German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) trains provide reliable cheap transportation to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany’s top romantic, wall-encircled medieval town in Bavaria.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a small wall-enclosed medieval town in northern Bavaria is arguably Germany’s most romantic town. It is a top sightseeing destination and a very popular stop on the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) holiday route. Although off the mainline, German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) trains have hourly rail services to Rothenburg. Travelers using only regional trains in Bavaria can reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber very cheaply on the Bayern-Ticket.
The Deutsche Bahn / German Railways website (in English) is excellent for planning any form of public transportation in Germany (and most of Europe).
By Train from Steinach to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
All rail passengers to Rothenburg ob der Tauber have to transfer at Steinach as Rothenburg is the final stop on the small railway line that connects these two towns. This journey takes only 14 minutes but as the train runs only hourly, all connections from other cities are available once per hour as well.
Train departures and arrivals are well coordinated but the distance is so short that it is often worth taking a taxi when a connection is missed.
Most railway passengers to Steinach are heading for the more famous romantic town down the railway line. As a result, the town is often referred to as Steinach (bei Rothenburg) in railway timetables.
Bus services are available from Rothenburg to other nearby railway stations but the additional complication is usually not worth the trouble, especially as it leaves fewer options when connections are missed.
Long-Distance Train Travel to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Passengers on long-distance trains such as the Inter-City (IC) and Inter-City-Express (ICE) trains usually have to change to regional trains in Würzburg when arriving from the north or Ansbach when arriving from the south. From these towns, frequent regional trains are available to Steinach.
Train passengers from Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) and Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) usually have to transfer at Steinach as well as in Würzburg. Traveling times to Frankfurt are 2h30 to three hours. Journeys to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) take 15 minutes longer and usually do not require further transfers in Frankfurt itself.
Passengers from Berlin or Hamburg can reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber in just over five hours while trains from Cologne (Köln) take four hours. In all cases, transfers are required in Würzburg and Steinach.
Train travel between Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Heidelberg – arguably the two most popular romantic towns with foreign visitors in Germany – is frustratingly slow and complicated. Multiple transfers are required with the most logical option often to travel via Frankfurt am Main as described above. Other options are available but often more complicated with fewer alternatives when connections are missed. The total traveling time is around four hours – by car the journey takes only 90 minutes.
Using Regional Trains from Bavarian Towns to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
It is often possible to travel to Rothenburg ob der Tauber using regional trains only. This allows passengers who travel only in Bavaria to use the Bayern-Ticket, a Länderticket that allows for huge savings when traveling inside a single German state.
Currently, the Bayern-Ticket for individuals is around two-thirds the price of a standard one-way fare between Munich and Rothenburg. The group ticket valid for up to five passengers traveling together offers an even bigger saving.
Trains from Munich to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Traveling from München Hauptbahnhof to Rothenburg is fairly complicated and time-consuming. The traveling time can be as fast as 2h30 but around 3h30 is more normal. Many options are available but note that as soon as an ICE or IC train is used, the total fare can easily double even if the overall traveling time is hardly shorter.
Passengers on regional trains from Rothenburg to Munich have to transfer at Steinach and usually either at Treuchtlingen or at both Ansbach and Nürnberg. When using ICE or IC trains it is still necessary to transfer in Nürnberg or Würzburg to the slower regional trains.
Trains from Würzburg to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rail passengers from Würzburg, the starting point of the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße), only need to transfer at Steinach. Only regional trains are available on this route. Total traveling time to Rothenburg is 1h10.
Trains from Nürnberg to Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Rail passengers from Nuremberg (Nürnberg) usually have to transfer in both Steinach and Ansbach. The total traveling time can be just less than 1h10 but more commonly 1h20 to 1h50. Inter-City trains can be used on the Nürnberg to Ansbach journey, but regional trains are just as fast and much cheaper.
Driving to Rothenburg is generally the easiest way to reach Germany’s most romantic town. However, from mid-April to mid-October an attractive public transportation options in addition to the railways is the Romantic Road Coach. The Romantic Road Bus (previously Europa Bus line EB190), operated by Deutsche Touring provides a daily bus service from Frankfurt to Füssen and return via amongst others Würzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Munich.