Admittedly, we were skeptical of whether there would be enough things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We thought it was going to be a lot smaller than it was. We considered making it a day trip from Munich or Nuremburg multiple times. We debated cutting it from our Christmas market itinerary completely. And, in our indecisive-ness, hotel rates shot up in both Munich and Nuremburg. Spending a night in Rothenburg ob der Tauber became a reality. And, we are so glad it did! In fact, we considered returning to Rothenburg and bypassing Munich altogether. (The food was that delicious.)
In March 2022, we returned to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and it was beautiful as beautiful as we remembered. I think a full trip to explore the romantic road is definitely necessary.
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Visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber
How Long to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
One thing I’ve learned on my European Christmas Market trips is that I usually want two or three nights in a place. Tom and I can get an overview of a city in two nights and three days. (It’s how we decide if we want to come back.) One night is great for a taste of the tourist attractions, but it always leaves me wanting more.
I think there are enough things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a two night / three day trip. Plenty of people do it as a day trip, but I think it is magical to stay there at least a day. (If you’re new here, I’m fairly anti-day trip.)
Getting To Rothenburg ob der Tauber & Parking
The most straightforward way to get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber is to drive. German roads are easy to navigate and well maintained. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is less than 2 hours from Frankfurt and about 2.5 hours from Munich.
A few weeks before our trip, I emailed the Klosterstuble regarding parking information. They promptly replied and shared that there is street parking available in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, but it is not able to be reserved. The parking pass is 10 euro. Despite being in town during what I would think would be a high-peak time, we were able to easily get parking near the hotel. We were also able to get parking near market square when we were doing some shopping on our last day.
It’s not hard, the streets are just smaller. (The smaller your rental car, the better.)
Where to Stay in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Book the Hotel Klosterstuble for your trip to the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Markets!Other Hotels I would book: BURGHOTEL ROTHENBURG or HERRNSCHLOSSCHEN OR Reichskuechenmeister
I spent a lot of time researching hotels in Rothenburg before our first trip. None of my typical travel guides covered hotels in Rothenburg. (The Rick Steves guide highly recommends this hotel, but the description really did not do it justice.) Many are small and since we needed two rooms, my options became more limited. We ended up booking the Hotel Klosterstuble, and I highly recommend it. I loved it so much that we booked it again in 2022. The staff was so friendly and accommodating – more than willing to carry my mom’s (very) heavy bags upstairs, offered to help my husband with our luggage, and ensured that we felt very welcome and comfortable.
Note: There is no elevator. Be prepared for stairs.
On our first trip, we booked a comfort double room and a junior suite. Both rooms were incredibly spacious. I think I loved my mom’s room more because it had huge windows that opened up to the town. Our room, however, would be great for families! It included a common area outside the room, a kitchen, and a sitting area. I should have grabbed pictures of my mom’s room, but I didn’t do it before she took over the room. #BloggerFail
The beds included the separate duvet covers that are typical for the area (and Austria). It also included a large blanket that covered the bed (not typical for the area). Thus, the linens are warm and cozy, especially in the winter. There is plenty of storage space throughout the room, so you could settle in for an extended stay if you are going to spend more than a night or two in the area. Rooms are very quiet; Rothenburg is very quiet in the evening.
The bathrooms are completely modern. Our junior suite included a stand-up shower with an overhead rain shower and a hand shower. Water pressure is great. Sundries are available in the shower. The vanity in the junior suite offers plenty of room for two people. There is a make up mirror and a hair dryer available.
On our March 2022 trip, we booked a standard double room. It was very comfortable. We had Room 3, which is a corner room that overlooks the church and the countryside.
They offered to add breakfast for 10 euro / night, but we aren’t typically breakfast people.
