Rothenburg-Christmas7

The Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Markets

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The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Bavaria is one of the most beautiful regions in Germany. Located in the Southern part of the country, the capital of Bavaria is Munich and the federal state consists of storybook villages, stunning alpine mountains, enchanting castles, breathtaking nature and so much more. During Christmastime, Bavaria is thriving with authentic markets, beautiful decorations and a spirit that is merry and bright.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Every year, I enjoy doing a Christmas trip during the month of December. I started this tradition in December 2017 when I went to Lapland, Finland with Crawford Concierge by SitInMySeats. In 2018, I visited Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany; Salzburg and Hallstatt, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia and Vienna, Austria. During December 2019, I started my Christmas trip in Kraków, Poland and then made my way to Prague and Česky Krumlov, Czechia; Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria, Germany along with Frankfurt and Cologne, Germany.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

There is something truly special about the German Christmas markets, especially in Bavaria. Between the beautiful wooden stands, glühwein (German mulled wine), decorative gingerbread cookies, stunning Christmas displays and more, there is a reason why Germany (or Bavaria in general) is renowned for their magical Christkindlmarkts. After experiencing the Christmas markets in Munich last year, I knew I had to make my way back to Bavaria at some point. This year, I decided to check out Nuremberg (or Nürnberg in German), which is known to have one of the largest and most famous Christmas markets in Germany, as well as the charming village of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. (Please note that the German Christmas markets usually end the day before Christmas Eve as compared to the Eastern European markets that end in early January.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

In this blog post, discover all of the festive things to do in the Bavarian Christmas towns of Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

*During my time in Bavaria, Hocher Hotel hosted me for two nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.


Getting to and Around Bavaria:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Before visiting Bavaria, I spent a few days in Czechia (Czech Republic) checking out the Christmas markets in Prague and Česky Krumlov and before that, two days in Kraków, Poland. I found great flight deals through Skyscanner from NYC to Europe and used Omio to book all of my trains and buses to all of the different cities I visited. What I love about Omio is that they plan the most convenient and cost-friendly route for your travels around Europe.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

From Česky Krumlov, I took a Flixbus to Nuremberg in Bavaria with a stopover back in Prague. Technically, I went out of my way to spend time in Česky Krumlov, but it was definitely worth it. Overall, it was around a 7-hour journey to get from Česky Krumlov to Nuremberg, but that was the easiest way I could get there through public transportation. If you want to do a road trip, it is best to rent a car.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my two days in Bavaria, I spent one day in Nuremberg before making my way to Rothenburg later that day, where I would spend two nights. Rothenburg is a much smaller city than Nuremberg and it is located in a secluded area in Bavaria that required three trains to get to from Nuremberg. From the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof (main train station), it took less than an hour to get to Rothenburg, but it required a transfer in the towns of Ansbach and Steinach. I will admit that it was annoying transferring trains a few times, but visiting Rothenburg is worth it because it is so beautiful!

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Since I wasn’t staying in Nuremberg and had my luggage on me, I used Nannybag, which offers a secure luggage storage during your time in a specific city or town. What you do is download the Nannybag app, type in the city that you will be visiting and when you plan to arrive and leave. At a small cost per luggage, Nannybag will list the stores, restaurants or hotels where you could drop your bag off at the city you are visiting. Nannybag is also insured against theft, loss and breakage. I ended up dropping my luggage off at an Asian store located near the Nuremberg Christmas market. The owner’s of the store locked up my luggage in a private room and they also provided me with a receipt that I needed to show when I came to pick the bag back up. Overall, it is super convenient and a great way to store your bags when you are traveling from one city to the next in Europe. (I also did this when I visited Frankfurt.)

Staying at Hocher Hotel in Rothenburg:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my two nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I stayed at the charming Hocher Hotel & Café. It is a family-run boutique hotel and café that is located in the heart of the old town. I absolutely adored staying at Hocher Hotel and it was absolutely welcoming and warm. What I loved most about staying at Hocher Hotel was that it was everything you picture a Bavarian home to be – wooden furniture, Christmas decorations everywhere and pretty architecture.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One thing to note prior to about staying at Hocher Hotel is that reception opens at 7am and closes at 6pm. If you are planning on arriving early or late, it is best to contact the hotel and let them know. Hocher Hotel consists of a main house along with a back house. During my two nights at Hocher Hotel, I stayed in the back house in a double room that was perfect for myself. (It also would’ve been good for a couple too.) It was very similar to the hotel I stayed in during my time in Salzburg, Austria.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

