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Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

The Fairy Tale Town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California GlobetrotterRothenburg ob der Tauber is a little Medieval town that is still surrounded by its original wall that was built to protect the city in Southern Bavaria. The name translates to “Red fortress above the Tauber”. The Tauber is the small river the flows just below the town. It is part of the Romantic Road in Bavaria which also leads you to Würzburg and down to Füssen. And it is every bit of romantic as it implies!

 The origins of this beautiful Middle Ages town dates back all the way to the 12th Century. It had a lot of prestige and wealth but was destroyed during the 30 Years War as it was invaded and again during WWII. Both times, the town was rebuilt exactly as it had been. Afterwards, the Black Death came in 1634 and killed many more towns people, therefore preserving the size of the town as it stopped growing. Little has changed in this town from the times where towns needed to protect themselves from invasion which makes walking through this town more like walking through a story book. Except there were no knights in shining armor…

IMG_0701IMG_0721Immediately upon arriving to the center of Rothenburg, we were greeted by the Galgentor (tower), which is an old execution place. It is also known as the Würzburger Tor since it leads in the direction of Würzburg.

It was pretty adorable after a packed lunch to come back into town and catch a glimpse of the horse drawn carriage trotting through town! Clickity Clack!

 

 

The first thing we did was walk the perimeter of the town, working our way through every nook and cranny of the town, hoping not to miss an inch of this beautiful fairy tale town. Even down streets that might seem like nothing is there, you would be sorely mistaken! At the end of one street, we found this adorable little hotel nestled in the corner, draped in vines changing to the fall colors and some small grapes hanging on for dear life. The door on the side had the most adorable doorbell ever!

The best way to see the town is to walk the medieval walls, which still completely surround the town. The walls are pretty high and offers some great views over the town.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the most perfect idyllic German town. Even Hitler idolized it because he thought it symbolized German perfectionism. Unfortunately, for no other reason other than to bomb a location where many Nazis were, Rotherburg was 40% damaged during the Second World War as it was mostly spared as the U.S. Secretary of War knew about the historical significance of the town and negotiated that only artillery be used in taking Royhenburg in order to preserve its beauty. Thankfully, many donations from all over the world were raised in the effort to rebuild the town to its original glory. As you walk along the city walls, plaques are embedded into the walls as a thanks giving gift to those who donated to rebuild this beautiful town. Some even date to 2015! Who knows, maybe you can buy your own stone, have your name carved in it and have it set in the wall forever.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

It probably takes about a good hour or more to walk the entire wall, with all the picture taking and tight space. With people passing in both directions, sometimes things get a little tight as the walk way isn’t very wide, nor is it flat. Unfortunately, the walls are not accessible for those with strollers and wheelchairs. You definitely need to make the time to walk the walls, and if you miss it, you have not truly experienced Rothenburg!

 

IMG_0727Along the way, we saw the most adorable little cottage house which is called the Gerlauchschmiede house. It is one of the most famous houses in Rothenburg, near Röderturm. A man named George Gerlauch who was the town blacksmith lived here, hence the name!

 

 

 

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The Burgtor, is the tallest tower in the town and was built after an earthquake destroyed the former fortifications. The town then decided that they needed to be better protected and therefore this tower was built. Anyone who wanted to leave generally needed the approval of the Town Council.

 

 

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After a while, you start to loose track of which gate is which because eventually they all start to look the same, or in my case they did! There are several main gates throughout the town as well as some smaller gates. And within the town walls, there are more!

On the day we went our second time, we had some seriously thick fog but it eventually burnt off around noon for a few hours.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

Just beyond it the castle gardens which to walk around. The castle gardens  was the original site of the Hohenstaufen family castle during the Middle Ages. I highly suggest doing this as it offers a pretty amazing view over the entire town! We could even see where Rothenburg had set up it’s festival grounds!

 

There is a Medieval torture museum that I have heard is interesting to visit. I however, did not visit this museum but I did play with this! But that didn’t stop me from letting my inner child out to play for a few minutes! However, should you feel like visiting this Middle Ages Criminal Museum, you will find many blood-curling exhibits on display for torture and punishment.

All of the buildings look the same with the old wood timbered look that is mostly associated with German architecture. One of the most popular picture tourist destinations is Plönlein with Kobolzeller Steige and Spitalgasse. It felt like we were walking through a fairy tale picture book or like the little Christmas village houses people set up on their tables.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is definitely a tourist town and there will be crowds, especially later in the day, practically year round! It is one of the most picturesque towns in Germany that every one does no want to miss. I highly suggest getting started early in the morning before the crowds come out, otherwise you will have scenes like this as we did later in the afternoon.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

Just up the hill, if the main market area, called the Markt Platz. Here can check out the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall) which is pretty large compared to many that I have seen. Next to it, is a small which building where the clock will strick the hour for ya! It is a busy place here as there are cafes and restaurants which line the market, as well as chestnuts being roasted on an adorable little train like burner in the center of the market. It is here that during the Christmas market season, the market is set up.

The wonderful thing about Rothenburg ob der Tauber is that it is like Christmas year road as there are many Christmas nick-nack shops throughout the town, even the most famous Käthe Wohlfahrt. Even if you are not a lover of Christmas, it is absolutely necessary to take a peak inside the most famous Christmas store in Germany.

Now, everyone goes to Rothenburg ob der Tauber to see the most iconic houses in the town, and if you google or pinterest for Rothenburg, you will see that Plönlein with Kobolzeller Steige and Spitalgasse and Gerlauchschmiede dominate the screen, but for me, I just love this part of town! It is absolutely picturesque, no matter what angle you look at it!

