One very attractive way to get around is to slow the pace right down and explore the gently beautiful Franconian wine-growing countryside by bicycle along the Liebliches Taubertal Radweg. The 100km route follows the course of the Tauber from Rothenburg northwest to Wertheim; a tougher route completes the circuit by returning southwest towards Rothenburg along the heights of the Taubertal through Königsheim and Boxberg west of the Tauber. Along the way, there are stunning Tilman Riemenschneider altars at Detwang and Creglingen, a Schloss and museum of the Teutonic Knights at Bad Mergentheim and a Matthias Grünewald Madonna at Stuppach. Not to be missed is the Schloss at Weikersheim, with its splendid Renaissance Rittersaal (knights’ hall) and beautiful Baroque gardens.
The route follows forest or farm tracks for much of the way; from May to October the regional trains on the west bank of the Tauber between Freudenberg, Wertheim and Schrozberg – 22km west of Rothenburg – carry special luggage vans to cope with cycles, so you don’t have to cycle both ways if you don’t want to. There’s also a baggage service to which some hoteliers sign up, so that you don’t need to haul everything with you. There are cycle repair and rental facilities in several of the villages along the route. For more information, contact Liebliches Taubertal e.V, c/o Landratsamt Main-Tauber-Kreis, Gartnerstr. 1, Tauberbischofsheim (09341 82 58 06, liebliches-taubertal.de).