of charm and thus one of my favorite places in Germany. Though one day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is enough to see all the main attractions, it was so charming that I came back and revisited many of the pretty places…
Here is another stop of the Romantic Road – Wurzburg.