Perched on the River Pegnitz, the city of Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German) has something of an enchanted fairytale appearance. The half-timbered houses, the castle with its gardens, and the small streets of its Old Town could fit perfectly into a storybook. Nuremberg is also renowned for its world-famous Christmas Market and is a wonderland for lovers of its famous gingerbread and sausages. This underrated city in Franconia in Upper Bavaria in Southern Germany is definitely worth a visit, especially if you are looking for a quiet getaway. Here’s our lowdown on the top things to do in Nuremberg.
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Table of Contents
How to Get Around Nuremberg
Virtually all of the must-see attractions in Nuremberg lie within the borders of the Old Town. Walking is the best way to discover its many hidden gems and appreciate the true charm of Nuremberg, especially the Old Town.
Many parts of the Old Town are for pedestrians only and one-way streets make for difficult navigation by vehicle. Make sure to wear a comfortable pair of flat shoes rather than heels as they can get stuck in cobblestones in the pavement.
In order to get to some of the further lying sights in Nuremberg, the airport or to get to your accommodation if you’re not staying near the Old Town, you can make use of the city’s efficient public transportation system operated by VGN. Nuremberg’s public transportation system combines S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains, trams, and buses, and switching from one form of transport to another is very seamless.
A single ticket in Nuremberg costs 3.20 EUR and is valid for 90 minutes whereas a day ticket costs 8.30 EUR. A day ticket purchased on Saturday is valid all weekend. Tickets can be purchased on the VGN website, the VGN app, from ticket vending machines, selected sales points, and directly from the bus driver. You can find more information about fares, tickets, routes and how to plan your trip using public transport here.
Bicycle infrastructure in Nuremberg is quite well developed and bikes provide a fast and handy way to get around the city. Getting around on a bike is quite convenient, especially in the warmer months. Nuremberg’s excellent city-wide rental system VAG has over 20 stations across the city. The basic rate is 5 cents/minute and the cost of renting a bike for 24 hours costs 10 EUR.
Avoid using taxis in Nuremberg unless it is absolutely necessary as you will be well covered by public transport. However, if you wish to travel by taxi you can get one from the taxi ranks outside the main railway station or the central market. Otherwise, you can call the taxi office at +49 (0)911 19410.
Is the Nuremberg Card Worth It?
The Nuremberg Card is a very handy city pass that accords you free access to the best attractions and sights in the city and also in the satellite town of Fürth. The other advantage of having the Nuremberg Card is that it gives you unlimited free access to the city’s public transport network. The Nuremberg Card has a 2 day validity period.
Ultimately, the question of whether the Nuremberg Card is worth it depends on how much you want to get out of the city. If you plan on visiting a lot of cultural attractions and museums like we did, then it is definitely worth investing in the card. If not, then maybe the Nuremberg Card isn’t worth buying.
The only catch is that the Nuremberg Card is only available to visitors spending at least one night in a commercial accommodation in Nuremberg or Fürth.
Things to Do & See in Nuremberg
There are heaps of great things to do in Nuremberg and this lovely city is a thrilling and superb getaway for those on a short break. Whether your interests lie in architecture, museum hopping, eating, shopping or just chilling in the park, there’s something to do for everyone in Nuremberg.
For your convenience, this post includes a free map of the top sights in Nuremberg. You can find the addresses of the attractions by clicking on the icons in the map. Below we have compiled a list of the best things to see and do in Nuremberg.
- Wander Around the Old Town
- Visit the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
- Admire the Church of St. Lawrence
- Central Market Square & Nuremberg Christmas Market
- Check Out the Museum for Industrial Culture
- Snap Instagram Worthy Pictures
- Learn About Germanic Culture at the German National Museum
- Admire the Beautiful Fountain
- St. John’s Cemetery
- Be Enthralled at the Deutsche Bahn Railway Museum
- Explore the Imperial Castle
- Memorium Nuremberg Trials
- Feast on Some Delectable Franconian Cuisine
- Pay Your Respects at the Church of Our Lady
- Albrecht Dürer-House
- Release Your Inner Child At The Toy Museum
- See the Old Town Walls
- The White Tower and the Wedding Carousel Fountain
- St. Sebaldus Church
- Tucher Mansion Museum and Hirsvogel Hall
- Wander Around the Craftsmen’s Courtyard
- Uncover Nuremberg’s Past at the City Museum in the Fembo House
- New Museum
- Go On A Day Trip
1. Wander Around the Old Town
Nuremberg’s extravagantly picturesque Old Town (Altstadt) conveys the atmosphere of the archetypal German medieval city. Strolling amidst its formidable defensive walls, cobblestone streets lined with gorgeous red-roofed old buildings, and magnificent squares presided over by the soaring spires of Gothic churches is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Nuremberg.
