Being a small medieval town is there train or bus service to Rothenburg from Nuremburg, or is a rental car advised?
Yes you can get there by train. The rail station is just outside the walled part of the town, and easily walkable. I'm guessing it would be hard to find accommodations with parking in the old town. I believe you would have to change trains once or twice to get there. Look it up on the Deutsche Bahn website: bahn.com in English.
There is hourly rail service to Rothenburg ob der Tauber from Nuremberg. Takes 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours with 2 train changes along the way. It is a VGN network ticket (Greater Nuremberg Transit Authority is the rough English translation of the "VGN"). The VGN TagesTicket Plus allows 2 adults (plus up to 4 children under 18) to travel from Nuremberg to Rothenburg and back in a single day for 20.30 EUR. Be sure to ride regional trains only.
The Rothenburg train station is just outside the old city walls, about a 10 minute walk to the center of town.
I've been to Rothenburg three times, always by train. It's an easy trip. You'll have a change of trains in the small station at Steinach. No big deal; just stay with the herd.
According to ViaMichelin, gas for a compact car from Nurnberg to Rothenburg and back will cost €21, and the VGN pass is €20,30, and what does it cost to rent a car for a day?
Thank you to everyone. I was mainly concerned with a lack of public transportion - like what happens in Tuscany and Provence.
Germany is a bit different. if you can't get there on a train, there is probably a bus. Occasionally, a rental car is called for.
Germany has the largest rail system in Western Europe (maybe in all of Europe) and the second most dense, by only 1%, to Switzerland's. There are over 5500 rail stations in German; over 1000 in Bavaria alone. Bavarian travel is also augmented by an extensive bus system, particularly in the southern part (RVO).
I've traveled extensively in Germany over the past 20 years (~150 days). Most of my travel has been to smaller towns (less than 20K), and I have never needed to rent a car.
Thank you. That helps my planning.