Things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Night Watchman Tour
Did you even go to Rothenburg if you don’t do the Night Watchman’s Tour? Seriously though, aside from dinner, there aren’t many other things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the evenings. You might as well do his tour. It’s cheap, it’s entertaining, and Rothenburg is absolutely bewitching after dark. (The 8:00 tour time ensures maximum 13th century effect in the winter.) It starts at the crossroads between the Old Town Hall and the New Town Hall.
If you can’t make the Night Watchman Tour, I’m sure the Imperial City Museum and the Medieval Crime Museum could provide the same information, though I suspect it would be less entertaining.
Christmas Museum // Kathe Wohlfahrt
If you’re anything like me and really into Christmas, you should go to the Christmas museum and Kathe Wohlfahrt. If you are pressed for time and/or really want to purchase souvenirs for your Christmas tree, go Kathe Wohlfahrt. Be ready to send EVERYTHING home. Not only is their expansive Christmas decor absolutely beautiful, but it is the most cost effective decor I’ve ever seen. (Except the table linens…. those were SO expensive. And SO beautiful.) I purchased a lot of Christmas ornaments (that TSA subsequently broke). Next time… I’ll ship them home.
The price is really fair for the quality of these ornaments. If you find things you like, purchase them here! (We hit up after Christmas sales in Munich, but Kathe Wohlfahrt was way better in terms of price and quality.)
Walk the Town Walls
The city walls of Rothenburg ob der Tauber are remarkably in tact. It’s fun to see the city from a different perspective, and it’s easy to imagine the what it must have been like during the 1400s. During the day, the walls offer a fantastic view of the countryside that you can’t see from the city.
At night, it’s easy to let your medieval imagination run wild, as if you are the Night Watchman.
Eat an Original Schneeballen
I’ll admit it. This IS touristy and I bought into the schneeballen goodness. (I’m sorry, I can’t resist pastry dough in any form.) But, dear reader, I also took one for the team and tried different schneeballen so that I could give you accurate assessment of this goodness. Here’s what I learned from these delicious dough balls:
- The original schneeballen (with powdered sugar) is the best schneeballen. While you may be tempted by cinnamon-sugar schneeballen or chocolate-covered schneeballen, some things are better left alone. The original schneeballen will never steer you wrong. (I found the chocolate schneeballen too rich. The cinnamon schneeballen tasted great on the surface… and plain dough on the inside.
- The best place to get an original schneeballen is at Diller Schneebalentraume Cafe. (The place across from this cafe was terrible. Consider yourself warned.) I thought their dough tasted more fresh and the flavors could be tasted all the way through, not just on the surface pieces.
Fraconian Wine Tasting
I found out about a 5-wine flight tasting at Glocke through the Rick Steves book, and it did not disappoint. They have a couple of different options – we went for the medium-dry and the specialty wine flights. I really enjoyed the ice wine.
Additionally, my mom found Meier and wanted to go there. It’s a short drive (no day trips required!) from Rothenburg ob der Tauber and allows you to see the beautiful countryside. It proved to be quite the adventure for us because they didn’t speak any English and we don’t speak much German! Through much tasting and more patience, however, we were able to come away with a white and a rose that we enjoyed throughout the rest of the trip. (I prefer the rose.)
Fun fact: Even if you don’t have a fridge in your room, the window sill works quite well for chilling wine and beer in winter.
Where to Eat in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Restaurant Alter Keller
Tucked in a small square far away from all the tourist crowds is Restaurant Alter Keller. This traditional restaurant is perfect for a cozy dinner. You’ll want to make a reservation in advance. They have two seatings: 5:30 and 7:30. Our waitress spoke perfect English and was happy to translate the menu if we had questions. They had a list of daily specials, including drinks, and a regular menu. (I loved the Mandarin Sprtiz.)
We opted for the tomahawk pork steak the schnitzel. Both were OUTSTANDING. I don’t think I’ve ever had pork that was so flavorful in my life. Seriously – the tomahawk was so delicious. Similarly, the schnitzel was one of my favorites I’ve ever had. It was so crisp and delicious.