What I loved about staying in the backhouse was how cozy it was. When you walk in the door, there was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that was lit up. There were also other Christmas decorations as well as garland along the staircase. My room was on the second floor and offered a double bed, ensuite bathroom, desk, closet space, television, high-speed WiFi and more.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

In the morning, breakfast was included in my stay which consisted of cold cuts, fresh breads with Nutella or fruity jams, cereals, yogurt, oatmeal and granola, fresh fruit, plus tea, coffee, hot chocolate and juices. I also loved the bakery and café at Hocher Hotel. There were so many delicious baked goods such as croissants, pastries and more. It is definitely a charming place to hang out in if you want a coffee and cake break.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Hocher Hotel during my time in Bavaria and recommend staying there if you are planning an overnight visit in Rothenburg. Now, before I go into everything I did in Rothenburg, read all about my time spent wandering through the Nuremberg Christmas markets.

Nuremberg – The Second Largest City in Bavaria:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria behind Munich. It is known for having the most spectacular Christmas market in Germany and it is also renowned for its nightlife.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Nuremberg has expansive history in the country of Germany. For many centuries, it was the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the preferred residence of the German kings. It was also a city for Bavaria’s artists and a powerhouse during Germany’s industrial revolution.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During World War II, the Nazis held rallies in the city and it was where the Nuremberg Laws outlawing German citizenship for Jewish people were enacted and it was also where the boycott of Jewish businesses began. On January 2, 1945, most of the city was bombed and 6,000 people were killed in the process. After the war, it was the site of the Nuremberg Trials and most of city was rebuilt resembling its former grandeur.

The World-Famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The best time to visit Nuremberg is definitely during Christmastime. I was completely awestruck by how impressive the city’s Christmas markets were. It could take you hours to walk past all of the wooden stands, which is awesome!

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my day in Nuremberg, I had both lunch and dinner at the Christmas markets because I seriously wanted to eat everything! When it comes to food, the German Christmas markets definitely do not disappoint. Here is a list of everything you could enjoy at the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
  • Decorative Gingerbread Hearts and Cookies
  • Nuremberg Bratwursts (they a mini bratwursts)
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Homemade Chocolates
  • Pretzels of all Kinds
  • Potato Pancakes and Applesauce
  • Roasted Mushrooms
  • Raclette
  • Spätzle
  • Currywurst
The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Next, you cannot visit a German Christmas market and not get glühwein. This warm beverage is seriously my favorite part of attending a Christmas market because it is tasty and heartwarming. The traditional glühwein is usually made with red wine, but there are spin offs made with white wine, fruity flavors and more. Other popular drinks at German Christmas markets are Eierpunsch, which is similar to eggnog. It is made with egg yolks, white wine, spices (cinnamon and cloves), vanilla and citrus juice. I’m personally not an eggnog fan, so I unfortunately didn’t get to sip this beverage during my time at the Bavaria markets. Another Christmas market beverage I enjoy drinking is Heibe Schokolade, which is a spiked hot chocolate either with rum or Amaretto. Lastly, you could also enjoy glühbier at the markets! Pretty much it is the same thing as glühwein where it is heated and filled with spices, but instead it is made with beer instead of wine. (You could also get grog, which is straight up mulled liquor, but that normally isn’t my jam.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my time at the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, I made my way through the stands in the hauptmarkt. Since I had both lunch and dinner at the market, I savored A LOT – glühwein (obviously); a Nuremberg bratwurst sandwich, which are two mini bratwursts on a round roll; a heart-shaped gingerbread cookie; potato pancakes with applesauce and a sugary pretzel with a chocolate drizzle. (No shame at all!) I also walked around and admired all of the lovely trinkets, crafts, decorations and artwork the stalls offered. What I also love about the German markets are that they sell beautiful Christmas village houses that resemble the timber wood houses of Bavaria.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