There is a lot to see in the Old Town and it’s a great place to get lost and wander around. Follow the cobbled lanes worn smooth by nearly a millennia of wagon wheels and shoe leather to discover one of the best experiences in Germany. Keep your camera ready!
To experience the historic Old Town at its most magical, go early or late in the day and you can soak up the romance all by yourself on tranquil strolls when the morning light filters through the streets or along the moonlit cobbled lanes.
It was here that the history of Nuremberg began in 1050. Two towns on either side of the River Pegnitz, Lorenz and Sebald, existed separately until they united form Nuremberg. During the Middle Ages Nuremberg was a free town of the Holy Roman Empire and an important trade center.
On the night of January 2, 1945, an air raid by 525 British Lancaster bombers destroyed approximately 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town. Nevertheless, the city has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes. Most of the buildings have been faithfully restored or reconstructed.
As a major intersection on the medieval trade routes, Nüremberg became an affluent town where the arts and sciences flourished making it one of the important cultural centers of Europe. There are a great host of inventions associated with the city, the most significant of which are gun casting, the clarinet, and the geographic globe. The world’s first pocket watches, the Nürnberg eggs, were made here in the 16th century.
2. Visit the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
For many, Nuremberg will forever be synonymous with the Nazi rallies, the Nuremberg Laws, and the Nuremberg Trials. In contrast to Berlin and Munich, which have somewhat managed to conceal their Nazi heritage, sites associated with the Nazis are large and easily accessible in Nuremberg. They are well worth visiting.
The Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds (Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände) was one of my favorite places to see in Nuremberg. They are housed in the massive Congress Hall (Kongreßhalle), which itself was designed to accommodate 50,000 delegates and sort of looks like the Colosseum in Rome.
It was never completed but what was finished was built “to last a thousand years.” Nuremberg has been stuck with the building, since demolishing it would be expensive and the whole area is now under a protection order.
To gain a greater understanding of the events in Nuremberg that shaped world history it is well worth seeing the excellent permanent exhibition entitled “Fascination and Terror”. The exhibition is very well laid out and makes good use of photos, eyewitness interviews, models, films and multimedia displays to explain the Nazi regime, with special emphasis on the events surrounding the Party Rallies. The exhibits do a good job of documenting the rise, connections and murderous consequences of Nazism.
After going through the exhibition, you can cross Lake Großer Dutzendteich to see the Zeppelin Field and grandstand where Hitler propagated his murderous ideology. He and his acolytes looked on approvingly at the living sea of people beneath waving swastikas and swearing nationalist devotion.
To stand at that very spot and play that scene in your mind is an eerie and disturbing experience. It’s a vital chunk of history and serves to educate visitors of a piece of Nuremberg’s horrifying past.
The Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds are open from 09:00-18:00 (Monday-Friday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday). The price of admission is 6 EUR.
HISTORY 101: THE NAZI PARTY RALLIES
The Nazi Party held rallies in Nuremberg in 1927 and 1929, mostly due to the city’s central location and easy access from all corners of Germany. Nuremberg’s suitable location, as well as the symbolism of its links to the old Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation both contributed to the town being selected as the permanent seat for the party rallies. From 1933 to 1938, 6 party rallies were held here. At the 1935 rally, anti-Semitic laws, often referred to as the Nuremberg Laws, were adopted, legalizing the segregation of Jews, which had been common practice since the Nazis came to power in 1933. As the distinction between party and state became fuzzier, the rallies increasingly served as a showpiece of German military might and turned into Nazi propaganda events. These rallies were eternally immortalized by legendary German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in her in Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) documentary, arguably the best propaganda film ever made. Foreign diplomats were invited and often left disturbed, but impressed. The rallies involved endless speeches, parades, sporting events, and military parades. The 1938 rally was attended by a staggering 1.6 million people over a period of a week.
