How to Plan the Perfect Day in the Fairy-Tale Like City of Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Discover the magic of Rothenburg ob der Tauber with our guide to the perfect day. Immerse yourself in its medieval charm, from cobblestone streets to half-timbered houses. Explore historic landmarks and savor culinary delights in this enchanting Bavarian city.


Nestled in the heart of Northern Bavaria lies an extraordinary village that simply cannot be missed. As we mapped out our road trip through this captivating region (check out our post here), it was clear that a stop in this idyllic village was non-negotiable. Positioned along the famed Romantic Road, this Bavarian gem exudes an irresistible charm that lures visitors from far and wide. Its cobblestone alleys wind through a landscape straight out of a fairy tale, inviting exploration at every turn. With its quaint half-timbered houses, flower-filled windowsills, and storybook ambiance, it's a destination that transcends words. In this post, we've curated a bespoke walking tour to ensure that you don't miss a single enchanting moment in this magical town. So, join us as we embark on a journey through the cobblestone streets and hidden treasures of this picture-perfect German village.


One of the favorite stops along Germany’s “Romantic Road”, Rothenburg ob der Tauber began as a settlement in the year of 970. Afterwards, in 1142, King Conrad III built a “Red Fortress” (or Rote Burg in German) on a peak overlooking the river Tauber and a town flourished around it. Finally, in 1274, King Rudolf of Habsburg granted the town the right to be a Free Imperial City, bringing considerable political power to the city and fostering its economic success with different fairs taking place in the city.


However, when the Thirty Years’ war turned Catholics against Protestants in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, Rothenburg suffered an invasion by the army of the catholic Count of Tilly and was abandoned in the following winter. Two years later, it suffered a bubonic plague outbreak. Without any money or power, Rothenburg stopped growing, and that’s why, luckily for us, it still preserves its 17th century looks. Later on, during the Nazi period, the town held a special significance to the ideologists, once they considered it to be the epitome of the German "Home Town" representing all that was traditionally German. They organized regular day trips to Rothenburg from all across the Reich to showcase the ideal German community.


Getting to Rothenburg ob der Tauber is relatively straightforward, with various transportation options available:

  • By car: Rothenburg ob der Tauber is conveniently located along major highways, making it easily accessible by car. From major cities like Frankfurt, Munich, or Nuremberg, take the A7 or A6 Autobahn and follow signs for Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The journey typically takes around 2-3 hours, depending on your starting point.
  • By train: While Rothenburg ob der Tauber does not have its own train station, you can travel to nearby cities like Ansbach or Würzburg by train and then take a regional bus or taxi to reach Rothenburg. Trains from major cities in Germany, such as Frankfurt, Munich, or Nuremberg, offer convenient connections to Ansbach and Würzburg. The total travel time by train and bus/taxi is approximately 2-3 hours.
  • By bus: Several bus companies operate services to Rothenburg ob der Tauber from nearby cities and towns. FlixBus and regional bus companies offer affordable and convenient options for travelers. Buses typically drop passengers off at the central bus station, located near the old town. The journey time by bus varies depending on the departure point but generally ranges from 1.5 to 3 hours.

Regardless of the transportation mode chosen, planning your journey in advance ensures a smooth and enjoyable visit to the charming medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.



As the best way to experience the unique medieval townscape of Rothenburg is to get lost into its ancient alleyways, leave your car in the parking lot just outside the walls near the Galgentor (Gallows Gate) and enter the city through this passage near to which the town's gallows stood until the beginning of the 19th century. As this entrance is located in the highest part of town, it was the most vulnerable point of the wall.


Continuing through the Galgengasse, a street with two towers at the opposite ends, you will reach the WeißerTurm (White Tower) which was built in the end of the 12th century and is also part of the first fortification system with its 33-meter height.


The most important church of Rothenburg has its origin in 1311 and holds two impressive treasures: a wooden work of the famous caver artist Tilman Riemenschneider depicting a representation of the Last Supper in the Altar of the Holy Blood and the Twelve Messenger Altar by Friedrich Herlin which portrays the oldest known representation of the town. This temple in homage to Saint-James attracts many pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago


Continue crossing the town until the Burgtor. Built around 1460, it is the tallest gate of the town’s fortification system and its western access. It shows traditional medieval defense systems such as the so-called “Eye-of-the-Needle”, a narrow opening on the heavy gate to allow previously authorized people to enter or exit at night without the exposing risk of opening the whole gate, and an opening on the ceiling of the gate which could be used to pour boiling tar on eventual attackers.


