As well as being one of the prettiest towns in Germany, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is known as the ‘Christmas Town’. There are few places that are more picture perfect than this charming, Franconian destination in which you are transported back in time to the medieval period. The defensive walls are still largely intact, life revolves around the main square and even the night watchman makes regular appearances to show people around.
Many people visit Rothenburg during a day trip from nearby Nuremberg, however, the town deserves to be somewhere you linger longer. Not only will the crowds dissipate as the sun goes, but you’ll also have more time to explore this immensely beautiful place.
As you wander around, you’ll notice many things that have helped Rothenburg to earn its nickname, meaning it’s always Christmas whatever time of year you visit.
Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village
This two-story store has everything you could ever want in terms of festive flair and Christmas decorations. Käthe Wohlfahrt is a big brand in Germany and this is their main retail shop. Inside, you’ll find over 30,000 ornaments, baubles, nativity scenes and other festive flourishes that will make perfect souvenirs or gifts for someone you love. The store has been in Rothenburg since 1977 and is open all year round. Plus, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s also the ‘Little Christmas Shop’ on Untere Schmiedgasse.
At the back of the aforementioned store, you’ll find the Christmas Museum which displays lights, trees, ornaments, postcards and nutcrackers from 1870 to the present day. First established by Harald Wohlfahrt, the purpose is to show everyone what Christmas is like in various different regions of Germany and to highlight how much things have changed over the years. The displays also consider the different ‘gift bringers’ we associate with Christmas, including Santa, the Christkind (angelic child figure from German tradition) and St Nicholas (whose day is seen as a separate celebration in Germany).
The Rothenburg Christmas market may not be the biggest in Germany but it certainly is one of the prettiest. Lights take over the entire town, illuminating the old merchant houses and the town walls to create a fairytale atmosphere that suits this setting down to the ground. Situated on the Markplatz, it is also one of the most traditional, with many customs taking place that are only present in this part of the country. The ‘Rothenburger Reiterle’ opens proceedings by arriving on horseback with a message and visitors are then free to enjoy local schneeballen (deep-fried pastry balls in a variety of different flavours) and wander around the glistening stalls.
If you would like to enjoy Christmas in Rothenburg, at any time of year, we can help plan your tailor-made break. Call us on 0800 988 3369 or contact the team through our website.