Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany | Medieval towns in Europe

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Photo of St. Mark's Tower in Rothenburg, Germany
St. Mark's Tower

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a city located in the state of Bavaria, Germany and is one of the most touristy cities in this country due to the preservation of its medieval heritage. It is considered by many as one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Europe. Rothenburg ob der Tauber means "Red Fortress over the Tauber" and its origins date back to 1170. From 1274 to 1803 it was a Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire, an emblem (shield with the eagle) that can be seen in various parts of the city (such as the defence towers). During the Second World War the city was bombed, although practically all the old part and its historical buildings remained intact.

How to get to Rothenburg?

We have always used public transport and the only way to get to Rothenburg is by train. Unfortunately, there is no direct connection to the big cities, which is extremely rare considering that Rothenburg is one of the main destinations in Bavaria and one of the most beautiful villages near Munich. We set off from Wurzburg and then made a transfer in Steinach. The airports near Rothenburg are: Munich (230 km), Frankfurt (180 km) and Nuremberg (80 km). Here below you can play around with the departure points and dates to see which is the most convenient way to get to the city. We also recommend renting a car to move around the area, by clicking here you will find a large selection of vehicles at the best price.

Things to do in Rothenburg

We recommend that you stroll through the city without hurry, walking through its cobbled streets, enjoying its colourful half-timbered houses and the magnificent views from the wall. Our recommendations are listed below:

    Photo of the Councillor's Tavern in Rothenburg, Germany
    Councillors' Tavern
  1. The Market Square (Markplatz): This is one of the city's main points and is where several events take place. Here you will find:

    • The Town Hall (Rathaus): This building is composed of two well-defined parts, a Gothic one from the 13th and 14th centuries and a newer one that was built in 1501. Its main façade is Renaissance, from the 16th century.

    • The Councillors' Tavern: This was the place where the councillors met to drink after the meetings. It is now the city's tourist office.

    • Marienapotheke: This pharmacy has been in operation since 1812, although its wonderful half-timbered building was built by a mayor in 1448.

  2. Photo of the Old Marien Pharmacy in Rothenburg, Germany
    Old Marien Pharmacy
  3. St. James Church: Initially conceived as a Catholic church, it is now an Evangelical Lutheran church and was built between 1311 and 1484. Here you will find different works of art, such as the famous altar of the Holy Blood by the sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, carved around 1500.

  4. The Plönlein: It is one of the most famous and picturesque images of the city and one of its most photographed corners. It is a small square formed by a narrow half-timbered building with a small fountain in front, framed by the Kobolzeller and Siebers Towers (both from the 14th century).

  5. Photo of the City Walls and Roeder Gate in Rothenburg, Germany
    City walls and Roeder Gate
  6. Markusturm and Röderbogen: Another typical picture of the city is composed of St. Mark's Tower and the Röder Arch, which date back to the 12th century and were part of the first city wall.

  7. The walls: The historical centre of the city is surrounded by a wall with more than 40 towers and gates, the most notable being the Markusturm, Burgtor, Weisser Tor, Galgentor and Klingentor. We recommend that you walk around the wall and enjoy the beautiful views. It is a walk of more than two kilometres and the best thing is that it's totally free.

Finally, here is an interactive map of Rothenburg, where you can easily find the location of each point of interest. By clicking on the markers, you can also go directly to the paragraph containing the information about the place of interest. Moreover, if you allow us to get your geographical location by clicking on the button below the map, you will also be able to see your position and thus to find out more easily the points of interest (reverse lookup provided by

Accommodation in Rothenburg

We toured this city as a day trip and let us tell you that if we had more time we would have loved to stay at least one night. In particular, everything in this city seems to have been taken out of a fairy tale. That's why below you will find what we consider to be the best accommodation options:

  • Jugendherberge Youth Hostel: If your budget is very limited, we recommend you to consider the option of sleeping in this hostel, which is in fact the only one in the city centre. In fact, in terms of walking distance, it is only 8 minutes from the market square and 15 minutes from the train station. Breakfast is included in the price and some rooms have private bathrooms.

  • Historik Hotel Gotisches Haus garni: If your budget is a bit more generous then the best option is to stay in a hotel. We recommend this historic 4-star hotel in the heart of the medieval city. It is housed in a restored 13th century building, with a historic ambience and characterful rooms with beautiful views. Breakfast buffet is included in the price.

  • Gästehaus am Plönlein: This hotel is also located in the city centre, in a completely renovated old house. It offers both rooms with private bathroom and flats. We found it very convenient in terms of location, comfort and price.

Where to eat in Rothenburg?

As a city that depends primarily on tourism, you will find a wide variety of restaurants. We ate at the Hotel & Restaurant Reichsküchenmeister Das Herz von Rothenburg, which is located in the historical heart of the city. We actually ate very well, our choice was: sausages with sauerkraut, potatoes and some well-deserved German beers. The attention was excellent and the price just perfect! An interesting fact to keep in mind: the German portions are always large.

Photo of the restaurant where we had lunch in Rothenburg, Germany
Restaurant where we had lunch

More information?

Below you will find our video of Rothenburg, in which we further expand on the above. If for some reason the video does not load or you find any other problem in its reproduction, by clicking here you will be able to watch the video directly from our YouTube's channel.

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