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Why does Rothenberg odT get all the love and Miltenberg gets none?

Nothing against Rothenburg ob der Tauber - it is a nice place to visit and very photogenic. I've been there, even stumbled into the Meistertrunk one year..

But why don't people flock to Miltenberg instead. Possibly even more photogenic and so very typical of German half timbered construction. Beautiful.

I admit that I haven't - yet. But I only just heard of it and when I look at pictures I'm blown away. All my years visiting Germany and hanging out on this Forum and I've just heard about the place - and it is riverfront too! (Main River).

Anybody here have any love for Miltenberg? Or reasons not to go?

Posted by
4845 posts

But why don't people flock to Miltenberg .....
I admit that I haven't - yet. But I only just heard of it

I think you answered your own question. If a place doesn't get any publicity - even word of mouth, then how are people going to know about it? Perhaps it is better known by residents in the surrounding areas. And maybe, just maybe, the locals may like things as they are.

Posted by
1289 posts

Miltenberg has become a tourist bomb. I was a fan 15 years ago, but no more. Covid devastated tourism in this town. It is still a nice place but know what you are getting into. There are area Winze and Hof worth visiting.

Posted by
4823 posts

Anybody here have any love for Miltenberg? Or reasons not to go?

Yes, it is an easy place to love, and absolutely no reason not to go!! When living in Aschaffenburg, we went there often just for the day and really enjoyed each trip. Only six or so miles from Miltenberg is Klingenberg, which was also a favorite day trip of ours. Now that you've resurrected my memories, I've decided to make it a point to return the next time I'm anywhere close.

Edited to add: When I went there regularly way more than 15 years ago, it was not at all touristy, and that was one of the best things about it.

Posted by
1289 posts

Just saying... I if you want to know Main Franken you need a car and 3+ days. You could add the Steigerwald too. Not a normal tourist route. I buy wine in Prichsenstadt. There are many Winzer and Breweries nahe.

Posted by
245 posts

Thanks for pointing out the charms of Miltenberg, Nigel. I have made note and appreciate it.

Posted by
2332 posts

Rothenburg was lucky enough to be discovered and made famous by two important North German Romantic authors, Ludwig Tieck and Wilhelm Heinrich Wackenroder, on their journey to southern Germany (which included Bajmberg and Nürnberg, too). Thanks to this publicity, it first became popular in Prussia and then internationally after the mid-19th century, even becoming a stop on the Grand Tour of some British aristocrats. Miltenberg was not so fortunate.

I admit that I haven't - yet

This would be an opportunity to combine Miltenberg and Rothenburg in a beautiful tour that leads up the Main and Tauber rivers via a few small towns that are easily comparable with Miltenberg: Amorbach, Wertheim, Tauberbischofsheim, Bad Mergentheim / Stuppach and Weikersheim. The last stop before Rothenburg would be Creglingen, where a small church houses the undisputed masterpiece by Tilman Riemenschneider, the Marienaltar, which many art historians consider to be clearly superior to the one in St. Jakob in Rothenburg.

Posted by
14980 posts

Why does Rothenberg odT get all the love and Miltenberg gets none?

Because Rick doesn't write about Mitenberg.

Posted by
6369 posts

Because the right influencers have not been there yet?

But it is a good question, there are many charming small towns in Germany but it seems like everyone wants to go to Rothenburg o.d.T.

Posted by
6636 posts

Travel writers sometimes cater to the sort of traveler who is looking to break destinations into two categories - the "best" ones and the "others" (all of which are to be ignored.) I think Rick takes this appropach in his write-up on Rothenburg.

There are many contenders (such as Michelstadt, Miltenberg, Bamberg,
Bad Windsheim, and Dinkelsbühl), but none holds a candle to the king
of medieval German cuteness.

Kind of a shame that these other towns, each of which differs in certain basic ways from Rothenburg and offers unique experiences that can't be found in Rothenburg, should be painted as "lesser" towns.

