16 things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town built in the Middle Ages and is the best-preserved town to see medieval buildings. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a beautiful place to walk through because every corner will amaze you. Walking here is like stepping back in time a few hundred years. If you like culture and learning more about history, it is highly recommended to visit it.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber belongs to the Romantic Road, this is a 385-kilometer route that you can travel where you can discover different villages, towns, castles, and beautiful landscapes. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the highlights because this is the best place to experience the medieval character.

In this travel guide, we share the 16 best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where to eat & stay, and many more tips!

Things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg ob der Tauber things to do

Things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small medieval town where you can see a lot. It’s best to visit everything by walking. Below you discover the 16 best things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Tip: use the map below to see where the main attractions at Rothenburg ob der Tauber are located. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. You can show or hide different categories on the map. You can use this map to navigate when you are at your destination.

#1 Marktplatz

The nicest part in our opinion is the Marktplatz which is the main square of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This has been the most important place since the origin of the city because trade has been conducted here since the 12th century. As a result, half-timbered houses have been built that are beautiful to see. Today, trading doesn’t happen here anymore but it is mainly the place where tourists enjoy a drink on the terrace.

The most beautiful building to see is the town hall. This building was built in 1578 and is a fine example of a German Baroque architectural style. The nice thing is to climb the tower in the summer to have a view over the city from the top.

Tip: the tourist office is located at the Marktplatz where you can ask for information.

Marktplatz

#2 Burgtor

If you are walking towards the Burggarten you have to walk under the Burgtor to reach the gardens. When you arrive at the Burgtor you will be surprised by a large tower. This tower was built in 1356 to protect the city. The best part is when you walk through it and you arrive at the burggarten. When you turn around and look at the Burgtor, you will see that two smaller towers have been built in front of the large tower. At the time, these towers served to better regulate the city’s traffic. Then when you walk back and you are in the Burgtor you will see masks that were used by the guards to make hot tar come down. You can also see rings to which the city gate used to be attached. When it was dark one could only enter the city through the small wooden door that can be seen. This door comes from the year 1555 which is really old.

If you pay attention to these small details, you will be surprised how it was all conceived and built at the time.

Burgtor
Burgtor walking

#3 Burggarten

If you go through Burgtor you will come to the Burggarten, this is a medieval garden that lies outside the city walls. It is beautiful to walk through here because there are different things to see. The most important thing you can find is the Blasiuskapelle. This is the only building remaining from the Holy Roman Emperors of Hohenstaufen. After an earthquake, they used everything to rebuild the walls of Rothenburg. The Blasiuskapelle is therefore a special piece of history because this church was built in the year 1200.

Next to this church, you can see several beautiful statues in a typical baroque garden style. While walking around in the Burggarten you can also see the Brokkolibrunnen, which is a centuries-old water source. In addition, it is worth walking to the back where you have a view over the Tauber valley.

Burggarten

Where to stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Option 1 sharply priced: Akzent Hotel Schranne
Akzent Hotel Schranne
is located in the north of the historic center and is an ideal place to stay if you are looking for spacious rooms, a good breakfast for not having to spend too much money.
Check actual prices and availability for Akzent Hotel Schranne here.

Option 2 unique stay: Burghotel
Burghotel is recommended for travelers who are looking to stay at a special place. You stay here in a building from the 12th century and during breakfast you can enjoy the view over the Tauber valley.
Check actual prices and availability for Burghotel here.

#4 Plönlein

If you search for Rothenburg ob der Tauber on the internet you will often see pictures of Plönlein, this is a small square with some unique buildings. The special building is a half-timbered house with an authentic fountain in front. Behind this building, you see two towers that connect to another part of the city. It is also great to see that two streets of different levels come together at this square. Because of the authentic buildings and background through the towers, this is a very charming place and it will appeal to the imagination.

If you like photography this is the place to visit. It is good to know that it is extremely difficult to take a picture here without getting someone else on it.

Plönlein

#5 City Wall

When you arrive at Rothenburg ob der Tauber you immediately notice that the city walls are old and special. In Rothenburg ob der Tauber you can see two city walls, namely the inner and the outer city walls. The inner city walls were built in 1172 when Rothenburg was granted city rights. You can still see this clearly if you walk to Weißer Turm.

