Welcome to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
I want to introduce you to a wonderful medieval town in Germany. This is a town I visited every year for almost 17 years. This is my favorite town in all of Germany. The name of the town is Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The town is located in the northern part of Bavaria. The phrase “ob der Tauber” translates into over the Tauber Valley. Rothenburg gets its name from many the buildings in the town having red roofs (“rot” means “red).
Rothenburg ob der Tauber – A Preserved Medieval Town
How to Get There
The town is not that large and is fairly remote. Therefore, when using the train, expect to make two stops, depending on which direction you are coming from. If you are coming from the north, such as from Frankfurt, your first stop will be Wurzburg. Then you will take another train to Steinach, then another to Rothenburg. If you are coming from the south, such as from Munich, your first stop will be Treuchlingen, then to Steinach, then to Rothenburg. Please be advised that when leaving Rothenburg by train, Steinach is the only town you can go to. There is one train that literally goes back and forth from Steinach to Rothenburg all day.
What to Know About Bringing Your Car
Although people bring cars into Rothenburg, I am strongly against this. Visitors bringing cars into the town is frowned upon. This is because of the narrow roads and a large number of people crossing the streets. This small medieval town was really not built for cars. The only ones who should bring cars into the town are shop owners, innkeepers, delivery and taxi drivers, and of course emergency vehicles.
If you do bring your car into the town, you can park it in the hotel garage (if it has one) and walk around the town. The town is small enough where you can get from one end to the other by foot.
What to See and Do and Where to Eat
Rothenburg has its share of restaurants and attractions. The most well-known attraction is the medieval crime museum.The museum tells about crime and punishment in the medieval times. You will find actual torture devices and some devices used for lesser crimes. Some will make you cringe. This may not be suitable for those who scare easily.
Rothenburg is not short of restaurants. You will find a restaurant on every street in the town, with varieties of cuisines, including Oriental and Indian. If you are a chicken lover, I recommend the Red Chicken (in German it is Rother Hahn). It is a restaurant as well as a hotel, and you can have a place to stay as well as a place to eat. Menus are on the outside and are in both German and English. You can read the menu and see if you found the restaurant right for you.
Many restaurants in Germany have hotels above them. My hotel for the many years I visited is Gasthof Zum Ochsen located on Galgengasse. The restaurant has authentic German food. The menu is available in German and English. They serve a wonderful German breakfast, too.
You can visit the Kaethe Wohlfart shop and pick up some hand-made Christmas decorations. The store has a large Christmas tree with moving figures around the tree. Next door is a Christmas Village, which shows a history of Christmas in Germany. Please be advised no photographing or videotaping is allowed in the store or Christmas Village.
At night, you can take a tour of the town with the Nightwatchman. He will give a tour of the town and tell about what went on during those days. Tours are available in German and English.
Special Times of Year
If you come to Rothenburg the first weekend of September, you can enjoy the Medieval Festival. I have been to it many times and loved it. I never had a bad experience. You can interact with people dressed in medieval outfits, hear bands playing, and watch shows. I had a wonderful time mingling with the actors from the shows, and they were dressed up like medieval townspeople. They are very friendly people and love visitors. Some spoke English very well.
The hotel and restaurant I mentioned earlier, Gasthof Zum Ochsen, is a popular hangout for the medieval festival actors during the festival. I have joined some and had dinner with them. It was quite an experience. They play their music in the restaurant, too, and it will go on until late at night. You will hear it if even if you are up on the third floor. I will let this be a heads-up to those who are light sleepers.
If you would like to venture outside the city walls, you can take a walk down to the Tauber Valley. If your legs are up to it, you can walk to the tiny nearby village of Detwang. You will find a few houses, a car, and a church. This walk is recommended only for those who are in good physical condition.
You can take a walk along the city walls and view the town from above. The walkway is on the outer wall, which was built in the 1400’s. The wall still has some original crossbow holes in which the town would shoot at incoming invaders.
The town has some beautiful gardens outside the city walls. You can stroll through the gardens and look at all the lovely flowers. In the spring and summer, you will love watching the numbers of butterflies hovering over the flowers. As you walk from the town and into the gardens, you can take a picture of the valley with the village of Detwang below.
People visit Rothenburg all year. Some people like to come during the winter and see the snow covering the town, and at Christmas, they can view the large Christmas tree in the town square.
Come and Enjoy a Medieval Adventure
Rothenburg is the most preserved medieval town. Some original buildings still stand. Most of the town was safe during World War II. Some parts that got hit during the war were repaired to look like its original form. Otherwise, the town is well-preserved. So you are in for a medieval adventure, be sure to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You will feel like you traveled back to the medieval times. It will be an adventure you will never forget.