Following the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour through the beautiful Bavarian streets

Rothenburg Night Watchman Tour: The Best City Walking Tour Ever?

by Kaisa

I will tell you this: I’ve been on my fair share of city walking tours in Europe. Actually, I’ve been on them everywhere.

My all-time favorite is the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Night Watchman tour.

I mean, I’ll update you if this ever changes, but I kind of doubt it. This tour is the bomb.

On this tour the Night Watchman will take you to all the central Rothenburg ob der Tauber sights, and teach you all about the city’s most important (and some lesser-known) history. I simply can’t recommend this delightful, affordable experience enough.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour!

On Market Square's Town Hall steps, getting ready for the Rothenburg Night Watchman Tour
I snuck a picture of the Watchman himself before our tour started. Here he is, patiently waiting for the eager masses to collect themselves and follow him into history!

Who is the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Night Watchman?

The Night Watchman is a German guy with excellent English speaking and storytelling skills, who will teach you all about the rich history of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

He does this whole educational, entertaining tour from the perspective of a Medieval times city night watchman! These guys patrolled the gates of a city back in the day, and knew the goings-on and city secrets better than anyone. Plus, his costume is excellent.

I don’t know how long the Night Watchman has been giving his dusk walking tour of Rothenburg, but judging from a quick Google search it looks like the answer is: a while.

And it shows! He was one of the best historic re-enactors and tour guides I’ve ever seen. I worked in the National Park Service, which required me to do very similar things (explain complex topics to wide-ranging audiences in a fun, animated way, though my costume was a little less crazy).

I know a good story-teller when I see one, because I’ve been trained in story-telling. This guy could be a Park Ranger any damn day of the week.

The Rothenburg Night Watchman tour guide, the Night Watchman, giving a mysterious speech
The Night Watchman tells another (educational and historically accurate) tale of history and mystery!

How much does the Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber Night Watchman tour cost?

Perhaps the best part of this incredible tour is the reasonable price.

Adults: 8 Euro

Teens: 4 Euro

Kids under 12: Free!

Honestly, I would’ve tipped that much anyway because the tour is so excellent, so it’s truly a bargain. I know you might be used to free walking tours, like those offered through hostels and such, but this guy does this for a living. And he’s stellar. He could’ve charged twice as much and I would still say it’s worth it!

You pay at the end of the tour, which is quite the honor system considering how many people are on a tour. He’ll give you change if you don’t have exact.

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Is the tour appropriate for children?

Absolutely!

There were a ton of kids on the tour when I went, and as long as they aren’t disruptive it’s totally fine. In fact, it looked like the Night Watchman enjoyed interacting with them!

The tour accomplishes something quite rare in historical education, in that I think it was truly accessible to everyone. It doesn’t pander to the audience, either, which I appreciate. I am wary of people in costume=cheesy tours, but this wasn’t the case in my opinion.

Also, while we’re on the subject of age, there’s not too much walking on this tour for folks of all ages. There were young kids and older grandparents alike—everyone seemed to love it!

How does one join the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour?

The crowd gathering for the Rothenburg Night Watchman Tour
People gathering at the Town Hall steps for the Rothenburg ob der Tauber Night Watchman tour… though I’d never heard of this tour before I got to Rothenburg, it sure had the crowds of a world-famous affair!

You don’t need to sign up in advance or anything for the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour. Simply show up at Market Square in front of the Town Hall at 8:00 PM. From March to January, this is true every single night.

From the months of January to March there are limited hours; just Saturday tours. Again, it’s at 8:00 PM at the Town Hall!

Chances are, you’ll know just where to wait based on the massive crowd. Apparently the Night Watchman has had tours of 300 people! Yikes. I imagine that is during holiday weekends and such, because my tour was much smaller.

You’ll know the tour is starting when a man dressed as a Medieval Night Watchman, cape and all, strolls up with his torch and starts addressing the crowd. Pretty straightforward situation there.

What does the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour include? How long is it?

The tour is an hour long, and it goes by remarkably quickly.

The tour starts at the Market Square Town Hall and meanders through the streets, in and out of the gates of Rothenburg.

The Watchman will stop at various points of interest, like the aforementioned Medieval city gates, and give little talks and tell stories about their significance.

You’ll see several interesting historical spots and learn a lot about the city on this tour. If you arrive in Rothenburg later in the day, the Night Watchman tour would therefor be a great first stop. It puts much of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in historical context, which enriches the experience of exploring it on your own the next day!

Night descends on the Rothenburg Night Watchman tour group and streets of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Dusk descends on the Night Watchman tour. Though I tried to stay in the front of the pack, photo breaks often left me stragglin’ a bit!

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Why should I go on the tour?

If I haven’t convinced you already, I’m not sure what else I can say… other than, this is one of the best activities in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber. It really made my trip memorable.

Going on this tour also gives you the chance to do something I desperately, aggressively recommend you do: spend the night in Rothenburg. It’s a hotspot for day trippers, as the midday crowds leave no question of.

My favorite moments in Rothenburg ob der Tauber were in the evening and morning, when I felt a calm descend over the city.

The Night Watchman takes full advantage of this quiet calmness, and he makes you feel as if you could be walking around Rothenburg hundreds of years ago. It really makes you experience the city in a unique way!

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