The outer city walls were built in the 14th century and you can walk all the way around. The length of the entire city wall is +/- 3.5 kilometers, so it’s nice to walk a part of it. For example, we walked from the Galgentor to Rödertor. This is a nice stretch to walk as it is not crowded. Both towers are also fun to climb because you can see here how safe the city was at the time with the double walls and gates.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber city wall

#6 Stroll through the shopping street Ob. Schmiedgasse

If you walk from the Marktplatz towards Plönlein, you will pass through the nicest shopping street in Rothenburg. Here you can walk into several bakeries, cafes, and shops. Our favorite is the butcher Metzgerei Trumpp, you can read more about this in the next point. Besides this butcher it is nice to visit Käthes Spielzeugladen, this is a children’s toy store where you can find nice wooden toys.

city street

#7 Enjoy the local butcher

If you want to walk into an authentic German butcher where you can enjoy typical German food, a visit to Metzgerei Trumpp is highly recommended. We have often visited places in Germany in our lives where we could order a sandwich with different sausages, but this place can be called truly unique. This is because of the environment of the town itself but also certainly how it looks inside. Inside it is very small and you see meat all around you. Try the frankfurt, bratwurst, currywurst, and leberkäse (the regular and pizza variety). If you are travel as a couple you can share everything so that you can taste most options. Prices for a sandwich are between €3 and €4 ($4-$5).

leberkäse
Metzgerei Trumpp

#8 Taste the local delicacies

In Rothenburg you can try schneeball, this is a delicacy you can’t find anywhere else. Schneeball is a type of shortcrust snowball covered with various toppings. You can taste snowballs of chocolate, cinnamon, and other combinations. We recommend looking for a spot at Bäckerei Konditorei Café. Here you can order a cappuccino with a snowball or other delicacies.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber schneeball

#9 St. Jakobskirche

The largest church you can find in Rothenburg is the St. Jakobskirche. This church was built in the 15th century and is worth a visit because of what you can see inside. There is a well-known altar here that has carvings dating back to the 15th century. The figures show the Last Supper. The size of the church is also impressive.

St. Jakobskirche
St. Jakobskirche inside

#10 Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum

The Mittelalterliches Kriminalmuseum is the largest medieval prison museum in Europe which can be found in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. If you want to learn more about how prisoners were treated during the Middle Ages, this is a nice museum to visit. During your visit, you can see many weapons that men used to punish the prisoners. You will also see books and other historical objects that tell a story about the punishments during the Middle Ages. The most impressive is the room where you can see how prisoners were tortured, this is quite inhumane to mention.

Tickets are €8 ($9) and you can use this link to purchase in advance via the museum’s official website.

#11 Blade Torch

Klingentor was one of the most important towers of the city because in addition to the defense it gave the city it was also a water source. This water source supplies the residents of Rothenburg with fresh water. We liked the area around the tower because it was extremely quiet and you could give free rein to your imagination about how people would have lived at the time.

If you prefer to discover Rothenburg ob der Tauber accompanied by a local guide, you can buy tickets here.

#12 Evening city walk for children

If you are traveling with children, it might be nice to take a city walk in the evening. A night watchman dressed in traditional clothing departs daily from the Marktplatz and takes you through the city, telling exciting stories that took place in the Middle Ages in Rothenburg. We have not done this ourselves, only learned from the tourist office that this is recommended for children. If you want to know more about this, we recommend walking into the tourist office.

13 Viewpoints

The best thing about Rothenburg ob der Tauber is walking around the city and always being surprised by what you see. There are a number of viewpoints in Rothenburg that are worth a visit. The most beautiful viewpoints in our opinion are at the Burggarten. When you walk in this garden you can see the entire Tauber valley and the walls of the west. When you stand in front of the Blasiuskapelle you can see the entire skyline of Rothenburg with the beautiful wall and various towers and buildings.

Another recommendation is to climb the tower at the town hall. Here you can see the city from a central point. Also, from the east side, the walk on the wall from Galgentor to Rödertor is a beautiful part to visit, here you have several interesting viewpoints during the walk.

view of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
sightseeing Rothenburg

#14 Herrnbrunnen

If you are at the Marktplatz and you walk to burgtor you go through the Herrnbrunnen. This long street is nice to walk through because in the middle of this street is an old fountain. This fountain has been used regularly for movies as the decor is beautiful. When you get there you will understand why. Walk especially through this street and pay attention to the details of all the buildings, this is beautiful.

Herrnbrunnen

#15 Tauberbrücke

Just outside the city is Tauberbrücke which are Roman water viaducts. We have not visited them due to the fact that it is located outside the city. However, if you have a little more time and you want to see an impressive building from Roman times, this is recommended to visit. They also indicated to the tourist office that the area around the Tauberbrücke is great to visit and can be compared to a romantic painting. From Rothenburg, it is about a 30-minute drive to Tauberbrücke.

#16 Continue the Romantic Road

If you like Rothenburg ob der Tauber, following the Romantic Road is something for you. The Romantic Road is awesome to follow, as you get to see the main sights of southern Germany. The route starts in Würzburg and ends in Füssen. We recommend that you definitely visit the Füssen region because you have beautiful plains here where you can look far over the horizon. Near Füssen you find the castle Neuschwanstein which is definitely worth a visit. We recommend ending at Füssen because then you can see Neuschwanstein Castle at the end. This castle is the most impressive and when you start with this the rest is actually a bit disappointing.

