This one-day in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber travel guide will help you find some of the best things to do in Rothenburg.
My trip was sponsored, and the itinerary was suggested by the Germany Tourism office in India. So you can certainly trust the suggestions.
Now let’s get started…
I remember how while planning for my one-week Bavaria itinerary, Rothenburg was high on my list. It wasn’t because of its history or culture or food, for I had no such knowledge before my visit, but the colourful Rothenburg Image I saw on Google. From the half-timbered houses to medieval cobblestone streets, everything about the town was inviting. It set a fairytale-like image of the town in my head.
So, while travelling across Bavaria and Munich, I spent one day in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, exploring some of the best things to do in Rothenburg.
Of course, in an ideal world, it was the kind of town where I would happily spend weeks and months. But sometimes all we have is just a day.
If you too are restricted with time and have just a day to spare, here’s an ideal Rothenburg travel guide on how to make the most of it. It talks about places to see, where to stay and how to get to Rothenburg — all derived from my personal experiences and discoveries.
But before I start discussing Rothenburg, I want to share a few useful resources I have written about Germany.
If you do not know, I have been to Germany thrice on three different media trips. Out of all these trips, I particularly like Kühlungsborn (on the Baltic) and Ruegen, Germany. The Baltic is certainly a very offbeat place to visit, especially if you are in Berlin (here’s the 6 hours in Berlin guide).
Now let’s talk about the original topic…
Things To Do In Rothenburg
Inside The Old Town
Walking The Medieval Streets
One of the best things to do in Rothenburg is to simply stroll along its streets and admire the views. Visit the tourist information centre, grab a free map and explore the town on a self-planned walking tour.
If you’re looking for a more insightful Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber walking tour, you have other options too. This includes 1) a private walking tour booked at the Tourist Information office at Marktplatz, and 2) joining the daily Night Watchman’s Tour.
Early mornings and evenings are the best time to take a walk and avoid large crowds of tourists.
Eat A Schneeball
The town’s signature pastry Schneeball (or a snowball in English) is certainly a must-try.
Traditionally, they’re made of strips of dough that are formed into a ball and deep-fried, before dusted with confectioner’s sugar, hence the name Snowball. They are also traditionally cooked during family gatherings and community meetings.
And where to try them? Well, they’re available in almost every bakery in the town. Just keep on peeking from the windows and you shall spot some.
Some bakeries even run group tours to show how to cook a Schneeball pastry.
Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store
Though it’s true that the most interesting time for anyone to be visiting Germany is Christmas, in Rothenburg, you don’t need to wait so long. Because at Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store, every evening is a Christmas evening.
There is also a Christmas museum behind the store (not free but totally worth the 2 Euro entry fee) that walks you through interesting Christmas history. So yea, visiting the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store is certainly one of the top things to do in Rothenburg.
Medieval Crime Museum
One of the rarest of its kind, the crime museum, as the name suggests, is all about the gutwrenching and bloody details of how crime/punishment was handled back in the medieval days. It goes into serious detail about what went down and boasts an impressive collection of artefacts (torture instruments included).
Certainly, a must-not-miss if you can handle a bit of grimness. But be known that the tour can not make you a little sad when you will exit the museum.
With an adorable half-timbered house, sandwiched between tall towers and cobblestone streets, The Plönlein makes it the most iconic view in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
This is the picture you will find on most of the postcards of Rothenburg.
Tower Trail of The Old Town Wall
For me, the tower trail walk and doing a tour around the city were the highlighted things to do in Rothenburg. It is also one of the biggest draws of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. There is no fee to access the town wall.
Imagine it like doing a circle catching the best views of the town inside, and the countryside outside of the walls.
The supporting towers and gates are moreover a great highlight to explore, most of which, you will automatically stumble upon during the walk.
Remember, this 1.5-mile stroll atop the wall is at its most medieval before during early morning and late evening.
How To Get To Rothenburg
It is easy to travel here from Munich and Frankfurt. There are quite a few group tours available as well. But if you’re planning to visit on your own, as I suggest you do, here is how to get to Rothenburg:
BY CAR: As per the tourist info Rothenburg website: “Take Highway A7 Würzburg – Ulm to Rothenburg. Take exit 108 “Rothenburg / Tauber” and follow the signposts for the town centre. Those who are driving will be happy to know that it’s allowed to drive anywhere inside the old town of Rothenburg, though parking isn’t too easy to come by in the old town. Remember, the streets are quite narrow, and mostly bustling with day-trippers.
You can also read my one-week Romantic Road Road Trip Guide, and see how I travelled from Frankfurt to Rothenburg.
BY TRAIN: On this trip, however, I visited Rothenburg on a train (from Munich). The station is located very close to the Old Town, so you can get there on foot in less than 10 minutes. The train journey takes 3-4 hours depending on which train you catch (from Munich as well as from Frankfurt).
One Day In Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
During my one-day stay, I saw waves upon waves of tourists flocking to the town but sadly for just a few hours. They would come in a group of 30 in a big tourist bus, quickly scan a few streets, and a couple of attractions, and return to wherever they came from.
Of course, a day tour from Frankfurt or Munich sounds intriguing, but I won’t suggest a day tour, as I highly recommend staying at least one night in the town.
So yea, for me the ideal one-day Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber tour is when you stay in the town and enjoy the next day’s sunrise.
The experience of walking the streets, or sitting in a 150-year-old cafe, once the crowd of day-trippers is gone is just unbeatable. Rothenburg is a kind of town that takes you back in time, and you need time to actually go back in time.
So plan at least one night, especially when there are a lot of inexpensive and cosy guesthouses to choose from.
Where To Stay In Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber
There are quite a number of hostels and boutique hotels to choose from. I stayed at Hotel Schranne, which is a converted 16th-century mansion with gorgeous decor. The hotel is located in the old town, inside the town walls, hence is a little pricey, but let me tell you that its location makes it up for the price. They also serve dishes made with ingredients from local farmers, including local cheese and meat.
So yea, if you’re wondering where to stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I suggest you book a place in the old town.
Of all the countries I’ve been to, outside of India, Germany remains the most beloved for me. In the previous 18 months, I’ve visited Germany thrice. Two of the three trips were organised and sponsored by Germany Tourism.
Beyond just the usual Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich trail, I’ve even seen some of the most offbeat towns in Germany. But out of all, Rothenburg ob der Tauber remains my favourite.
Other than impressively restored architecture, its original protective wall (from the 12th century) still surrounds the entire town — just like it did back in the day. No wonder, it is one of those fairy-tale towns that bring alive medieval fantasies.
So yea, if you ever get a chance to visit Rothenburg, do not miss it.
Update: I loved Rothenburg during my first visit so much that I happened to revisit it in the next 6 months, during another Germany Visit. Read about my second visit here… Revisiting Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber.
That was all about my one day in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber travel guide. Have you been there too? What were some of your favorite things to do in Rothenburg? Let’s share in the comments below!