You could wander all throughout the regular market and even make your way over to the Children’s Christmas Market that is a lovely area filled with more stalls serving bratwursts, frites (French fries), sugary treats and non-alcoholic hot punch. There is even a carousel, Ferris wheel and other fun rides and games for little ones to enjoy. In addition, you could find more Christmas stands and shops all throughout the city.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Other things to do in Nuremberg:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my time in Nuremberg, I was mainly at the Christmas markets, but there are plenty of other wonderful things to do in the city. Below is a list of other awesome things to do in beautiful Nuremberg:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Visit the Imperial Castle: Like I mention above, Nuremberg was once the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Since the Middle Ages, The Imperial Castle of Nuremberg played an important role in royalty and it is considered one of Europe’s most formidable medieval fortifications. There are no organized tours of the Imperial Castle, so you are free to explore on your own. The only area of the castle where you need a tour guide is at the Deep Well. Other areas of the castle to see are the Sinwell Tower, Double Chapel, Imperial Hall, Emperor’s Living Room, Corner Chamber, Imperial Castle Museum as well as the Castle Gardens.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Climb the Frauenkirche: Located at the center of the hauptmarkt is the Frauenkirche, or otherwise known as Church of Our Lady. It is also the center of the Christmas markets. This beautiful Gothic church was built in the 14th Century and contains many sculptures from the Holy Roman Empire, many of which have been restored over the years. You could climb up the church’s tower and catch stunning views of the city as well as the magical Christmas markets.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Wander and Get Lost: Nuremberg is a wonderful city to get lost in. There are so many gorgeous half timbered houses, lovely cobblestone lanes and other beautiful churches and historical sites that showcase the beauty of Bavaria. You could even find more Christmas stands and decorations throughout the city.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Go Shopping: Located in the heart of Nuremberg are numerous stores for you to get your shopping fix in. A popular German Christmas store to definitely check out is Käthe Wohlfahrt. It is here where you could find any and all types of Christmas decorations. It is definitely fascinating to walk through and take a look around.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber – a Fairytale in Germany:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The most beautiful town I’ve visited in Germany is definitely Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It means above the Tauber River in German. It is a medieval jewel located along the Romantic Road in Bavaria. In case you are wondering, the Romantic Road is a 350km (or 217 mile) route that leads through the forests and mountains of Bavaria, Germany. The northern end point of the Romantic Road is in the wine region of Würzburg and the southern end point is in Füssen near the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg is one of the top tourist destinations in Germany and it definitely does draw in heavy crowds (similar to how it did in Česky Krumlov). The town is the best depiction of fairytale Germany with its cobbled lanes, timber wood houses, towered walls, breathtaking scenery and more. It is a fairly small town and you could easily see everything in one full day. Discover everything I did during my time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Get Lost in the Town:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg is the definition of a magical Christmas town. No matter where you go, you will find higgledy-piggledy houses with stunning Christmas décor on almost every single one of them. Some of the most picturesque parts of Rothenburg is at the Market Square, the Master Builder’s House (Baumeisterhaus) and the Plönlein, which is the town’s most photographed site and also considered the Pinocchio house. Not only was this house the inspiration behind the 1940’s Walt Disney classic, it is also seen in German video games, music videos and Japanese manga.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

If you are looking for the best Instagram locations throughout the city, you definitely won’t have a problem finding the perfect photo spot in Rothenburg. I do recommend waking up earlier to get your photos in, especially if you are a solo traveler like myself who is reliant on a tripod.  

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Walk the Town Walls:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One of the best ways to capture great views of Rothenburg from all around (and also get an exercise in) is by walking the town walls. The walls itself are around 2 miles long and it could take around 2 hours or more to walk the entire length of it. I only meandered through a small part of it and do want to let you all know that the walkway is very narrow and only allows people to walk single file. Before you walk up to the walkway, there is a sign informing you that walking the walls could be dangerous due to weather. The walkway also does not meet city standards, so please note that you are walking at your own risk. I personally didn’t feel unsafe, but for an elderly person or young child, it could be a bit risky.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Enjoy the Christmas Markets:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

To top off all of the magic in Rothenburg, the city’s Christmas markets are absolutely enchanting! You will find gorgeous wooden stands at the Marktplatz, which is the main Market Square as well as in the Grüner Markt and Kirchplatz.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

At the Rothenburg Christkindlmarkts, you could find the typical German Christmas market staples such as glühwein, bratwurst and other German wursts, warm crêpes, gingerbread and more. During my time at the Rothenburg markets, I had hot chocolate with Amaretto along with a bratwurst sandwich and a crêpe with white chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious! I also loved walking around and looking at all of the different stands.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One thing to note about the Rothenburg Christkindlmarkt is that the Reiterle will make a random appearance on certain days during Advent season. Similar to Krampus, Reiterle is a feared figure for children who have misbehaved throughout the year. He is the contrast to Santa Claus.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Visit St. James’s Church:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

