CONTRIBUTED BY ALEXIS TUCKER
Nothing holds a candle to your first Christmas market, especially when it is in the charming medieval walled town Rothenburg ob der Taber!
Rothenburg is a famous, charming town in Bavaria. Walt Disney used sketches of Rothenburg to help him create scenes for Pinocchio and some of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was also filmed there. Rothenburg is also famous for Käthe Wohlfahrt, the traditional and well known German Christmas store. This chain store can be found all over Germany plus a few other countries and its headquarters and flagship store is in the heart of the town.
Although the city is bustling with tourists, I still think it retains its charm that many touristy towns lose. Sure, some things were overpriced like in any other touristy places, but I didn’t find the town to be tacky like Florida or Helen, Georgia can be. Speaking of prices, let’s be real, I can’t afford 20 euro ornaments from Käthe Wohlfahrt. My husband would have killed me if I had bought all of the delightful ornaments I eyed in her store. They melted my heart with their cuteness, but I instead browsed the stands and other less known local stores for some steals.
A place that I highly recommend is Anneliese Friese. It is a family owned business and the gentlemen inside not only spoke five languages, but he was so kind that I thought he was surely trying to sell us something. He asked us if we knew who Rick Steves was, and I told him yes, halfway listening as I browsed ornaments and nodded my head as he spoke to us. I told him that I read his books and watched his show. He handed my husband a beautiful map free of charge that his mother (the owner) had designed, and he told us that we would receive 10% off of our purchase for knowing of Rick Steves. He said his mother is friends with Rick Steves. I thought, “OH, NO! Did I agree to buy a book or dvd by Rick Steves or something?” My husband explained that, no, this guy was just incredibly nice.
We bought three intricate wooden ornaments, and when we went to check out instead of getting 10% off he gave us one free! Then he gave us two free scenic postcards of Rothenburg as well. I wanted to hug him, because rarely have I come across a place with such impeccable service here in Germany. If you visit Rothenburg you must visit their shop. Not only do they have the best prices in the city, but they have the best customer service in the country as well!
After many hours shopping for ornaments my husband bought the longest hot dog I have ever seen and I snacked on a crepe and some Glühwein to keep myself warm as the snowflakes tumbled down. If you have never had Glühwein, you must try it. It is a red wine mulled with spices that is served warm. It was served in a glass mug that you could keep that had a picture that said, “2015 Rothenburg ob der Taber Christmas Market”.
We also grabbed a famous Schneeball which is a pastry consisting of a fried ball of pie crust sprinkled with powdered sugar. It is very popular in Rothenburg and can be found at almost any café, bakery, and Christmas stand. At the end of the day we climbed the medieval towers and walked the walls, getting the best view of the city as the sun was setting.
Tips For Your Trip:
Christmas Market information
November 27 – December 23, 2015
Monday – Thursday: 1100 – 1900
Friday – Sunday: 1100 – 2000
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The Anneliese Friese Shop information
Gruner Markt 7
91541 Rothnburg o.T.
Käthe Wohlfahrt information
There are Käthe Wohlfahrt stores all over Germany and the World. The company is headquartered in Rothenburg and there are five store locations in town. The store closest to the main square is Das Weihnachtsdorf (The Christmas Village).
91541 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Monday – Friday: 0900 – 1830
Saturday: 0900 – 1800
Sunday: 1000 – 1800
Use any of the addresses above to get to the city. There are no visitor cars or parking inside the walled inner town. There are five parking lots that are found just outside the gates. You can get an all-day parking pass there for only 5.50 euro. You can see a map of all five lots here.
Note: Alexis first published this article on her site. She gladly shared it with Germany Ja as well.