Rothenburg may be a small town, but it’s huge in Medieval beauty. It is Germany’s most-preserved walled town. Aside from its Medieval attractions that will take you back in time, there are plenty of beautiful places and festivals.
For such a gorgeous town, it’s hard to narrow down the best things to do in Rothenburg, Germany. They say you need to stay overnight to fully enjoy the town. To help you make the most out of your trip, find out the 10 best things to do in Rothenburg.
Where Is Rothenburg?
Considered as among the oldest medieval towns in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in the district of Middle Franconia, Bavaria. Sitting atop a plateau and along the Romantic Road, Rothenburg has a scenic view of the Tauber River.
How To Go To Rothenburg?
First off, make sure to search for Rothenburg ob der Tauber before traveling. There are four or five towns named Rothenburg so make sure to go to the right one. Traveling to Rothenburg from Nuremberg, Frankfurt, or other nearby cities is easy. You can either board a car, train, or bus. However, to make your trip hassle-free, you can book a day or overnight trip going to Rothenburg. This is most recommended if it’s your first time or when pressed for time.
How Long Should You Spend In Rothenburg?
How long should you stay is a matter of preference. It mainly depends on what you want to do there and your budget.
Generally, you can get a great overview of Rothenburg in one day. However, an overnight trip is highly recommended. More time in Rothenburg allows you to fully enjoy and explore this magical town. It also gives you the luxury of enjoying a slow pace when exploring the town.
To make the most out of your trip, plan your itinerary ahead of time. This will help you calculate how much time you need for each.
The Best Places To Stay In Rothenburg
Hotel Gotisches Hausf is an excellent choice when you’re on a budget. A romantic property at the heart of the town, the hotel has 11 friendly rooms.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, Burg Hotel won’t disappoint. There are 15 rooms and suites to choose from. The hotel also has a terrace that offers stunning views of valleys and the city. There’s also a spa for ultimate relaxation.
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
For the best weather, visit during spring, summer, or fall. December is the busiest month in Rothenburg as well as the most festive.
For a lesser-crowded time, avoid summer, spring, early fall, and the month of December. Rothenburg is a popular destination so the months with great weather are always crowded. This is why it’s recommended that you stay overnight, so you can enjoy peaceful and less-crowded mornings.
Now, let’s explore the best 10 things to do in Rothenburg!
Marvel At The City Wall
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is well-known as a medieval old town. It has been well-preserved through time and attracts a lot of tourists worldwide.
This charming little town was once the 2nd largest city in Germany. This is thanks to the many markets that flourished behind the long city wall. Add to that is the castle that the King of Germany built in 1142. This helped establish the town years later.
Today, the Rothenburg castle may be gone but the Medieval wall stands tall and proud for everyone’s amusement. Aside from the two-mile-long wall, the towers and walkways have been well-preserved. Visitors can leisurely walk along the walls and be transported in Medieval times. You can also climb the watchtower and enjoy scenic views of the countryside.
Walking around the walls is indeed one of the best things to do in Rothenburg. Not only is it free of charge, but it is also open 24 hours a day, which lets you explore it at your most convenient time.
Visit The Plönlein Corner
They say the beauty of Plönlein Corner is like where fairytales are based on. In fact, many Walt Disney movies have featured this picturesque corner, including “Beauty and the Beast” and “Pinocchio.” Plönlein Corner is perhaps Rothenburg’s most iconic image.
Nestled at the center of Plönlein is a bright yellow home with flowered water well. It’s just like what you’d see on fairytale books or movies. The one-of-a-kind corner is such beauty no matter what time of day. However, if you want to take the best photos, you need to know the best time to visit. They say early in the day or toward the evening is perfect to avoid the hordes of tourists.
Given how modern our world is now, a visit to Plönlein is very refreshing. It transports you back in time and let you relive the Medieval time even just for a while.
Forget Your Worries At Burggarten
Quiet hours at Burggarten, or Castle Garden, is one of the most relaxing things to enjoy in Rothenburg, Germany. You can either stroll during the day or enjoy it at night. The garden is home to a wide variety of plants, flowers, and garden sculptures.
The garden is very large and picturesque both day and night. Walking outside the garden walls gives you a beautiful view of the valley. Meanwhile, the best spot to catch the sunset is at the corner of the garden. Aside from the amazing photos, simply enjoying the view is worth your while.
Find Some Quiet Time In St. Jacob’s Church
Another relaxing thing to do in Rothenburg is to visit St. Jacob’s Church. This magnificent church is just a quick stroll from the Town Hall. St. Jacob’s is known as one of the finest churches in Germany.
Aside from quiet time, the church is home to superb structures and designs. Among the must-see in the church is the Altar of the Holy Blood. This precious wood carving is a depiction of the Last Supper. It dates back to 1505. Another piece you need to see is the 700-year-old stained glass. The impressive stained glass is located in the East Choir.
When visiting the church, you’ll be guided by an English language audio tour. This should explain to you the important things inside and their history.
Enjoy The Christmas Spirit At The Christmas Museum
Among the towns in Germany, Rothenburg is where the magic of Christmas lives all year round. It is home to the Christmas Museum, a Christmas-themed museum that is open any time of the year. This is perhaps one of the best lures of this town. People of all ages are bound to have fun once they set foot in Christmas Museum.
A visit to the Christmas Museum is guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. Here, you’ll be greeted by the season’s colors and traditions. You will also see how Christmas decorations have evolved over time.
Aside from the heavenly atmosphere, the museum is packed with a variety of decorations. From Christmas trees, lights, figurines, candleholders to nativity scenes, the museum is a place of amusement and joy. There are also 150 figures of Father Christmas that make the museum very exciting to visit.
