Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the red fort over the Tauber river, is the medieval gem of Germany. The charming little town is in heart of the Franconia region of Bavaria. Lose yourself in the fortified town where ubiquitous cobbled lanes and colourful buildings ranging between yellow and red wlll make you think you are in a fairytale. Almost at the verge of becoming a tourist theme park, Rothenburg is the best preserved medieval city in the country and remains the charming town that it was centuries ago.
Where paths cross
Rothenburg ob der Tauber benefits from a great location for tourism. At the crossing of the Romantic route and the route of the castles, the town is perfectly situated in the heart of the action. For those who like road trips or enjoy travelling by train, the town is not far from Nuremberg (2 and a half hour away) or Munich (3 hours away).
The Romantic Route
The Romantic Route is a theme route that takes you through the most picturesque towns in Germany. The complete route spans across 400 km and has more than 20 villages. If you are a history buff, doing the whole route might take you a couple of days. The route combines two historic cities, Würzburg and Augsburg, three medieval walled towns Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen and finishes by Neuschwanstein Castle, the Disney castles high up in the Alps. For more information about this scenic route, go here.
The Castle Road
The name speaks for itself since the road passes across countless number of castles, one more beautiful and different from the other. The road is 1,200 km long as it goes from Mannheim, in the south of Germany, to Prague, in the Czech Republic. The scenic routes will take you through the lands of history, tales, myths and legends of the medieval time. The Castle Road goes in the east-west direction. For more information click here.
Museums and sightseeing views
The numerous museums allow you to immerse yourself into the the daily life of the middle ages and the Renaissance. The medieval crimes museum documents how justice was brought in these terrifying ages where carnal punishment lived in heyday. On a lighter and more joyful note, the Christmas museum allows you to experience the magic of the German Christmas markets year-round.
The best attraction is the viewpoint at the top of the Rathausturm. The city hall has two state-of-the-art buildings composed of a renaissance building, where the lookout point is, and the adjacent building of Gothic architecture which dominate the main plaza. Getting to the entrance of the viewpoint is a little hard to find since it gets constantly mistaken with the museum entrance. The long wait, the extremely narrow stairs and the few bumps in the head that you will have while going up the 220 steps are definitely worth it! The 360 view is at 52-meters high and offers a panoramic view of the complete town and its environs. The entrance fee is around €2.5 and payable at the end of the stairs labyrinth.
Pro tip: During winter, make sure to bring a scarf as it can get very windy at the top of the tower.
Disclaimer: Rothenburg ob fer Tauber tourism graciously offered the entrance to the museums and the city hall tower. A big thank you!