Rothenburg ob der Tauber: A Fairytale Town

Every year at the end of November, around 2500 Christmas markets are set up throughout Germany. But none can boast such a picturesque setting as the Reiterlesmarkt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Here you will find romantic narrow streets, just like in the Middle Ages, as well as the world-famous Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas village and Christmas museum.

The Christmas market of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city with 11,000-inhabitants, attracts around 1.5 million visitors every year – including many tourists from abroad. The medieval city of Rothenburg is at the top of the To-Do List for many tourists on a European tour. Ever since the 15th century the market is being held during the festive Advent season. Name giver of the market is the “Reiterle”, a legendary figure from the distant past, who was considered the emissary of another world. These days, the Reiterele traditionally opens the market on the Friday before the first Advent, this year on 29th of November. Nowadays you will find traditional German Christmas cookies, white mulled wine, crafts and other treasures in the winding streets and squares around town hall. The market is open Mondays – Thursdays from 11am to 7pm, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 8pm. Furthermore, on Fridays to Sundays, you can marvel at the Reiterlesmarkt from up top from the town hall tower.

Culture and history in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In addition to mulled wine and Christmas kitsch, the city also has a wide array of cultural events to offer. Nativity scenes are exhibited daily on the Rothenburger Krippenweg (e.g. at St. Jakob, St. Johannis, Rathaus or Heilig Geist). In the Crime Museum, you can immerse yourself in the medieval world and get to know all that is worth knowing about the burning of witches in the exhibition “With the sword or faith – Luther and the witches”. If you are traveling with children and like to be creative, you can decorate the Christmas table in the foyer of the city library with the arts and crafts created at the craft desk of the library.

Moreover, the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber offers a diverse supporting program in churches, squares and shops all around the Reiterlesmarkt. Every day at 5:30pm a public concert is held directly at the market. In addition, every evening at 6pm a „ghost tour with the executioner“ is offered at the marketplace. At 9:30pm this is followed by a guided tour with the night watchman, and on Friday and Saturday there are also guided tours by the craftsman widow Walburga. On Wednesday, December 5th, starting at 1 pm, you will be able to experience live how the finest, handmade chocolates are made at the Lindt boutique. Additionally, there are always concerts held around the market. For fans of organ music for example, there is a concert in the St. Jacob’s Church on 30 November 2019 at 6:00pm. A detailed supporting program with all event items can be found on the website of the city of Rothenburg.

German tradition: Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas decorations

A true mecca for Christmas fans is the Christmas decorations shop by Käthe Wohlfahrt, which is open all year round. Visitors are already greeted at the entrance by a gigantic nutcracker. From wax angels, wooden dolls, Christmas pyramids, Christmas tree ornaments and cribs, you will find everything that makes the heart of a passionate Christmas fan beat faster. Attached to the sales floor is the Christmas village, a marketplace lined with half-timbered houses. From high-quality crafts to the usual Christmas kitsch you will find everything your heart desires. Here you can at certain times create Christmas decorations with the calligrapher himself. Another highlight is the Christmas Museum on the upper floor of the building. Here you can find out where Santa really comes from – not from Coca-Cola – and since when decorated Christmas trees are placed in the living room. The museum opens at 10 in the morning and closes at 5pm, admission costs 4 € per person (children 2 €).

Discover the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany

Are you in the mood for Christmas markets? Explore our collection of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany! Click here for the collection.