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Hello and welcome to Nuremberg, one of my favourite little cities in Germany. I’m going to sum up the best things to do in Nuremberg as well as the top eats, places to stay and ways to get there & away.
You should know before travelling to Germany just how pretty and idyllic the south of the country is. You’ll want your camera charged when exploring this medieval village within the Nuremberg city walls home to charming craft shops and rustic restaurants.
Pick up your souvenirs, have a wander or sit and enjoy a beer whilst watching the world go by. It doesn’t get much more Bavarian than this!
2. Walk Weißgerbergasse
I’d seen loads of photos of this street online and it didn’t disappoint! Once you’ve walked Weißgerbergasse, you’ll have really felt the magic of Bavaria.
It’s home to lots of cafes and ice cream shops so it’s a good spot for coffee – or beer. When in Rome!
Local’s tip – visit early or late if you want to capture photos here. When the shops and cafes are open, the street gets very busy.
3. Visit Lorenzkirche
This gothic church in the centre of Nuremberg dates back to 1250. With 12,000 pipes, Lorenzkirche has one of the largest church organs in the world. See if your visit times with a concert.
4. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Now a museum, this area was once used by Hitler for his speeches and as a rally ground for the Nazis from 1933 to 1938. No, it’s not an upbeat excursion but it’s important.
If you don’t fancy a full afternoon at the Documentation Center Museum (€6 entry), you can visit the rally ground for free. For after, there’s a gorgeous boating lake beside it.
5. Memorium Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg is a place where you can see history turn full circle. After learning about the Nazi Party in its heyday at the Documentation Center, you can learn how justice was finally served at the Memorium Nuremberg Trials.
This courtroom within the Nuremberg Palace of Justice is where Nazi leaders had to answer for their crimes between 1945 and 1946. Learn about the trials that changed history and tour Courtroom 600, still a working courtroom to this day.
6. Admire Weinstadel
One of the most historic (and prettiest!) things to do in Nuremberg is visit this building. It’s had loads of uses over the years: it’s been a wine warehouse, a house for lepers who were only allowed in the city at Easter, and nowadays the tower to the side is used as student accommodation. It’s a great place to photograph from the nearby bridges.
7. Walk the City Walls
No less than 5km of paths circle the walls of Nuremberg’s old city. These walls dating back to the 14th century were built to protect the city from enemies.
Start at the west side of Old Town and make your way to Fürther Tor towards the south of the city. As you explore sections of the medieval wall, you’ll soak up beautiful views of Nuremberg and its surrounds.
8. Go boating on the Großer Dutzendteich
One of the funnest things to do in Nuremberg!
Right beside the Nazi Rally Grounds lies this pretty man-made lake. Spend an hour in a pedalo with a beer in hand as the perfect antidote to learning about the gruelling history nearby. Pedalo hire is €12 an hour.
Local’s tip – there aren’t any shops near the lake (only pricier restaurants) so grab some beers, snacks and water from a supermarket in town before. Remember that most things are closed Sundays so, if that’s when you’re visiting, visit Central Station where there’s a small supermarket open 7 days a week.
9. See the world’s oldest globe
I didn’t hear about this until after I’d left so on my list for my next Nuremberg trip is a visit to the Germanisches National Museum where it’s housed. The globe dates back to 1492 and is so ancient it doesn’t feature America (as Europeans hadn’t got their hands on it yet)…
10. Climb Nuremberg Castle & see the view
No Nuremberg travel guide would be complete without including Nuremberg Castle. Things to do at this royal residence dating back to 1050 include wandering the courtyard, visiting Castle Chapel, admiring the rose gardens, and exploring Sinwell Tower and the Deep Well.
Read next: a complete guide to visiting Nuremberg Castle
Local’s tip #1 – find the Castle Gardens hidden towards the back of the complex. Although they’re a little tricky to locate, it’s worth it to escape the crowds and relax in this peaceful oasis.
#2 – find the covered walkway inside the old Castle Walls (accessible from the gardens). There’s a lovely viewpoint over Tiergärtnertor square and Albrecht Dürer House.
View from the Castle Walls
While at Nuremberg Castle, don’t miss the Imperial Castle Museum which contains all kinds of artefacts including medieval armour for horses.
A combo ticket for the Imperial Castle (Chapel, Deep Well, Sinwell Tower and Museum) costs €7.
Finally, the only thing more photogenic than the Castle itself is the view from the top. I’d recommend a late afternoon visit so you can see Nuremberg bathed in golden light.
