If you like cute European towns, Rothenburg ob der Tauber needs to be on your list. This adorable, walled city in the heart of Germany makes for the perfect addition to any trip to Frankfurt or Munich, and might even be worth traveling to visit on its own. The small streets of this little city are filled with magic and tradition, and the amount of local here is extremely refreshing. This city is definitely small, but it offers a dose of history and tradition that can be hard to find these days. I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area – I don’t think you’ll regret it! In fact, I even included Rothenburg ob der Tauber on my list of the best cities to visit in Germany.
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Is Rothenburg ob der Tauber Worth Visiting?
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a little bit out of the way, if we’re being honest. There are few circumstances where you’d conveniently find yourself right next to this city and visit on a whim. As I will talk about more a bit later, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is about 2-3 hours from both Munich and Frankfurt, and as a result, is a place you need to put in a little effort to visit. Since it is a little bit of a trip away from both Munich and Frankfurt, is Rothenburg ob der Tauber worth visiting?
I would say absolutely, Rothenburg is worth visiting! Two or three hours in the car or on the train is not too bad, especially when you consider just how charming this little city is. It is wholly unique from most of the other places you’re likely to go in Germany, and I think once you walk through the quaint streets, you will be very happy you took the time to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Best Things to Do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
1. Walk Along the City Wall
It’s not every day that you are in a walled medieval city, so you might as well take advantage of it and climb the wall! I actually lived in a medieval walled city in Italy for a while, and walking along the wall is just as cool as it sounds. I am a history nerd, and thinking about all of the people that walked along the wall throughout the centuries is really fun. The wall wraps all around the city, but there is no need to walk around the entire thing!
2. Admire the Rathaus and the Marktplatz
First, let’s break down the German here. A Rathaus has nothing to do with rats – that is just how you say municipal building in German. This is the administrative center of the city, and it is one of the biggest and most impressive buildings in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The Marktplatz – or Market Square – is the main hub of life in the city, and it is lined with great shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Rathaus sits right on one side of the Marktplatz, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
3. Take a Trip to the Tauberbrücke
The Tauberbrücke is a 123 meter long (longer than a football field) bridge in the meadows outside of the city that dates back over 700 years. The bridge and the backdrop behind it are absolutely stunning scenery, and this little trek out of the city is the perfect escape into the countryside. Rothenburg ob der Tauber isn’t a loud or busy place, so there really is nothing to be escaping from, but this stunning bridge is well worth sacrificing some time in the city to go see!
4. Enter the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Easily the best museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum is definitely worth a visit. This museum fits very well in this city, as Rothenburg ob der Tauber was a fortress and regional stronghold back in its glory days. This museum is all about human rights, laws, and torture. It is a little bit all over the place, but is a great museum that is definitely worth visiting if you have the time.
5. Watch the Ratstrinkstube Clock Tower Show
Every hour on the hour between 10am and 10pm, the Ratstrinkstube Clock Tower puts on a little show for everyone who cares to watch. Two doors open up on the sides of the clock tower, and a machined reenactment of one of the town’s oldest legends is played for all to see. This is a really cute and extremely unique spectacle, and is easily one of the best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You really don’t want to miss this!
How to Get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a little bit off the beaten path, but it isn’t all that difficult to get to when it’s all said and done. The three closest major cities are Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Munich, in that order. By car, Stuttgart is about 1 hour and 30 minutes, Frankfurt is about 2 hours, and Munich is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. If you are flying to Germany from somewhere other than Europe, you’ll probably have better luck finding affordable flights into Frankfurt or Munich than Stuttgart, because Stuttgart is a pretty small airport. Luckily, Frankfurt and Munich are the two best airports in Germany for cheap airfare.
As I mention in my post on finding cheap airfare, the larger the airport, the better the flight options. If you are flying to Rothenburg ob der Tauber from somewhere in Europe, your best bet may be to look at flights into Stuttgart and compare those prices to Frankfurt. At the end of the day, Frankfurt is only 30 minutes further away than Stuttgart but its airport is significantly larger.
From Stuttgart, Munich, and Frankfurt, you can take either a bus or a train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber if you do not want to rent a car. There are frequent buses and trains heading towards Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and you shouldn’t have much difficulty getting tickets. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is actually along the route between Munich and Frankfurt, anyway.
The Best Time to Visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber
There are two very different sides to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and the time that you visit will fully dictate your experience. While most destinations are at their busiest in the summer, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the opposite. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is famous for its Christmas market that occurs throughout the winter, and this is absolutely the highlight of visiting the city. If you want to visit the Christmas market, which I highly recommend doing, you will need to visit at Christmas time. There is simply no busier time than this!
If you don’t care about the Christmas market, the rest of the year is the best time to visit. Crowds and lines are smaller, the weather is nicer, and you can have a much more private experience. As Rothenburg ob der Tauber is in the southern half of Germany, the weather is pretty warm between late March and October. This is the best time to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber, in my opinion.
That’s all we have for you about planning a trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany! Hopefully this guide helps you plan your visit to one of Germany’s most beautiful towns. If you have any questions, be sure to comment them below or shoot us an email.