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Rothenburg ob der Tauber in the MORNING

Guten Tag, All.
Rick Steves as well as others recommend staying overnight in Rothenburg in order to see the town in the evening when the day-trippers have left. Since we cannot do that and must instead be part of the daytripper crowd, I'm wondering about what time in the afternoon/evening crowds thin out to a tolerable level. Alternatively, is there a usual time in the morning that the tour buses begin rolling in? Is an early morning visit likely to be much less crowded than during the day? If so, how early (we are driving so are not tied to a particular bus/train schedule)? I imagine much doesn't open before 9:00, but the RS audio guide town walk would, I think, work well before then if the town is somewhat quiet.

Danke Schon.

Posted by
1124 posts

I used to live about 10km from RodT, and would often go in the mornings to walk the walls before tourist started to show. I think you'll find that the tour buses tend to leave in time for most of their passengers to take the evening meal nearer their hotels. Tourists staying in town tend to get their meals before 8pm if American, a bit later if European. Most of the attractions tend to close NLT 6pm, but you can still do some shopping and walk the walls in the evening. (The west side being popular for sunsets; try the view from the Criminals Tower.) There are some clubs open later.

Mornings are nice, and you'll find bakeries open as early as 6am. The locals tend to shop early, before most of the tourists. You're fairly safe until around 10am. But remember most places won't open much before 9am.

If you can't stay in RodT, where are you staying? If you're in Bad Windsheim, Dinklesbuhl, Nordlingen, or Ansbach you're not too far away. Those are easy drives.

If you park in the P4 parking area it's a straight shot down the street to the city center.

Posted by
5687 posts

Alicia, what time of the year will you visit? I visited Rothernburg ob der Tauber in April. I did spend a night. I had even considered not visiting because of the town's reputation for being so touristy - but I loved it! There were some tourists during the day but it didn't really seem as crowded as I'd expected. I assume April is a bit off-season. (Or was a few years ago.)

Posted by
8245 posts

The buses usually show up to the tourist towns around 10:00 a.m. and leave by 3:00 p.m. Such places are often very pleasurable after the crowds have left--or before they get there.

Posted by
9044 posts

Have you perhaps considered visiting a different town that is easier to get to, that doesn't have hordes of tourists and matches your travel time frame? There are lots of them in Germany. Rothenburg is not the creme de la creme of medieval type towns, it is just the one that Rick likes. Where are your travels taking you before and after? Perhaps we can recommend some better towns to visit?

Posted by
6805 posts

Ms. Jo is right. There are many fine old-world towns in Germany that are not for tourists only, places where you do not have to slither around at night or in the wee hours to enjoy a walk around town, places where the shopkeepers and townfolk outnumber the visitors and still speak German most of the day (as a German speaker, you'd probably like to hear/use some German, I'd guess.)

Some places not far from Rothenburg that might interest you:


Iphofen - scroll down for photos.

Bad Windsheim

Posted by
2487 posts

Ochsenfurt and Marktbreit, between Rothenburg and Würzburg, are small gems. When I visited last year, in September if I remember correctly, I found myself the only visitor.

Posted by
7906 posts

Rothenberg ob der Tauber is amazing, no wonder it draws large crowds.

The Romantic Road has other medieval towns that are great. Dinkelsbuhl is on the road closer to Munich and very similar. What is interesting about that city is that it doesn't get as many tourists and people live there more normally than in Rothedberg.

Also, check out the other cities on the Romantic Road:

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you for all the replies.

We will have our homebase about 15 miles north of Schongau, and will be spending most of our time south/southeast of there. We'll have only one day free to tour one or two medieval villages and walk around a medieval wall. I should have included that information in my original post. Thank you for suggesting the other towns, but they are all too far north. Even Rothenburg is a bit of a stretch.

I think Rothenburg, Dinkelsbuhl, and Nordlingen are the only medieval towns that have intact walls. Is that correct? And by the way, I've read conflicting info re walking the wall in Dinkelsbuhl - is it possible or not? To get to Rothenburg in the morning before the crowds, we would have to leave our lodging quite early, which is not ideal for my traveling companions; and we can't stay late because of the next day's schedule. Dinkelsbuhl appears to be only 30 minutes closer, but since it doesn't have the crowds that Rothenburg has, we would not have to arrive as early. Nordlingen looks to be about 20 minutes even closer (50 minutes closer total) and also is reported to have few crowds. However, my research indicates that Dinkelsbuhl is most often thought to be more charming than Nordlingen.

