If you’re planning to take a break in Germany, Nuremberg should definitely feature on your list of places to visit.
As the second-largest city in Bavaria (and unofficial capital of Franconia), Nuremberg boasts historical landmarks and an enchanting old town, oodles of culture (there are over 50 museums), and plenty of attractions to keep you amused.
With such an abundance of activities to enjoy and things to see in Nuremberg, you are bound to work up an appetite, but you won’t go hungry. There are plenty of restaurants and eateries serving traditional delicacies such as Bratwurst (sausage) and lebkuchen (gingerbread) – guaranteed to please your taste-buds!
This guide will outline the best places to visit in Nuremberg, where to stay, how to get there and our choice of the top day trips from Nuremberg.
Read on to discover more about this delightful German city, which, in case you were wondering, is known as Nürnberg in German.
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Things to do in Nuremberg
You only have to take a look at a map of Nuremberg and things to do jump out at you immediately. There’s plenty of history, culture and food to enjoy as you’ll discover below.
Old Town Nuremberg
Nuremberg was almost obliterated during World War II, but the city has managed to rise from the ashes. If you amble around the Old Town (Altstadt) today, you’ll witness the painstaking restoration work that has been carried out over the years to renovate the city.
The Old Town is a quiet, reflective place, perfect to stroll around and escape from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. Good walking shoes are a must; you will need a pair to negotiate the labyrinth of lanes.
As you wander, enjoy looking at the half-timbered houses and stroll over the delightful bridges that cross the Pegnitz River, which runs right through the centre of the city. Don’t forget to stop and marvel at the ancient castle.
Nuremberg is a historic gem of a city known for its fascinating backstory and majestic medieval city walls.
Museums in Nuremberg
If you’re a fan of exploring a museum, Nuremberg has more than one to grab your interest.
The Nuremberg Card is a worthwhile purchase if you plan on visiting a few museums. For a one-off fee, the card entitles you to two days of free admission to over 40 museums in Nuremberg.
You also get access to public transport, which will save your tired legs as you make your way around the city.
With so much German history intertwined with the city, you’ll need more than a day or two to learn about Nuremberg’s complex and disquieting past.
There are plenty of buildings and museums associated with World War II (thanks to the city serving as home to the Third Reich), such as Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice, the site of the famous 1945 Nuremberg trials.
The actual courtroom is still in use, so cannot be accessed unless you’re planning to attend a current trial.
You can, however, visit the former Nazi Party Rally Ground. This huge structure was erected by National Socialists in 1933 to commend Nazi allies.
There’s also a World War II Art Bunker – a medieval beer cellar in the Old Town where expensive treasures were stashed to protect them from falling bombs.
Alternatively, pay a visit to Kongresshalle, a former meeting place for the Third Reich that provides further fascinating insight into Nazi Germany.
Imperial Castle of Nuremberg
A medieval castle dating back to Roman times, the Imperial Castle, Nuremberg is a sight to behold.
Bring your camera as the views are almost as stunning as the landmark itself. Climb up the 13th-century Sinwell Tower, the most elevated point, to take in the striking vistas.
The Deep Well also proves interesting and popular amongst the many Nuremberg attractions. The well dates back to the 14th century, possibly even earlier. There’s a parapet constructed from sandstone ashlars, and the well drops 50 metres into the rock.
Regular presentations are given, and the guide will inch a camera down to provide you with an insider view into the well.
It’s also worth heading outside to take a stroll around the peaceful and pretty castle gardens.
TIP: The Nuremberg Card allows entry to the castle in Nuremberg, Sinwell Tower, and Deep Well.
Nuremberg Christmas Market
Also known as Christkindlsmarkt Nuremberg, the Christmas market in Nuremberg is one of the oldest in Germany, dating back to the 16th century. Steeped in character, there’s an air of creativity and tradition at this popular Christmas market.
Nuremberg is known for its Bratwurst and gingerbread, and the smell of both these appetising delicacies permeates your nostrils as you stroll among the pretty stalls. There’s also mulled wine and rum punch on offer, which is great news – after all, shopping and eating can be thirsty work!
The Christmas market opens on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday. If you’re lucky enough to be in attendance, you’ll see the Nuremberg Christkind appear on the balcony of the Church of Our Lady to usher in the start of the festive season.
The market runs until Christmas Eve and features over 180 stalls selling traditional decorations, festive ornaments, and plenty of tasty treats and drinks.
Wrap up warm and start your festive season off with plenty of Christmas cheer.
A much-loved Christmas treat throughout Germany are ginger and spice biscuits, known as Lebkuchen, and the finest examples are made in Nuremberg by Lebkuchen Schmidt.