A beautiful church to visit in Rothenburg is St. James’s Church. It is a Lutheran church that serves as a place of worship on the Bavaria pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Honestly, I thought I was just seeing things when I spotted the infamous Camino de Santiago seashell in Rothenburg. Now, I know why! (Click here to read my blog post from the Camino de Santiago.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Stroll through the Burggarten:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One of the most picturesque nature spots in Rothenburg is the Burggarten, which is located behind a few buildings in the town. The road leading towards the Plönlein is where you could find the lookout spot as well as the stairs that lead down into the Burggarten. It is the perfect place to stroll and relax with a nice book.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Admire the Decorations at Käthe Wohlfahrt:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

As I mention above in the Nuremberg section of this blog post, Käthe Wohlfahrt is the official Christmas store of Germany. Their head office is actually based in Rothenburg and they also have a beautiful museum to check out.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Opened 360 days a year, this beautiful Christmas store has a gorgeous display of Christmas trees that are lit up; there are beautiful village houses, sparkly ornaments, nutcrackers, home décor and so much more. During my time at Käthe Wohlfahrt, I purchased my very own German stein. (My dad once owned a stein he bought during his time playing basketball in Europe, but my parents got rid of it when they moved… why? I do not know lol.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Savor Authentic German Food:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my time in Rothenburg, I mainly ate at the Christmas markets, but I definitely couldn’t wait to savor an authentic German meal at a local restaurant. Since Rothenburg draws a lot of tourists, I did have a tough time finding a restaurant that had open tables. I was so lucky to have found Hotel Reichsküchenmeister, which offers a lovely and cozy restaurant. I had a delicious German beer with pork and Spätzle in a mushroom cream sauce. I will admit that I am not a big pork eater, but this dish was amazing!

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

In addition, I also enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea at Café Einzigartig, which is a cute and unique café located a few buildings down from Hocher Hotel. I absolutely loved how unique it was. Other restaurants that were recommended to me were Restaurant Klosterstüble, Profumo di Pasta da Giuseppe, Restaurant Burggartenpalais and Eiscafé Pizzeria Roma.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in Bavaria in the towns of Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany and my experience staying at Hocher Hotel. If you have any questions about my time in Bavaria during Advent season, please email me at [email protected].

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Basic Facts of Germany:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Berlin

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8 Comments

  1. Emma on December 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    This is such an informative blog! I visited Nuremberg earlier this year and loved it – guess I’ll have to go back for the Christmas markets!

    • Taylor Deer on December 20, 2019 at 11:12 pm

      Thank you Emma! It’s such a beautiful city! 🙂

  2. Elena Pappalardo on December 22, 2019 at 12:05 am

    I’m absolutely in love with all the architecture. Your pictures are so gorgeous! Rothenburg has been on my list for awhile now, but I honestly had no idea how crowded it was…I have to say you totally nailed the tripod shots here! (Also, I’m drooling over all the FOOD!)

    • Taylor Deer on December 22, 2019 at 1:22 am

      haha I got lucky with some of the tripod shots, but it totally is worth traveling to! I loved getting lost there. 🙂

  3. Kim Deer on December 22, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    I think this blog on the Bavaria Christmas markets was my favorite out of all the ones you visited this year. The Christmas decorations, cathedrals and beautiful architecture homes blew me away. Loved all your photos and reading this very interesting blog ~ I felt like I was there enjoying the warmth of Christmas and all those delicious German staple meals. Love you, Mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on December 23, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Thank you mom! Bavaria is a beautiful place to celebrate Christmas festivities. Love you too!

  4. Maria on December 28, 2019 at 6:19 am

    I’ve never been to a Christmas market in Bavaria but it looks so dreamy there! I suppose they’re quite similar to Austrian Christmas markets. I totally understand you that you wanted to eat everything. I always feel the same and usually I gain weight in December because the food and hot drinks are just too good haha

    • Taylor Deer on December 28, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      haha yes! I would say the German Christmas markets are very similar to the Austrian ones. Last year I did Salzburg and Vienna and they were also magical with great food!

