How To Get To Rothenburg:
It is surprisingly easy to get to Rothenburg from Munich, Nuremberg, or Frankfurt when you know what you are doing. Make sure to search for Rothenburg ob der Tauber to get the correct place.
From Munich: 2.5 Hours By Train -or- Car
From Munich Airport: 2.25 Hours By Car -or- 3.5-4 Hours By Train
From Nuremberg: 1 Hour by car; 1:15 by train
From Frankfurt: 2 Hours by car; 3 Hours by train
Getting To Rothenburg By Train From Munich:
Train Route Overview: Getting to Rothenburg by train from Munich is super easy although it requires a couple train switches. While are a couple of the connections are quick to switch trains, you can easily make the change, just pay attention to the platforms you need to go to ahead of time. The last leg in either train option goes directly between Steinach and Rothenburg with only 3 stops and dead ends in each city making it really easy. Service from Rothenburg to Steinach first opened in 1873 and helpful the village from 5,300 to 8,600 people in just 40 years.
Train Option #1 (3 Hours & 15 Minutes): While this is the longer of the two train options to get to Rothenburg from Munich, it has one less change and is the route covered by the Bayern Pass (explained below). In total it will take 3 hours and 15 minutes with two changes. The trains are usually right on time, but the transfers are quick so we suggest paying attention to the time so you are ready to get out and change trains. The cost is 25€ for one person (31€ for two people) if you book ahead or 44€ for one (88€ for two) if you wait too long.
Step 1: München Hbf > Treuchtlingen – 1:45 (5-minute layover)
Step 2: Treuchtlingen > Steinach (b Rothenburg ob der Tauber) – 1:07 (4-minute layover)
Step 3: Steinach (b Rothenburg ob der Tauber) > Rothenburg ob der Tauber – 0:14
Train Option #2 (2 Hours & 52 Minutes): While this route is 20 minutes faster and it requires one extra and is not covered by the Bayern Pass. On the bright side, this option does give you a 33-minute layover in Nurnberg which is time for people without luggage to pop across the road from the train station and see some of the Medieval wall ruins with time to get back and meet your connection. Travelers who plan ahead can book one train to Nürnberg in the morning to see more of the town on the way, then continue the rest of the leg to Rothenburg in the afternoon or evening. You can easily store your bags in a luggage locker in the lower level of Nürnberg Station for the day before continuing to Rothenburg. In total this train option will take 2 hours and 52 minutes with 3 changes. The cost is 30€ for one person (60€ for two people) if you book ahead or 67€ for one (134€ for two) if you wait too long.
Step 1: München Hbf > Nürnberg Hbf – 1:08 (33-minute layover)
Step 2: Nürnberg Hbf > Ansbach – 0:27 (4-minute layover)
Step 3: Ansbach > Steinach (b Rothenburg ob der Tauber) – 0:22 (4-minute layover)
Step 4: Steinach (b Rothenburg ob der Tauber) > Rothenburg ob der Tauber – 0:14
Train Schedule & Tickets: You can book online here.
Ticket Tip: You always want to book ahead for your best deals as it can be half the price of waiting until the day of or even week before to book your ticket. If you are using Train Option #1 above you can get the Bayern Day Pass (more info) from Munich; Option #2 isn’t covered by this pass. The pass covers unlimited trains for the day anywhere around Bavaria plus Salzburg starting at 25€ for 1 person and goes up 6€ per person up to 5 people with advanced booking. On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but Saturday & Sunday you can start anytime. Make sure to check out our full list of the Best German Train Passes (more info).
Getting From The Munich Airport To Rothenburg:
Train From The Munich Airport (3.5-4 Hours): Keep in mind that if you are going between the Munich Airport and Rothenburg by train you will first be routed all the way to Munich’s Main Train Station from the Airport via the S1 or S8 Subway. Then you will follow the train options from Munich mentioned above (cheaper to by the whole route from the airport on one ticket). The backtracking from the Airport into Munich and back North again adds an hour to your journey making it a grueling 3.5-4 hour.
Rental Car From The Munich Airport (2.25 Hours): Compared to almost 4 hours by train from the Munich Airport, it is only 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to Rothenburg by rental car. This route brings you right past Nuremberg which makes a good stop on the way. Overall it is a pretty flat and easy drive and the best option if you want to save a couple hours. A rental car is also a great option if you want to stop at the o right past the Medieval cities of Nördlingen and Dinkelsbühl on the way to or from Rothenburg as it only adds 35 minutes onto the route.
FixBus & Train Combo From The Munich Airport (4 Hours): It can be tempting to look at a map and consider taking the 3-times-a-day FixBus to Nuremberg followed by the train the rest of the way. The issue here is that the bus still takes 2 hours and costs 20 euros followed by a train ride so it is slower and more expensive than the other options from the Munich Airport.
Rental Car From Munich:
Rental Car From Munich (2.5 Hours): Driving to Rothenburg can be awesome as one route takes you on the AutoBahn and the Romantic Road. An extra bonus is that on the way you go right past the Medieval cities of Nördlingen and Dinkelsbühl by only adding 30 minutes to the total route. There are a couple parking lots just outside the city walls making leaving your car for the day or overnight really easy. If you are pressed to time we suggest focusing all of your attention on Rothenburg and skipping the other small towns on the way. Remember that if you are an overnight guest in Rothenburg you get a large discount on your parking which your hotel can help you with at checkout.
Romantic Road Bus Line:
Romantic Road Bus Overview: Romantic Road Bus To Frankfurt From Munich stops along a number of the cities en route to Rothenburg but only makes the journey each way once a day. Overall the bus is kind of stupid as from Fussen to Frankfurt it costs 110€ one way or 160€ round trip. You can get off wherever you want and it does have some layovers long enough to quickly walk through a town and get back on the bus. If you stay on the entire route including stops it takes 12 hours and you see a lot of towns but because they are shorter stops if feels like you never really experience any of the villages. The only way we would consider this bus is if you were staying in Rothenburg overnight for one or two nights as you can get out of the bus as a “layover” and then continue the journey later without paying again.
Stuttgart & Frankfurt Airports:
Nearby Airports: While both the Stuttgart and Frankfurt airports are 3 hours from Rothenburg by train, each is only 1 hour and 45 minutes away by rental car. So if you are thinking about renting a car from the Munich airport you may want to look at flights in Stuttgart or Frankfurt just to make sure you are getting the best deal and flight time. You can always rent from Frankfurt and drop off in Munich so it can be a very flexible option. Multi-destination plane tickets shouldn’t be ruled out either where you fly into one city and out of the other regardless of your rental car preference.