For the best experience, visit during the days leading up to Christmas. This is when Christmas town is decorated with 4 kilometers of lights and decorations and more than 80,000 candles.
Attend A Festival In Rothenburg
One of the best things to do in Rothenburg is to enjoy a festival. With over a dozen festivals, there’s always something to enjoy in Rothenburg, Germany.
The festivals and events usually happen in Market Square (Marktplatz). From historic celebrations to Medieval festivals, these events make the town come to life.
Festivals To Catch In Rothenburg
Master Draught (Der Meistertrunk) Festival: An interesting and important festival to catch in Rothenburg is the Master Draught. Celebrated since 1881, this festival honors the bravery of Mayor Nusch when he saved the town from destruction. When Rothenburg was invaded by General Tilly, he said he will spare the town only if one of its councilors could finish 3.25 liters of Franconian wine in one go. Mayor Nusch drained the tankard in 10 minutes. During the Master Draught Festival, the village is flooded with food, Bavarian beer gardens, markets, costumed reenactors, and fireworks.
Christmas Market (Reiterlesmarkt) Festival: Running since the 1400s, Christmas Market Germany is among the special festivals worth catching. Happening during the Advent season, this festival adds more excitement to the town of Rothenburg. This festival lets you indulge in authentic German food, some of the best wines, and many souvenirs to shop. You also get to see the special figure of the Christmas Market — Rothenburg Rider.
When: November 29-December 23, 2019
Market hours: Monday-Thursday: 11am-7pm; Friday-Sunday: 11am-8pm
Location: Market Square, but extends to Town Hall Gallery, Herrengasse, Kirchplatz, and Grüner Markt
Imperial City Days: This festival is similar to the cosplay events of today. Imperial City Days takes you back to Rothenburg’s Medieval times through a memorable Renaissance fair. Running since 1974, Rothenburg honors the Imperial City Days. During this festival, about 1,000 costumed reenactors grace the village for three days. Expect to see knights on horseback, nobles, and peasants. The festival is filled with dancing, music, demonstrations, and fireworks.
When: September 4-6, 2020
Location: Market Square, but extends all over the village
Climb The Town Hall Tower
There’s always something for the more adventurous souls. One of the exciting things to do in Rothenburg is to climb the Town Hall Tower. Aside from giving amazing views, the tower is a significant part of the city’s defenses over the years.
You can access the Town Hall Tower from Market Square. Standing 170 feet tall, take the challenge to climb the 222 zig zag steps. Leading up to the tower is a steep ladder that makes the last stretch more exciting. From the top, you get to take in the beauty of the city in a spectacular panoramic view. It’s also the perfect spot to marvel at the countryside areas surrounding Rothenburg.
Take Long Walks Along Romantic Road
The romance and nostalgia of Rothenburg are not just confined within its walls. To fully take in the beauty and magic of this town, taking long walks or drive along the Romantic Road won’t disappoint. The enchanting route of Romantic Road houses picturesque towns and cities. These include Nördlingen, Dinkelsbühl, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Also along the Romantic Road are some of Germany’s picturesque castles. In addition to the beautiful sights, Romantic Road offers many activities such as skiing and hiking. Impressive hotels also dot the area.
The Romantic Road starts in Würzburg where the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site Residenz Palace is. Then, the Romantic Road passes the scenic Tauber Valley. Here you can marvel at the Teutonic Order castle, Stuppach Madonna, and Weikersheim.
Attracting millions of tourists all over the globe, the German Romantic Road is a world-class scenic drive worth traveling for.
Indulge In Schneeballen
Rothenburg is home to many delectable dishes, but their signature pastry is the Schneeball (snowball). This delicious treat is made of dough formed into a ball and deep-fried to perfection. Today, there are a variety of this to choose from — dipped in chocolate, strawberry, cinnamon sugar, or nougat.
These snowballs are a great snack in between your activities in the city. They’re also a perfect way to end a tiring day. Get the assorted packs to bring home and share with the goodness with your loved ones.
You can enjoy Schneeballen at almost every bakery in town. However, to find the largest selection, head on to Ober Schmiedgasse.
Best Spots To Enjoy A Schneeball
Diller Schneeballenträume – SB-Café: Aside from the variety of options to choose from, the staff here is very warm.
Cafe Uhl Schneeballen: Enjoy every bite of Schneeball in this laid-back and rustic cafe.
Start Or End Your Day With A Hot Air Balloon Ride
Take your city viewing to the sky with Happy Hot Air Ballooning. Viewing the city from an open basket above the valley is one of the most romantic things to do in Rothenburg. Lasting about 90 minutes, take in the beauty of Rothenburg either with a sunrise or sunset view.
Happy Ballooning operates daily from April to October at sunrise and two hours before sunset. They also operate during winter but is dependent on weather conditions. The ride can hold up to five people.
The Happy Ballooning launches from the Valley of the Tauber. It is one of the favorite activities that tourists enjoy doing in Rothenburg, Germany. They say there are very few things as pleasurable and unique as gliding above the picturesque Rothenburg.
To experience a unique way of viewing the city, book your ride well ahead of time.
The Piece Of Storybook Heaven Awaits You
A visit to Rothenburg lets you relive the Medieval times and witness picturesque views straight from a fairytale book. While you can enjoy this small town during a day trip, staying overnight allows you to witness its magic come nighttime. From the fantastic attractions, historical sights, to amazing food and festivals, Rothenburg, Germany is a little town packed with big excitement. Make sure to take note of these 10 best things to do on your next trip to Rothenburg.