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Nestled in the heart of the state of Bavaria is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval town with its roots set in 1142. Once Germany’s second largest city in the middle ages, it is now home to tourist attractions galore and is a must for any of you visiting the state soon.
This town is one of the most gorgeous we’ve ever seen, and is one you’ll certainly not want to miss.
The name Rothenburg ob der Tauber translates to Red Fortress above the Tauber, a small river that runs below the beautiful city.
We’ve put all of our favorite destinations in Rothenburg ob der Tauber on this list, so make sure you save enough money for any admission fees. If you need some help with this (we get it, we’ve been there), you can read more about budgeting for your trip by referring to our money management tips.
From visits to museums and churches to taking part in guided walks and tours, there is a lot to do and see in the photographer’s-dream city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
If you’re planning a trip soon to this Bavarian state, here are our top ten places we think you need to visit.
1. The Rothenburger Turmweg
Rothenburg is still surrounded by the wall that was built to keep the Imperial Free City safe from attack. Tourists can enjoy a scenic two-hour walk along the 4-kilometer-long restored city walls which feature an impressive 46 defensive towers.
Information boards on the walk provide more details about the city’s 800-year history and cover various historical events.
2. The Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Those who love gore and grisly tales of torture and punishment will love the Rothenburg Museum of Crime. Featuring ghastly torture devices dating back over 1000 years, the museum features stories and information on medieval and renaissance trials and inquisitions.
Browse through the display boards that depict a full history of the police and courts of Rothenburg, and take a look at artifacts like the legendary iron maiden, scold’s bridles, and more that were used to punish those found guilty of crimes.
3. The Gerlachschmiede
This cute forge was originally built in 1469. After bombings in March 1945 destroyed it, the Gerlachschmiede was quickly rebuilt in 1948 and was used as a blacksmith’s workshop until 1967.
Possibly one of the most picturesque buildings in Rothenburg, the old forge features a triangular porch supported by wooden beams.
4. The Reiterlesmarkt
If you happen to be visiting Rothenburg in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you are in for a treat. Between the 1st and the 23rd of December, Rothenburg is host to Germany’s most popular Christmas markets and has been since the 15th century.
Visit the market and sample foods, including the famous Rothenburg snowball, from various food stalls, purchase Christmas gifts, tree ornaments, and trinkets, or simply enjoy the festive atmosphere of the market in a picturesque Disney-type setting.
5. St. James Church and the Altar of the Holy Blood
Visitors to St. James’ Church, built in 1485, can view the Altar of the Holy Blood, which includes a carving of the last supper which was commissioned in 1505, and the East Choir stained glass, which is at least 700 years old.
Enjoy a guided or audio tour of the Twelve Apostles Altar with companies like toot-tours, and learn more about the fascinating religious background of this old city.
6. The Castle Gardens or Burggarten
While the original castle was destroyed in an earthquake in 1356, the castle gardens are the main feature. Visit the gardens and enjoy views of the Old Town and famous Double Bridge, or take in the 17th and 18th-century geometric flower beds that are home to a total of eight sculptures. Four sculptures depict the four seasons, while the remaining four represent the four seasons.
The Burggarten is a delight for any visitors who enjoy beautiful landscapes and historical statues.
7. The German Christmas Museum
The German Christmas Museum, or Deutsches Weihnachtsmuseum, is home to artifacts, ornaments, nativity scenes, and a stunning display of 150 figurines of Father Christmas.
Functioning as both a store and a museum, visitors can take a stroll through the museum or purchase memorabilia and souvenirs from the store while enjoying the festive feel that makes this museum so popular.
If you plan your visit to be around Christmas time, the museum and the city put on the most magical Christmas display that includes over 80 000 candles and a staggering 4 kilometers of lights and Christmas decorations adorning every building.
The Master Builders house was built in 1596 and was the home of master builder Leonard Weidmann. Famous for his sculptures and carvings with dragon motifs and statues depicting the seven deadly sins and seven cardinal values, the home is now a hotel and restaurant.
Booking a room might not be easy, as the popular hotel tends to be fully-booked year round. But do visit Baumeisterhaus for a tasty German meal washed down with a pint of the good cold German beer.
9. Rothenburg Museum
This museum was once the home of a Dominican convent. Tour the museum and explore the original 16th-century dormitories, 13th-century kitchen, and other exciting features that draw thousands of visitors to the museum annually.
Fans of weapons and other artifacts will enjoy the Judaica department that houses weaponry dating back to the stone age and includes weapons once used by Frederick the Great. Explore the historical side of Rothenburg when you visit the Rothenburg Museum.
10. The Rothenburg Nightwatchman’s Tour
The last on our list of things to do in Rothenburg is the Nightwatchman’s tour, which is a fascinating one-hour tour of the city at night. Guided by a nightwatchman donning a black cape and wide-brimmed hat, the tour takes you through various aspects of the city’s history.
Enjoy stories of the past through an entertaining tour with the legendary Nightswatchman of Rothenburg. You will need to stay overnight for this one, so be sure to check out our hotel finder for all your accommodation needs.
Germany is one of the most historic countries in the world, and one we love to visit time and time again. With old history rich cities like Rothenburg on the list of must-see tourist city destinations, it makes for a great vacation and history tours.
Take in the history of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in all its glory by visiting these many great destinations, and make your trip a memorable one.