Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas
Germany 400AD-1400AD-Middle Ages Europe

Rothenburg ob der Tauber – fairy tales and Christmas

November 18, 2018
LocationAnsbach, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Germany, Europe
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is at the crossing of two of Germany’s most popular holiday-themed routes:
  • The Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) is the best-known German vacation route. The Romantic Road connects many enchanting sights mostly in Bavaria from Würzburg with its UNESCO World Cultural Heritage-listed Baroque Residence Palace to the Disney-like, Neo-Romanesque Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps.
  • The Castles Road (Burgenstraße) is equally popular and passes by many historic castles, fortresses, and palaces from Mannheim via Heidelberg, Rothenburg, and Nuremberg to Prague in the Czech Republic.
Getting thereAlthough slightly off major modern trade routes, transportation to Rothenburg ob der Tauber is easy by car, train, or bus from other major centers in Germany such as Frankfurt am Main, Heidelberg, Nuremberg (Nürnberg), and Munich (München)

By train:
  • Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof – 2h30 to 3h00
  • Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) – 2h45 to 3h15
  • Würzburg – 1h10
  • Nuremberg (Nürnberg) – 1h10 to 1h50
  • Munich (München) – 2h30 to 3h30
  • Heidelberg – 4h00

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is on Romantic Road

Rothenburg ob der Tauber (or Rothenburg) is a town on the Romantic Road in Bavaria, Germany, about halfway in between Frankfurt and Munich.

There are several “Rothenburgs” in Germany. Make sure you plan for Rothenburg ob der Tauber (on the Tauber River).

It is well known for its well-preserved medieval old town, a destination for tourists from around the world.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and ChristmasRothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

The red fortress above the Tauber

The name “Rothenburg ob der Tauber” means, in German, “The Red fortress above the Tauber”. This is so because the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River.

Rothenburg is one of Germany’s best shopping towns. You can buy prints, carvings, wine glasses, Christmas-tree ornaments.

If there’s a reason Rothenburg feels like a Disney movie, that’s because it inspired one. In any event, the fairytale-like town of Rothenburg served as the inspiration for the animated Disney film Pinocchio, as well as the location of the Vulgarian village scenes in 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Filming was also done in Rothenburg for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Rothenburg is popular with big bus tour groups, especially in the summer. Therefore, it is advised that you see the town in the morning or the evening when the bus crowds aren’t there.

Christmas in Rothenburg

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is especially busy during the Christmas season. It’s elaborately decorated and hosts the obligatory Christmas market with Glühwein, Germany’s seasonal mulled wine, along with delicious nibbles, and every kind of festive shop.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is home to a veritable Christmas Museum, Käthe Wohlfahrt. There is a shop and a museum. Both the shop and museum are open all year, which means you can get your ornaments whenever you want. Entering Käthe Wohlfahrt is like entering a fairytale. Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Walking will get you from one end of town to the other in about 15 min.

Driving is unnecessary and at times impossible; it is best to park the car outside the old city walls and walk.

Tourist attractions:

Christmas Museum, Käthe Wohlfahrt.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Market Square

Market Square (Marktplatz) is the center of urban life in Rothenburg. 
Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Town Hall Tower (Rathausturm)

The 50 m (165 ft) 13th century Town Hall Tower (Rathausturm) at the center of the Altstadt offers the best view of the area. It costs €2 (per adult) and takes 241 steps to get up.

The Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum (Kriminalmuseum)


The Plönlein, a few blocks south of the Market Square, offers a charming medieval sight.  The Plönlein is often referred to as one of the most photographed spots in Germany.Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

The Town Wall

The Town Wall encircles the city, giving the Altstadt the shape of ahead, with the nose – the Castle Garden – pointing west. The entry is free and offers a good vantage point to see the town.

St. Jakobskirche (Church of St. Jacob)

St. Jakobskirche (Church of St. Jacob), Klostergasse 15, north of the Market Square, contains a masterpiece by the famous Würzburg sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (ca. 1460-1531).Rothenburg ob der Tauber - fairy tales and Christmas

Other touristic attractions Nuremberg – features a delightful castle, old town, and the nazi party rally grounds
Würzburg – a university town with an impressive palace
Nördlingen – a beautiful medieval town in a meteorite crater surrounded by a 14th-century wall.