Do you remember how I thought that Tallinn was the most whimsical place ever? Well, Tallinn has nothing on Rothenburg, which should be in the running for the title of “Real Life Town That Looks the Most like It Just Dropped Out of a Disney Fairy Tale.”
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (which means “Red fortress above the Tauber River”) is a medieval town, more than a thousand years old, with a population of just about 10 thousand people, located on Germany’s popular and picturesque Romantic Road, in the north-western corner of Bavaria – but don’t call the Rothenburgians Bavarians, or you will get punched in the face, according to The German.
Rothenburg is known for two things: being really beautiful and really German. So much so, that the Nazis considered it THE ideal community of the Third Reich, and organized regular day trips to Rothenburg, this “most German of German towns,” from all over Germany.
Here are some other words I would use to describe Rothenburg: fun, colorful, quaint, charming, old, magical, bucolic, adorable, bright, pretty, delightful, romantic and in some spots – almost Mediterranean. I wanted to take photos of LITERALLY every single building, flower box, watch tower, store sign and street corner. I kind of almost did.
Rothenburg is obviously touristy, but surprisingly not stuffed to the gills with tourists, even on a warm (ok, crazy-hot) summer Sunday – possibly because it’s over 2 hours away by car or bus from either Frankfurt or Munich. It really is a lovely day trip destination, ideal for hours of historical and architectural sightseeing, tasting local specialties (such as the Rothenburger Schneeballen, or Snowball pastry, rolled from strips of shortcrust dough made with plum schnapps), or shopping for regional crafts. But I’m saving that for the next chapter…For now, just enjoy Germany at its most whimsical: