Experiencing cities barefoot – ROTHENBURG ob der Tauber


1. Surfaces of the city center

Grade: 1

(perfect: 1, mostly pleasant: 2, mix pleasant / uncomfortable: 3, rather uncomfortable: 4, mostly
uncomfortable: 5)

The German town Rothenburg ob der Tauber is world famous. A jewel with an almost completely preserved medieval cityscape, enclosed by a wall ring with many towers and city gates. Even massive war damage was repaired very subtly and almost invisibly. When you come here, you should definitely take a few days. There is something to discover and enjoy everywhere, both large and small, in the old town and the surrounding area.

Rothenburg also has a lot to offer for bare feet. The old town is as varied as hardly any other, with surfaces that offer everything. From asphalt, new paving and pavement slabs to historic stone slabs and old paving with wonderfully rounded edges.

The following impressions show more than a thousand words could ever explain. You can find a lot more on the Internet.

Rothenburg vom Rathausturm gesehen
Barfußläuferin in der Innenstadt
Durchgang mit altem Pflaster
Durchgang mit altem Pflaster
Pflaster und Platten in der Innenstadt
Marktplatz in der Nacht
Innenstadt mit asphaltierter Straße

2. How does the population behave when meeting barefoot people?

Grade: 3

(always friendly: 1, often friendly: 2, mostly neutral: 3, more often negative looks: 4, negative looks and
sometimes hostile remarks: 5)

Rothenburg has around 11,400 inhabitants. And about 2 million visitors from all over the world every year. At least before Corona hit us. I also know Rothenburg only as a tourist, from a whole series of stays, several times without shoes. I was barefoot here for almost a week, once with a barefoot friend. We lived in hotels of medium and high standard and we dined in numerous restaurants of various price ranges. In fact, absolutely no one took any notice of our bare feet. With my girlfriend I did a very eye-catching photo shooting for a barefoot flyer in various places of the city center. Even that was apparently nothing that deserved special attention for the numerous people around.

We only caused a stir in a Leguano shoe shop, where we stepped barefoot into one of the typical sensory boxes filled with broken glass. For the next few minutes we were caught in a flurry of flashlights from the cameras of a Japanese tour group who had just entered the store. A feeling like being on the red carpet at the Oscar Awards. In Rothenburg you need to do something very special if you want to be noticed at all as a when beeing barefoot.

3. Are there sightings of other barefooted people?

Grade: ?

(daily: 1, every couple of days: 2, every couple of weeks: 3, every couple of months: 4, very rarely or never:

Given my short stays in the city, I can’t really judge about the number of other barefooters, given the small sample. During my last short stay there, in warm weather, I saw several other barefooters, including children.

4. Cleanliness of the city center

Grade: 1

(squeaky clean: 1, little rubbish: 2, moderate pollution: 3, somewhat uncomfortable: 4, often
uncomfortable: 5)

I perceived the city as squeaky clean, even though the folk festival of the Rothenburg “Meistertrunk” was on during one visit. No rubbish, no glass. And that given the enormous number of tourists and the numerous Rothenburg amateur actors who romped around the old town at the festival in medieval clothing. It’s amazing.

Barfußläuferin in der Innenstadt

5. Risk of injury in the city center (apart from folk festivals with the usual shards)

Grade: 2

(No risk: 1, rarely, a few places: 2, now and then, but avoidable: 3, you have to be careful more often: 4,
there is a constant risk of injury almost everywhere (lots of broken pieces etc): 5)

As already written in point 4, the city is kept sparkling clean. Even the tourists behave absolutely exemplary. Maybe it’s because many of them come from Asia. However, you should be somewhat careful on the wooden walkways and floors, where you might kick a splinter here and there or injure yourself on a protruding nail.

Detail eines Holzbodens mit Nägeln

6. Are there any facilities or restaurants in the city (museums, restaurants, etc.) where
there are occasional or regular barefoot problems?

Grade: 1

(no: 1, very occasionally and not always (arbitrary personnel decisions made by individual employees): 2,
few, but regularly (general barefoot ban): 3, often, but not regularly there (arbitrary personnel decisions):
4, often and regularly (barefoot bans): 5)

During my stays there was not a single problem, neither in hotels or restaurants or the numerous sights.


1. Areas of the city that are particularly recommended because of the surfaces:

Rothenburger Turmweg

Rothenburg is completely enclosed by a walkable city wall with 42 towers. On the Rothenburg Tower Trail, you can explore them on a length of four kilometers. It is a visual and sensory experience. With the soles of your feet you can feel stone slabs of all kinds, wooden walkways, stone stairs, etc. With your eyes, you can enjoy the diverse impressions of the wall ring and the views of the city and special buildings, such as the Gerlach Blacksmith.

auf der Stadtmauer
Steinboden der Stadtmauer
Turm der Stadtmauer
St. Wolfgang

St. Wolfgang is a medieval fortified church and part of the city wall, with mysterious casemates, gun floors and a shepherd’s dance cabinet. And, of course, absolutely palpable undergrounds of all kinds.

Steintreppe in den Kasematten der Wolfgangskirche
Gang in den Kasematten
Auf dem Geschützboden
St. James’s Church

St. James’s Church (German St. Jakob), today Protestant, is the town church of Rothenburg and at the same time a pilgrimage site on the Way of St. James to Santiago de Compostela. There is much to see and feel. Wonderful floors and many gems, foremost among them the Holy Blood altarpiece by the famous sculptor and carver Tilmann Riemenschneider. A must in Rothenburg.

Blick auf St. Jakob
Tilmann Riemenschneiden Altar - Detail
Tilmann Riemenschneider Altar - Füße
Town Hall Tower

From the town hall tower you can enjoy a fantastic view of the entire old town and the surrounding area. However, this is only something for those who are agile, slim and free of giddiness, because the last part of the climb is difficult and narrow and the view from the tower is not for people with a fear of heights. The grating of the platform requires a certain robustness of the soles of the feet. Here, therefore, only the view and the climb to the tower is highly recommended…

Blick auf den Rathausturm
Blick auf den Rathausturm mit Besuchern auf der Aussichtsplattform und Dach mit Storchennest
Fußgitter der Rathausplattform
Ausblick auf den Rathausplatz

2. Barefoot paradises in the immediate vicinity

Hiking trails in the Tauber Valley

In the Tauber valley and on the heights there are numerous hiking trails, some of them really barefoot friendly. Of course, there are also sections with gravel in between. Just try them out. It’s worth it just for the great view of the city.

Blick ins Taubertal
Ruhepause auf der Bank
Wanderweg im Taubertal
Spazierweg an der Stadtmauer
Panoramablick auf die Stadt aus dem Taubertal
Summary (Grades)





Other barefoot people




Risk of injury





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