Ah, Nuremberg. Some of my earliest memories are of my time in this beautiful city. Dreaming of growing up to be Christkind. Dragging my Oma’s prized treasures through the chill of early morning to the Saturday flea market and then dragging them back to the apartment when they didn’t all sell. My first day at Gymnasium and the feeling of pure fear during my first Latin class (who really needs to know Latin?!?!). My first teenage love – Sebastian – whom I spent way to much time with at the disco drinking a few too many McDonald’s beers. I think it’s safe to say that while I spent most of my childhood in the states, my time in Nuremberg helped shape me into who I am today.
As my birthplace and the home of my mom’s side of the family, I had never visited Nuremberg as a tourist until I drug the hubby to Germany to meet the family last September. For the very first time in my life I saw this city through the eyes of a tourist and fell in love all over again. The sound of clinking beers, the smell of sausages, and medieval cobblestone streets looming with dark history make Nuremberg the perfect weekend break in the heart of Bavaria. As my favorite city in the world, I hope that this guide helps you realize why your next weekend break should be to Nuremberg.
How to get to Nuremberg
You don’t need a car in Nuremberg, but if you do happen to have one it will give you more freedom to get out of the city. Keep in mind that parking in the city is a BEAST. We had a car and took the subway into town from my aunt’s house every day because we didn’t want to fight the parking battle. If you don’t have a car I would suggest flying into Frankfurt or Munich and taking the train up to Nuremberg.
Where to stay
The majority of the attractions are within the city center. I have never had to stay anywhere except with family, but if I was traveling to the city for the first time I would want to stay in the city center. Here are two suggestions that should help you start your search. If you are booking Airbnb for the first time use this link to get $30 off your first rental.
When to go
During the month of December Nuremberg transforms into the fairytale of your dreams. Consistently rated as one of the top Christkindlmarkts I would highly recommend traveling here in December. However, if this isn’t possible your next best bet is to come in September during the Nuremberg Volksfest. With tons of rides, biergartens, and traditional Bavarian music and dress, it’s a mini-version of the famous Munich Oktoberfest.
How to spend your weekend
Start your weekend at a cafe in the city center drinking coffee and eating wonderful baked goods with some cold cuts. Use this time to relax and enjoy the hustle and bustle within the cafes. Der Beck is always a solid choice, but it’s worth asking your host or hotel where the best spot is near your accommodation. I always ate breakfast at my Oma’s so unfortunately cannot attest to where to eat breakfast.
Once you have your fill set out for your day of adventuring through the city center. This walking route starts at the south side of the city center, but depending on your accommodation you might want to reverse the order.
Start at the Germanisches National Museum and explore vast galleries and walk through various aspects of German history. As a kid I hated this museum because we had to go in high school and write a paper on various art pieces and historical artifacts, but as I age I have really come to enjoy this gem. For only 8 euro it’s worth an hour or two of exploring.
Next up on the walk is a pretty awesome shopping street. Compared to much of western Europe, Nuremberg is pretty affordable so the shopping can be quite the steal. If you aren’t into shopping don’t worry, you’re on the path to the famous St. Lorenz church. If you don’t want to venture inside, the architecture on the outside is well worth a gander. There are a ton of other churches to venture into throughout the city if you don’t make it into the St. Lorenz church (see picture below from a random church in the city).
Continue walking and take a quick picture at the famous Museumbrücke and then on to the Hauptmarkt. If you happen to be here in December this is where the famous Christkindlmarkt takes place. Please drink all of the Glüwein (mulled wine)! If you aren’t here in December, you might be hungry by now so grab a Nürnberg Rostbratwurst (sausage roll) from one of the many grill stands. Before moving on past the Hauptmarkt make sure to turn the brass ring on the Schöner Brunnen (the massive gold structure in the middle of the courtyard) for good luck.
If you are into the dark history of the city, as you head north pop into the Medieval dungeons. The only problem with this tour is that it is in German unless you make an appointment for an English tour, so if you don’t know German very well you might want to skip this.
If your feet are hurting, head over to the St. Sebaldus Church and pay the 2 euro donation to sit and enjoy the music from the organ (often playing during the day) and the pure tranquility of this beautiful church. Destroyed during WWII, the church was rebuilt to mimic the structure before the war.
Now, on to my favorite part of Nuremberg. Quick history lesson – Nuremberg was completely destroyed during WWII. The city leaders hid the city plans in the dungeons to protect them from damage and when the war was over the citizens voted to rebuild the city like it was before the war (hence why the city looks like it is hundreds of years old even though the majority of structures were leveled during the war). As you walk north towards the castle take a close look at all of the structures and enjoy the various views along the way.
Once you reach the Albert Drüer house enjoy the view around the square before venturing into the castle.
Despite having been to Nuremberg almost every year of my life, I have never actually been inside this castle. If you don’t want to pay to see the inside of the castle enjoy venturing around the walls that overlook the city and get lost in the castle grounds. On our last trip, my aunt took my husband and I all around and we spent a good hour walking around the various parts of the castle. It was my husband’s favorite part of our entire Germany trip.
Since it’s probably time for dinner, I would highly recommend checking out Alte Kuch’n for traditional Franconian food. Enjoy your evening toasting with cheap beer to a perfect day exploring Nuremberg.
Nuremberg has a dark history as one of Hitler’s favorite cities. Hitler’s parade rally locations still stand today and provide a somber reminder of the horrific events that took place during WWII. To really take in all that Nuremberg has to offer spend today exploring the Documentation Center which takes you through the entire history of Hitler’s regime and through his rally grounds. I would suggest spending at least 3 hours here to really take it all in.
Afterwards stroll around the park to take in some good vibes as the museum likely left you feeling a bit somber. Enjoy the rest of your day getting lost in the city center and taking in all of that Nuremberg has to offer. Hopefully, after your weekend in Nuremberg it now holds a special place in your heart.
– Boots not Roots