Visiting Rothenburg With Kids:

Visiting magical Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have while traveling through Europe with children. Kids of all ages will find plenty of things to fall in love with in Rothenburg. Larger cities may have heavy-hitting sights like the Eiffel Tower or the Coliseum, but Rothenburg has a certain charm that seems to spark a fairytale imagination in children that sticks with them.

The first few times we visited Rothenburg, we brought friends and adult family members, but after finally bringing our kids, we wish they had been with us every time. As you roam the cobblestone streets, you can see why Rothenburg’s beauty has inspired Walt Disney over the last 90 years, which has given the village ties to numerous movies. In this guide, we will cover the Disney movie locations in town, along with the other top things to do with children and many helpful tips for visiting Rothenburg with kids.

Related Article: Top 10 Things To Do In Rothenburg

Tips For Visiting With Kids:

1. How Many Days Are Needed?:

How Long To Stay In Rothenburg: Sadly, many families pop into Rothenburg for the day and leave in a few hours with overly tired children after a whirlwind daytime visit.  Please don’t do that, as Rothenburg is one of the best places in Europe for kids, but only if you have the proper pacing.  Staying overnight will ensure your family can experience the village in its early morning and evening zen while it is free from groups of tourists.

When traveling with adults, we find that staying in Rothenburg for 3 or 4 days is the ideal visit and the same holds true when you bring your children.  This is also in line with our personal rule of trying to have at least 3 nights before changing accommodations when traveling with our kids because it makes any vacation much more enjoyable.  On the long end, there are around 5 full days of things to do in and around Rothenburg with kids.  We will cover all of the best family-friendly activities in this guide so you can decide what length of stay is best for you.

2. Important Hotel Information:

About Staying In Rothenburg: When visiting Rothenburg od der Tauber with children, you need to consider a number of things, especially when it comes to your accommodations. The most important aspect to us is the location as you’ll want to stay as close to the center of the village as possible.  While Rothenburg is quite compact, when you have children walking on cobblestones, it is a game changer to only be within a few blocks of your room at all times if they need a break.  We also prefer to stay inside the core of Rothenburg within the medieval city walls with children simply for the magic of it.

Among the centrally located hotels, there are a number of great options with children, but you’ll want to book the family friendly rooms in advance.  Our favorite hotel option as a family is the Hotel Reichsküchenmeister, located just off Market Square.  This hotel has large rooms, air conditioning (which is rare for Rothenburg), a sprawling restaurant patio, and a relaxation spa in the cellar to recharge as a parent.  We recently stayed at one of their outbuilding apartments, which was absolutely perfect for our over-packed family of five.  The apartment was sprawling across two floors, including an infant crib and a playroom.

We cover numerous other hotels in depth in our Rothenburg Hotels Guide (here), but there are others that should be at the top of your list as a family.  The Hotel Eisen Hut needs strong consideration with children as it is very affordable, it has one of the best breakfasts in Rothenburg, and it has a gold standard level playroom, which our kids loved spending time in.  The Guesthouse Victoria by Edelzimmer is a wonderful full-house rental that sleeps 6+ and comes with a washing machine and dryer.  The Hotel Markusturm also has a number of perfect-sized family rooms.  The Rossmühle Youth Hostle is also popular with families due to the low cost, but is a bit too far of a walk for our kids.

3. Prepping Your Children:

How To Get Your Kids Excited: Rothenburg ob der Tauber is extremely magical regardless of your age, however, we understand that children can be highly unpredictable and moody at times regardless of the setting.  One of the best ways to proactively the challenge of unpredictability is to get your kids excited for their visit to Rothenburg by exposing them to elements of local culture.  With our own kids, we started the pre-visit process by talking about the fairytale vibe of the medieval village and its 42 castle-like watchtowers.  We also showed them photos of the Disney movie locations in Rothenburg (mentioned below) and printed off coloring book pages featuring various landmarks in town for them.

In addition to the visuals, you can also reach their taste buds in your travel prep by trying some popular German foods before your holiday.  Some fan favorites for kids are Bavarian mac-n-cheese (käsespätzle), soft pretzels (brezel), breaded pork/veal (schnitzel), bratwurst, and of course apple strudel (apfelstrudel).  Whether you make it at home or dine at your local German restaurant, trying some food ahead of time is a great way to acclimate your children.

Paired with the food, it can also be fun for kids to learn a couple of German language basics before visiting Rothenburg.  Halo (hello), guten tag (good day), please (bitte), and thank you very much (danke schön) are easy to learn and make your children feel invested in their vacation.

4. Getting To Rothenburg With Kids:

About Getting To Rothenburg With Kids: When you travel to Rothenburg ob der Tauber with children, you must do some logistical planning to ensure a smooth arrival.  Most families will come to Rothenburg by train, however, you need to be aware that it is 1km (0.6 miles) from the heart of town.  This 15-minute walk is cobblestone-free for half the journey, but isn’t ideal when totting both luggage and kids.  Luckily, there are usually plenty of plenty of taxis during the day, including vans, at the train station.  We have used Taxi Kersten (website) a number of times if you want to arrange a ride ahead of time, or you can work with your hotel for assistance.