3. Admire the Church of St. Lawrence
The twin-towered Church of St. Lawrence (Lorenzkirche) is undoubtedly one of the must-see sights in Nuremberg. Of all the churches in Nuremberg, the Church of St. Lawrence is the largest and grandest. Construction of this church began in the mid-13th century and it took more than 200 years to complete, but the final result is a High Gothic masterpiece.
Once you enter the church, you can’t help but be awed by the imposing interior. The portal above the main entrance is enhanced by sculptures depicting the theme of redemption, from Adam and Eve through the Last Judgment. Splendid also is the church’s stained and painted glass which includes the vivid stained-glass rosette. It was very peaceful to sit in a pew and look in awe at the workmanship that went into this structure.
I have seen quite a lot of Gothic churches and the Church of St. Lawrence sits right up there with the best. There are many beautiful carvings and religious sculptures throughout the building, reflecting the artistic wealth of late-medieval Nuremberg. Most resplendent of these are the Engelsgruss (Annunciation) by Veit Stoß, and the Gothic Tabernacle, by Adam Krafft, adorned with a crucifix by Stoß.
The Church of St. Lawrence is open from 09:00-17:30 (Monday-Wednesday & Friday-Saturday), 09:00-19:00 (Thursday), and 10:00-15:30 (Sunday). There’s a voluntary entrance fee of 2 EUR.
To the west of the Church of St. Lawrence on Karolinenstraße 2, lies the Nassauer Haus, the oldest private home in Nuremberg. The lower two floors date from the 13th century, while the oriel and towers are from the 15th century.
4. Central Market Square & Nuremberg Christmas Market
In the heart of the Nuremberg Old Town lies the Central Market (Hauptmarkt), the most vibrant part of the city. It is normally filled with kiosks stacked with fresh fruit, bread, homemade cheeses and sausages, sweets, brought in from the countryside.
Central Market Square is the venue of the annual Nuremberg Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarkt), the most popular Christmas market in Germany and one of the best Christmas markets in the world. Seeing this famous Christmas Market was one of the main reasons behind our visit to Nuremberg and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
First mentioned in writing in 1628, the roots of the Nuremberg Christmas Market can be traced back to the Reformation when the tradition of giving gifts to children is thought to have evolved. Few cities steep themselves in the festive spirit like Nuremberg and the Christmas Market embodies all that you would expect of a traditional Christmas market: twinkling lights, decorations, snacks, sweets and hot drinks, local handicrafts, and gifts. Don’t forget to seek out the beloved figures of prune men (Zwetschgenmännle)!
Weave your way around the snuggly little artisan huts enjoying the distinctive yuletide atmosphere all the while being enthralled by the enticing aroma of pretzels, tasty grilled sausages, roasted almonds and gingerbread made with cinnamon and honey that will tempt your taste buds.
Wash the food down with cold German beer or warm up with a cup of spicy mulled wine (glühwein) or red wine and rum punch (feuerzangenbowle) which is served in a cute collectible souvenir mug.
The Nuremberg Christmas Market runs from Friday before the first Sunday in Advent till Christmas. It is open from 10:00-21:00.
5. Check Out the Museum for Industrial Culture
The Museum for Industrial Culture (Museum Industriekultur) was one of our favorite sights in Nuremberg. Nuremberg has a reputation for being a city with strong industrial ties and this fantastic museum pays homage to the history of industrialization in Nuremberg, from the 19th century to the present day. It is housed in a former screw factory from the 1920s.
There are exhibits on cars, printing, steam engines, old video games (which you can play) and electronics. The museum also includes reproductions of a workers’ bar, a shop, a kitchen, and a classroom, shedding the light of such premises as they were before the wars. All these give you a unique look at how the various industries based here through the centuries impacted Nuremberg culturally and socially.
