Germany’s Fairytale Town: Rothenburg
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is an absolutely enchanting little town in Bavaria, Germany. It is known for its well-preserved medieval old town – an ever-popular destination for tourists from around the world. I fell in love with this little town from the very first moment that we stepped into the old town walls.
Rothenburg was a Free Imperial City from the late Middle Ages to 1803. These days it is part of the popular Romantic Road through southern Germany. In the Middle Ages, Rothenburg was Germany’s second-largest city, with a population of only 6,000. Today, it is the country’s most exciting medieval town. Although it is tremendously popular with tourists, it hasn’t lost any of its charm. There are thousands of years of history packed between its cobbled streets.
Our First German Adventure
When we arrived in Vilseck, we were warmly welcomed by family. They took us in, lavished us with amazing food and wine, and made us feel like we were their children. Our stop with them was SO REFRESHING that we found it really hard to want to leave and go exploring.
Not wanting to kick ourselves for missing one of Germany’s most picturesque town’s, we tore ourselves away from the house the following day. Of course after a day of exploration, there was a full cooked meal, our clean laundry on our bed, and big smiles waiting back at the house. What a blessing!
Since we only had a few hours in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we spent most of our time just wandering around aimlessly. We tried a couple “schneeballen”, and later grabbed a doner kebab and a cold beer. While Justin and Eli waited in the main square, I climbed the clock tower, to see the views of the the town.
“Red fortress above the Tauber”
The name “Rothenburg ob der Tauber” means, in German, “Red fortress above the Tauber”. This is so because the town is located on a plateau overlooking the Tauber River. As to the name “Rothenburg”, some say it comes from the German words rot (red) and burg (burgh, medieval fortified settlement), referring to the red colour of the roofs of the houses which overlook the river.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
TRAVEL TIP: Rothenburg is one of Germany’s best shopping towns. Shop all you want here, and then have your souvenirs and gifts mailed home. What a bonus for those who are not just visiting Germany. Lovely prints, carvings, wine glasses, Christmas-tree ornaments, and beer steins are all popular.
Above, The Käthe Wohlfahrt store is a German company that sells Christmas decorations and articles. It’s head office is right here in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It therefore quite fitting to buy Christmas ornaments here! Don’t worry about what month of the year it is, because there are Christmas decorations available every month of the year in Germany!
Street Food: The German Döner Kebab
Since most people think of a juicy bratwurst as a typical German street food, it’s easy to overlook an even more popular option for street-side dining: the döner kebab, a Turkish halal sandwich/ wrap similar.
First brought to Berlin by Turkish immigrants in the 1970s, the grilled meat snack that comes wrapped in a pita bread with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions and different dressings, is now being sold everywhere in Germany from the Baltic Sea to the Bavarian Alps.
We bought two döner kebabs, a portion of fries, and two cold beers, and then sat in the shade to re-energize. It wasn’t as though we were burning a lot of fuel, but more that we wanted to sit down and just look around. There wasn’t a single cobbled side street that wasn’t appealing, so it wasn’t hard to find a place to settle.
Spend the Night
To avoid the massive crows of “day-trippers”, it is advised to spend the night in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. While 2.5 million people visit each year, a mere 500,000 book into a hotel room. It is a dream of mine to revisit this city, and stay the night. I can only imagine how magical these deserted moonlit streets would be!
Take note: There are several “Rothenburgs” in Germany. Do make sure that you are going to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (on the Tauber River). Many people had found themselves in the wrong Rothenburg, and although still beautiful, they don’t compare to this little gem!