THE ROTHENBURG CHRISTMAS MARKET IS ONE OF THE MOST ROMANTIC IN GERMANY:
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most popular destinations along the Romantic Road in Bavaria. During the peak holiday season, Rothenburg is inundated with visitors, all wanting to experience a slice of this picture perfect town.
At Christmas time, Rothenburg’s medieval setting makes it one of the most romantic Christmas markets in Germany. The Reiterlesmarkt also has an interesting story to tell.
A Winter Wonderland
Like most German towns, Rothenburg transforms itself into a fairy tale winter wonderland during the Advent season, although disappointingly it didn’t snow for us when we were there.
Rothenburg itself is not a large town and the Christmas market here is only a fraction of the size of say, Nuremberg or Dresden. But what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in its romantic atmosphere.
The Rothenburg Christmas Market takes place on the Marktplatz and wraps around behind the Rathaus. The winding alleyways and squares near the Town Hall, such as Gruner Markt and Kirchplatz, are also filled with stalls selling all kinds of hand-made crafts and Christmas treats.
Daily events include the visit by Santa Claus, brass band concerts and guided walking tours.
The Christmas season is an enchanting time to explore the streets of Rothenburg as they are all beautifully decorated with Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations.
The shops along Obere Schmiedgasse and Untere Schmiedgasse are full of seasonal treats and even Santa himself couldn’t take his eyes off the Christmas goodies.
Käthe Wohlfahrt – The Capital of Christmas Decorations
No visit to Rothenburg is complete without a visit to the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village. You can do Christmas shopping at Käthe Wohlfahrt 365 days a year, but at Christmas time, the store puts on special Christmas displays that are sure to tug at the heartstrings of anyone who enters the store.
Rothenburg is the head office of this world famous Christmas store. If you’re in the market for Christmas decorations, you have a choice of some 30,000 products to choose from. Be warned that it gets pretty crazy in the shop at Christmas time, but they are very fast at the till.
Reiterlesmarkt – Legend of the Reiterle
Most German Christmas markets are referred to as Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindlmarkt in German, but Rothenburg’s Christmas market takes it name from an old Teutonic legend. According to this pre-Christian legend, the ‘Reiterle‘ was a mystical rider from the spirit world. During the winter season, it floated around carrying the souls of the deceased. Needless to say, people were very fearful of the appearance of the Reiterle.
The legend evolved over time and these days his image is that of a good guy who brings gifts to people on earth. The highlight of the Rothenburg Christmas market is the appearance of the “Rothenburger Reiterle” at the Christmas market opening. He assists the Lord Mayor during the opening ceremony of the Reiterlesmarkt. He also has the responsibility of ensuring that the giant Christmas tree in the square is festively illuminated. Anyone who’s done the Night Watchman tour in Rothenburg will recognize this Rothenburger Reiterle.
We enjoy visiting Rothenburg at Christmas as there are less tourists about and it allows us to truly appreciate the romantic nature of this town. And when it gets a bit chilly, you can always rely on being able to get some glühwein.
See more photos of our Rothenburg Christmas Market visit Here.
Event: Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt
Dates: November 25 – December 23, 2022
Opening times: 11:00 – 19:00 (Mon-Fri) | 11:00 – 20:00 (Weekends)
Places to Stay
There are several charming hotels and guest houses in the heart of Rothenburg ob Tauber, but you’ll need to book early as the city is very popular, especially at Christmas time. Check the range of Rothenburg hotels Here.