In-love, looking for love or inspiration, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a great destination for you. It can’t be in a more auspicious location – Romantic Road in Bavaria, Germany. It sits right on the precipitous banks of the River Tauber (ob der Tauber) in the midst of an unspoiled, beautiful and romantic countryside that’s still reminiscent of the medieval days – winding alleys, walls and fortifications and fabulous artistic treasures. No wonder, romanticists, lovers and artists alike have been drawn to this medieval gem of a walled town through the ages.
Rothenburg’s one-of-a-kind appeal has been a workmanship of the time (over a thousand years), the culture and the people that lived and came here to give it that distinct character. Today, the picturesque village, the best-preserved walled town in the Franconian heartland of Germany, is still well-sought by travellers from far and wide. Famous travel writer Rick Esteves speaks of this medieval town as Germany’s Fairy-Tale Dream Town. He writes:
“As a young backpacker, I first fell in love with the picturesque village of Rothenburg …Today its barns are hotels, its livestock are tourists, and Rothenburg is well on its way to becoming a medieval theme park.”
Though there are several “Rothenburgs” in Germany – Michelstadt, Bad Windsheim, Miltenberg, Bamberg, and Dinkelsbühl – Rothenburg ob der Tauber (on the Tauber River) is, by far, the one “Rothenburgs” you would want to visit.
Esteves wites, “There are many contenders …but none holds a candle to the king of medieval German cuteness. Even with crowds, overpriced souvenirs, and a nearly inedible pastry specialty (the over-promoted, fried ball of pie crust called a Schneeball), Rothenburg is still the best. Save time and mileage and be satisfied with the winner.”
Have a Fun in Summer
Rothenburg is a fun place to be with its numerous festivals through the year, particularly in summer and near Christmas time. Check out its summer festivals in Bayern’, a website for Bavarian towns.
- Historical Festival Play 1631 “The Master Draught” – May
- Ambassadors of Music – throughout summer
- Taubertal Open Air Festival – August
- Wine Festival or “Weindorf” – August
- Imperial City Festival – September
Aside from these fun summer festivals, Romantic Road Germany offers these “not-to-be-missed festivals”:
- Performances of the Meistertrunk play traditionally took place at Whitsun,
- The Schäfertanz – the shepherds’ dance stemming from the days of the plague
The Christmas Story in Rothenburg
If you’re looking for a new way to celebrate Christmas, Romantic Road Germany recommends coming here to watch how “The story of Käthe Wohlfahrt and the Christmas villages and Christmas shops is connected in most people’s minds to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the “Christmas town.” Watch and listen to the story as unfolds in the German Christmas Museum, dubbed and famous the world over as the Käthe Wohlfahrt “Christmas Village.”
Christmas transforms Rothenburg into a magical Christmas village, much like a winter wonderland. With the festive ambiance, shopping just gets more exciting in Rothernburg’s traditional “Reiterlesmarkt” (Christmas/Advent Market), which starts in November. The level of excitement grows as Christmas draws near with the entire town becoming a holiday showcase.
Top Attractions of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Aside from these summer festivals and Christmas revelries, you may come here any time of the year to enjoy the following attractions:
- The Town Hall Square (Rathaus): This “piazza” dominates the Marktplatz. It is still resplendent in all its medieval splendor of 42 gates and towers, including the old clock with its old-fashioned figures and the Council Tavern (Ratstrinkstube), built in 1466.
- The Old Town Walls: The structure has massive gatehouses and a 1.5-mile walkway. Strolling down this walkway is a must-do. Start with Spitaltor, and then head to Rödertor, Klingentor and St. Wolfgang’s Church
- St. Jacob’s Church (Kirchengemeinde St. Jakob): One of the finest in Germany, its highlights includes the wood carving of the Holy Blood Altar (by Tilman Riemenschneider), the Twelve Apostles Altar, and the East Choir’s 700-year-old stained glass.
- Medieval Crime Museum: This is the foremost museum of law in Germany with its collections of gruesome crime and punishment artifacts dating 1,000 years and older. There is also a collection of depictions of infamous cases in woodcuts and copper etchings, as well as appalling witch-hunts in Bavaria.
- The Doll and Toy Museum (Puppen- Und Spielzeugmuseum): This museum has the largest collection of 800 dolls made in the past 2 centuries. The collections include doll houses, kitchens, as well as tin and wooden toys carved by hand, and cute accessories that can take you back in time in the world of dolls
In addition, Bryan Dearsley’s post in Planetware entitled 10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers:
- The Little Square (Plönlein): To describe it as a something right out of a “picture/fairytale book” is not inaccurate; it is simply the most scenic spot in town. It looks across the lofty, half-timbered edifice that splits the two intersecting streets – one goes up to the Siebers Tower, while the other goes down to the Kobolzeller Tower.
- The Castle Gardens (Burggarten): With it geometric flower beds, sculptures and the superb view of the Old Town and Double Bridge, it’s a great spot to relax after a stroll.
- The Christmas Museum (Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum): With its “Christmas all year round” theme, you can’t miss Christmas while in Rothenburg. It is bedecked with over 80,000 candles and four kilometers of decors and lights during Christmas.
- The Master Builder’s House (Baumeisterhaus): This old townhome made and lived in by Master Builder Leonard Weidmann along the Schmiedgasse has a remarkable frontage from 1596. It is thought to be among the best Renaissance houses in Bavaria.
- Spitaltor (Spital Gate): This was also built by Leonhard Weidmann in the fine old townhome Hegereiterhäuschen In the scenic Spitalhof . The gate bears the Latin inscription, “ Pax intrantibus, salus exeuntibus, which translates to “Peace to those who enter in, good health to those who leave again.”
- The Imperial Town Museum (Reichsstadtmuseum): This is housed in an erstwhile Dominican nunnery. Its collections reflect the history of this panoramic old town and details life in the convent. It also features hunting weapons owned by Frederick the Great.
Rothenburg reminds you of what a beautiful life can be in the 21st century. If you yearn for an inspiring and relaxing holiday, put Rothenburg at the top of your list, the one nestling along the slopes of the River Tauber.