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Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a well-preserved medieval town in Bavaria in the south of Germany and is a popular stop on the Romantic Road. I think many us find it tempting to do day trips when we travel, so that we can see as much as possible, but I personally think you will enjoy your visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber if you spend at least a couple of nights here.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a great place to visit with children. It’s a small town so you can easily walk around with children. It only takes about 15 minutes to get from one end of the town to the other for an adult. But because this gem is well on the tourist track, it does get quite busy during the day. Fortunately, our hotel was within the city walls, so we were able to enjoy a peaceful Rothenburg in the mornings and evenings.
Take note though that like many European towns, it is full of cobblestones, so it is a bumpy ride with a stroller unless you have one with big wheels. Our kids never minded the bumps and would often fall asleep to the rocking.
1. Walled Town
It is a walled town and while parts of the walls were bombed in WWII, they have been rebuilt thanks to donations from all over the world. You can quite comfortably walk the tops of them as they are covered. The spaces can get tight, so this might be best if all your children are a bit older and can walk on their own. There are several areas where you can enter and exit the wall, so you don’t have to do all of it! Here's a list of the city gates that you can explore.
2. Rathausturn (Town Hall Tower)
For a small fee, it’s worth climbing the 200+ steps to get an amazing view of Rothenburg and the Tauber valley. Of course, the practicality of this will depend on the ages and ability of your little feet companions.
3. St. Jakob’s Church
A Lutheran church from the 1400’s that has an elaborate woodcarving of the Last Supper by a famous German woodcarver, Tilman Reimenschneider. It also has beautiful stained glass windows.
4. Medieval Crime Museum
For older children, there is a famous medieval crime museum in the town. It features medieval weapons and devices used for punishment and torture. There is also an excellent exhibition dedicated to Martin Luther and witches. While this type of museum is suitable for teenage children and tweens, you will have to decide how your younger children will respond to it. Our kids were quite young at the time, so we gave it a miss, but it would be an interesting and informative experience for school age children.
5. Christmas time and the Christmas Museum
If you can manage to come to Rothenburg in December be prepared to be enchanted! The city transforms itself as it hosts one of Germany’s most famous Christmas Markets- Reiterlesmarkt. You will feel as though you have entered a fairy tale full of twinkling lights and Christmas cheer. Luckily, Rothenburg is famous for its many shops that sell traditional Christmas decorations (so save some room in the suitcase).One of these shops, the famous Käthes Spielzeugladen, is also host to a Christmas museum so no matter when you come, you can experience a bit of a German Christmas. The giant wooden Nutcracker soldier that stands guard outside the shop also makes for a fun photo.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is famous for its traditional Christmas ornaments and there are numerous shops dedicated to selling them year round. There are also some very lovely toy shops such as Teddys and Teddyland which are both dedicated to teddy bears and let me say they are not just for kids.
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