Exiting through Burgtor, you will reach a park just outside the walls called the Castle Gardens in which once upon a time a castle stood, before an earthquake destroyed it in 1356. From there, you can have a stupendous view of the landscape of the city, its fortification and the Tauber river valley below. 


You can have a quick stop for lunch in one of these two restaurants serving good portions of German specialties. If you are looking for an experience of a traditional German tavern, head down to the Zum Pulverer. But if you want a more refined experience without losing the German decoration part, you can try the Meistertrunk and its fabulous inner garden.


If you are a fan of the Christmas Holiday like we are, going up the Herrngasse street, you can stop by the Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum (German Christmas Museum). We did not visit the museum itself, for which you have to pay from 2.50 to 4 EUR per person depending on the period of the year (more information here), but its shop part is already fascinating with thousands of different Christmas decoration items that will certainly make you dream about the most wonderful time of the year.


In the heart of the city, you can find the Rathaus (Town Hall). Consisting of two buildings, the first one with a Renaissance façade was reconstructed after a fire and is the entrance to the second one with its Gothic architecture and its 52-meter tower overlooking the city. Going up is possible only by stairs and offers a nice panoramic view, but the way is very narrow and, if during high season and peak hours, can take a while since you have to do it only in a single line.


This is the heart of Rothenburg! The Markt-platz gathers the tourists looking for overall information about the city and the guided tours in the Tourist Office (located inside the Clock Tower) and the local residents attending to occasional markets taking place there. Framed by the remarkable patrician houses, it also hosts the Georgsbrunnen (the George's Fountain), a 8-meter deep well able to store up to 80 thousand liters of potable water and portraying an image of Saint George on the top of a column.


After all this walking and climbing, what would be better than a sweet treat? We googled the best place to have the traditional and incredibly appealing treat from Rothenburg: Schneeball (snowball in English). It is a deep-fried dough made of short crust pastry shaped like a snowball, and covered in different kind of frostings, from confectioner’s sugar and chocolate to the very German marzipan. After reading some reviews saying the best place to have some was the Zuckerbackerei, we were ready to indulge ourselves in this famous treat. However, after the first bite, we got a bit disappointed. As it looks super yummy, we were expecting a delicious treat, but it is kind of tasteless and not sweet enough, specially for French and Brazilian standards of desserts. Nevertheless, it is worth trying.


One of the most famous postcards from Rothenburg is definitely the Plönlein (Little Square). Thomas saw pictures of it on Instagram and pinned it as one of the must go spots for his owns. A narrow cute half-timbered building with a small fountain in front, framed by the Kobolzeller tower to its right (providing a secured entrance to the town from the Tauber Valley) and the Siebers Tower to its left (protecting the southern gate), it creates a charmingly picturesque effect. As every trip we make, we faced some unlucky restoring work. In Rothenburg, it was the Little Square.


Walking on the city walls is a must do, even if it is just a small part so you can soak in all the medievalness of Rothenburg. It completely encircles the town’s historic center and there is a trail all over it passing through the towers and gates that take around 2 hours. As we did not have this much time, we didn’t do it but if you do have time, you can check the trail here.


The whole town depicts well preserved medieval-looking buildings. More than the tower gates, ramparts and Market Square, you can also witness it throughout the town in some nice houses with typical architecture of the region. The one worth mentioning is the Fachwerkhaus Gerlachschmiede, the former smith house which presents the ideal half-timbered architecture.


Ending the tour, you can stop by this location where you will also be able to take great pictures. The Markusturm (Marcus Tower), with the Röderbogen (Röder Arch) and its slim clock tower, were part of the town’s first fortification system (dating back to the 12th century) and remains today as one of the most beautiful tower of Rothenburg.


We can guarantee you that Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the most medieval city you will see in Germany. Coming from a country whose history has been told since only 1500, I felt like going into the scenario of the medieval fairytales and movies. If you are going on a trip to Bavaria, make sure to reserve time to pass by this German medieval jewel.

And now it's your turn to let us know your impressions, thoughts and also tips to visit this medieval German jewel. Have you already been to Rothenburg ob der Tauber? We look forward to reading your comments in the section below.