What Are the Top Things to Do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber?
This post on the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber was written in collaboration with Rothenburg Tourismus.
When you first arrive in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, you might think you’ve been there before. Indeed, many Hollywood classics have been inspired by the town’s typical medieval architecture.
Already in 1940, Walt Disney’s Pinocchio featured the slightly tilted yellow half-timbered house at Plönlein. Parts of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) were also filmed here.
And more recently, although they didn’t end up using it, the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows production team also shot aerial footage in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
In summer like in winter, the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber are almost endless. I was fortunate enough to experience the Christmas season in Rothenburg last year, so as you can imagine, I was thrilled to be able to complete the picture and return in July to explore more of the iconic little city.
This blog post, therefore, will focus on 28 Rothenburg summer highlights as shared with me by locals, from nature escapes to vegan bars.
Want a bit of background information on Rothenburg’s fascinating history? Check out this post.
Where to Stay in Rothenburg
If you want to be close to all of the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber this summer, a hotel in the Old Town is a strategic choice.
I loved my stay at the Reichsküchenmeister, a gorgeous heritage property in typical half-timbered style. It didn’t take long for me to see why this hotel won the prestigious Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Award two years running.
Oozing ambiance, the Reichsküchenmeister combines historic elements (like wood panelling and artfully forged staircase banister) with modern features (like a state-of-the-art wellness area).
My room was spacious and sunny, offering views over some of Rothenburg’s icons like the Church of St. James. It was quite an experience to open my window and be at “eye level” with the half-timbered home across the street, too!
Unmissable Rothenburg Sights
Of course, if this is your first time visiting, some of the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber include admiring the city’s iconic sights. So you’ll find a short guide below to the ones you simply can’t miss – and you probably will stumble upon anyway!
The City Hall’s Viewing Platform (Rathaus Turm)
Rothenburg’s Tower Trail
While at Market Square, be sure to stop by the tourist office to pick up your copy of the Tower Trail. This guide available in German and English enables you to discover some of the 42 still preserved historic towers in Old Town and includes descriptions of 22 paths and sights along the way.
Viewing Platform at Röder Tower
Explore Rothenburg’s Iconic Cobblestone Streets
Medieval Crime and Justice Museum
Christmas Museum and Shop
One of the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber? Celebrate Christmas in July!
Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village
Eco-Friendly Things to Do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Guide Valley Bike Tours
Vintage E-Car Tour
Exploring Rothenburg’s Beautiful Surroundings
Rothenburg’s medieval streets and legends may draw you to the area, but the surroundings are well worth exploring if you’d like to add a bit of nature to your holiday. Best of all, these top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber are within a 20-minute walk of the Old Town.
Was it ever a dream of yours to have a little castle tower in your back garden? The owners of one property on the outskirts of Rothenburg were so lucky. Toppler Schlößchen, built in 1388 and once inhabited by the town mayor, watches over a beautiful private garden still today.
If you’d like to have your Rapunzel moment, you can visit the tiny castle (potentially the smallest in the world) by booking a tour in advance.
Old Town Views from the Valley
Walking Trails Near Rothenburg
At the crossroads of several important European pilgrim routes, Rothenburg is surrounded by walking trails. You won’t have to go far to hit the walking (and cycling) paths that zigzag around town, definitely considered some of the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber by active holidaymakers.
In fact, you can wander straight from Market Square into the Tauber Valley. Within minutes, you’ll be immersed in a completely different world – and you’ll understand why Rothenburg is set on what is called Germany’s Romantic Road.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber’s Culinary Delights
Not only does Rothenburg harbour architectural wonders and natural oases, but it is quite the foodie destination. While traditional Bavarian fare is served in ambiance-rich taverns, enticing healthy options are also readily available.
Traditional Franconian Cuisine
Doubling up as a 4-start hotel, Reichsküchemeister is a local institution – patrons the region over visit this lovely restaurant to get their fix of schnitzel and spätzle, as well as more unique entrees like their signature baked cheeses.
As you might expect from the name, this restaurant serves Bavarian classics, but that’s not all! A few unexpecteds made it on the menu and were so popular that they stayed, season after season. One of these is the Malayasian dish nasi goreng – which was delicious, by the way!
Cafe Schwanne is your go-to in Rothenburg for homemade sausages, which you can enjoy on a sun-soaked terrace just beyond the town’s fortifications.
Biergarten Unter den Linden
While the three restaurants mentioned above are located directly in the Old Town, Under den Linden is at the Tauber River’s edge, down in the Valley (but only a 10-minute walk from Market Square). This Biergarten is popular with local families, as kids can wade in the shallow waters while parents relax with a beer or coffee.
Summer Drinks in Rothenburg
This summer, some of the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber involve staying hydrated at these trendy cafes and bars!
5 cafes and bars in Rothenburg came up with the idea to create their own seasonal take on the famous Aperol Spritz drink, which they are serving throughout the summer. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are available.
While you’re definitely very welcome to check out each hotspot on your own, tours ferrying you from one to the other also take place.
Landwehrbräu am Turm
Landwehrbräu am Turm is a biergarten – with a twist. Here, you can expect vegan and vegetarian cuisine alongside your drinks. As for this establishment’s summer spritz, it is infused with lemon balm – perfectly refreshing after a day of exploring.
In this lovely cafe’s outdoor seating area, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of drinks, including their signature summer spritz (or lemonade) with homegrown aromatic herbs. The local hotspot also hosts a variety of events, from live music to art nights.
The ideal spot for a hearty breakfast or light lunch, Cafe Einzigartig emanates vintage, whimsical flair. It’s almost like stepping into someone’s living room and hanging out there for a few hours. As for this Rothenburg staple’s seasonal drink, you’ll be able to try a Grapefruit Lillet spritz.
Mentioned above for its cuisine, Bayerischer Hof is also taking part in Rothenburg’s Spritz summer. This establishment’s spritz is beer-based, staying true to its Bavarian roots.
Last but most certainly not least, Mucho Amor is Rothenburg’s vegan cocktail bar, owned by a local who travelled around the world before opening a sleek venue in his hometown. The unique, fruity drinks are sure to be a hit.
Rothenburg Should Be On Your Germany Summer Bucket List
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of those destinations that strikes the imagination in so many different ways.
You can easily pretend that you’re taking a stroll centuries back in time. Or perhaps, you’ll feel miles from civilization as you explore nature around town, safe in the knowledge that Market Square is moments away.
And, as we’ve seen, you’ll be able to sample gastronomic highlights that will take your tastebuds on a trip of their own.
Of all the top things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber this summer, the only question that remains is where to start!