How to Get to Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Arial view of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany, Europe
Manfred Gottschalk/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Rothenburg, Germany, is a major stop on the Romantic Road—a 260-mile trail that takes visitors from the town of Würzburg in the Franken wine-growing region to Fussen in Bavaria (where you can stay while visiting Neuschwanstein castle)—known for its well-preserved medieval architecture.

Offering guests the chance to explore over 1,000 years of history, Rothenburg is a popular destination for tourism in Germany year-round, and getting to this Bavarian city is relatively simple no matter where you're traveling from. However, it's likely that you'll be coming from the closest airport, Stuttgart Airport (STR), which is about one and a half hours by car from Rothenburg. Stuttgart is a major hub for Germanwings and TUI fly, but a larger airport is Frankfurt Airport.

Fortunately, there are a number of convenient ways to get to Rothenburg including direct service on train and bus lines that span the entire country. Additionally, there are a number of guided tours and day trips offered to Rothenburg from other major cities across Germany, so be sure to ask your travel agent about package deals if you hope to add the city to your German travel itinerary during your trip.

Getting to Rothenburg by Train or Bus

Rothenburg's train station is about a ten-minute walk from the center of the city (within the walls at the Rödertor gate), but it might take you a little longer to get to the market square or Marketplatz.

In order to get to Rothenburg directly, the only two-car regional train with direct service here is the train from Steinach, which dead-ends at Rothenburg o.d. Tauber Station and takes approximately 15 minutes. As a result, you'll likely have to make several train changes if you're coming from a larger city like Frankfurt or Munich; alternatively, you can buy your train ticket to the Ansbach Station and take a bus 16 kilometers to Rothenburg.

  • From Munich: Train service to Rothenburg takes about three hours and passes through Augsburg. Multiple daily train services depart from München Central Station; you'll need to transfer at Nuremberg Central Station for a train to Ansbach then transfer to Ansbach Bahnhof station, which provides bus service to Rothenburg.
  • From Frankfurt:  Europabus ED190 travels daily from Frankfurt to Füssen with stops in Würzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Munich, among other stops on the Romantic Road. There may be a discount on the bus if you have a rail pass. Travel takes about two and a half hours.
  • From Berlin: Although it may be faster to fly to a closer city, you can also take the train or bus from Berlin to Rothenburg, which will take between five and seven hours to complete. Trains depart multiple times a day from Berlin Central Station bound for Bamberg Station, where you can transfer to a Würzburg-bound train. Once in Würzburg, take a train to Steinach, which has a 15-minute express train that dead-ends in Rothenburg.

Getting to Rothenburg by Car

When it comes to having the most flexibility with your travel itinerary, there's no better way to get to Rothenburg than by car. Although train and bus trips take about the same amount of time as getting there by car, the ability to stop along the way makes renting a car a worthwhile investment if you have some extra time for leisurely touring during your visit.

  • From Frankfurt: Take the A2 to Würzburg, then the A7 to Rothenburg. The distance is about 120 kilometers and takes about two hours to complete.
  • From Munich: Take the A8 Autobahn to Augsburg-West, then B2 to Donauworth, then the scenic Romantic Road to Rothenburg. Alternatively, you can continue on the A8 and take the A7 to the Rothenburg exit instead of taking the B2. It should take around 2 hours and 45 minutes to drive this route.
  • From Berlin: Take the A 100 to the A 115, then merge onto the A 10 before taking a left onto the A 9, which you'll take 371 kilometers to Nurnberg before merging onto the A7 toward Würzburg/Rothenburg. The whole trip should take somewhere between five to six hours, but you should plan for a few stops along the way to take in the scenery.

Coach Tours and Day Trips

If you only have a limited time in this part of the country—or you don't want to worry about what to do on your trip—there are a number of coach tours and day trips to Rothenburg from Munich and Frankfurt.

For instance, Viator offers a "Romantic Road, Rothenburg, and Harburg" day tour that originates in Munich and offers guests the chance to see some of the most famous sites along this part of the Romantic Road. A longer version of this same trip originates in Frankfurt and includes Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein in addition to Rothenburg and the Romantic Road.

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