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Rothenburg-Christmas7

The Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Markets

Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Bavaria is one of the most beautiful regions in Germany. Located in the Southern part of the country, the capital of Bavaria is Munich and the federal state consists of storybook villages, stunning alpine mountains, enchanting castles, breathtaking nature and so much more. During Christmastime, Bavaria is thriving with authentic markets, beautiful decorations and a spirit that is merry and bright.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Every year, I enjoy doing a Christmas trip during the month of December. I started this tradition in December 2017 when I went to Lapland, Finland with Crawford Concierge by SitInMySeats. In 2018, I visited Munich and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany; Salzburg and Hallstatt, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia and Vienna, Austria. During December 2019, I started my Christmas trip in Kraków, Poland and then made my way to Prague and Česky Krumlov, Czechia; Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria, Germany along with Frankfurt and Cologne, Germany.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

There is something truly special about the German Christmas markets, especially in Bavaria. Between the beautiful wooden stands, glühwein (German mulled wine), decorative gingerbread cookies, stunning Christmas displays and more, there is a reason why Germany (or Bavaria in general) is renowned for their magical Christkindlmarkts. After experiencing the Christmas markets in Munich last year, I knew I had to make my way back to Bavaria at some point. This year, I decided to check out Nuremberg (or Nürnberg in German), which is known to have one of the largest and most famous Christmas markets in Germany, as well as the charming village of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. (Please note that the German Christmas markets usually end the day before Christmas Eve as compared to the Eastern European markets that end in early January.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

In this blog post, discover all of the festive things to do in the Bavarian Christmas towns of Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

*During my time in Bavaria, Hocher Hotel hosted me for two nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.


Getting to and Around Bavaria:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Before visiting Bavaria, I spent a few days in Czechia (Czech Republic) checking out the Christmas markets in Prague and Česky Krumlov and before that, two days in Kraków, Poland. I found great flight deals through Skyscanner from NYC to Europe and used Omio to book all of my trains and buses to all of the different cities I visited. What I love about Omio is that they plan the most convenient and cost-friendly route for your travels around Europe.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

From Česky Krumlov, I took a Flixbus to Nuremberg in Bavaria with a stopover back in Prague. Technically, I went out of my way to spend time in Česky Krumlov, but it was definitely worth it. Overall, it was around a 7-hour journey to get from Česky Krumlov to Nuremberg, but that was the easiest way I could get there through public transportation. If you want to do a road trip, it is best to rent a car.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my two days in Bavaria, I spent one day in Nuremberg before making my way to Rothenburg later that day, where I would spend two nights. Rothenburg is a much smaller city than Nuremberg and it is located in a secluded area in Bavaria that required three trains to get to from Nuremberg. From the Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof (main train station), it took less than an hour to get to Rothenburg, but it required a transfer in the towns of Ansbach and Steinach. I will admit that it was annoying transferring trains a few times, but visiting Rothenburg is worth it because it is so beautiful!

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Since I wasn’t staying in Nuremberg and had my luggage on me, I used Nannybag, which offers a secure luggage storage during your time in a specific city or town. What you do is download the Nannybag app, type in the city that you will be visiting and when you plan to arrive and leave. At a small cost per luggage, Nannybag will list the stores, restaurants or hotels where you could drop your bag off at the city you are visiting. Nannybag is also insured against theft, loss and breakage. I ended up dropping my luggage off at an Asian store located near the Nuremberg Christmas market. The owner’s of the store locked up my luggage in a private room and they also provided me with a receipt that I needed to show when I came to pick the bag back up. Overall, it is super convenient and a great way to store your bags when you are traveling from one city to the next in Europe. (I also did this when I visited Frankfurt.)

Staying at Hocher Hotel in Rothenburg:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my two nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I stayed at the charming Hocher Hotel & Café. It is a family-run boutique hotel and café that is located in the heart of the old town. I absolutely adored staying at Hocher Hotel and it was absolutely welcoming and warm. What I loved most about staying at Hocher Hotel was that it was everything you picture a Bavarian home to be – wooden furniture, Christmas decorations everywhere and pretty architecture.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One thing to note prior to about staying at Hocher Hotel is that reception opens at 7am and closes at 6pm. If you are planning on arriving early or late, it is best to contact the hotel and let them know. Hocher Hotel consists of a main house along with a back house. During my two nights at Hocher Hotel, I stayed in the back house in a double room that was perfect for myself. (It also would’ve been good for a couple too.) It was very similar to the hotel I stayed in during my time in Salzburg, Austria.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

