I am not one of those people who appreciates the idea of revisiting places, for there’s so much to see and do in this world that revisiting places feels like a waste of time. But as with everything, for some places, there exists an exception. And one such place happens to be the town of Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, in the Bavaria region in Germany.
I happened to visit Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber the first time less than a year ago while backpacking around the Bavaria Region in Germany. It was moreover the time I was first introduced to Germany’s Romantic Road Trail and I realized how Germany can be so beautiful beyond the popular Munich, Frankfurt, and Berlin, where tourists often frequent. Though of course, small German towns can be expensive for there exists no backpacking culture, and most of the tourists who visit them are either fancy honeymooners or families traveling on a decent budget, the fact that these offbeat medieval towns offer the Real Old European Charm cannot be disregarded. For the kind of beauty and experience, they offer, even I won’t mind paying a little extra.
So yea, this time as I decided to rent a car in Europe (for the first time ever!) and drive along the Romantic Road Trail, an effort to stay away from the frequented big German towns, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber became an easy choice.
My First Visit To Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
I fairly remember how when I visited Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber the first time it had me smitten by its beauty. And the 5-minute taxi drive (from Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber train station) was itself, enough to realize it. From architecturally restored houses to a completely intact medieval town-wall, everything about this cute little town spoke of nothing but a hint of medieval well-preserved history.
It was fascinating to know how despite being heavily bombed during the Second World War, Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber still has a city wall intact at its place with the old town still being totally surrounded by it, just like it must have been in the olden days.
As you enter the wall, into the old town, you find the usual tar roads being replaced by cobblestones, with new-age Audis and Mercs confusingly running around. The many half-timbered homes, with a modern mix of household ornaments, further adds to the charm. No wonder, Rothenburg
Ob Der Tauber is a beguiling mixture of Old and New.
Outside of the wall, the sweeping alpine vistas can be found making for a fairytale backdrop for a memorable vacation.
A Little History
During the middle ages, Rothenburg happened to be a Free Imperial City. With over six thousand people living in the town, it was Germany’s second-largest city.
Unfortunately, it didn’t stay like that forever. The town was reduced to poverty during Germany’s 30 years war, losing its significance with its growth pretty much stalled to zero. It, however, still retained its Imperial credentials for a further one hundred and fifty years, which finally came to an end in 1802.
It only started recovering after 1873 when Rothenburg was connected to the German railway network. The town restored its rich status and maintained a good development rate in the following years, until an American air raid, during the Second World War destroyed the town again, with around 45 percent of the old walled town being destroyed too. The restoration process later took off again.
The successful rebuilding of the town in the post-war period is the most significant achievement in Rothenburg’s recent history. Today Rothenburg is known worldwide as being Germany’s best-preserved medieval walled town.
Why Visit Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber?
Rothenburg remains my favorite place in Germany and I have a compelling belief that it will be your favorite too, should you paid Rothenburg a visit and explored its Instagram-perfect streets. But that’s not it. There are more reasons to be visiting Rothenburg than just its beauty.
Rothenburg is pretty centrally located between Munich, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart, and can be visited in a train or car on a day trip. But trust me, you’ll want to spend at least a day wandering around its romantically beautiful cobblestone streets.
Other than its well-connected approach to most southern German cities, Rothenburg has some of the well-preserved medieval architecture in entire Germany. From its 14th-century town wall that, even today, allows you to walk over it to a historic Marktplatz(market square) to Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum, Rothenburg has enough attractions to keep you busy!
And speaking of Instagram perfect photos, be rest assured that you will not find a better place throughout Germany.
A Useful Tip
If you planned to visit Rothenburg at all, I suggest you start early, because in Rothenburg the crowds start setting in soon. And when I say crowd, be warned that it can get really crowded (the only thing I hated about the city).
For some reason, I’ve noticed Rothenburg is fairly popular among big Chinese groups, whom I found during both my visits. So start early (at least with the Altstadt Old Town) and spend the rest of the day getting lost down the countless alleyways!
Looking for a detailed itinerary on Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, read my other article here… Rothenburg Travel Guide!
Disclaimer: I covered Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber during a blog-trip with Germany Tourism. While my visit was sponsored by the tourism department, all recommendations are solely mine. I only recommend what I personally try and find worth appreciating.