Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most family-friendly towns in the world. The colorful, walled city looks like the setting of just about every Disney movie ever made. Roam through the cobblestone streets long enough and you may actually start to feel like Belle in the movie Beauty and the Beast. Children and adults of all ages will find this charming town quite magical. It truly is like stepping into a fairy tale! Aesthetics aside, there is plenty to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids.
A popular stop along Germany’s romantic road, the town attracts tourists year-round. While adults will enjoy the medieval charm of the town, children will love it, as well. In fact, few towns that we have visited cater to children the way Rothenburg ob der Tauber does.
5 Things to do in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids
1: Walk on the wall
The medieval town is one of the best preserved walled cities in all of Europe. Even during World War II, the Allied forces found the town too quaint to destroy. For this reason, they sent negotiators in and the city surrendered without a fight. Part of the wall did come down during the war, but much of the original wall remains. It is just a short climb up one flight of steps to walk on the wall and get a beautiful view of the town, the rolling hills and the vineyards that surround it.
Walking on the wall is free and safe for families. There is a side railing to protect from falls and plenty of openings for smaller children to peer out.
2: Christmas museum
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the Christmas capital of the world and is home to a great little Christmas museum. Tucked inside a beautiful Christmas store just off the main market square, the museum walks you through the history of Christmas, and how the holiday’s traditions and decorations have evolved through the years. Young kids will love the colors, lights, and stimulating sights of the museum, while older children and teens may actually learn something about the Christian holiday and it’s pre-Christianity origins.
It is inexpensive to visit, costing about $4.50 US (€4) per person or €8 for a family of four. (Approximately $9.00 US.) The museum is open year round as is the Christmas store where you can buy souvenirs, ornaments and unique Christmas decor to take home.
3: Night watchman’s tour
The Night Watchman’s tour is one of the most popular guided tours in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and it’s fun for adults and kids alike. The one hour tour starts at 8pm, so younger children may have to stay up past their bedtime for this one. But it is a neat experience in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids or without. The night watchman leads the tour from the Marktplaz square, dressed in his traditional medieval attire. He takes tourists back in time during the one hour walk through the narrow cobblestone streets. The night watchman recounts historical stories, legends, and even adds humorous antidotes as the group weaves through the
brightly colored, enchanting buildings inside the city walls.
4: Watch the clock chime while having a schneebälle in Marktplaz
The Marktplaz is the town’s central square and meeting place. One of the prominent features of the square is a lovely clock that chimes every hour. The animated clock comes to life as it chimes. The small windows next to the clock’s face open up and characters are seen drinking their steins of beer. Outdoor cafés and bakeries line the square as well as the small streets surrounding the Marktplaz. These are great places to sit and enjoy a nice lunch, dinner, a coffee or a refreshing German beer. A must-try dessert while in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids is the schneebälle. This deep-fried, powdered sugar-covered dough ball is a popular treat in the small town.
5: Shop or simply visit the many toy stores
What Christmas capital of the world would be complete without a spattering of toy stores? There are several toy stores inside the city’s walls that sell unique toys, dolls, and children’s souvenirs. If you are visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids you will want to check out one or two of them. And don’t miss Teddy Land, a toy store dedicated specifically to teddy bears. Our daughter loves stuffed animals, so this was a fun little store to visit.
A couple of days in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids is really all you need. Many tourists only spend one day or one night in the town, but when traveling with kids, I always recommend giving yourself a little extra time, especially if you are dealing with jetlag. Still, a weekend is plenty of time to take in the sites and enjoy the magic of this little Bavarian village.
One other note: The cobblestone streets and the wall aren’t really stroller-friendly. For this reason, if you are traveling with a baby or a toddler, I always recommend a child carrier. The one we use has a 40 pound weight limit, so even older toddlers who get tired of walking could be carried in the backpack. If a child carrier isn’t your thing, I’d recommend a durable jogging stroller for the cobblestone streets. This one is lightweight and compact for traveling, and the larger wheels help navigate the stroller a bit more smoothly on the cobblestone.
Finally, if none of this has convinced you to visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber with kids, maybe the following pictures of this beautiful town will change your mind!