When I was in Nuremberg years ago, I found out too late about Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a town that looked like straight out of a fairytale. Ever since then I have always wanted to see it but never get a chance to until…..now! I have a spare day in Prague and originally, I was planning to make a day trip to Dresden but photos of Rothenburg ob der Tauber keep popping up in Instagram. I searched from Prague to Rothenburg ob der Tauber is 3 hours 40 minutes by car and I thought it’s doable; it’s closer than from Boston to New York! I told Jason about the idea and he didn’t reject 😉
Early in the rainy morning, we took the train and then bus back to Prague airport to pick up our rental car. I always make the reservation through AutoEurope.com as much as possible since they have really good service and we can pay in full so we don’t need to double check rates and all those fine prints at the rental office. The rental company is Europcar which we rented a few times with so they are reliable as well. The only extra charge was the €42,35 for the “Greencard insurance” to take the car outside Czech Republic. The way from Prague to Rothenburg ob der Tauber is pretty straightforward and as soon as we entered Germany, we were right on the autobahn that the speed limit in the GPS turned into an infinite loop haha! It was Jason’s first time driving on the autobahn and poor him that we have a compact car that couldn’t even push past 197 km/hr LOL. There was no traffic and no toll but once we got off the exit, the road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber was closed URG! We were forced to get back on the autobahn, re-route and wasted 20 extra minutes.
Once we finally get to the medieval town entrance, the GPS was pointing us to enter this cobblestone bridge and gate that barely fit a car! We thought it was pedestrian only so we turned around and waited for the GPS to re-route. Then, we saw a car driving out so hum…it must be the way in; it was so narrow!!! Our hotel, Hotel Goldener Hirsch, is right near the entrance and next to the most photographed spot – Plönlein. We arrived before noon and I walked into the hotel to ask for the direction to the hotel’s private parking lot which is around the corner street. I also asked about my package that was delivered to the hotel days before my arrival, the reception lady said the package is in the room already. I asked if I can go in the room to get it so I can mail it back home? She said no, check-in time is 3 pm! She was really insisting that I can’t access the room before 3 pm urg if the package is already in the room that means the previous guests had checked out already right? I had no luck with the negotiation so I walked back to the car and showed Jason the way to the parking lot. I Googled that the post office closes at 4 PM so we can have lunch, explore the town a little, then come back by 3 to check-in, get the package, and then mail it. That’s the plan!
For lunch, I found an Italian restaurant – Michelangelo because for dinner I already made a reservation at the most famous restaurant in town – Zur Holl for its German cuisine so I wanted something different for lunch. We ordered steamed mussels and seafood spaghetti. The mussels were fresh and I love the spicy sauce! I never have mussels with that type of spicy sauce yum. And the seafood spaghetti was surprisingly good so I highly recommend this restaurant!
Our lunch only cost €41.90! After the filling lunch, it was time to burn some calories by walking around the town via the Old Town Walls. Best of all, it’s free!
Up on the City Wall, you’ll see cute houses like this one!
And a few towers to get yourself oriented.
A tree with full of berries:
After 10 minutes of walk or so, the view was the same and no more cute houses so we walked down back into the town.
One of the towers of the city wall:
This roof looked like with many eyes, don’t you think?
Are those two backpackers???
Look at this pear tree growing along the wall!
In Rothenburg ob der Tauber, there’s no storage of beautifully hanging unique signs!
The pastel-colored houses and some half-timbered houses made this town looked adorable.
There are many souvenir shops very well decorated like this one.
An antique shop where Jason bought a pewter cup that weighted like few pounds.
We were there in early September and not overcrowded by tourists so it was awesome except for the gray sky.
Another lovely cafe:
Endless rows of pastel-colored houses…
More cute signs…
And then the most photographed spot – Plönlein! Weather was still looking bad so we went to the parking lot to take our luggage to check-in.
The most beautiful sign is our hotel’s!
After the check-in, we quickly dropped off our luggage, took the tripod and my package of Avon day creams and went to the post office to mail it home. Shipping cost €35 which the total price was still cheaper than buying those day creams back home so mission accomplished 😀 Now all the time we have to explore this colorful town and take photos of it.
Look at how many different signs I took, they are just too pretty to not take a photo of!
We walked to the square where Rathaus (Town Hall) is located. So many beautiful half-timbered houses there.
Rathaus Town Hall:
Without a map, we just walk around exploring the side streets; Rothenburg ob der Tauber is big enough to explore in few hours and not get lost without a map! The houses in the town are cute and beautiful, every corner is postcard perfect.
Another city wall tower that we saw.
This square is very beautiful too that I saw many postcards were taken here as well.
This street was not as busy so we set up the tripod to take photos of us.
This entrance was a challenge as cars turn into this road every few seconds.
Back to the city hall square and more photographs.
This antique car with giftboxes on the top made it look look it’s Christmas season already.