 

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany - California Globetrotter

IMG_0752The one thing I loved the most about the whole town was the matching red roofs on every building. You can get a great view of the town if you walk along the entire wall that surrounds the town. Walking around the wall is completely free, so don’t be shy or unsure if you are allowed to. Climbing the tower however, you must pay a few euros. We climbed up the Röderturm (tower) which gave the best view of the town. As I mentioned before, this tower is the only one that you can climb! It is a great way to have a higher vantage point to really get an idea of how big the walls are!

The main tower is the oldest part of the gate and dates back to the 13th Century! Once passing under the tower and into the city center, immediately to the left are some staircases which you can walk up. Eventually, we would climb up this tower later on our way out of town, as it is the only tower in Rothenburg which can be climbed!  This tower has always been an important signaling post should any invaders ever try to breech the town.

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IMG_0745Rothenburg ob der Tauber is small enough to visit the entire town in just one day and walk around it twice.  However, I could have easily stayed a weekend here just to really take it in more. There were plenty of streets lined with adorable knickknack shops and cafes. If there is one thing Germany is really good about, it’s pulling out the tiny chairs and tables and setting them up in front of the cafes so customers can enjoy the sun.

 

 

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Check out my list for the Top 10 Most Adorable Towns in Europe and

Why You Will Never Be The Same After Living in Germany!

 

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Author: California Globetrotter

At 14 I started traveling the world with my parents and was hooked! By 21 I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. By 26 I sold all of my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Germany to teach English. Little did I know, I'd meet the love of my life and end up traveling to the most romantic and idyllic towns in Europe and becoming a long-term expat in Bavaria! My name is Lorelei and I'm just your typical CaliGirl, Sunset Chaser, Fairytale Dreamer, Dress Lover, Traveloholic, Beer Drinker!

51 thoughts on “The Fairy Tale Town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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  7. I cannot believe it. About 35 years ago my dad took me to that town where we stayed for a couple of days with one of his pen pals (no emails or face book those days). They had a piano and played Fur Elis and they had a son with fuzzy blond hair who took me out cycling all around the town and surrounding hills. My dad is long gone and I don’t remember any names or places, but I recognised the name Rothenberg and pictures like it was yesterday. I was a child and at the beer festival in front of the main clock, German dressed maids served me drinks…to my astonishment my dad let me have some. I have spent more than 35 years trying to find where that town was, until today after accidently stumbling on your blog. Thank you. Also funny because when in he past I drove across Germany I have slept in my car the Wurzburg service station, little aware that Rothenberg was so close.

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  11. Urrgh… I still haven’t made it to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It really does look absolutely lovely. I have been to Würzburg though, which is gorgeous!

  12. Absolutely, hands down, one of our favorite towns. We visited on our honeymoon in 2003. Maybe we’ll make it back this Spring.

  13. This looks like a lovely town, those covered walkway on the walls are so unusual. It looks like the quintessential Bavarian town, almost out of a fairy tale.

  14. Now I know where the cover image of Lonely Planet Germany is from: Rothenburg! Have never been there but it certainly looks beautiful!

  15. I have actually never been here despite living in Germany for more than 8 years! It looks so adorable, literally like a fairytale. It reminds me of Tübingen🙂

  16. Looks fantastic! I would love, love to drive thru the Romantic Road. The architecture, history and scenery appeals to me a lot.

  17. Amazing!! Now you made me fall in love even more with this town, I planning to go sometime soon, hopefully in December or so. I didn’t know it was bombed during the war, what a shame😦 the good thing is that it still looks amazing, like a fairy tale. Lovely photos❤
    Ohh and I see that you are going to the US soon😀 awesome!!

    Happy to have you on #MondayEscapes

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  27. What stunning architecture! Your pictures are really lovely. I would love to walk the city walls or even better perhaps visit in the Winter for a Christmas market!

  28. What a wonderful place…especially considering it has been hit by earthquakes and bombs! The red roofs just add to its beauty. Will have to go but will have to wait for when we don’t have a pushchair with us. Thanks for linking #citytripping

    • The walkway is big enough to push a stroller but of course then difficult for people to pass but people do it! Getting it up and down the steps though might be difficult. How many more years until you are stroller-free?

  29. This town is so picturesque and what a storied history. I love how each little European town has its own charms and so much to offer. #CityTripping

  30. Looks like a woodcut illustration in my Grimms Fairytales!
    #citytripping

  31. Every time I read your blog, I’m convinced I’m living on the wrong side of Earth. You know, the side that’s oh-so-boring while fairytales come alive on the other side? But wait, I live on the equator. So I can’t technically be on the wrong side. But really, I wish I live in Europe now, after seeing all the beautiful towns you have been to. #CityTripping

  32. We are traveling in Europe (Prague) right now and will be visiting Rothenburg Or der Tauber for two nights next week. We are very excited! Thank you for your blog as it has provided some additional details and idead that will be helpful.

    One question, however. I had read that Rothenburg was damaged during WWII but no where near 80%. I had read it was about 30% but much of it was spared as the American commander charged with taking the town negotiated a battleless surrender and withdrawal from the German commander. This allowed the well known, historical town to be spared most of the carnage.

    I would be interested on insight from others that have visited to know if this was indeed the case.

  33. Another pretty town. Beautiful photos!

  34. What a stunning town – incredibly picturesque. It’s interesting to think how events so terrible at the time, like war and plague, have resulted in somewhere so lovely. #citytripping

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