Rothenburg ob der Tauber

By Isabella Brady

Whether you are searching for a break from the day to day, or an escape to a fairy tale, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the perfect (and picturesque) destination. Located in the Franconia region of Bavaria, Germany, the walled city has been preserved since 1274, and boasts a variety of medieval architecture and artifacts. 

Entering the medieval city transports you to a different time; paved roads dwindle into lazy cobblestone streets; modern architecture is overtaken by vibrant (and original), half timbered houses; the roads are littered with surreal churches, clock towers and landmarks. Although the town encompasses a mere 16.09 square miles, there are truly innumerable things to see and do. With indescribable beauty, charming residents, delicious food, and rich history, you might just want to live out the rest of your days in Rothenburg (pronounced Rotenburg). 

I admit, during my trip to this beautiful town, I did not want to leave. To plan a memorable stay, here are some of the things I recommend experiencing during your time in Rothenburg:

  1. Night Watchman’s tour

Learn about the historic role of the Night Watchman as you follow him through the streets and walls of Rothenburg…at night.

  1. St. Jakobskirche

Established in 1471, this Lutheran (originally Catholic church) boasts stunning Gothic architecture. Its name translates to St. James, and as the largest church in Rothenburg, it is hard to miss. With medieval paintings, sculptures, stained glass windows and a wooden altar crafted by Tilman Riemanschneider, the two towered church is a must-see.

  1. Plonlein

Advertised on postcards, websites and souvenirs, the historic bell tower junction is perhaps the most popular place to visit in the hidden jewel of Rothenburg. As you mesmerizingly traipse the enchanting roads of the walled city, make sure you visit Plonlein and take a selfie or two. 

  1. Marketplatz

Translating to “The Market Square”, the ancient plaza is located in the center of Rothenburg, right next to the City Hall. Here, you can admire the views and take a climb for a better look—surmount the observation platform of the Town Hall Tower. True to the Gothic architecture, be prepared to walk up 200 feet’s worth of stairs—but don’t miss it! As someone who has seen the panoramic views from this height, every stair step is worth the stunning view!

  1. Take a walk on the city walls

Spanning nearly the whole historic city, the medieval walls were once integral to the safety of the city. Today, they offer a tranquil walk around the perimeter of Rothenburg! Grab a camera, and prepare for the beauty that awaits.

  1. Spend a night… or two

During my stay in Rothenburg, I spent two nights and was still wishing for more! While many tourists dismiss the small town as an afternoon road trip stop, don’t make the same mistake! To fully immerse yourself into the Romantic Road destination, spend the night in an adorable cottage-like hotel room. 

  1. Buy a Teddy Bear!

It may sound a bit random, but Rothenburg has been a major attraction for Teddy Bear lovers since 1999! With quality and handmade plush animals, make sure you pick out a Teddy Bear during your stay—I did, and the quality (and cuteness) is paralleled by no other American plush.

More things to do!

  • Medieval Crime Museum
  • German Christmas Museum
  • Burggarten
  • Rothenburg Museum
  • Try a Schneeball
  • Double Bridge 
  • Gallows Gate
  • Castle Gate