What I loved about staying in the backhouse was how cozy it was. When you walk in the door, there was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree that was lit up. There were also other Christmas decorations as well as garland along the staircase. My room was on the second floor and offered a double bed, ensuite bathroom, desk, closet space, television, high-speed WiFi and more.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

In the morning, breakfast was included in my stay which consisted of cold cuts, fresh breads with Nutella or fruity jams, cereals, yogurt, oatmeal and granola, fresh fruit, plus tea, coffee, hot chocolate and juices. I also loved the bakery and café at Hocher Hotel. There were so many delicious baked goods such as croissants, pastries and more. It is definitely a charming place to hang out in if you want a coffee and cake break.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Hocher Hotel during my time in Bavaria and recommend staying there if you are planning an overnight visit in Rothenburg. Now, before I go into everything I did in Rothenburg, read all about my time spent wandering through the Nuremberg Christmas markets.

Nuremberg – The Second Largest City in Bavaria:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria behind Munich. It is known for having the most spectacular Christmas market in Germany and it is also renowned for its nightlife.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Nuremberg has expansive history in the country of Germany. For many centuries, it was the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire and the preferred residence of the German kings. It was also a city for Bavaria’s artists and a powerhouse during Germany’s industrial revolution.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During World War II, the Nazis held rallies in the city and it was where the Nuremberg Laws outlawing German citizenship for Jewish people were enacted and it was also where the boycott of Jewish businesses began. On January 2, 1945, most of the city was bombed and 6,000 people were killed in the process. After the war, it was the site of the Nuremberg Trials and most of city was rebuilt resembling its former grandeur.

The World-Famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The best time to visit Nuremberg is definitely during Christmastime. I was completely awestruck by how impressive the city’s Christmas markets were. It could take you hours to walk past all of the wooden stands, which is awesome!

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my day in Nuremberg, I had both lunch and dinner at the Christmas markets because I seriously wanted to eat everything! When it comes to food, the German Christmas markets definitely do not disappoint. Here is a list of everything you could enjoy at the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
  • Decorative Gingerbread Hearts and Cookies
  • Nuremberg Bratwursts (they a mini bratwursts)
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Homemade Chocolates
  • Pretzels of all Kinds
  • Potato Pancakes and Applesauce
  • Roasted Mushrooms
  • Raclette
  • Spätzle
  • Currywurst
The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Next, you cannot visit a German Christmas market and not get glühwein. This warm beverage is seriously my favorite part of attending a Christmas market because it is tasty and heartwarming. The traditional glühwein is usually made with red wine, but there are spin offs made with white wine, fruity flavors and more. Other popular drinks at German Christmas markets are Eierpunsch, which is similar to eggnog. It is made with egg yolks, white wine, spices (cinnamon and cloves), vanilla and citrus juice. I’m personally not an eggnog fan, so I unfortunately didn’t get to sip this beverage during my time at the Bavaria markets. Another Christmas market beverage I enjoy drinking is Heibe Schokolade, which is a spiked hot chocolate either with rum or Amaretto. Lastly, you could also enjoy glühbier at the markets! Pretty much it is the same thing as glühwein where it is heated and filled with spices, but instead it is made with beer instead of wine. (You could also get grog, which is straight up mulled liquor, but that normally isn’t my jam.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my time at the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, I made my way through the stands in the hauptmarkt. Since I had both lunch and dinner at the market, I savored A LOT – glühwein (obviously); a Nuremberg bratwurst sandwich, which are two mini bratwursts on a round roll; a heart-shaped gingerbread cookie; potato pancakes with applesauce and a sugary pretzel with a chocolate drizzle. (No shame at all!) I also walked around and admired all of the lovely trinkets, crafts, decorations and artwork the stalls offered. What I also love about the German markets are that they sell beautiful Christmas village houses that resemble the timber wood houses of Bavaria.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

