As much as the Germans love celebrating Christmas, there's only one city where the holiday spirit is kept alive all year long—Rothenburg. The city along Bavaria's so-called Romantic Road reminds you of those miniaturized scenes found in Christmas snow globes. It is, in fact, the ideal setting for a perpetual Christmas with a quaint medieval townscape that has remained intact through the centuries.
Adding to the theme park-like atmosphere is the only Christmas museum in Germany and the only Christmas store that remains open all year. It often seems like the citizens of Rothenburg refuse to outgrow childhood. Apart from hosting an impressive toy and doll museum, few cities in the world can boast of having as many well-stocked toy stores as Rothenburg (medieval armor and toy knights are a specialty), and during the holidays, the most number of stores specializing in Christmas decor in the country (not counting the outdoor stalls set up for the annual Christkindlmarkt).
A walk within the walled city's cobblestoned streets takes you to some of the most charmingly decorated windows and entryways. While exploring one of the best preserved medieval streetscapes in Europe, make sure to drop by one of the city's many bakeries and confectioneries to try the original Rothenburg specialty called Schneeballen, or snowball, made from strips of sweet dough fried and covered with powdered sugar or chocolate. It's one more reason to believe that the locals never seem to tire of the holiday season.
Photographs by David Celdran
This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue 18 2014.