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Day trip from Heidelberg to Rothenburg

I will be staying in Heidelberg next May and would like to take a day trip to Rothenburg. What route should I take there and back?

Posted by
321 posts

And be careful of the speed cameras on the main access road between Heidelberg and A5...

Posted by
12040 posts

Spend a little time exploring some of the old towns around Heidelberg. You may find Rothenburg a bit redundant, but far more touristy.

Posted by
6802 posts

Rothenburg is only one of many half-timbered old towns and possible destinations. I also think it's wise to avoid the long drive from Heidelberg - and the tourist horde; see some fine old-world places closer to Heidelberg instead.

Ladenburg is just a few minutes away.
Or check out nearby Bad Wimpfen or Michelstadt or Mosbach. See Guttenberg Castle (which has a falconry show as well) or Burg Hornberg Castle (nice terrace cafe with river view.)

Posted by
12040 posts

Russ is correct, Ladenburg is literally minutes from Heidelberg. Other olds towns worth visiting in the region include Erbach (very close to the previously mentioned Michelstadt), Eberbach, Dilsberg andHirschhorn along the Neckar River (heading in the direction of Mosbach and Bad Wimpfen), Lindenfels, and Bensheim, Lorsch and Heppenheim to the north of Heidelberg along A3.

Posted by
16894 posts

Trains between Heidelberg and Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber take about 4 hours each way with several connections, so that's not an attractive transport option, either. Both those towns are heavily touristed, and it sounds like you may not have time to help us judge which is more so ;-)

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you. I appreciate the answers. Thinking maybe scratching Rothenburg. If you were doing a day trip (driving) where would you go? We a re a group of 8 women. Would like to visit a castle or 2 and see some of the smaller villages. Not the Black Forest. We are going to Baden Baden for 2 days when we leave Heidelberg.

Posted by
6802 posts

yvj13: You may want to have a look at Bavaria Ben's 2012 trip report - not to Bavaria but to the Black Forest, the Middle Rhine Valley, AND the Heidelberg area. Michelstadt and Burg Guttenberg, already mentioned, are included in his report, as are some other interesting places. In the Black Forest, I suggest you give an eye to Gengenbach, an especially fetching and accommodating place near other Black Forest villages of interest and a world apart from the casino-city (and very non-Black-Foresty) Baden-Baden. (Ben's report hits Gengenbach and other BF villages.)

Bavaria Ben's 2012 trip report

Bigtyke (who posts here as Stephen) has contributed a trip report that includes Gengenbach on Ben's site too.

Also, if in the Black Forest you end up in Gengenbach or thereabouts, you might want to take one of Germany's most scenic train rides, the Black Forest Railway, which cuts through the central and highest part of the BF and stops at several attractive villages. The ride is inexpensive on a group daypass - and it's free if you overnight in Gengenbach or certain other BF villages (hosts will issue you the promotional KONUS travel and discount card.)

Posted by
12040 posts

"If you were doing a day trip (driving) where would you go?" Let me give you two recommended driving itineraries.

Option one- drive along the scenic Neckar River valley towards Bad Wimpfen. Stop off at Dilsberg (hilltop walled castle town), Hirschhorn ("the pearl of the Neckar valley"), Eberbach, Mosbach and Bad Wimpfen. You will pass several castles, the best one to tour is Burg Hornberg, right by Neckarzimmern. The most well-preserved and attractive is Burg Zwingenberg, although it isn't open to the public. Burg Hirschhorn has a restaurant and hotel. Minneburg, across the river from the town of Neckargerach, has one of the better preserved keeps of the many castle ruins in the area, but you'll have to walk a little bit to reach it. Neckarsteinach has four castles, although the only one not ruined is not open to the public. If the weather is clear, consider taking a detour off the main road from Eberbach to Waldkatzenbach. From here, you can access the summit of the highest mountain in the region, Katzenbuckel. From this perspective, it looks like just a fairly mundane hill, but it sits on top off a high plateau. When you climb the look out tower on the summit, you can see just how high your vantage point rises about the surrounding countryside. You can park the car by a guesthouse, and from there it's only about a 15-20 minute walk to the top. Finish the day in magnificent Bad Wimpfen, and by this point, you will long have forgotten about Rothenburg.

Option two: Drive north of Heidelberg along the Bergstraße (Bundestraße 3 on the map). This road skirts the western foot of the Odenwald mountain region and you will pass through several scenic wine towns, as well as passing a half dozen or so castles. Consider stopping in Weinheim, Heppenheim and Bensheim and making a brief side trip to Lorsch to see the abbey, which dates from the Carolingian era. Of the various castles, the most interesting to visit is the ruin of Schloss Auerbach, above the town of the same name. At Bensheim, turn into the Odenwald along route B47 towards Lindenfels and Michelstadt. You will pass through some very attractive old villages, although there's not much to see in most of them. Lindenfels, though, is worth a stop, mainly to visit the castle ruin. The town sits at a relatively high elevation, and the view from the castle is stunning on a clear day. Continue to Michelstadt. Explore the beautiful old town. If you have time, look for the Carolingian-era Einhardsbasilika and Schloss Fürstenau. These are located on the periphery of the town. You won't see them unless you specifically search them out. Afterwards continue south to Erbach, explore the Schloss. Continue south and you will eventually hit the Neckar River just outside of Eberbach. Drive back to Heidelberg along the river.

Posted by
5 posts

This is all so helpful! I appreciate everyone sharing their knowledge about the area.
Thank you all.