Nuremberg, located in northern Bavaria, is the state’s second largest city. It’s a cosy, leafy place, known for its stunning medieval architecture. It’s a city with a rich but complex history, from its glory days as the heart of the German renaissance to its tragically pivotal role in the Third Reich . This fascinating complexity remains to this day.
Nuremberg is a city unlike any other, deftly balancing nostalgia and bohemian modernity, all centred around its medieval heart. Whether you prefer sobering tours of the war museums or luxurious shopping trips down the Kaiserstrasse, it offers value in abundance. It is a destination not to be missed.
Popular attractions include:
- World-famous Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarkt)
- Documentation Center
- the Altstadt
- the city walls
- the splendid Schöner Brunnen
- Germanisches National museum
- Nuremberg Zoo
When To Visit
The most traditional time to visit is in December, when the Christmas Market takes over the main square. There is a jovial festivity in the air, and a friendliness that can’t be beaten. This is surely why it’s widely considered the best Christmas market in all of Germany. Be sure to get yourself some gingerbread when you visit – the city is famous for them! The average high temperature is only 4 degrees celsius, but there’s plenty of traditional German Glühwein available to help keep you warm.
On the other hand, July and August are also popular months for tourists. They’re the warmest months of the year, with an average high temperature of 24 degrees celsius. There are many open air concerts and festivals throughout the summer to take advantage of the sun. Try Rock Im Park for something edgy, or Klassik Open Air for something a little more sedate.
Where To Stay
Nuremberg is a popular location for conventions. Hotels are plentiful because of this, but rates vary wildly depending on convention dates. If possible, keep flexible and you’ll be likely to pick up a bargain.
Another good option is the Youth Hostel, Jugendherberge Nürnberg. Based in the 15th century Imperial Stables, the hostel offers some fantastic views and dramatic interiors, all for only around thirty Euros a night. There are both dorm rooms and private rooms available.
This is a city that positively demands to be walked through. Sightseeing here is a joy unto itself. Many of the best sites are located within the densely-packed Altstadt, or old city which is best explored on foot.
For explorations further afield, there’s a comprehensuve public transport network to suit your needs. This includes trains, a metro system, buses, even trams. There’s even a nearby port, where you can sail west towards the Rhine or east towards the Danube.
Nuremberg’s most well-known landmark is by far the Nuremberg Castle. Its silhouette is known to nearly every German person, regardless of whether or not they’ve been lucky enough to visit. Best explored at a leisurely pace with one of the self guided audio tours, the castle also offers 360 degree views of the city from its tower.
The city’s main square, or Hauptmarkt, is home to more than just its famous Christmas market. Year round, it is home to the gorgeous Schöner Brunnen, a huge, gilded, tiered fountain. Local lore says if you make a wish while turning one of the rings on its gate, it will come true. The square is also home to the 14th century church, the Frauenkirche.
For anyone interested in history, the Documentation Center at the former Nazi Party rally grounds is a must-see. It offers a nuanced, stark, and valuable reminder of a tragic and monumentally important era.
Nuremberg is a city positively packed with museums and culture. Museum buffs should look into the Nürnberg card, which offers free public transport for two days and free entry into dozens if museums, all for around twenty euros. If you only have time for one, visit the German National Museum, or Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Its vast collection expertly surmises a huge array of German culture and is an excellent choice for whiling away an afternoon.
For a glimpse into a Germany of another era, not to mention fantastic photo opportunities, try Weissgerberstrasse. In medieval times, these were the homes occupied by tanners who made light leather. Now, these picturesque half timber houses serve as a glimpse into a time long past.
For an unconventional sightseeing opportunity, check out the Ehekarussell. This bizarre statue, whose name means marriage carousel, is a grotesque take on the stages of a relationship. It’s controversial amongst locals, but truly a sight like no other.
The city offers a wealth of shopping opportunities. Kaiserstrasse is the best option for boutiques and premium stores. There’s a wide range of luxurious treats on offer: everything from fashion to a posh nespresso boutique store!
For a more bohemian shopping experience, try the Gostenhof district. It’s further afield within the city, but with good transport links. From its second hand furniture stores to its cycle shops, Gostenhof offers an atmosphere reminiscent of off-beat Berlin.
And of course, no shopping trip is complete without checking out the Handwerkhof. This quaint step-back-in-time is a square populated by handcrafters of all kinds. Of particular note are the handcrafted toys – if you’re not visiting during the Christmas Market, this is the place to get them.
For a distinctly Bavarian shopping experience, check out Wirkes Dirndl, Trachten, & Ledermoden. You can buy lederhosen and dirndl, and there’s a wide range to choose from. You’ll be ready for Oktoberfest in no time.
The nightlife in Nuremberg has an eclectic and artsy feel. There is something to suit all tastes and predilections. Try Die Blüme Von Hawaii for a taste of the city’s quirky feel, or Mata Hari for a real hidden gem with a fantastic whisky menu. The Skybar is another excellent choice, offering incredible views of Nuremberg’s distinct skyline.
Every city has its gastronomic specialities and Nuremberg is no exception. In restaurants, opt for dishes such as roasted pork shoulder with dumplings and gravy to get a taste of the area’s warm hospitality. Nuremberg is best known for its sausages, which are small and generally purchased in multiples of three. The best way to try them is from a street stall, served three in a bun.