You could wander all throughout the regular market and even make your way over to the Children’s Christmas Market that is a lovely area filled with more stalls serving bratwursts, frites (French fries), sugary treats and non-alcoholic hot punch. There is even a carousel, Ferris wheel and other fun rides and games for little ones to enjoy. In addition, you could find more Christmas stands and shops all throughout the city.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Other things to do in Nuremberg:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my time in Nuremberg, I was mainly at the Christmas markets, but there are plenty of other wonderful things to do in the city. Below is a list of other awesome things to do in beautiful Nuremberg:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Visit the Imperial Castle: Like I mention above, Nuremberg was once the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Since the Middle Ages, The Imperial Castle of Nuremberg played an important role in royalty and it is considered one of Europe’s most formidable medieval fortifications. There are no organized tours of the Imperial Castle, so you are free to explore on your own. The only area of the castle where you need a tour guide is at the Deep Well. Other areas of the castle to see are the Sinwell Tower, Double Chapel, Imperial Hall, Emperor’s Living Room, Corner Chamber, Imperial Castle Museum as well as the Castle Gardens.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Climb the Frauenkirche: Located at the center of the hauptmarkt is the Frauenkirche, or otherwise known as Church of Our Lady. It is also the center of the Christmas markets. This beautiful Gothic church was built in the 14th Century and contains many sculptures from the Holy Roman Empire, many of which have been restored over the years. You could climb up the church’s tower and catch stunning views of the city as well as the magical Christmas markets.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Wander and Get Lost: Nuremberg is a wonderful city to get lost in. There are so many gorgeous half timbered houses, lovely cobblestone lanes and other beautiful churches and historical sites that showcase the beauty of Bavaria. You could even find more Christmas stands and decorations throughout the city.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Go Shopping: Located in the heart of Nuremberg are numerous stores for you to get your shopping fix in. A popular German Christmas store to definitely check out is Käthe Wohlfahrt. It is here where you could find any and all types of Christmas decorations. It is definitely fascinating to walk through and take a look around.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber – a Fairytale in Germany:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The most beautiful town I’ve visited in Germany is definitely Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It means above the Tauber River in German. It is a medieval jewel located along the Romantic Road in Bavaria. In case you are wondering, the Romantic Road is a 350km (or 217 mile) route that leads through the forests and mountains of Bavaria, Germany. The northern end point of the Romantic Road is in the wine region of Würzburg and the southern end point is in Füssen near the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg is one of the top tourist destinations in Germany and it definitely does draw in heavy crowds (similar to how it did in Česky Krumlov). The town is the best depiction of fairytale Germany with its cobbled lanes, timber wood houses, towered walls, breathtaking scenery and more. It is a fairly small town and you could easily see everything in one full day. Discover everything I did during my time in Rothenburg ob der Tauber:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Get Lost in the Town:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Rothenburg is the definition of a magical Christmas town. No matter where you go, you will find higgledy-piggledy houses with stunning Christmas décor on almost every single one of them. Some of the most picturesque parts of Rothenburg is at the Market Square, the Master Builder’s House (Baumeisterhaus) and the Plönlein, which is the town’s most photographed site and also considered the Pinocchio house. Not only was this house the inspiration behind the 1940’s Walt Disney classic, it is also seen in German video games, music videos and Japanese manga.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

If you are looking for the best Instagram locations throughout the city, you definitely won’t have a problem finding the perfect photo spot in Rothenburg. I do recommend waking up earlier to get your photos in, especially if you are a solo traveler like myself who is reliant on a tripod.  

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Walk the Town Walls:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One of the best ways to capture great views of Rothenburg from all around (and also get an exercise in) is by walking the town walls. The walls itself are around 2 miles long and it could take around 2 hours or more to walk the entire length of it. I only meandered through a small part of it and do want to let you all know that the walkway is very narrow and only allows people to walk single file. Before you walk up to the walkway, there is a sign informing you that walking the walls could be dangerous due to weather. The walkway also does not meet city standards, so please note that you are walking at your own risk. I personally didn’t feel unsafe, but for an elderly person or young child, it could be a bit risky.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Enjoy the Christmas Markets:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

To top off all of the magic in Rothenburg, the city’s Christmas markets are absolutely enchanting! You will find gorgeous wooden stands at the Marktplatz, which is the main Market Square as well as in the Grüner Markt and Kirchplatz.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

At the Rothenburg Christkindlmarkts, you could find the typical German Christmas market staples such as glühwein, bratwurst and other German wursts, warm crêpes, gingerbread and more. During my time at the Rothenburg markets, I had hot chocolate with Amaretto along with a bratwurst sandwich and a crêpe with white chocolate for dessert. Everything was delicious! I also loved walking around and looking at all of the different stands.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One thing to note about the Rothenburg Christkindlmarkt is that the Reiterle will make a random appearance on certain days during Advent season. Similar to Krampus, Reiterle is a feared figure for children who have misbehaved throughout the year. He is the contrast to Santa Claus.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Visit St. James’s Church:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

