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hworth1976 Sep 21st, 2015 06:21 PM

Nuremberg vs Rothenberg ODT at Christmas
Hello all-

We are planning a one day trip to be shared between Rothenberg ODT and Nuremberg. I initially planned to spend the morning in Rothenberg and the evening in Nuremberg but looking to the experts for the best order or best place to end the day. We will be there at Christmas time and I know Nuremberg is supposed to have one of the best markets in Germany BUT I've also been told Rothenberg is great at night too.

Thoughts to share?
Thanks in advance.

Fussgaenger Sep 21st, 2015 06:56 PM

It really depends on what you plan to do in these places. If you're visiting Nuremberg museums you'll have to go there first. If not, well, it's not clear from your post where your day STARTS, but I'd prefer the day in R'burg and the evening in Nuremberg where besides the delightfully crowded and atmospheric Christkindl market, there are dozens of pubs and places to tuck into, more streets to wander if the weather permits, more people enjoying themselves, more to do overall than in R'burg. Nightwatchman tour-lovers will surely advise you to be in R'burg for the 1-hour, 7-Euro walking tour (which for my tastes is a tad hokey and very touristy at best, probably more than a tad too nippy in winter; you can watch his tour online for the scripted punch lines.)

That said, Rothenburg, while cute, is too touristy for my tastes and not a place I send my best friends... its sole purpose is to attract tourists, and at any given moment it has more of those than locals. Nuremberg OTH is a vibrant city and university town with a life of its own. A full day there would be best - but still not nearly enough. And in addition to Nuremberg's regular attractions, it has the "Handwerkerhof" if you're looking for a little "touristy and cute."

Pegontheroad Sep 21st, 2015 11:10 PM

If you go to Rothenburg, I'd suggest that you make it in the evening, when the day-trippers have gone away. It tends to be a madhouse during the day.

I've stayed there overnight a couple of times, and it's lovely and quiet.

klondike Sep 22nd, 2015 01:30 AM

Let me preface by saying I have not personally visited the Xmas market at Nuremberg, which is supposedly the biggest and best. I have not been just for that reason--I don't enjoy huge crowds. We went to Strasbourg's (a city that I love)that I believe would be similar, really anticipating a wonderful time and hated it. It was wall-to-wall people. People brought their dogs and their kids in strollers, and all were getting stepped on/mashed by the throng. You literally could not stop or change direction. So Nuremberg is not for me. Fussgaenger makes it sound pretty nice, if you like bigger city life.

I have been to Rothenburg OdT's market a couple of times and really enjoyed it. Yes it is touristy, but if you plan ahead and consult the schedule of events, you will be right there with the locals, participating in their traditions. We like to stay overnight so we get to see the quieter more normal side of the town, but plan being there for late afternoon for sure, when a lot of the festivities/activities begin.

My favorite is the afternoon (Wednesday?) when the local school children all parade into the square with their lit lanterns singing traditional songs, the night watchman rides in on his steed and Sinter Klaus makes his first appearance. There may be tourists there taking pictures, but the participation is strictly local for the locals and it was a wonderful, warm vibe to watch the families proudly watching each class individually perform on the steps and afterwards go get a treat to eat/drink at one of the many stalls.

Adelaidean Sep 22nd, 2015 02:39 AM

Cannot comment on Christmas markets, just the destinations in general. I've been to Nuremberg and Rothenburg ODT twice in the crowded summer season and was surprised by the negative opinion of Rothenburg (too touristy). I found it delightful, which is probably why lots of tourists go there, a cute town, lots of shops and eateries, walls, towers, lovely. Crowds can diminish your experience anywhere, for sure, but we avoided the crowds by wandering through the quiet, but equally lovely, backstreets.
Some of Rothenburg photos here and here on busy, summer days, just gorgeous.
I guess Christmas markets are a different ballgame entirely, though.
Just wanted to say not to avoid a place because it's labelled touristy.
It'd be like me telling tourists not to visit our koala wildlife park because it's 'touristy'.

flpab Sep 22nd, 2015 03:51 AM

Rothenburg is very quiet at night. Have been twice and the square always has a bit of activity due to the watchmen tours but the streets are very quiet once the tour buses pull out.

Nuremberg is busy day and night. Very vibrant place.

Fussgaenger Sep 22nd, 2015 04:33 AM

"Just wanted to say not to avoid a place because it's labelled touristy.
It'd be like me telling tourists not to visit our koala wildlife park because it's 'touristy'."

That's an interesting comparison with Rothenburg. Rick Steves draws the same parallel on his site: "Rothenburg is well on its way to becoming a medieval theme park." There's nothing wrong with going to animal parks or theme parks - lots of people enjoy them - but they're not generally what I'd suggest to someone who wants to get to know Germany. R'burg is successfully promoted as the "real Germany" by tourist bureaus, but of the Romantic Road towns that are similar in size, I like Nördlingen, where the menus aren't all in English, where locals do much more than accommodate tourists, and where there are fewer trinkets. In WINTER, larger towns like Nuremberg, where there's more to do, especially indoors, are more appealing.

Nuremberg has traditions and ceremonies as well, the Christkind for example:

And unlike Rothenburg it has a very large variety of sights and activities:

hworth1976 Sep 22nd, 2015 05:22 AM

Thanks everyone! Its interesting to hear the different opinions!

MarthaT Sep 22nd, 2015 06:56 AM

Rothenberg has a small Christmas Market, Nuremberg has a huge one that is jammed with people. Especially at night if you see something that interests you , you kind of have to elbow your way through the crowds.
That was my experience when I was there.I prefer Nuremberg for the size and variety of things to see.
I would stick to your original plan and see Rothenberg during the day and Nuremberg at night.

Adelaidean Sep 22nd, 2015 02:28 PM

I totally understand your very valid point, Fussgaenger, Germany has so many gorgeous little towns, and it's great that you highlight them.

My family still live in Germany and when I asked to visit RODT they objected, wanting to take me to Bayreuth or Schwaebisch Hall instead. Perfectly nice towns, but I really enjoyed RODT and am glad I didn't miss it. I did think it funny that tourists love it and locals don't. On the other hand, they took me to totally wonderful little towns from a base in Lauf, so I got the best of both worlds :)

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