Our River Duchess ship docked along the shores of Wurzburg on the Main River, and saving Wurzburg for later, we boarded a bus for Rothenberg ob der Tauber (the Tauber river being too small for navigation). This is one of the most picturesque towns in all of Germany. Spend a day, spend a week in Rothenberg—the ambience is uniquely Franconian.
It dates to the 12th century and is one of the best preserved medieval cities in all of Europe.
Visiting Rothenberg is like stepping into a time warp, replete with half-timbered buildings, narrow cobbled lanes, and an intact fortified wall surrounding the entire village. At 900 yr old, its history is rich with exciting tales of conquest and near-conquest, poverty and famine alternating with prosperity and abundance.
Take a walk around the 2 km city walls for birds’ eye views of the entire city. Visit the Criminal Museum which documents medieval punishment and torture. Perhaps browse the doll museum. Or take a Night Walk with the Watchman for an entertaining and informative storytelling session as you are transported back to medieval times.
The marketplatz was alive with gaily decorated wooden stalls selling Christmas wares, gorgeous woolens and yarns, incredibly delicate handcarved items from the famous Erzegeberg region, and of course plenty of foods, including the local specialty, schneeballen (snowball). Or indulge in a special Weinachtsbier—a special dark beer, brewed by one of the local breweries and available only at Christmastime, and only in Rothenberg. Worth a visit for that alone!