Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a perfectly preserved walled medieval town, and a day trip or overnight stop for MILLIONS of tourists. I was braced for selfie stick toting pushy tour groups but – surprise! – it wasn’t like that. In fact, it was very relaxing.
Tourist Info Office Walking Tour
If you’ve looked for walking tours in Rothenburg, you’ll have come across the popular Night Watchman tour – but what you might not know about is a daytime walking tour sponsored by the Tourist Info Office.
We got into Rothenburg, dropped the luggage off, parked the car and headed to the Tourist Info office in Marktplatz, the center of town, just in time for the 2:00 tour.
The 2:00 tour starts at the town hall, over to the St. Jakob church, then the wide street Herrngasse – THE address in town, where anyone who was anyone had their huge homes.
The walk continues to the Burggarten, what used to be the site of a castle long ago. You end up back at Marktplatz with a great deal of appreciation for this preserved medieval town and the fascinating history of a once wealthy town on what used to be a trade route.
The tour is 90 minutes and well worth the €7.
Night Watchman Night Tour
The Night Watchman tour begins at 8:00 – fun, informative, and a LOT of people.
This hour long tour is quite different from the daytime tour, the tour guide really gives a performance and is a great story teller with impeccable pacing. And he should be – he’s the only one doing the tour and has been at it for years!
Enjoy both tours to get the most out of a stay in Rothenburg.
Tip: If you’re put off by the big crowd on the Night Watchman tour you can always leave, on this tour you pay your €7 at the end.
Great Break: After the Night Watchman tour, head over to the Reichs Küchenmeister beer garden next to St. Jakob’s church. Terrific outdoor setting for dinner and drinks!
Walking the Town Walls
A top activity in Rothenburg is walking completely around the town on the walls and next to the walls. The whole loop can take an hour or so.
Throughout the wall walk you’ll see stones with names on them from all over the world. Rothenburg had a clever strategy to get money to rebuild after the devastation of WWII (Rothenburg WAS bombed). They appealed to the world for donations, and stones were permanently placed in the wall with the name and hometown of the benefactor.
We met several people who came to Rothenburg ob der Tauber just to walk the walls, which was kind of a shame that they didn’t have time to enjoy the other parts of this perfectly charming, historic town.
Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Who isn’t somewhat gruesomely fascinated by the macabre punishments inflicted on the populace in the middle ages? Rothenburg’s large and interesting Museum of Crime and Justice is more than just creepy torture instruments, it has exhibits on all aspects of medieval life, law, and punishment.
I thought the Shame Masks were really interesting – there were quite a few for gossipy women, but the most interesting one to me was the shame mask for a man, which had everything shameful covered: the big nose symbolized sticking his nose in others business, horns showed that the wife cheated on him, the snake and devil that he had very bad thoughts.
The Rathausturm (Town Hall Tower)
For the fantastic panoramic views over the city and countryside, climb the the Town Hall Tower!
Walks Around Town
There are many picturesque streets in the little town, but none more photographed than this Little Square, Plönlein, a picture postcard image that is an iconic image of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
Nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rothenburg was delightfully quiet in the evenings, it felt like we had the place practically to ourselves!
I expected a touristy destination like Rothenburg to be crazy with pushy, rude people, but was delightfully surprised! Yes, it was busy and crowded during the day but the visitors we encountered were pleasant and, like us, seemed just to be enjoying the ambiance of the perfectly preserved little town.
After our visit, I can unequivocally say I just loved Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
- Austria, Czech Republic, and Germany Map
- Hotel Markusturm, 2 nights in a standard double room, breakfast included.
We found a lot to love in Rothenburg, starting with our charming hotel practically in the center of town. Our beautiful modern room (105) had just been remodeled to romantic perfection – this room overlooked the charming inner courtyard and was very quiet at night. The canopy bed was very comfortable, the LCD-TV had English language channels and there’s a small sofa, a chair and a couple of hassocks. Beautiful hardwood floors and great lighting throughout. Everything was just spotless. This room doesn’t have a desk but we used the little coffee table in front of the sofa for one of the laptops. And, always so important to us – WIFI was excellent!
The hotel itself is loaded with character and has been in the family for generations. Everyone here is very friendly and helpful. If you see someone working late in the evening and serving in the morning, say hi to Stephen, your host and the owner of this wonderful hotel.
Two nights wasn’t “too much” – we could easily have spent another day or two here making it a base to explore the surrounding countryside. But our plans were for 2 nights in Würzburg, the last stay of this trip.
Travel: Drive from Rothenburg to Wurzburg – 45 minutes.