11. Sit in Tiergartnertor Platz in the evening
If you’re visiting Nuremberg in the summer, don’t miss Tiergartnertor Platz. The vibe here on a sunny evening is fantastic – people of all ages sit outside, drink and chat.
Local’s tip – Make sure to try a Hugo, my favourite cocktail. It’s a German staple made of Prosecco, elderflower and mint – so refreshing!
12. Browse Market Square
Known in German as the Hauptmarkt, these red and white stalls cover the city centre. Nuremberg is famous for its Christmas Markets but even if you visit outside of December, you’ll be able to stock up on German treats.
Local’s tip – the lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) here are phenomenal.
13. Visit Albrecht Dürer House
Albrecht Dürer was one of Nuremberg’s most influential residents, central to the German Renaissance and remembered for his paintings and print works.
The timbered house beside Tiergärtnerplatz that he lived in for almost 20 years from 1509 to 1528 has been converted into a museum dedicated to his work. It’s free with a Nuremberg Card or you can pay €6 to go inside.
14. Check out some museums
There are endless museums in Nuremberg, some of the best being the Germanic National Museum, Nuremberg Transport Museum and the Toy Museum. These make for great rainy day activities in Nuremberg.
15. Rub the Schöner Brunnen ‘wish tower’
In Nuremberg’s central square, you’ll find the Schöner Brunnen which translates as ‘beautiful fountain’. It’s also thought to grant wishes if you turn the golden ring on the fountain grille three times whilst making your wish. Why not?
16. Tour the cellars
Back in the day, a law was passed that anyone who wanted to sell beer had to have their own cellar – thus, underneath Nuremberg is a maze of storage rooms. You can explore them during a rock-cut cellar beer tour where you’ll sample the different brews.
During World War II, the cellars were also used as bunkers to keep people and treasures safe. This included paintings and artefacts from the churches.
17. Find the quirky statues
There are at least 25 unusual statues in Nuremberg. Keep your eyes peeled for rabbits, rhinos, chickens, bright blue horses and more. Some are based on ancient designs by Albrecht Durer, others make reference to Germany’s history of war and peace, and the modern art designs will require you to use your imagination!
18. Wander the bridges & the ‘love island’
There seem to be endless bridges with exceptional views in Nuremberg. Above I’m looking over at Heilig Geist Spital building, an old 1300s hospital that’s since been restored.
If a busy itinerary is getting to you, one of the best things to do in Nuremberg is relax on the ‘Liebesinse’ or ‘love island’ – a nearby island of grass reachable by bridge.
19. St. Sebaldus Church
As well as the Frauenkirche and Lorenzkirche, this is the other important church in the city. Like the others, it’s pretty and gothic.
20. The Pigeon Museum
Nuremberg is awash with museums but the Pigeon Museum may be the quirkiest. There are an incredible 120,000 pigeon items to browse including 4,000 porcelain figures. You’ll also see paintings, stamps, postcards and more. Visiting is certainly an alternative thing to do in Nuremberg for a rainy day.
Admission is free. It’s only open one weekend a month between May and August so check the details before visiting.
21. Nuremberg Christmas Market
Of all the things to see in Nuremberg, there are few sights more iconic than Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt illuminated in the winter. Steam rises from vats of gluhwein, people huddle together with their loved ones, and the sweet scent of lebkuchen and almond cookies fills the air.
It usually runs from 26 November to 24 December although check the exact dates on the website prior to your visit. It’s one of the world’s most popular Christmas markets so it may be worth planning your trip around!
22. Try another festival
If your visit doesn’t coincide with the Christmas Market, don’t despair because there are events in Nuremberg year-round. There are a few recommended by my sister after her time living there:
- Volksfest (August-September) – visit for fair rides, food stands and beer tents
- Old Town Festival (September) – celebrating local traditions and regional food, this is the ideal place to sample Franconian classics like onion tart and pressed wine
- Franconian Beer Festival (May-June) – the Castle moat turns into one of the world’s biggest beer gardens. As well as locally-produced local beer, there’s excellent food and fun activities for kids
- Bergkirchweih Fair (May) – this beer festival may be smaller than the Munich Oktoberfest but it’s 55 years older! Almost a million visitors come each year to get merry on regional German beers
- The Nuremberg City Beach (May-September) – with 4,000sq meters of sand and over 1,500+ deckchairs, you can’t say Nuremberg does things by halves! Visit for beach games, bbqs, beers, live music and even a massage tent.