If the train is your preferred option, you can do this very cheaply from places like Munich by leveraging the Bayern Pass for your family.  Options can be found on the Bahn National Train website (here).  It is worth noting that the train from either Nuremberg or central Munich requires a couple of quick transfers, which may not be ideal with little kids.  It is 3 hours by train from central Munich to Rothenburg or 4 hours from the Munich airport.

Although we normally use the train, it has been more convenient to rent a car to get to Rothenburg when with our childern.  We were able to land at the Munich airport and get to Rothenburg in just 2 hours vs the 4 hours by train.  In addition to being faster, a car also lets you stop in Nuremberg or the Play Mobil Theme Park for part of a day, as they are both along the driving route.  Our kids absolutely loved Play Mobil Park, and we will explore it in more depth later in this guide.

4. Know Where The Bathrooms Are:

About Rothenburg’s Bathrooms: One of our main checklist items while traveling with children is ensuring you know where the closest bathroom is.  Luckily, in Rothenburg, there are a number of public toilets (marked with WC), although many parents don’t know about them ahead of time.  Unlike in the United States, you usually can’t walk into a restaurant to use the bathroom unless you are dining there.  If your hotel is in the heart of town, you can always head back to use the bathroom, but dealing with extra walking, steps, and room keys isn’t ideal when your kids really have to go.

There are three main public restrooms in Rothenburg, with the main one tucked in Green Square (Grüner Markt), which is connected to the main Market Square (Marktplatz) along the north side of the huge Town Hall.  The second public bathroom is around the north side of the Castle Tower Gate as you enter Rothenburg’s Castle Garden on the western end of town.  The final bathroom is on the far Southend of Rothenburg in the parking lot area outside the city walls near the Spital Bastion.

5. Do You Need A Stroller?:

About Using Strollers In Rothenburg: Like most of Europe, if your children are younger than 6, you will want a backpack carrier or stroller in Rothenburg.  Staying close to the center of town will drastically reduce how much you need to rely on the assistance of a stroller, but you’ll be happy to have something for most situations.

While the main sidewalks are smooth, the cobblestones on the streets and squares can be very, very changing with basic collapsible umbrella strollers.  If your child is at an age where they require a stroller, you will definitely want to bring a sturdier one with large rubber tires.  A jogger or BOB is ideal for one child, but because we have multiple children, we use the, .  It has been excellent since the UPPAbaby VISTA was out of our budget, but nothing is perfect stroller-wise.

Bringing a backpack carrier for children between 12 and 36 months is an excellent idea to stay nibble. We’ve had good luck with the Osprey Poco LT, as it folds flat into our checked luggage. When your child is having a difficult time falling asleep due to a time zone change, walking them around Rothenburg in a bump-free carrier is very enjoyable late at night. A backpack carrier also comes in handy during the day if you are going to be walking along the medieval city wall, which is a must-do.

If you have a young baby, the easiest solution is to bring a baby Bjorn chest carrier to minimize the bumpy strolling and stay nimble.  We also love the breathable LilleBaby brand carriers for older infants during the warm summer months.

Top Things To Do With Children:

1. Attend A Festival:

top ten best restaurants In Rothenburg germany - medieval cave cellar dining To Hell Tavern Zur Holl restaurant
top ten best restaurants In Rothenburg germany - medieval cave cellar dining To Hell Tavern Zur Holl restaurant

About Rothenburg’s Festivals: If you want your family’s experience to be extra magical, try to time your visit with one of Rothenburg’s seasonal festivals.

Related Article: Imperial City Days

2. Visit The Disney Film Locations:

About Disney Locations In Rothenburg: Knowing about the real-life Disney locations in Rothenburg will not only help get your kids excited for their visit but also keep them engaged once you arrive.  While you walk around the well-preserved Rothenburg od der Tauber, the fairytale vibe will hit you from every angle.  It is no wonder that Walt Disney started using the medieval village as inspiration for movies shortly after his illustrators first visited in the 1930s.  The postcard-perfect Plönlein Corner was the centerpiece of many of the sketches and was featured in Pinocchio in 1940.

The stunning square was more recently featured in the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson in 2017.  The Fountain of Saint George in Rothenburg’s Market Square was also featured in the recent Beauty and the Beast, as a full-sized replica of it was built for the center of the village in the film.  Visitors of Disney World in Florida will also recognize the foundation as the focal point of the German Pavilion in Epcot.

Our kids enjoyed hunting for the Disney locations around Rothenburg, including the ones with direct ties, and also just randomly shouting at every watchtower for Rapunzel to let down her hair.  They especially loved playing their own version of Belle throughout this small provincial town.  Rothenburg has also been featured in numerous non-Disney children’s movies, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), which is worth watching before you visit with your kids.

3. Shopping At The Christmas Stores:

About The Christmas Stores: Christmastime is a big deal in Rothenburg as the tradition of a market over the Advent season goes back to the 1400s.  While December is the best time to get the holiday vibe, Rothenburg’s architecture and atmosphere make it feel like Christmas all year long.  The epicenter of the village’s holly jolly spirit is the flagship store for the Kathe Wolfart brand, which your kids will say feels like walking into Santa’s workshop.