I was most impressed with the collection of vintage motorcycles, showcasing Nuremberg’s key role in the history of motorcycle production. Vintage manufacturers such as Victoria, Hercules and Zündapp are among the standouts.
We had a very enjoyable time at the Museum for Industrial Culture. Although the exhibits are exclusively in German, it’s still very much worth a visit because much of what there is to see doesn’t really require explanation to be captivating. Along with the Toy Museum and the DB Railway Museum, this museum is one of the best things to do in Nuremberg if you have kids in tow.
The Museum for Industrial Culture is open from 09:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Friday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday). The entrance costs 6 EUR.
6. Snap Instagram Worthy Pictures
One of the best things to do in Nuremberg is to take great pictures when sightseeing in the city. There are a couple of locations throughout the Old Town which provides a perfect backdrop for such pictures.
The Tiergärtnerplatz, which sits directly below the Imperial Castle, is one of the loveliest medieval squares in Nuremberg. It is surrounded by several beautiful half-timbered houses and the former town defenses. We both had great fun taking pictures here.
The lower, smaller gate is from the 13th century, but the wider gate had to be added in the 16th century in order to allow the increasingly larger carts to pass through. There are plenty of lively small cafes and bars lined up around the small square, where you can order a beer or a glass of wine to cool off in the summer.
Weißgerbergasse is probably the most photographed street in Nuremberg and it’s not hard to see why. Densely packed, pastel-colored half-timbered houses line both sides of the gently curving cobblestone street in a romantic, kitsch manner. The medieval-style setting would even make Disney gush!
Weißgerbergasse has an interesting history and in the Middle Ages, the alley was part of the artisan district which mainly housed tanners, who processed animal skins into light leather. These bewitching houses stand as a testament to the affluence generated by the leatherworking trade. Today, small shops now enliven the historic street during the day.
My final recommendation for an Instagram worthy spot in Nuremberg is the picturesque Hangman’s Bridge (Henkersteg) which stands over the River Pegnitz. Adjacent to the bridge is the former wine depot (Weinstadel), one of the largest half-timbered houses in Germany. Together with the Hangman’s Bridge, it is the setting of one of Nuremberg’s iconic vistas.
This wooden footbridge dates back to the 16th century and was built to segregate the city executioner (“Henker”) from the rest of the populace. Since his profession was considered un-Christian, the regular townsfolk avoided any kind of contact with the hangman. For over three centuries the Nuremberg hangmen lived in the tower just beyond the bridge named for their iniquitous vocation.
7. Learn About Germanic Culture at the German National Museum
Visiting the German National Museum (Germanisches Nationalmuseum) is one of the best things to do in Nuremberg. It has a trove of about 1.3 million pieces of art, cultural objects, and documents related to Teutonic culture, making it the largest cultural history museum in Germany.
The core of the museum is housed in a medieval monastery, whose church and cloisters are used to exhibit religious artworks. The rest of the museum is more modern. The museum’s collection ranges from the Stone Age to the present day.
One of the highlights of the museum is the extensive painting and sculpture sections which feature a large number of works by Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Altdorfer and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. The sculpture section has excellent works by Veit Stoß and Tilman Riemenschneider. Look out for Dürer’s Portrait of Michael Wolgemut.
The other section of the German National Museum that we found interesting was the applied and decorative arts sections. Here, you can see the oldest globes in the world, sundials, early clocks, stained glass, jewel-encrusted reliquaries, pianos, other musical instruments, and even a 17th-century dollhouse.
Don’t miss the Schlüsselfeld Vessel (a strikingly beautiful silver-gold sailing ship) and the Cover of the Codex Aureus (a richly ornamented cover of the Golden Gospel Book of Echternach).
The German National Museum is open from 10:00-18:00 (Tuesday, Thursday-Sunday) and 10:00-21:00 (Wednesday). The entrance costs 8 EUR.
8. Admire the Beautiful Fountain
The Beautiful Fountain (Schöner Brunnen) is a century-old copy of the original late-14th-century Gothic marvel. Parts of the original fountain are in the German National Museum. It stands 19 meters in height and consists of an intricately carved spire standing at the center of an octagonal pool. The pool and the spire are adorned with around 40 colorfully painted figures from the Bible, philosophy, liberal arts, and politics.
