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A Christmas Time Day Trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

July 7, 2024

On a Christmas time day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber you will explore the enchanting Christmas market and medieval charm of this small Bavarian town.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval town in Bavaria, Germany, is renowned for its well-preserved architecture and history dating back to the 12th century.

A Christmas time day trip to this quaint town feels like stepping into a winter wonderland, with its medieval streets beautifully adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations.

The enchanting Christmas market, nestled in the town square, offers a magical experience with its charming stalls, delicious treats, and heartwarming holiday spirit.

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My husband and I visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber as a day trip from Nuremberg during our Germany Christmas Market vacation in December 2023.

You can read all my travel tips for visiting the Nuremberg Christmas Market here and also the Munich Christmas Market here.

In a rush?

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How to Get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Traveling to Rothenburg ob der Tauber from Nuremberg is easy by train, with a journey time of about 1.5 to 2 hours, including a transfer in either Steinach or Ansbach. Check prices and times and book your tickets online at Bahn.com.

Alternatively, you can drive directly via the A7 and B470 highways, taking approximately 1.5 hours. There is a large paid parking lot right outside the town walls that if you arrive early in the day should have available parking.

We chose to hire a private driver arranged through our Nuremberg hotel with the company called LiMotion (linked directly here) and loved this option.

Our driver was extremely knowledgeable about the Bavarian countryside we were driving through to get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber as well as friendly and entertaining ;).

And once we arrived in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we loved our driver’s demeanor and knowledge so much, we asked him to spend the day with us showing us around (of course my menopause brain is blanking on his first name but hopefully when it eventually comes back to me – I can add his name here ;0).

I have also used the company Daytrip for many day trips including our day trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle on this same trip that you can read here.

Another option for hiring a driver for a day would be the Blacklane App. This app is quite reliable and the cars are always high end luxury (ahem comfortable)!

We have used this worldwide option for the majority of our airport/hotel transfers when we travel for the last few years and have been very happy with their services.

How Much Time Do You Need in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Our driver picked us up at our Nuremberg hotel, Karl August, at 10am.

We were out of the car starting our Rothenburg ob der Tauber exploring by 11:30am and got back in the car to drive back to Nuremberg by 3pm.

We did not sit down for any meals however enjoyed many food options at the Christmas market (see below).

This 3.5 hours in Rothenburg ob der Tauber was plenty to wander the streets as well as enjoy the food and festivities of the market.

However, if you want to sit down for a meal or spend any time in any of the museums in town (we did not go inside any museums), I would allow an additional couple of hours.

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If you are thinking an overnight in Rothenburg ob der Tauber would work into your itinerary – The Burg Hotel looked so quaint and is ideally located ;).

What to See and Do

Use this link to open the above map in Google Maps…

Siebers Tower and the Plönlein

Siebers Tower, built in 1385, and the Plönlein, a picturesque triangular square, are iconic historical landmarks that capture the medieval charm of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

They are the most photographed location in town and if coming from the train station or one of the parking lots out of the city, will be the first archway you walk through to enter Old Town.

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The Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a magical experience, with twinkling lights and festive decorations adorning the medieval streets.

Visitors can enjoy traditional treats like mulled wine and gingerbread while browsing handcrafted gifts and ornaments.

The market has 54 wooden stalls and is open every day from the Friday before the 1st day of Advent until December 23rd.

The mulled wine, pretzels, and sausage sandwiches were our absolute favorite treats at this market.

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Ratstrinkstube Clock Tower Show

The Ratstrinkstube clock tower comes to life every hour with a show featuring mechanical figures that reenact the legend of the heroic mayor who saved his town by drinking a gallon of wine.

This delightful spectacle, set against the backdrop of the town’s medieval architecture, adds a touch of magic to the Christmas atmosphere.

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Castle Gate and Garden

For some reason, on the day we visited (which also happened to be the first day of the Christmas market in 2023) everyone that was in town with us seemed to stick to the area around the Christmas market.