Posted by
32738 posts

I'm not terribly keen on the best/ignore spectrum. Boolean is fine in some cases but not in travel. Let's save it for electronics.

Posted by
1549 posts

I've visited all the towns and villages Rick mentions. I like them all to certain degrees. Visited Miltenberg twice, thirty years apart, and I like it. I love Rothenburg.

If Miltenberg was situated on the Romantic Road, no doubt it would attract more visitors.

Posted by
8942 posts

It would be nice if more people were aware of the Half-timbered Route instead of the Romantic Road. It covers all of Germany and is chock full of charming towns, many with their city walls, ancient churches, etc. Plus, there are many towns that are not on this route simply because no one in their tourist office has applied to be on it. I think they have to pay a yearly fee.

The concentration on Rothenburg is based on a few lies, produced by Rick. It is not the best preserved town, it was not that important, it isn't older than many other similar towns, and it was bombed badly in WW2, so 40% of the town is reconstructed. Do people love going there? Sure, because the town is all about tourism and they market themselves well.

Posted by
4823 posts

...because the town is all about tourism and they market themselves well.

Ms Jo hit the nail on the head. Just like Pike's Peak in Colorado. Must be at least 15 or so spots higher than Pike's Peak, but how many can you name? When living in Aschaffenburg decades ago, everyone knew about Rothenburg, but only the locals could tell you about Miltenberg.

Posted by
99 posts

The average 8-to-12-day tourist isn't going to sacrifice a day going to a village they only read about or hear about, maybe. It's sad because it is only an hour from Wurzburg or 30 minutes from Wertheim, which we kind of also like. But in the last 20 years we have had the opportunity to drive a lot on our vacations. Easiest way to get there. I think another problem with Miltenberg is it's only really one very long block with many of the stores out of business. Covid did hit it very hard. I do find it interesting for its Jewish population before the WWII. Many steppingstones on the main street. We see a lot of the Viking folks walking tours.

Posted by
1481 posts

When I first visited Rothenburg in the 1970's, the go-to guide was the Michelin Green Guide. It only mentioned Miltenberg (no longer) and gave Rothenburg 3 stars. We visited both but liked Rothenburg much more. Rothenburg was not invented by Rick Steves.

Rothenburg has advantages: a well developed tourist industry, a mostly original wall and (for me) a wonderful setting perched above the Tauber River Valley. Walks down into the valley are as much to us on our visits as the towns sights. I also felt that Miltenberg had a beautiful setting.

As well as the famous "Blood Altar" in St. Jakobskirche by Riemenschneider, Rothenburg has a lesser know early work by him in the Franziskanerkirche picturing the Stigmata of St Francis. Down in the Tauber Valley in Detwang is the another Riemenschneider Altar in the St Peter St Paul church. As I really like Riemenschneider, these help draw me back.

Paul Schreckenbach wrote his historical novel, Der König von Rothenburg in 1910, which helped popularize the town. The book was just okay for me.

I understand there was an artist colony in Rothenburg in the early 1900's. I know that there are some interesting historical paintings of Rothenburg in the Reichsstadmuseum.

Rothenburg's fame as a tourist destination was started well before Rick Steves Books.

I have never visited Crime and Punishment (torture) museum or taken the Nightwatchman's Tour. Still I find much to do for 2 days in Rothenburg.

I hope to get back to Miltenburg. There are many places in Germany that I could say the same about.

Posted by
450 posts

Similar question--why Esslingen and not Bietigheim? Or in Alsace--why Riquewihr and not Eguisheim?

I have always marvelled at how far out of their way people will go to get to Rothenburg and how much time they will devote to it. There are tons of places just as nice, often easier to get to, and these are often less touristy.

