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Heidelberg or Rothenburg

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Clinton Township...
posts: 2
Heidelberg or Rothenburg

I've been reading posts about how wonderful Rothenburg is. We have two extra days to travel from Frankfurt. Would you recommend Heidelberg or Rothenburg?

Destination Expert
for Seoul, Rothenburg
posts: 8,380
reviews: 162
1. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

Chalk and cheese, really. H is a beautiful city. R is a large village, not much more. Personally I love R o d T, but the places are so different I think you should read more about them both to make your own mind up.

Colorado Springs...
posts: 4,866
reviews: 1
2. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

I agree with Ethelman2. An additional consideration: If you come from Frankfurt, Heidelberg is easier to get to by train.

Karlsruhe, Germany
Destination Expert
for Baden-Wurttemberg
posts: 6,993
3. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

Rothenburg is not a village - it is a small town with a proud history as a free imperial city. However, it is not as unique as guidebooks and tour companies tend to suggest.

You can have both if you combine Heidelberg with nearby Ladenburg or Bad Wimpfen, which are both easy to reach by train from Heidelberg, for a similar old town experience minus the tourist hordes.

A bit about Ladenburg by yours truly: members.virtualtourist.com/m/f86bd/aa6e/

Official page of Bad Wimpfen: http://www.badwimpfen.de/showpage.php?lang=2

Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 31,320
4. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

Heidelberg and Rothenburg had both around 1600 approx. 6.000 inhabitants each. Medium sized cities for Germany at this time. Around 1800 Heidelberg had approx. 10.000 inhabitants. Thus no more than Rothenburg has today. Thus all the sights the tourists come for to Heidelberg are just the sights of a "large village".

Rothenburg ob der Tauber was a free imperial city. It escaped destruction in the Thirty Years wars in 1631. According to the legend by the lord mayor winning a drinking contest. But it still never recovered economically afterwards (putting tourism from the 19th century on aside).

Heidelberg was the capital city of the electorate Palatinate. It was 1693 completely destroyed by the French and afterwards rebuilt. In 1720 the duke took however residence in nearby Mannheim. Which also let to a nearly standstill for 100 years for Heidelberg. Only when the Palatinate become a part of Baden and with the industrial revolution Heidelberg regained a new momentum.


Heidelberg is closer to Frankfurt and easier to reach by train. From Frankfurt Airport via Mannheim - not via Frankfurt. And as Blandine pointed to - there are also small medieval towns (using the scale of today) close to Heidelberg.

Edited: 8:10 pm, March 24, 2013
Destination Expert
for Seoul, Rothenburg
posts: 8,380
reviews: 162
5. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

"Rothenburg is not a village - it is a small town with a proud history as a free imperial city"

i said " a large village, not much more"

I live in a village in UK with 12,000 population; I guess R o d T has maybe 13,000 at most.

I also guess Heidelberg tops 100,000

I was only trying to illustrate the difference in real scale

Karlsruhe, Germany
Destination Expert
for Baden-Wurttemberg
posts: 6,993
6. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

The status of "town" versus "village" has to do not only with size but with certain historical rights and privileges.

Villages usually don't have what people come to Rothenburg for - stone town walls with towers, town hall, market squares and all that architecture. And if you want the sympathy of locals, better not call their proud town a village...

Edited: 1:01 pm, March 25, 2013
posts: 41
7. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

I would definately recommend visiting Rothenburg over Heidelberg. We made the mistake in choosing Heidelberg when visiting Germany a few years ago. It did not have the charm we were expecting. I really wish we had gone to Rothenburg instead.

Cleveland, Tennessee
posts: 3
8. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

I have been to both. Definitely Rothenburg ob der Tauber. You will have a complete experience. It's like stepping back in time. Heidelburg is like any other city with a castle.

Rothenburg is one place I always recommend...even if its the only place you can go in Germany.

9. Re: Heidelberg or Rothenburg

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