Note the Golden Ring, a seamless copper ring on the wrought-iron gate that is considered a symbol of Nuremberg. Local tradition says that if you turn the ring three times, your desires will come true.
9. St. John’s Cemetery
It might be a bit unusual to name a cemetery as a tourist attraction but St. John’s Cemetery (Johannisfriedhof) is definitely a must if you are in the vicinity. The cemetery is one of the best-preserved and most important ones in Europe. Established in the early 16th century, it served as a burial ground for many Nurembergers until the mid 19th century. It is the resting place of many famous people, including Albrecht Dürer, sculptors Adam Kraft & Veit Stoß, the goldsmith Wenzel Jamnitzer and the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach.
One of the interesting things about St. John’s Cemetery is that the burials here were made in stone sarcophagi. The graves are very well maintained and are sumptuously decorated with bronze epitaphs and coats of arms. Look out for the roses here that come in every imaginable color. The cemetery also provides an air of tranquility if you want to take a breather or escape the crowds.
St. John’s Cemetery is open daily from 07:00-19:00 (April-September) and 08:00-17:00 (October-March). Free entrance.
10. Be Enthralled at the Deutsche Bahn Railway Museum
The Deutsche Bahn Railway Museum is undoubtedly one of the must-see attractions in Nuremberg. It excellently chronicles Germany’s legendary railway system and railway ingenuity throughout the last 200 years with the aid of the country’s largest bounty of historic railway equipment.
The DB Railway Museum is quite vast and showcases beautifully restored machinery, carriages, artifacts, and multimedia displays. It’s fitting that the museum is located in Nuremberg since Germany’s first passenger train (the Adler) ran between here and nearby Fürth in 1835. You can even see a replica of this engine in the halls of the museum.
The highlight of the museum is the two halls of locomotives, mammoth engines, and stagecoaches. Look out for King Ludwig II’s ostentatious Rococo-style rail carriage, dubbed the ‘Versailles of the rails’, as well as Bismarck’s considerably less ornate means of transport.
I also enjoyed seeing how the DB Railway Museum delves into the sinister aspect of Germany’s railway system when you explore the exhibits dedicated to the German Reich Railway, which was essential to the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. There’s still some Nazi and Deutsche Reichsbahn insignia and paraphernalia still on display.
The Deutsche Bahn Railway Museum is open from 09:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Friday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday). The entrance costs 6 EUR.
11. Explore the Imperial Castle
The Imperial Castle (Kaiserburg) is one of the best-known attractions in Nuremberg. The castle casts an imposing shadow over the city from its hilltop at the northern edge of the Old Town. From 1050 to 1571, it was the official residence of the German kings and emperors, including Frederick Barbarossa.
The vast castle is divided into three complexes: the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), the Burgraves’ Castle, and the Municipal Buildings of the Free City. As you make your way up the steep walk up from the Old Town to the Castle, head to the westernmost part of the fortress. This is where the real interest of this vast complex of ancient buildings lies.
The exhibition of the Imperial Castle takes you through the lavish Knights’ and Imperial Hall, a Romanesque double chapel, and apartments. The great Knights’ Hall and the Imperial Hall are the highlights, with heavy oak beams and painted ceilings. Their sparse interiors have changed little since they were built in the 15th century. The rooms are decorated with period Gothic furnishings.
This leads to the Kaiserburg Museum, which focuses on military history and practices during the Middle Ages, with a pretty good collection of armor and weapons. I was also interested to find out that the castle also housed the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, which are now kept at Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
At the end of the tour, you can opt to see a demonstration of the Tiefer Brunnen (deep well) – a 53 m deep well cut out of solid rock. It is worth climbing the mighty, round Sinwell Tower for fantastic views of the Old Town, although you can get very good views from the courtyard.
Overall, the Imperial Castle is worth visiting but I wouldn’t rate it as highly as some of the other attractions in Nuremberg. It’s great to see for its architecture but if you’ve seen castles of the same ilk, you might not be too impressed with the interior.
The Imperial Castle is open daily from 09:00-18:00 (April-September) and 10:00-16:00 (October-March). The entrance costs 7 EUR.
