The old town is so small and compact that you can put together your own tour with a guidebook
and some time. To get away from crowds, the local tourist office recommends heading into the residential districts
in the city's southern quarter.
A walking tour of the Old Town (Alte Stadt) of Rothenburg should begin at the
Rathaus, the town hall, which has a Gothic section dating back to 1240 and a newer
renaissance section. The 60m tower is a great place to look down on Rothenburg. In days gone by it was manned
to give early warning of approaching enemies.
Not far from the Marktplatz, which the town hall faces, is the old Ratsdrinkstube tavern, where
figures on the gable clock several times a day act out the legend of the bumper of wine.
If you're rushed, sign up for a tour through the tourist office just off Marktplatz. The
Patrician Houses tour, for example, takes an hour and a half. Even if it's offered only in German on the day you're
here, it's still worth it: It goes into buildings and courtyards you'd never find on your own.
The night watchman's tour held by Hans Georg Baumgartner is one of the
things you shouldn't miss while in Rothenburg. He will explain beautifully the history of the town, and take
the visitor to places one cannot easily access.
The night tour does not require an advance reservation; you just meet him in the Marktplatz at 8
PM. Typically, he does two tours a night, one in German, one in English. The cost is about 7 euro for adults,
collected on the spot.