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Bamberg or Rothenburg ob der Tauber

I have to make a decision as to which village/town we stay in....right now I have 2 reservations both for 2 nights. We will be there
Nov 13-15

  1. Bamberg 2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Initially we were going to Rothenburg, (night watchmen tour, ramparts, quaintness, etc.) but as I did more research Bamberg (biergarten, breweries, old town, etc.) looked like someplace we would really enjoy. I even thought about a night in each town but that seemed too rushed.

My other thought was to stay in Bamberg then stop in Rothenburg ,after we leave Bamberg, and do a couple of hours there on our way back to Stuttgart where we stay 1 night at the airport since we leave for home early morning.

Opinions are welcomed!

Posted by
6628 posts

It's unclear where you are starting from on Nov. 13, and unclear whether you are going by car or by train.

But if possible, I think a night in each place should work fine... you'd do best to arrive on the 13th in Bamberg somewhat early with the goal of spending most of your day there, as Bamberg definitely requires more time than Rothenburg.

On the 14th, you can spend some morning time in Bamberg as well if you need. Then head to Rothenburg in the afternoon for a night there. And some more time in R'burg the next morning on the 15th if you wish. Continue to STR in the afternoon if you have no further sightseeing goals there than your airport hotel.

This really does not seem rushed to me.

If you are traveling by train, you can use a cheap day pass on the regional trains for schedule flexibility as you move between Bamberg. Rothenburg and Stuttgart.

Bamberg > Rothenburg = appr. 2.3 hrs.
Rothenburg > Stuttgart = appr. 2.5 hrs.

Posted by
496 posts

I salute you because you did some great research of Germany.

As it happens, I visited both Bamberg and Rothenburg in 1996. I stayed in both towns for two or so days and one night. It was a 20- to 30-minute train ride between the two towns.

Though it's worth spending a night in each town, I believe Bamberg is the better option. It has as much charm as Rothenburg but fewer visitors. You could choose one town and use it as a base for both towns. However, as I say, a night in each town is worth it if you have the time.

You have three of the key checkoffs for Rothenburg, but I would add a few other things. See the Tilman Reimenschneider-carved altar in St. James Church and the Medieval Crime and Justice Museum. Also, there was a bierstube (bar or pub) that hosted an English-speaking club in the 1990s when I visited; unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the watering hole. If Rick mentions the club or bar in his guide, it's worth going to. It was a chance to meet locals who aren't trying to sell you something. I don't know if that club is still going. The bar that hosted it was something like 500 years old.

In Bamberg, there are a couple other things worth seeing, including the ETA Hoffman Museum in the middle of town, Bamberg Cathedral (also with a Reimenschneider-carved side altar), the beer brewing museum, the Residenz and other things.

ETA Hoffman was a writer who lived between the 1770s and 1820s. He wrote the original story that became the ballet and symphony The Nutcracker. He lived in Bamberg for four years.

And, you MIGHT be able to visit the palace of Claus Stauffenberg's family in Bamberg. Stauffenberg was the German officer who organized the plot that almost succeeded in assassinating Hitler in 1944. His family has a castle/palace in the Bamberg region. However, I didn't know about that when I visited 27 years ago. And I don't know if family allows tours of its properties. I'm keen on World War II history: My dad served in the U.S. Navy during the war.

Posted by
420 posts

I haven't been to Bamberg yet....although I'm scheduled to be there in about two weeks for a couple of nights. However, I spent two nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in September, 2019 and it was one of the highlights of my trip. I thought it was charming and so picturesque. My friends and I went on the Night Watchman's tour and highly recommend it. I definitely recommend spending the night in Rothenburg as opposed to a few hours, but if your schedule doesn't allow, I think you will still find it worthwhile.

Posted by
496 posts

An addendum to my post: I believe the train trip between Rothenburg and Bamberg was around an hour or so. Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by
32 posts

Thank you all for your input...
I should have mentioned we will be arriving in Stuttgart on Oct. 24th picking up our car on Oct. 26. Below is our itinerary - after reading the responses I am pretty much sold on the idea of 1 night in each place is what we should go for that way we can see 2 places that intrigued us.

10/23 - fly to Germany from So. California
10/24 arriving in Stuttgart - 2 nites
10/26- picking up car on driving to Boppard - 3 nites
10/29 - Bastogne, Belgium Band of Brothers tour - 1 nite
10/30 - Mettlach - 3 nites
11/2 - Gengenbach - 3 nites
11/5 - Garmish-Partenkirchen - 3 nites
11/8 - Salzburg - 3 nites
11/11- Munich - 2 nites
11/13- 15 Bamberg or Rothenburg
11/15 - Stuttgart airport motel
11/16 leave for home

Posted by
1479 posts

We liked both but prefer Rothenburg.