Posted by
1289 posts

I sit in the Oberpfalz. Can't get much more German than here. The dialect is thick, and many Germans outside the region can't completly understand it. I completely understand the tourist who has only a short time to make the most of it. In the tourist blitz, maybe take a local day. I visit the local Zoigl Bier Stuben and eat the local fare. Given time and means, life would be good for all. If I had only 10 days to two weeks, it would be really hard to choose where to visit. I go thru this quandary with family visits, but generally settle with local. If you are comfortable with driving, A driving tour of three+ weeks in Germany would be nice. I would pre-plan and pick great scenic and cultural places to stay. Enjoy good local food and local culture.

Posted by
8438 posts

If I was making a first time trip to Germany, and wanted to hit known, sure-thing highlights, what better than a place for which all the details on logistics and what to see are published in a guidebook? Not everyone wants to, or has experience enough, to do deep-dive research to find all these interesting places.

I've been there three times, the first being in the '80s traveling with a friend stationed in Germany. Neither of us were following RS direction at the time. She had recommendations from her German friends. If I was going back now, I would look for some of those other places mentioned, but that's because I have a point of reference in Rothenburg.

Posted by
7026 posts

There are tons of places just as nice, often easier to get to, and these are often less touristy.

But as Nigel pointed out in his post, most of those out there planning a first visit to Germany have never heard of these other places. I'm pretty sure that's the main reason so many go to RodT. Because they don't know about what other places are there and what they are like, they take the advice of someone they trust, be it RS or another travel guru or a relative or friend that has been there.

There are also those who aren't experienced with researching and booking trains or buses to unknown places and those who don't want to rent a car. They look for places that the guide books give them straight forward and easy to use directions to.

And looking at it from the point of view of those who do know about these places, having all the tourists go to RodT (and other places touted by RS and others) just keeps these off the radar places tourist free. Some people consider that a good thing.

Posted by
1549 posts

I quickly read our Rick's article in the link above. What are his lies, exactly? Rothenburg is a medieval town, he never states that it's the oldest. Whether there are older small towns close by or far away is inconsequential. From what little I know, prior to the war Rothenburg was a relatively important town, was already aesthetically pleasing, and attracted tourists for a number of years.

About 40% of Rothenburg was destroyed or damaged by bombing, mainly on the east side of town. One of the actual concerns of the locals at the time was if tourism would return. So, town planners had choices. They chose to spruce it up a bit, repair and rebuild to blend in with the existing structures, well before our Rick was singing its praises. Any damaged older buildings were restored as accurately as possible. A good stretch of the wall was rebuilt. They did a great job. Maybe that's what our Rick means by best preserved? Market it? Why not. It's definitely not ugly or lacking in ambience by any stretch.

In 06 or 08 we visited Norcia, which has since been badly damaged by an earthquake. Norcia is rebuilding along the same lines. What is a wiser alternative?

"There are tons of places just as nice, often easier to get to, and these are often less touristy." - Many people will prefer other places, no doubt. No problem with that. How about someone make an extended list and post it? I've been to many splendid places (just about every one of the places mentioned above), nothing further north than Coburg and Monschau. Rothenburg is still my favourite little town. I first visited in 1987, probably about 15 years or so before I heard of our esteemed leader.

If anything, I'll try to dissuade people from going there.

Ugly Streets

Even Uglier In Winter

Unattractive Buildings

Crumbly Town Wall

Too Many Tourists

Unsafe Leaning Tower

Creepy At Nighttime

Scary Locals

Now, let's move on to Neuschwanstein.

Posted by
1432 posts

A few years ago when planning a trip I saw Nigel's love for Bad Wimpfen and looked into adding it into our itinerary. We went to the big travel show in Denver a few months later and I had the chance to ask Rick why he doesn't include it in his guidebook - or towns like it. His reply was that he felt it didn't offer enough night life for the average traveler. He said there are many. beautiful towns that could be included, but might not have enough to offer to make them worth a stop for his readers.

We're finally going to make it to Bad Wimpfen this year:)