4. Dress Up At The Armory:

About Dressing Up At The Armory: Your family can experience life as a medieval royal by visiting one of the best shops in Rothenburg inside the 600-year-old cellars below the Armory (Waffenkammer).  On any normal visit, the store is a fan favorite with children

5. Try Local Food & Sweets:

About Local Food For Kids:

A huge hurdle in traveling anywhere with children is the uncertainty of finding things they will actually eat while being away from home.  Rothenburg can be especially intimidating if you haven’t been here since there are no fast food backup plans inside the walls of the pristine village, but that is a good thing.

6. Walk The City Wall (Stadtmauer):

11. Climb Town Hall Tower:

9. Take The Night Watchman Tour:

10. Medieval Crime Museum & Dungeons:

7. City Wall Playground (Kinderspielplatz):

About Rothenburg’s Playground: Visiting a playground can positively influence a kid’s day, and it is vitally important to seek them out while on vacation. There are few playgrounds in the world that have a better background than the delightful one along the eastern edge of Rothenburg’s medieval city wall.  Our kids had so much fun at this well-designed playground and never wanted to leave.

The rustic aesthetics of the playground blend in well with the surrounding tower-filled stone wall which is so much prettier than a standard American plastic playground.  Aside from its beauty, the playground is very functional, with areas to entertain any age of young children.  They can climb the platforms to pretend they are the rulers of Rothenburg or spend time playing the sand and water features.  We love how the city thoughtfully added a shade canopy to make the playground usable even in the middle of a hot summer day.  It is also helpful that the playground is near a public bathroom, although it is a bit ironic that this place of joy also happens to be fairly close to where the executioner’s gallows were during the Middle Ages.  Speaking of ironic placement, a second fairly basic playground is available on the opposite western side of town near the Punishment Tower.

You’ll also want to take advantage of the playgrounds, as there is a slight lack of public green space in Rothenburg. This is mainly because the medieval town was set up for the homes to have private courtyard gardens instead of public-facing spaces. The Castle Garen Park is refreshing and large but not really conducive for children to do pure park play. The Market Square is an excellent place to run around, but it is all stone with no shade.

8. Unter Den Linden Beer Garden:

About Unter Den Linden Beer Garden: In the spring and summer months in Rothenburg, there is nothing better as a family than hanging out along the Tauber River at the Unter Den Linden Beer Garden.  This peaceful oasis away from the busy tourist center and the summer heat is a true hidden gem.  Having grown up on a small river myself, one of our best days vacationing was coming to Unter Den Linden with our kids.

The drinks are delicious, the pizza is tasty, there is a gently shallow stream for your children to play in, and there is often live music.

Honorable Mention Actives:

14. Church Of Saint James (St. Jakobs Kirche):

About The Church Of Saint James: Maybe no place in Rothenburg better shows off how rich and powerful the village was in the Middle Ages than the cathedral-sized Church of Saint James.  During medieval times, the church brought in religious pilgrims who followed the Saint James Way, which stretched all the way to Spain.

Even if you aren’t visiting Rothenburg for religious reasons, your kids will be amazed by the massive size of the church. Our own children had a great time looking at the statues around the outside of the Church of Saint James, especially the miniature model of the entire village of Rothenburg.  There is a 2€ entrance fee to go inside the main areas of the church, which makes the interior skippable for some families.

If you choose to go inside, which we recommend, you will be able to see the famous Blood Altar carved by Tilman Riemenschneider in 1505.  This piece is considered one of the finest wood carvings from the Renaissance depicting Judas in the center of the Last Supper and was made to house the relic of holy blood.  You’ll find original stained glass windows from the 1300s and a fabulous main altar in the lower nave.  The altar has wrap-around painting panels from the 1400s that are worth investigating.  We cover the church in more detail on our free Rothenburg walking tour.

14. Climbing World Ropes Course (Kletterwald):

About The Kletterwald Ropes Course: For families with adventurous kids ages 5 and up, consider visiting the thrilling Kletterwald Ropes Course during the summer months. The course has over 140 climbing elements, including a range and a zip line, and it offers heights of 1 to 17 meters (3 to 55 feet) above the ground.  It can be such a memorable time for children to swing on the ropes like Tarzan and traverse the wobbly wooden bridges between the trees.

Website: HERE.

5. Take A Bike Ride:

9. Have A Picnic:

About Wildbad PicnicsYou can enjoy the picturesque beauty of the gardens and former spa at Wildbad Manor for an unforgetting experience.  You get a real picnic basket and have access to the trails which, if you do the whole hike, is an enjoyable 45 minute loop.

In 1820 the huge manor and spa was built here. Specializes in Christian conference and prayer groups.  current complex built between 1898 and 1903 by Friedrich Hessing as a spa hotel. Since 1982 it has been used as an Evangelical conference center.

Picnic Booking: For the 25 Euro picnic you need an advanced booking which can be done by calling them at +49 9861 977-0 or by email at  Wildbad Locatin: Taubertalweg 42.  Wildbad Website: (HERE).

13. Leyk’s Lotus Garden (Leyk Lotos-garten):