I especially like a couple walks outside the walls of Rothenburg:

One walk is down to Detwang where you can walk along the Tauber River and visit the St. Peter & St Paul Church to see another Riemenschneider Altar. Check with the Rothenburg Tourist Office to see the hours of the church.

The other walk is through the vineyards south east of town. Exit near the Kohl Turn.

Posted by
1288 posts

I say stay in Bamberg and stop for a few hours in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Probably no Biergarten open at that time of year though. Some places may be closed Monday-Tuesday Ruhetag.

Posted by
6628 posts

An addendum to my post: I believe the train trip between Rothenburg
and Bamberg was around an hour or so. Sorry for the confusion.

Craig, I feel you are confusing Rothenburg with Nuremberg (which is in fact about 1 hour from Bamberg) or some other place; feel free to check the official DB/German Railways pages for this and any other train journey. The trip takes between 2.25 and 2.5 hours one way on a minimum of three trains, with changes in Würzburg and Steinach. There is not and there has never been a faster way to travel by train between these two towns AFAIK.

Posted by
6275 posts

I think I have to vote for Rothenburg, much as I enjoyed Bamberg. But for me, the turning point is the exquisite Tilman Riemenschneider altar in St. Jakobkirche. I spent so much time viewing it and thought it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.

I loved the Riemenschneider alter in Bamberg as well but it didn't compare to the one in Rothenburg. And I will say that Rothenburg has a bit more quaintness than Bamberg. I really enjoyed Bamberg but feel like it's more of a place where you can meander, enjoying the atmosphere, see a few sites, have a nice meal there and move on. I was there for a day trip and felt perfectly satisfied with that.

Rothenburg has St. Jakobskirche, however, and an abundance of other sights. I was very happy that I spent the night there and really enjoyed my stay.

ETA: Just to clarify, Schloss Greifenstein (home of Claus Stauffenberg's family) is not actually in Bamberg, but located about 30 minutes outside the city (by car) or around 1 1/2+ hours (by bus). You can visit, however.

Posted by
6628 posts

1 night in each place is what we should go for that way we can see 2
places that intrigued us.

I think that's the right choice, especially since you are starting out from MUNICH on the 13th and spending 2.5 - 3+ hours on the road that morning prior to arrival in Bamberg. Why put the vise grips on your time in Bamberg just so you can sleep 2 nights in Rothenburg? With the first night in Bamberg, you'll have a 2-hr. drive on the 14th, another 2-hr drive on the 15th, and all kinds of time on your hands for Rothenburg on those 2 days.

Posted by
32 posts

It's done - made the final decision to go to both....already changed the stays to accommodate the new dates. I feel this will work for us in many ways. We get to see 2 places that interest us plus the drives are very doable, especially considering that we won't have a ton of sunlight.
We can sightsee as much as we want without being terribly rushed or we get just spend time eating and strolling - even in the evening (weather permitting).
Thank you all for your suggestions - Mardee and Russ, I've been reading your posts for a long time and always what you have to say, such good information. Also, Russ, saw your recommendation of a couple of books by Earl Steinbicker - checked them out and ended up getting 2 of them - great.

Posted by
6628 posts

Oh, I think you'll be glad to have Earl in your pocket. He's not a corporation with support teams, so some details in his work have become dated at this point, but he is a gem.

Posted by
7642 posts

Why are you going to Stuttgart, about the only thing worth seeing there are the Mercedes and Porsche Factories?

Posted by
156 posts

Hi Robin,

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a great place to be. I have been there numerous times (in the old town) and we plan to make it our first stop when we return to Bavaria next month. On one trip we spent a few hours walking around the inside of the town walls (uneven walking surface, many stairs, wear sturdy shoes). This trip I want to walk around the outside of the walls. Early mornings and evenings are especially magical. During the day the town can be jam packed with tourists. But once the tourist buses leave my experience has been the town is quiet and especially beautiful. The night watchman's tour was educational and a hoot. The Christmas Museum at Kathie Wohlfahrt's is wonderful if you are into Christmas decorations, traditions. There are numerous shops offering a variety of items. I don't think I purchased much of anything on our last trip there. But there is a lot to purchase, esp. Christmas decorations. My problem is I have way too many already!

Have a great trip!

Traveler Girl

Posted by
6275 posts

Robin, I'm so glad you are going to be able to spend a night at each place! Both are truly a photographer's paradise - you will find so many photo ops there. While you are in the Bamberg Dom, make sure and see the tomb of Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde. It was created by (once again) Tilman Riemenschneider in 1513. The marble slab on top is a likeness of the couple and there are relief sculptures on the side panel. Very beautiful.

And of course, you will love Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It is really unique, even with the crowds. There was one restaurant I went to called Klosterstüble that was excellent. The restaurant was on a back street in an old stone building from the 1600’s, and the setting (at dusk) was very picturesque. The food was wonderful. Full disclosure: this was back in 2010, but I know the restaurant (and hotel) is still there. But really you can't go wrong with anyplace.