How much time do you need for Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

The city is world famous and therefore very touristy, so we initially thought that we could see everything in a short period of time, but it turned out that you really need one whole day to see the highlights. If you can visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber for 1 day you will get a good idea of ​​the place, but if you have 1.5 to 2 days you can take a little more time at all the sights and visit more museums. It is possible to visit all sights excluding the Romantic Road in 1 day, but you should not take too long.

Where to stay near Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Because Rothenburg ob der Tauber is so special, it is visited by many travelers. For this reason, there are also plenty of accommodations to be found. The two accommodations we recommend are very good because of the excellent value for money. Our advice is to secure the accommodation as soon as possible to be assured of a place.

Sharply priced:
Akzent Hotel Schranne

Akzent Hotel Schranne

Akzent Hotel Schranne is located in the north of the historic center and is an ideal place to stay if you are looking for spacious rooms, a good breakfast for not having to spend too much money.

Unique stay:
Burghotel

Burghotel

Burghotel is recommended for travelers who are looking to stay at a special place. You stay here in a building from the 12th century and during breakfast you can enjoy the view over the Tauber valley.

Where to eat at Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Assuming you are staying in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for about 1 to 2 days, we recommend the places below to eat.

  • Metzgerei Trumpp: this is an authentic butcher where you can order a sandwich with different sausages. Try the frankfurt, bratwurst, currywurst, and leberkäse (the regular and pizza variety). If you are with his 2nd you can share everything so that you can have the most tasted. Prices for a sandwich are between €3 and €4 ($4 – $5).
  • Michelangelo: is a good Italian restaurant in the historic center where you will be well received by the owner. The dorade is recommended. The prices for a dish are between €10 and €20 ($12 – $22).
  • Restaruant Mittermeier: is Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s best restaurant. This restaurant is recommended by the Michelin guidebook. Prices for a standard menu are high here at €99 ($110) per person. This is therefore only recommended for travelers who want a special experience.
  • Bäckerei Konditorei Café: is the place to try schneeball, this is a delicacy that you can’t find anywhere else. Schneeball is a kind of shortcrust snowball covered with different toppings.

How do you get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is part of the Romantic Road and is therefore frequently visited by travelers following this route. You can travel this route by car, bicycle, or on foot. In front of the car, follow the brown signs that say Romantice Straße. Cyclists follow the green D9 signs and walkers follow the blue signs. The Romantic Road connects villages, towns, castles, and other highlights over a length of 385 km.

If you don’t follow the Romantic Road you can reach the city by car, train or bus. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is easy to reach by car, as it is only 5 km from the A7 motorway. To give an indication, from Munich it is 250 km / 2.5 hours and from Nuremberg 80 km / 75 minutes. If you enter Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the navigation, it speaks for itself to get there.

You can park on P1 to P5, these parking spaces are clearly indicated when you enter Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We parked our car for free opposite the Rothenburger DIY store which is a 4 minute’s walk from the city walls. You can see where this free parking space can be found on the map at the beginning of the article. If you stay at the accommodations that we recommend, you can park your car in front of the hotel (parkplatz Schrannenplatz).

If you want to travel by train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, in most cases you must first travel to Nuremberg central station and then travel towards Stuttgart to get off at Ansbach. At Ansbach, you travel in the direction of Wurzburg and then get off at Steinach where you take the bus to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. If you want to travel by train, it is best to use the official German Railways website.

Traveling by bus is difficult. If you are in Munich, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, or any other relatively famous place and you want to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber without all the hassle you can best book a tour. You can book your suitable tour via the links of the relevant cities.

When is the best time to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Rothenburg ob der Tauber can be visited all year round. There is no best period, only Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the Christmas capital of Germany during the Christmas period. So if you are a big Christmas lover, traveling during Christmas is a very nice period.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber sights frequently asked questions

#1 Is it worth visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber?

Yes in our opinion, because during your visit you really feel like you are walking through a medieval open-air museum. If you have the time to spare 1 day to visit Rothenburg, you should definitely do this.

#2 Is it wise to book it through a tour or do it independently?

We recommend if you travel by car to do it independently. If you travel by public transport or if you don’t feel like driving a large distance yourself and you prefer a tour, this is definitely a good option. Various tours are offered from surrounding places such as Munich, Frankfurt, and Nuremberg. Click on the link to the relevant place to read more information about this.

Want to see more of Germany?

After reading our article, we hope that you would like to discover Rothenburg ob der Tauber and that you have got a clear picture of what you can do there.

We visited Rothenburg during our trip through Bavaria which was truly a phenomenal trip. For inspiration, we recommend reading our Bavaria itinerary.

Most travelers visit Rothenburg from Munich, if you are looking for information about Munich you can find our article here for all the information.

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