The Old Town

Explore the well-preserved, medieval old town with its charming half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets.

The Old Town

The Old Town

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, often simply referred to as Rothenburg, is the quinessential representation of old Germany. Filled with narrow, winding, cobblestone streets, charming half-timbered houses, distinct towers, and preserved medieval structures, this place boasts a setting that could well be pulled right out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale. The Old Town is the hub of the attractions shaping up all this quaint charm and history.

Once you step inside the Old Town of Rothenburg, you are essentially taking a step back in time. The well-preserved city walls that surround the town offer a 2.5 km walk with fantastic panoramic views of the town and the surrounding Tauber Valley. Walk around the picturesque squares like the Marktplatz and Kirchplatz, lined with beautifully restored timber-framed houses. These half-timbered houses have a timeless beauty, with their structures showing a blend of Renaissance and Baroque architectural influences.

The Plönlein, a small triangular square with a fountain, is perhaps the most photographed spot in Rothenburg. Its frame of half-timbered houses, an ancient tower, and cobbled streets offer a postcard-perfect scene that is synonymous with Rothenburg. Not to be missed is the Rathaus (Town Hall), a magnificent Renaissance building with an impressive tower that offers breathtaking views, especially at sunset.

No visit to the Old Town would be complete without stopping by its most significant churches. The St. Jacob's Church is the most prominent in town, housing a precious 500-year-old altarpiece by Tilman Riemenschneider. The Holy Blood Altar art piece is an exquisite example of woodcarving from the Middle Ages. The Church of St. Wolfgang, with its distinctive church-in-church architecture, is another vital religious site to visit.

One of the most intriguing spots in the Old Town is the Medieval Crime Museum, the only one of its kind in Europe. It provides a grim but fascinating insight into the judiciary, law, and criminal punishment in the Middle Ages and early modern times. The Imperial City Museum, housed in a former Dominican convent, offers another engrossing journey into the past, focusing on Rothenburg's history and culture.

Käthe Wohlfahrt's Christmas Village is a magnet not only for Christmas enthusiasts but for all lovers of enchanting things. The store itself feels like a giant Christmas tree, full of ornaments, decorations, and all kinds of adornments for the festive season. And yes, it is open all year round. Alternatively, if you are interested in dolls and toys, the Doll and Toy Museum with over a thousand exhibits would be worth your time.

The night watchman tour is a must-do experience in the Old Town, especially for first-time visitors. The guide, dressed as the medieval night watchman, leads the group through the dark alleyways, telling fascinating and sometimes eerie tales of Rothenburg's past. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the tour certainly adds an extra layer of charm to the town.

The Old Town might tempt you into continuous exploration, but do remember to take some time to sit down, relax, and enjoy the local cuisine, especially in the outdoor cafes in market square. Try a Schneeball, a local pastry, or enjoy a hearty traditional German meal. Paired with a cold German beer, it's an excellent way to take a break and watch the world go by in the enchanting surroundings.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Old Town brings a unique harmony of history, architecture, and culture that captivates every visitor. It's no wonder that many consider it to be among the most beautiful old towns in Europe. Whether you are up for exploring every nook and cranny, immersing yourself in its historical charm, or simply soaking in its fairytale-like ambiance, this magical Old Town will leave you with unforgettable memories.