I was driving south along the Romantic Road when, in the distance, out of a snowy mist, rose a walled medieval village, dotted with crimson-topped roofs. At the next possible place I pulled my rented hatchback off the pavement, grabbed my camera, stepped out of the car and snapped away. That was the first time during my journey I made an impromptu stop to capture a breathtaking view, but it certainly wasn’t the last. Rothenburg, arguably the best-preserved medieval town in Germany, sits at the crossroads of the Romantic and Castle Roads.
Do: Stroll along the top of the town ramparts and feel transported to the middle ages. See the famous High Altar, stained glass windows and Altar of the Holy Blood at St. James Church, built in 1311. Get in the Christmas spirit year round at the German Christmas Museum, located in the charming Käthe Wohlfahrt store. Walk though the Castle Gate (circa 1356) past two round 16th century guardhouses and into the Castle Garden, an expansive space that gives unparalleled views of the town and surrounding pastoral valley.
Stay: The Akzent-Hotel Schranne is a good comfortable, affordable option with wonderfully convenient parking. Hotel Eisenhut is a traditional luxury German inn, packed with history and antiques. Hotel Herrnschlösschen boasts the ultimate in intimate romantic indulgence with modern amenities.
Dine: Taste edible works of art in the village’s numerous bakeries. Have dinner at the historic Hotel Glocke, which serves hearty, traditional dishes.