A Quiet Walk to Detwang (Germany)

There is plenty to do in beautiful Rothenburg ob der Tauber whether you enjoy walking around or going to museums. On our second (and last) day in Rothenburg we enjoyed a hearty breakfast at our hotel. Caffeinated and ready to explore, we wondered what we should do.

The sun was shining and we were energized, so we decided to set off on a walk downhill to descend below to the village of Detwang.

If you're in the mood to go off the beaten path (and see an incredible 10th century church), follow these directions to get to the nearby town of Detwang:

Start in the castle garden of Rothenburg with your back to the city gates. Take the path on the left side and walk down the steep hill down to the river.

Looking out from the tower into Castle Garden

Continue down the steep hill (just remember the reverse of what goes up must come down...). Eventually you will come to a covered bridge. We set out early enough to see everything coated in a layer of frost shimmering in the sunlight. 

Turn left after the covered bridge and you’ll see this odd building:

This strange building that seems to be elevated on top of a concrete pedestal is actually called Toppler Castle (you can see it up top from Rothenburg's Castle Garden as well). It is older than it looks. It was built in 1388 as Mayor Toppler's summer home. 

After you take a look at it, turn around and continue straight past the covered bridge (as if you made a right initially when crossing it from Rothenburg), continuing on to the tiny village of Detwang. Detwang is even older than Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and is little more than a church and a smattering of houses and bed and breakfasts.

You can see Rothenburg perched up on the cliff in the reflection of the Tauber River.

Church of St. Peter and Paul, Detwang

We approached the Church of St. Peter and Paul and paid €1.50 each to enter. (Make sure you don't go during lunch hours or you will find it closed - see hours below.) An attendant unlocked the doors just for us and we entered for our "private viewing" of the church.


The small church showcases another wooden altarpiece by Tilman Riemenschneider (his other one is nearby in St Jakob’s church in Rothenburg). Unlike in St. Jakob's though, we got to stand before this masterpiece alone. This is the center panel of his Altar of the Holy Cross:

I still can't get over the expressive emotions carved into this piece of wood.

Detwang may be a tiny village but it offers a glimpse of history that seems to be untouched, waiting just for you to discover it. The church is quite old - it was built around 968 AD and has gone through renovations over the many years following. Inside there is a cross-shaped relic covered in glass in the front near the altar that dates from 1000-1050 AD. 

Detwang is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered for those who venture down the hill from Rothenburg. If you have the time, I recommend taking a walk along the Tauber valley and exploring this little-known village. 


Church of St. Peter and Paul

Open April-October 8:30am-12:00pm / 1:30pm-5:00pm; November-March 10:00am-12:00pm / 2:00pm-4:00pm

Admission: €1.50 each