So when our driver (unnamed at publish time) brought us along side streets to Castle Gate and Garden, we had the entire place to our selves.

The Castle Garden offers breathtaking views of the Tauber Valley, providing a serene escape perfect for a leisurely holiday stroll.

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Get Lost in the Medieval Streets

The cobblestone streets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber when adorned with festive decorations create a joyful ambiance perfect for a leisurely winter walk.

And FYI – Rothenburg ob der Tauber is pretty small and you would be hard pressed to actually ‘get lost’ in it’s Old Town area but it’s still a fun thing to attempt ;0.

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Herrnbrunnen

Herrnbrunnen, a charming Renaissance fountain located in the heart of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, adds to the town’s festive ambiance with its beautifully decorated surroundings.

The fountain, a popular gathering spot, becomes even more enchanting during the Christmas season as it glistens with twinkling lights and holiday decorations.

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St Jacob’s Church

The Church of St. James (also known as St Jacob’s Church) is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, famous for its intricate wood-carved altarpiece by Tilman Riemenschneider.

Inside, the church’s serene ambiance and beautiful stained glass windows create a perfect setting for quiet reflection during the festive season.

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The Käthe Wohlfahrt Store

The flagship shop for Käthe Wohlfahrt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is filled with an incredible quantity of Christmas decorations and ornaments.

Its festive displays make it a must-visit destination for holiday enthusiasts.

But be warned – it can get CROWDED in the holiday season (actually I imagine in every season but I can only speak first hand for the holidays ;0).

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Eat a Schneeball

Schneeball, a local pastry only available in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, is a ball-shaped treat made of shortcrust dough, dusted with powdered sugar or covered in chocolate.

These crunchy confections are a festive local favorite and should be tried while visiting the town (we were not huge fans of the flavor but were excited to try them!).

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Our Full Germany Itinerary Day to Day Overview

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DAY 1 | Leave for Munich from San Diego on Lufthansa nonstop

DAY 2 | Arrival in Munich at 1pm local time, check in to Rosewood Munich, eat dinner at Residenz Christmas Village

DAY 3 | Munich: Marienplatz, lunch at Schneider Brauhaus, walk to Eisbach River to watch surfers, Tucher Park, tour Residenz Palace Museum, dinner at Augustiner am Dom

DAY 4 | Munich: Flytographer photo shoot, Glockenspiel show, Sendlinger Tor, Asamkirche, St Peter’s Church, Viktualienmarkt, dinner at Marienplatz Christkindlmarkt

DAY 5 | Day trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle and Füssen

DAY 6 | Travel via train to Nuremberg (1 hour)

DAY 7 | Nuremberg

DAY 8 | Day trip from Nuremberg to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

DAY 9 | Nuremberg

DAY 10 | Bonus day in Nuremberg due to blizzard closing Munich airport

DAY 11 | Fly home to San Diego from Munich

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What to Wear in Germany in Winter

Because the majority of your time will be spent outdoors and often times in the evening once the sun goes down and it is much colder, I would suggest a warm coat, hats, scarves, mittens, etc!

I bought this red coat that I felt so festive in when I wore it however on the days that dipped below 30° – I was definitely in my warmer parka which was the case for our day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber ;0.

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Luckily the mulled wine at the Christmas market was helpful in warming us up as well ;0.

This cheery red windowpane scarf was a favorite too – especially since my cold weather accessories are really all that can be seen in any photos we took…

I hope this guide has inspired you to do a Christmas time day trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

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Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers a magical Christmas experience with its charming medieval streets and festive atmosphere.

It’s the perfect day trip destination for creating unforgettable holiday memories.

Did you find this post useful? Pin it to your boards – just click the Pin button in the upper right corner!

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Oh Christmas isn’t just a day,

It’s a frame of mind.

~ Miracle on 34th Street

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Have a wonderful day my friend! I hope something makes you smile today ;).

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