12. Memorium Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials had a tremendous influence on the development of international criminal law. For the first time in history, sentences were handed down according to the principle of the personal responsibility of the individual.
The first and best known of the Nuremberg Trials took place at the Palace of Justice from November 20, 1945, until 1 October 1946. Courtroom 600 (Schwurgerichtssaal 600) was the setting for “the greatest trial in history” which saw 21 top Nazi officials including Dönitz, Göring, Hess, Speer tried for conspiracy and crimes against world peace, the rules of warfare, and humanity before the Allied International Military Tribunal.
The trial resulted in three acquittals, three life sentences, and four long prison sentences. 12 of the accused received the death sentence and were executed on October 16, 1946. Hermann Göring, the Reich’s field marshall, notoriously cheated the hangman by committing suicide by ingesting cyanide hours before.
The Memorium Nuremberg Trials is an information and documentation center, situated on the top floor of the Palace of Justice. It is definitely of the best things to see in Nuremberg and the excellent permanent exhibition provides great insight into the background, proceedings, and consequences of the trials up to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
The use of historic sound and film footage lends an evocative impression of the trials. The exhibit text panels are only in German, so if you don’t know German, you should invest in the audio guide. You can easily spend 2-3 hours here.
The famous Courtroom 600 can also be visited (it is however still used for trials and closed to visitors when court is in session). The courtroom is actually much smaller than it was during the trials seems and has been refurbished. It is certainly very surreal to stand in this place of such historical importance.
The Memorium Nuremberg Trials are open Monday, Wednesday-Friday from 09:00-18:00 and 10:00-18:00 on Saturday-Sunday (April-October). From November-March the Memorium Nuremberg Trials is open Wednesday-Monday from 10:00-18:00. The entrance costs 6 EUR.
13. Feast on Some Delectable Franconian Cuisine
One of the best things to do in Nuremberg is feasting on some hearty Franconian cuisine. Nuremberg is famous for two edible products: the finger-sized grilled Nuremberger Bratwurst sausages and Lebkuchen.
The Nuremberg grilled sausages have been around for over 700 years and are traditionally grilled over a beechwood fire lending them that flavorsome aroma. By law, the sausages must be between seven and nine cm long and weigh between 20 and 25 grams. They may only contain pork meat encased in sheep entrails.
Bratwurst sausages are usually served on a pewter plate as six, eight, ten or twelve pieces with sauerkraut, mustard, horseradish or potato salad on the side. The sausages are also served as “Drei im Weckla” (three sausages in a bun) which is an extremely popular street food item in Nuremberg.
Lebkuchen are gingerbread delicacies, especially associated with Christmas but available throughout the year. The best ones are baked without the use of flour. They are usually available in colorful tins that make good souvenirs. One of the most famous producers is Lebkuchen Schmidt.
Along with the bratwurst, we gorged on gingerbread whenever we had the opportunity. Do not leave Nuremberg without trying either!
Other culinary specialties that are worth eating in Nuremberg are crackling pork shoulder in red beer sauce served with dumplings and sauerkraut (Schäufele) and Franconian carp (Karpfen).
You can wash all the food down with a swig or two of chilled German beer. Nuremberg, like many other cities in Germany, has its own traditional beer – red beer (Rotbier). Nuremberg red beer is a bottom-fermented lager which is sweet and malty on the palate. I can’t say I liked it very much but being a beer aficionado, I had to sample it.
14. Pay Your Respects at the Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is one of the most eye-catching structures in the Old Town of Nuremberg. Built in the 14th century, this Gothic hall church stands on the eastern side of the Central Market Square. Check out the gothic sculptures, intricate brickwork and the symmetrical design of its facade, which tapers to a central tower.
It’s worth taking a quick peek inside to appreciate the beautiful medieval paintings and the vivid stained glass windows. Look out for the Imperial Loft and the Gothic altar (Tucher Altar), which dates from 1445.
For me, more interesting than the church or the art in the church was the gilded clock face on the central tower. The Männleinlaufen clock dates from 1509 and is set in the Church of Our Lady’s facade. It consists of a set of seven small metal men adorning the mechanical clock, representing the seven Prince-Electors, who come out daily at noon to pay homage to Emperor Charles IV.