- Nuremberg Wine Festival – thought Germany just did beer well? Think again! Sadly, it tipped down with rain during our visit and we spent most of our time huddled under an umbrella trying to save our drinks from getting diluted with rainwater…
23. Take the 5 Seidla Steig beer hike
Although this might not make many lists of things to do in Nuremberg, it’s one of my favourite summer activities. If you’re a beer lover (if you’re coming to Germany you surely must be?), this is a fun way to spend a day. You’ll soak up the beauty of Nuremberg’s surrounds AND sink a few steins.
The 5 Seidla Steig beer hike connects 5 breweries in the Franconia region of Bavaria. The full trail is 19km so you’d need to stay over in the area to visit them all. We did a condensed version as a day trip from Nuremberg, visiting just 2 breweries.
To take the beer hike, catch the R21 regional train to Weissenohe to Weißenohe train station. The first brewery, Frankenweg, is just meters from the station. The other breweries to visit are:
- Brauerei Friedmann
- Brauerei Lindenbräu
- Brauerei Hofmann
After our hike, we managed to catch a local shuttle bus (that looked more like someone’s car) back to the station. It was a fun day out with fantastic German beer and beautiful scenery.
Local’s tip – pick up a stamp card at the first brewery. If you get all 5 stamps, you’ll be able to purchase a commemorative stein for €10.
24. Tour the parks
To explore the greener side of Nuremberg without going as far afield as the beer hike, check out some of the city parks. There are nine main parks in Nuremberg, one of our family favourites being Wöhrder Lake and Wöhrder Meadow.
The lower area is popular with walkers and cyclists while the upper meadows are home to rare plant and birdlife. Take a sunset walk through the meadows, stopping for a dinner picnic, game of frisbee, or refreshing beers beside the water.
Another excellent park is Stadtpark, 10 minutes from the Central Station on the U2 line. Here you can visit the impressive Neptune Fountain, hire bicycles, and refuel at the farmer’s market and cafe by the lake.
25. See modern art at Neues Museum
Despite the name, Neues Museum is more of a gallery than anything else. It showcases art and design from the 1950s to the present day from paintings to sculptures, photography and video art.
Entry is €7 or free to under 18s. It’s not far from the German National Museum (nearest station Lorenzkirche). Visit both to compare historic and modern Nuremberg.
26. Shop and eat in trendy Gostenhof (GOHO)
Named after SOHO, this quirky area of Nuremberg has lots of cool cafes and outside drinking areas. Although it’s not on many tourists’ radars, any local will know it – especially if they’re under 35!
Gostenhof is an area with a conscience: browse vintage shops like bambiboom, upcycling stores like edi m, and no-waste shop, ZeroHero. Finish with hipster coffee at Machhörndl Kaffee.
Where & what to eat and drink in Nuremberg
There are some great eateries in Nuremberg where you’ll find a balance between traditional German food and world cuisine. Here are some of my top picks:
27. Cafe Manheim
This trendy cafe in GOHO is great for a casual lunch, brunch or cheese & meat platter. I opted for toasted German bread and mixed up the toppings (camembert, pear and walnut, and goat’s cheese, balsamic dressing and raspberry).
On a hot day, the flavoured lemonades are a winner – we went for raspberry and mint.
A Japanese restaurant with sushi to die for, as well as lots of other authentic Asian dishes. If it’s good weather you can sit outside by the fountains. Dinner for two with cocktails came to €50 so it wasn’t the cheapest, but was worth every penny.
29. Il Rossini
For about €10 per main dish, you’ll tuck into enormous pizzas as well as pasta dishes and Italian starters like tasty bruschetta. I loved the vibe at Il Rossini – especially the red-checkered tablecloths in the atmospheric garden area.
30. Sample Lebkuchen
Don’t leave Nuremberg (or Southern Germany for that matter) without trying lebkuchen. This is a type of German cookie flavoured with honey and spices. The making of lebkuchen has been traced back as early as the 1200s in Nuremberg. With this much practice, how could it be bad?
You’ll find lebkuchen sold in adorable Nuremberg shops and – the more touristic option – as heart-shaped cookies like the ones pictured above. After eating mine, I was told these are usually kept as souvenirs rather than eaten. Whoops!
Local tip – although Bavaria is generally not great for vegans, there’s actually quite a bit of plant-based food in Nuremberg. After 5 years living there as a vegan, my sister helped me put together this guide to vegan food in Nuremberg.