Nuremberg is a history rich city in the German state of Bavaria. Even though it is the second-largest city in Bavaria only after Munich it is picturesque enough to bewitch you with a charm of the medieval village.
Munich to Nuremberg is an easy day trip but there is enough to explore for two days so you may want to consider staying overnight. If you are here for 2 days avail a Nuremberg Card offering free admission to museums along with free public transport. There is a good frequency of buses and trains running from Munich to Nuremberg with a travel time of about 2 hrs by bus and only an hour by train.
Here are Top Things to do in Nuremberg City
Shop for Handicrafts at Handwerkerhof
As soon as you enter the Nuremberg old town through Konigstor (King’s Gate) just opposite to the Nuremberg train station is the huge handicrafts market.
The market enclosed in the historic city walls houses tiny half-timbered shops selling interesting handicrafts and local products like metalwares, wooden dolls, wood carvings, leather and decorative glass items, and potteries. You can also watch as the artisans also showcase their skills in the workshops. And if you are looking to devour on some delicious Nuremberg sausages, freshly baked gingerbread or Franconian beer and wine Handwerkerhof is the place to be.
Visit the Magnificient Churches
St. Lorenz Church
St. Lorenz or St. Lawrence is the first church you will come across when walking from Konigstor to the main square Hauptmarkt. The Gothic style medieval Lutheran church dates back to 15th-century. The west facade of the church has a splendid intricate artwork with statues and rose windows dominated by the two towers.
The Frauenkirche or the Church of Our Lady is an imposing church in main market square Hauptmarkt. The church built in brick Gothic architecture dates back to 14th century and holds numerous medieval artworks and monuments in its ornate interior.
An important and interesting feature of the church is the Mannleinlaufen the mechanical clock in church facade that commemorates the Golden Bull of 1356. Every day when the clock strikes the hour there is a show of electors surrounding the figure of the Holy Roman Emperor accompanied by trumpeters and drummers.
St. Sebaldus Church
The medieval church of St. Sebaldus is one of the oldest churches in Nuremberg dating back to early 13th-century. It is located at the Albrecht-Durer-Platz opposite the Town Hall. The church originally built in Romanesque style features gothic hall and Baroque galleries added much later.
Explore the Hauptmarkt
Haupmarkt is also popular for the world-famous Nuremberg Christmas Market which dates back to early 1600. The traditional market with around 200 stalls mostly sells local handicrafts and local food specialties and draws millions of visitors every year.
Join the Guided Tour
It is always fun to explore the city like a local with some insider information and the Nuremberg guided city tour by the Nuremberg Tourism board is exactly the one we were looking for. The tour with great information on history, present and the various folklores associated with the city lets you explore the city amidst an intriguing interaction.
Visit Medieval Dungeons in Nuremberg’s Town Hall
The Medieval Dungeons of Nuremberg are located in the vaulted cellar of Nuremberg’s Town Hall. The dungeons can only be visited during the guided tours which last for around 20 minutes. The dungeons were used to interrogate the prisoners awaiting trials and the tour walks you through the twelve cells and a torture chamber which gives you an insight into the justice system of those days. The tours are in German but you can ask for an English tour which needs a prior appointment.
Explore the Imperial Nuremberg Castle
The imperial Nuremberg castle is a complex of buildings atop a sandstone hill overlooking the city. The castle holds a permanent exhibition in museum providing insight into the history of the castle and the role of Nuremberg in the late Middle Ages.
The grounds of the castle offers incredible views of the rooftops of the city and the city skyline with spires and towers of various historical buildings. For an even more fantastic panorama of the city, you can climb the Sinwell Tower.
The Nuremberg Castle and the old town is surrounded by city walls which run for 5 km with around 70 towers which remain intact till date. There aren’t many towns enclosed by a well preserved medieval wall, Avignon is we know of which is enclosed by 4.3 km of walls. so it really comes a great feeling of amazement. And the castle along with walls is said to be most formidable which leaves Nuremberg unconquered.