Since we skipped a started, I had room for the apple strudel, which was served with fresh cream and ice cream. It was absolutely divine.
Overall, Alter Keller was an awesome meal and an absolutely lovely experience. Highly, highly recommend!
Profumo di Pasta da Giuseppe
Oh. My. Goodness. We didn’t mean to go here BUT I AM SO GLAD WE DID. Most of the restaurants on our list were only open for dinner so we found ourselves (stalking) Giuseppe before he opened. We didn’t have a reservation, but I think they took pity on the fact that we waited outside for 30 minutes in the rain and gave us a table. Oh Giuseppe, there’s nothing you make that one won’t enjoy. Italian food in Germany? Yep, Italian food in Germany. (We went back in March 2022. I was NOT disappointed.)
Let’s start with the bruschetta, shall we? The bruschetta is so fresh, I think that they must pluck the tomatoes and basil every morning morning. (I actually saw the cook pluck the basil right off the plant before serving it.) I’ve never had a bruschetta I enjoyed more than this one. Photos speak louder than words. (Food blogger, I am not. Food eater, I am that.) The carpaccio was also delightful (especially if you are a carpaccio fan) – my mom really enjoyed it. I was more focused on the bruschetta.
I ordered the arrabiata pasta. I was longing for something with a bit of a kick to it. (German food is delightful but sometimes a girl needs some spice in her life.) My mom ordered a pizza with prosciutto, olives, and salami. Tom ordered beer and tried a little bit of everything. There aren’t many pastas that I enjoy more than Guilo’s at Acquacheta in Montepulciano, but Giuseppe gives him a run for his money. My pasta was fresh and cooked perfectly. The big, thick noodles were exactly what I needed to warm up after waiting in the rain. The sauce was light, sweet yet tangy, and had a delicious bite to it. The pizza was very tasty as well, but I only have eyes for my arrabiata and the bruschetta. The fresh flavors were outstanding.
Service was friendly and helpful. The meal was leisurely and delicious. And I? I wouldn’t shut up about the pasta for the next 10 or so days. Seriously – if you have limited time, make a meal at Profumo di Pasta da Giuseppe at the top of your list of things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It doesn’t disappoint.
We needed a nightcap after the Night Watchman’s Tour, but most place near our hotel were closed for the night. (We missed Refugium 21 right in front of our faces.) If Gasthaus Wilden Mann in Salzburg met Gaston’s dining room (Beauty and the Beast), you would have ambiance and decor of Restaurant Burggartenpalais. Suffice it to say, my husband wants to redecorate.
Despite the late hour, the restaurant was more that willing to accommodate us for an easy end to our evening. I can confidently recommend the hot chocolate and amoretto as the perfect way to warm up. Service was lovely and we felt quite comfortable.
We arrived in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the middle of the day. Many of the restaurants were closed and wouldn’t re-open until dinner. Roma was one of the few places open through the midday. It’s one of the larger restaurants in Rothenburg, so if you find yourself without a reservation, they might have a seat for you. We split a spicy salami pizza and spaghetti agilo olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil), and it was more than enough food to hit the spot. I don’t even think I was able to finish my pasta. The food and flavors were fresh and service was friendly.
It was exactly what we needed at that point in time.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Markets
I definitely thought the Christmas Markets in Rothenburg would be one of the main things to do. It did feel like they were an aside compared to all the other things to do in Rothenburg. While I enjoyed walking around them (they had the most beautiful wineglasses I’ve ever seen) and the prices were good, there is plenty to do and see in Rothenburg without the Christmas markets. Prices were definitely better on the gift items, particularly the wooden toys for children. I loved the ambiance of these Christmas markets, but they weren’t my favorites, if that makes sense. The whole town has great ambiance for gemütlichkeit, which is a sort of warmth and coziness.
Ultimately, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the epitome of Christmas cheer and really shouldn’t be missed, regardless of the time of year!