Travel Recommendations, Reviews, and Stories: Welcome to The Grain and Grape
Medieval Village in Germany
Rothenburg ob der Tauber: a German Village Preserved by Poverty and Pestilence
After centuries of poverty and neglect, a lovely, preserved medieval village along Germany’s Romantic Road in Bavaria provides a fabulous experience for visitors. When war and the bubonic plague broke out in the 17th century, no one wanted to visit or even travel through Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which basically left no money for growth. As a result, what was the second largest city in Germany in the 14th century is now a well-preserved village from the Middle Ages.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a magical village complete with Castle, terraced vineyards, gardens, crooked cobblestone lanes, half-timbered houses, impressive churches, and many Christmas shops, all encircled within Roman walls. You can walk on top of these old stone walls, indeed battlements of history. You will enjoy views of vineyards running down to the Tauber River, as well as views into the village.
A November Visit
We visited from Stuttgart over Veterans Day weekend in November 2021. The weather in Germany was doing what it does in November … it was both bitterly cold, and spitting rain. Unfortunately, the unique photogenic statues in the castle garden were covered up for protection from the weather. Also some shops and restaurants were closed, but we still saw most of the major sights, and the city was not too crowded. Some shop owners closed during early November to have a vacation prior to the busy rush when the Christmas Markets start. Of course, Germany cancelled all Christmas Markets for the second year in a row due to Covid.
A real highlight for us was the Nightwatchman Walk, a guided walk through the dark evening hours in this dimly lit medieval village. We learned all about the importance of the Nightwatchman, particularly as a lookout for intruders, fire, and more. Our guide is certainly an entertaining and passionate local who blended in well with the picturesque village.
Restaurants and Shops
We can also recommend visiting the restaurant Zur Höll (To Hell) for a drink and/or a meal. The restaurant is in one of the oldest original buildings in the village. It has a wonderful setting with dim lighting, old stone walls, wood beams, and unique decorations. We had a wonderful dinner with excellent food and wine, and also our server was quite funny with jokes about the devil and hell. Overall, we felt so welcome (in hell).
The village is full of Christmas shops, each one wonderful and unique. Visiting the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village Store especially is like walking through a magical Christmas wonderland. All of a sudden, we own three times as many Christmas decorations as we did before!
We highly recommend a visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. What a unique opportunity to stay in a uniquely preserved village and enjoy the many wonderful sights, restaurants, and shops. But next time we visit, hopefully that one shop with the really interesting “antique junk” in the window will be open.😜
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