A beautiful church to visit in Rothenburg is St. James’s Church. It is a Lutheran church that serves as a place of worship on the Bavaria pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Honestly, I thought I was just seeing things when I spotted the infamous Camino de Santiago seashell in Rothenburg. Now, I know why! (Click here to read my blog post from the Camino de Santiago.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Stroll through the Burggarten:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

One of the most picturesque nature spots in Rothenburg is the Burggarten, which is located behind a few buildings in the town. The road leading towards the Plönlein is where you could find the lookout spot as well as the stairs that lead down into the Burggarten. It is the perfect place to stroll and relax with a nice book.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Admire the Decorations at Käthe Wohlfahrt:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

As I mention above in the Nuremberg section of this blog post, Käthe Wohlfahrt is the official Christmas store of Germany. Their head office is actually based in Rothenburg and they also have a beautiful museum to check out.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Opened 360 days a year, this beautiful Christmas store has a gorgeous display of Christmas trees that are lit up; there are beautiful village houses, sparkly ornaments, nutcrackers, home décor and so much more. During my time at Käthe Wohlfahrt, I purchased my very own German stein. (My dad once owned a stein he bought during his time playing basketball in Europe, but my parents got rid of it when they moved… why? I do not know lol.)

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Savor Authentic German Food:

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

During my time in Rothenburg, I mainly ate at the Christmas markets, but I definitely couldn’t wait to savor an authentic German meal at a local restaurant. Since Rothenburg draws a lot of tourists, I did have a tough time finding a restaurant that had open tables. I was so lucky to have found Hotel Reichsküchenmeister, which offers a lovely and cozy restaurant. I had a delicious German beer with pork and Spätzle in a mushroom cream sauce. I will admit that I am not a big pork eater, but this dish was amazing!

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

In addition, I also enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea at Café Einzigartig, which is a cute and unique café located a few buildings down from Hocher Hotel. I absolutely loved how unique it was. Other restaurants that were recommended to me were Restaurant Klosterstüble, Profumo di Pasta da Giuseppe, Restaurant Burggartenpalais and Eiscafé Pizzeria Roma.

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my time in Bavaria in the towns of Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany and my experience staying at Hocher Hotel. If you have any questions about my time in Bavaria during Advent season, please email me at [email protected].

The Best Christmas Towns in Bavaria - Nuremberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

Basic Facts of Germany:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Berlin

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8 Comments

  1. Emma on December 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm

    This is such an informative blog! I visited Nuremberg earlier this year and loved it – guess I’ll have to go back for the Christmas markets!

    • Taylor Deer on December 20, 2019 at 11:12 pm

      Thank you Emma! It’s such a beautiful city! 🙂

  2. Elena Pappalardo on December 22, 2019 at 12:05 am

    I’m absolutely in love with all the architecture. Your pictures are so gorgeous! Rothenburg has been on my list for awhile now, but I honestly had no idea how crowded it was…I have to say you totally nailed the tripod shots here! (Also, I’m drooling over all the FOOD!)

    • Taylor Deer on December 22, 2019 at 1:22 am

      haha I got lucky with some of the tripod shots, but it totally is worth traveling to! I loved getting lost there. 🙂

  3. Kim Deer on December 22, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    I think this blog on the Bavaria Christmas markets was my favorite out of all the ones you visited this year. The Christmas decorations, cathedrals and beautiful architecture homes blew me away. Loved all your photos and reading this very interesting blog ~ I felt like I was there enjoying the warmth of Christmas and all those delicious German staple meals. Love you, Mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on December 23, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Thank you mom! Bavaria is a beautiful place to celebrate Christmas festivities. Love you too!

  4. Maria on December 28, 2019 at 6:19 am

    I’ve never been to a Christmas market in Bavaria but it looks so dreamy there! I suppose they’re quite similar to Austrian Christmas markets. I totally understand you that you wanted to eat everything. I always feel the same and usually I gain weight in December because the food and hot drinks are just too good haha

    • Taylor Deer on December 28, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      haha yes! I would say the German Christmas markets are very similar to the Austrian ones. Last year I did Salzburg and Vienna and they were also magical with great food!

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