Then it started to rain 🙁
Luckily, it was just a quick passing rain so it did not distrub our plan.
We walked out of the city gate to a garden-like open area.
It was not as interesting as the town itself so we walked back to check out more cute houses.
If you are looking for Christmas shopping, Rothenburg ob der Tauber will not disappoint!
We decided to climb the city hall tower and we made it before they close so we were the last visitors. The last section was so challenging that if you have any mobility problem, it is not recommended! It was worth the climb with views like this:
Those houses looked so unreal!
This is how narrow it is up there so only one-way traffic to go around the loop of the tower.
Space is really tight….like this…
You pay the lady up here and this was the most challenging part that I said – that stair was very steep, narrow, and you need to climb out this narrow opening! Even Jason said it was challenging!
When we got back down from the tower, there were tour groups at the square. Those different colored houses looked super cute!
Beautiful hotel entrance:
Then, I felt my arms getting warm…OMG…the sun came out!!! The sky cleared out just like that and we actually get to see the blue sky after 3 days of our trip! We quickly set up the tripod and snap photos of us!
Next stop, back to the city hall square and still lots of tour groups so we went to the side streets to that beautiful square that we took photos earlier to retake the photos with sunshine.
See the difference the sunshine made on the colors?
The colors of those houses at the city hall square really brighten!
No time wasted, we walked back to Plönlein!
Ta-da!!! Isn’t this so beautiful with the colors?
It was a popular photo spot so some wait required!
And people were just photobombing……
We took out the LensBall, courtesy of https://www.lensball.com/ to take upside-down-reflection photos. It is a very fun gadget to take creative photos with, you can get 15% off your order with my code: MISSVACATIONTRAVEL15 🙂
This is like a fairytale dream come true…after all these years, I finally made it to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the sun made its appearance for me to take my dream photos!
The main street filled with colorful shops, beautifully decors, and the signs. I wondered how this street would look during Christmas time, must be magical!
I made a reservation at the most famous restaurant in town – Zur Holl at 5:30 PM so we can eat and then take sunset photos. This traditional German restaurant is fully booked so a reservation is required!
We ordered the shrimps, it was tasty but I preferred our asian style salt and pepper shrimp more.
Their charcoal grilled steak was very good and juicy.
It was so busy that it did take a while for the waiter to deliver our bill – €42.90 cash only. After we paid, we walked back to the main street again toward Plönlein. There was no longer sunshine and blue sky 🙁
Also, don’t forget to try out the Schneeballen -a shortcrust pastry that is popular in Rothenburg ob der Tauber but we were too concentrated on taking photos that we didn’t get a chance to try it out.
When the lights turned on, it added a mystery atmosphere to this hotel entrance.
As well as the sign…
It’s a Chinese restaurant and hotel :O
More colorful houses on the back of the city hall square, this area looked more residental. Jason said if he has a full day in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, he will grab a map and visit every single street inside the city wall!
We made it back to Plönlein for the blue hour and a few people with tripods were there taking night photos as well. Doesn’t this look magical? Now, looking at the photos, I want to go back during Christmas time to experience it!
Window shopping…just look at those beautifully decorated window displays!
Back to the city hall square where those half-timbered houses lit up.
The tour groups were gone and we got the whole fairytale town to ourselves (almost)!
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is so beautiful day and night so totally worth the drive and staying an overnight here!
More pretty window displays.
Those houses are so expensive so we didn’t get one home to add to our collection. The ones we bought in Colmar were much cheaper.
And this sausage shop hahaha!
We literally were out walking around the cute little town for 6+ hours and got back to our hotel at 9 pm. Our room is clean and modern looking which is one of the reason I picked this hotel for $114 a night.
I was super glad that I was able to fit Rothenburg ob der Tauber in this trip that I finally get to see and experience it. It is really a charming town, super photogenic, words couldn’t describe the fairytale-ness of it so you need to be there to see it yourself. Staying overnight for those magical night photos and avoid the daytrippers and tour groups!
4 thoughts on “Finally, The Fairytale Town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber”
I was so excited to see this post. My husband and I are going there next December and I cannot wait. Your photos were gorgeous, especially the twilight images. It looks like a dream. Thank you for sharing.
Ahhh lucky you, it’ll be more magical filled with Christmas lights and decors!
Wow so many beautiful places to see. Your photos are gorgeous. Rothenburg was on my radar too, on my last trip I was in Frankfurt and had Munich as my next stop.. it would have been easier to do the 3 places, but I had such a hard time deciding between Colmar/Eguisheim and Rothenburg.. I went with the former. I dont regret it, and some of your first pictures reminds me of Eguisheim which was so very charming too. ‘Sigh’ .. you see some you miss some. Maybe some other time, Christmas would really be interesting there.
Ahh between Colmar/Eguisheim and Rothenburg, it would be a hard choice for me as well! Let’s hope we’ll have an chance to go back during Christmas time!