Are there any walled towns closer to our homebase in any direction? We will be also be visiting around Schwangau, Ettal, and Mittenwald as well as making a trip to Salzburg. We could possibly stop in towns, villages along the way to Salzburg if there are some "don't miss" spots. One thing that really appeals to me about Rothenburg is that we can walk in the countryside surrounding the town. Our ideal would be a medieval town that: has some charm and at least a partially intact wall that can be walked; is within 1.5 hours of our homebase; and is in the midst of scenic countryside with walking trails. How's that for a tall order?

And since I've mentioned Salzburg, can anyone help me out routing the Alpine Road, dropping down from Schongau and then following it, at least mostly, to Salzburg? I can't find out how to do that exactly, although I've checked a couple of websites:

but neither give specific directions, at least as far as I can tell. Can anyone help me out with this? Should I start a new topic for this question?

Thanks again. And oh, Russ, I don't actually speak German. The Guten Tag and Danke are remnants of high school studies. Wish I still could speak it.

Posted by
19170 posts

The wall at Dinkelsbühl was designed to be defended from towers, of which there are many. It has no "Wehrgang" that you can walk. Nördlingen has a walkable wall. I've been to both Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen and definitely prefer Nördlingen. It's like a less crowded version of Rothenburg, without a Christmas shop or Crime and Punishment museum.

Posted by
17 posts

I think I've ruled out Rothenburg. So it's between Nordlingen and Dinkelsbuhl, unless someone else suggests a closer medieval town with at least a partial wall. Where ought a tourist to park to visit either of those towns? Do either have a TI center? If not, how can I find out how to plan our visit so that we don't miss something important and so that we can make good use of our time? Do either of these towns have scenic hiking close by?

Lee, why do you prefer Nordlingen? I have heard your description given for Dinkelsbuhl as well. Can you be more specific?

Thanks again to each of you.

Posted by
1124 posts

Go to Nordlingen; it's one of my favorites. Not so much for the wall, but because it's old town is just as nice as RodT without the tourists. You won't have to worry about what time to arrive to miss them.

I also love the geology; it's a town built inside a meteor crater, something most people don't know. If the rock shop is still there you can get some local tektites which are remains from when the meteor hit. There's even a crater museum.

The old moat is now a ring park outside the walls. It's a nice walk.

Posted by
3050 posts

Just another vote for Noerdlingen. I've been a few times as a day tripper, and stayed overnight to celebrate getting a new car (I have pictures of it being driven through a town gate!) We walked the walls and thoroughly enjoy this very little city that seems to get very few tourists.

Posted by
1506 posts

I have visited Nördlingen (2 overnights) , Ochsenfurt and Marktbreit. They are all great stops and would easily fill half a day. Still none have the dramatic setting of Rothenburg perched on a hill overlooking the Tauber Valley. A look at the geography shows why it was a substantial place in the middle ages.

It is probably not worth a great effort to get to Rothenburg for half a day. However, it has been worth multiple visits for us even after having lived close to it twice in my Army career. We just avoid the town square, the Crime &... Museum, etc.. A visit to the Tauber Valley on foot is a bonus to the town.

Posted by
336 posts

I loved both Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen for very different reasons. So I think it will boil down to what you want to do.

You can walk the wall and climb to the top of the church in Nördlingen. The view from the top of the church was awesome! There is a cat that lives at the top. We really enjoyed the meteor museum (ask for the English translation guide). We were there for the Christmas markets. The market in Nördlingen was bigger than Dinkelsbühl. And I had a lady ask me where I was from and they were shocked to find an American visiting and were curious to know how we learned about Nördlingen. So that was a cool experience.

In Dinkelsbühl, while you can't walk the wall, there is a road that is very close to the wall that you can walk. There are some cuts in the walls that were fun to go through and see the wall from a different perspective. For me it was interesting to walk that road as it was normal everyday life. I could almost imagine a fairy tale happening here. Also this is where two branches of my family (different sides on my mom's line) came from. So that was cool. I liked the small shops here. You do have to park outside the walls. Dinkelsbühl's Christmarket was one of my favorites, because it was small and cozy and was only at night. So we would eat dinner and then go over to the market for snacks. We stayed there for 3 nights.

Posted by
1624 posts

Not a walled town but Landsberg may be very close to where you are staying and is a very pretty river town. The main three mentioned above are too far for me for a morning trip.

Posted by
824 posts

We arrived Rothenburg o.d.T around 0900 two weeks ago and the tour buses were already arriving. There's also a lot more vehicle traffic inside the walls than I remember from 10-15 years ago and we noticed a lot of delivery drivers/trades people trying to make their rounds before the hordes showed up. I was shocked to see a coach inside the city walls!