Employing over 800 people, the company makes 3 million biscuits each day during the production season.
For more than 85 years, Lebkuchen Schmidt have been shipping their tasty cookies across the world – in fact, they are the world’s oldest mail order service for gingerbread and pastries!
Lebkuchen are sold throughout Germany during the festive season but sampling them at the famous Nuremberg Christmas Market is a must.
If you can’t be in Nuremberg for the Christmas Market, you can always join a 90-minute cooking class to learn how to make these delicious treats at home.
Day Trips from Nuremberg
Nuremberg sightseeing will keep you busy, however, if you do fancy a change of scenery, there are plenty of other interesting places to visit not too far away.
Often overlooked by visitors, Erlangen is a pleasant town just 18 kilometres from Nuremberg. This place is certainly worth a visit, and history lovers will not be disappointed.
Erlangen boasts an exquisite palace complete with charming gardens. There are also medieval squares and an Old Town with traditional eateries.
With its medieval air and striking Baroque architecture, the town of Bamberg is certainly deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Located on the German Castle Road around 60 kilometres from Nuremberg, Bamberg lies across seven hills and mixes ancient squares with contemporary shops – with a few pubs thrown in for good measure.
Visit the Old Town Hall sitting on the River Regnitz and check out Altenburg Castle and St Michael’s Monastery for lashings of historical pleasure.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Half-timber houses and postcard-perfect shops await you in this real-life fairytale town.
A pretty little town situated on the River Itz, Coburg is a hidden gem. Venture there – it’s around 100 kilometres from Nuremberg – and you will come across the 15th-century Ehrenburg Palace that has a truly gothic feel.
Also worth a visit are Callenberg Castle and the imposing Coburg Fortress, and there’s a fantastic Christmas market, too.
Flossenberg Concentration Camp
At 135 kilometres from Nuremberg, Flossenberg Concentration Camp isn’t on the doorstep, but if you want to get a true sense of The Holocaust and horrors of the war, it’s certainly worth a visit.
A tour of the camp will give you an insight into the pain and suffering of the innocent souls held at Flossenberg. You can visit the wash house, cells, crematorium and dining room, amongst other areas.
Then pay your respects at the garden of remembrance to honour the lives of those who passed away here.
Flossenberg Concentration Camp is free to enter, but you are invited to leave a donation.
Where is Nuremberg?
Nuremberg is the second largest city in the southern German state of Bavaria. It is located 170 kilometres north of Munich and 223 kilometres south east of Frankfurt.
How to get to Nuremberg
Excellent bus and train services connect Nuremberg with other major cities in Germany. It can also be easily accessed by car. The following travel times apply:
- Munich to Nuremberg – 1h:10m by train, 2h by bus, 1h:30m by car
- Frankfurt to Nuremberg – 2h:05m by train, 3h:10m by bus, 2h:10m by car
- Berlin to Nuremberg – 3h:25m by train, 5h:05m by bus, 3h:45m by car
Where to stay in Nuremberg
Located in the heart of Nuremberg’s medieval Old Town, the Adina Apartment Hotel offers a range of Studio, One- and Two-Bedroom apartments accommodating up to four guests. Each room is fully equipped with private bathroom and kitchen and all the modern facilities required for a pleasant stay.
The hotel has its own private car parking garage and a restaurant and bar with a rooftop terrace. There is also a fitness room, pool and sauna that guests can use for free.
Housed in the historic Tafelhof Palais, Nuremberg’s former Post Office, Leonardo Royal Hotel Nuremberg is close to the main train station and just a few minutes’ walk from the Old Town. Guests can choose from a range of rooms and suites which are beautifully furnished and feature air-conditioning, free WiFi, large flatscreen TVs, and Espresso machines.
On-site facilities include a restaurant and bar, and a gym. Private underground parking is available.
Situated beside Nuremberg’s historic City Walls and close to the Imperial Castle, Hotel Burgschmiet offers a quiet but central location. The hotel’s 40 rooms have recently been renovated and feature free WiFi and flatscreen TVs as well as a mini bar and in-room safe. A range of twin, double, triple and quad-share rooms are available.
A cosy breakfast room is open every day from 6.30am to 10.00am.
With so many things to do, Nuremberg is a top destination when you visit Germany. You will never be stuck for what to do in Nuremberg as the city is awash with culture, history and attractions.
While its past has an air of melancholy, Nuremberg has blossomed into a welcoming and congenial city. With so much to offer, we suggest you come and see this fascinating city for yourself.
Discover more wonderful destinations to visit in Bavaria in our Bavaria Travel Guide here.