Albrecht Durer House
Albrecht Durer’s House is a typical half-timbered house in Nuremberg which served as the home of the German Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer. Albrecht Durer’s House today houses a museum dedicated to the life and work of the famous painter and exhibits copies of his important paintings.
The Hausbrauerei Altstadthof Brewery
Beer lovers cannot miss a visit to the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof popular for traditional brewing methods and organic beers with some Franconian delicacies to accompany. You can also tour the maze of tunnels spread underneath the streets of Nuremberg Old Town originally built to store beer but also served as a refuge to the entire old town during the world war. The tours are held in German with English audioguides available if you are looking for English tours.
Marvel at the Half-timbered Houses
Apart from the Nuremberg Sausages and the magical Nuremberg Christmas Market the major draw for the tourists are the colorful and elegantly designed half-timbered houses. Do not miss a visit to the Weißgerbergasse street lined with colorful half-timbered houses each washed in a bright hue with different colored timber beams.
Walk the Bridges and Squares dotted with Fountains
The 16th-century fountain standing next to St Lorenz Church is a three-storey bronze fountain decorated with the symbols of the virtues on the lower level, on the central level are 6 putti holding the Nuremberg coat of arms and on the top is the seventh virtue statue ‘Justice’ with her symbols.
Schoner Brunnen translates to beautiful fountain in English is a 14th-century ornate fountain resembling a Gothic church spire and located on main market square Hauptmarkt. The fountain is adorned with 40 colorful figures representing the worldview of the Holy Roman Empire.
According to legend spinning the rings in the fence of the fountain three times brings you luck and for that, a common sight around the fountain are the tourists hanging from the fence trying their luck.
This is a magnificent fountain close to the St Elizabeth church was unveiled in 1981 and is considered as Nuremberg’s controversial bronze fountain for the grim representation of ups and downs in marriage.
The pedestrian Chain Bridge of Nuremberg built in 1824 is the oldest chain bridge in Europe and spans the River Pegnitz.
Hangman’s Bridge or Henkersteg
The Hangman’s Bridge or the Henkersteg is the most beautiful bridge in Nuremberg dating back to 1457. The hangman of a city had to live in outskirts of the city away from the crowd and the hangman from Nuremberg lived in the tower of the bridge. Today the tower houses a museum on the criminal history of Nuremberg.
Do not miss the St John Cemetery
The 13th-century St. John’s Cemetery is an important cemetery of Nuremberg. It is the resting place of Albrecht Dürer and many other prominent personalities. It is also the most beautiful burial grounds in Nuremberg. Each of the graves is adorned with bright and gorgeous blossom which make it look more like a flower garden.
Walk back in Time at Nazi Party Rally Grounds
If you are a history buff and have more than a day in Nuremberg you should consider visiting the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and the Nuremberg Palace of Justice.
The Kongresshalle or the Congress Hall is a colossal structure designed on lines of the magnificent Roman Colosseum. The Congress Hall along with the Rally Grounds was built to house the Nazi Party during the rallies. The structure was never completed due to the break of war today the documentation center inside the Congress Hall houses exhibits providing insight into the history of the Nazi Party Rally.
You can also visit and take an audio guided tour of the infamous Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg Palace of Justice which was the site of Nuremberg trials held for the surviving German war criminals of WWII. The Courtroom is today is a working courthouse and will be closed to visitors during the Nuremberg trials.
Things to do in Nuremberg with Kids
Though the most important draw for Nuremberg is the history and the architecture of the buildings it can also be fun to visit the city with kids. The Nuremberg toy museum represents the tradition of toymaking housing around 12000 toys. Kids can indulge in some creative activities and explore the play area. Nuremberg Zoo housing more than 300 species of animals can also be one of the fun things to do with kids on Nuremberg visit.
We are sure you cannot resist falling in love with the stunning architecture, intriguing history and a wide choice of delicious gourmet the lovely city of Nuremberg has to offer. Do you agree? Let us know in comments.
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Many Thanks to Nuremberg Tourism for sponsoring our Nuremberg Guided Walking Tour. As always, all opinions are our own.