The Männleinlaufen reflects the constitutional decree determined by the Golden Bull of 1356, which determined vital aspects of the constitutional structure of the Holy Roman Empire and changed the way Holy Roman Emperors were elected. The symbolism is more interesting than the actual show.
The Church of Our Lady is open from 10:00-17:30 (Monday-Saturday) and 13:00-17:00 (Sunday). Free entrance.
15. Albrecht Dürer-House
The Albrecht Dürer House (Albrecht-Dürer Haus) is a beautifully preserved late-medieval house that is characteristic of the prosperous half-timbered merchants’ houses of the 15th century. The first floors are sandstone, topped by two half-timbered floors and a gabled roof.
The house is named after Albrecht Dürer, Germany’s most famous Renaissance painter who enriched German art with Italianate elements. He lived and worked here from 1509 to his death in 1528. Dürer is credited with inventing the basic principle of ray tracing and is renowned for elevating the woodcut, a notoriously difficult relief printing medium, to new heights of technical sophistication.
The house is now home to a museum that has been furnished mostly as it was in the time of Dürer. Demonstrations of some of the printing techniques Dürer introduced are held in the upper floor studio. A number of original etchings and woodcuts and prints adorn the walls of many rooms and provide an insight into Dürer’s life.
The Albrecht-Dürer House is worth visiting. The only annoying thing is that it gets very crowded being one of the most popular attractions in Nuremberg and the rooms can thus feel very cramped and stuffy.
The Albrecht-Dürer House is open from 10:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Wednesday & Friday), 10:00-20:00 (Thursday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday). From July-September and during the Nuremberg Christmas Market, it is also open from 10:00-17:00 on Monday. The entrance costs 6 EUR.
16. Release Your Inner Child At The Toy Museum
Nuremberg is the best city to visit in Southern Germany if you’ve got kids in tow. It has long been an important center of toy production and even hosts a large annual toy trade fair. The Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum) serves as a testament to Nuremberg’s rich association with toys. If you’ve got kids or are young at heart don’t miss this museum when visiting Nuremberg.
The museum is spread over three floors and is categorically and visually very well organized. It has displays of historic wooden toys, mechanical toys, teddy bears, puppets, tin soldiers, and model trains and airplanes. The exhibits cover a range of eras dating from the Renaissance to the present day and shows how toys reflect societal changes.
The Toy Museum was a trip down memory lane for Jacky and me and we had fun seeing the exhibits. We really liked the collection of antique dolls’ houses, filled with miniature furniture and equipment. Although the exhibits are very enticing, it is very much a look-but-do-not-touch museum and kids shouldn’t expect to play with the toys on display here.
To get the most out of the museum, remember to get the audio guide. The only downside of the Toy Museum is that it gets pretty crowded and can feel a little stuffy.
The Nuremberg Toy Museum is open from 10:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Friday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday). The entrance costs 6 EUR. During the Christmas Market, it is also open on Monday from 10:00-17:00.
17. See the Old Town Walls
Although much of the Nuremberg Old Town was badly damaged in World War II, much of the Old Town walls are intact. Around 3.8 km of the original 5 km of town walls and 71 of the original 130 defensive towers survived.
Fine parts of the wall can be seen at Frauengrabe, but the sections at the west of the Old Town and below the Imperial Castle are even better. The most impressive parts of the town defenses are the section from the Imperial Castle to Spittlertor. The defenses over the River Pegnitz are pretty impressive as well and can be seen from Hallertorbrücke outside the Old Town, or more interestingly from a hanging bridge on the inside of the walls.
The main entrance into the Old Town is via the Königstor (King’s Gate), one of four remaining chunky, round towers. The remains of dozens of other gateway towers can still be found along the ramparts.
18. The White Tower and the Wedding Carousel Fountain
The White Tower (Weisser Turm) was part of the 13th-century defenses but is now a few hundred meters from the outer walls. The area is a popular meeting place, in large part due to one of the two underground stations in the Old Town located directly underneath the tower.
At the foot of the tower is the Wedding Carousel Fountain (Ehekarussellbrunnen), definitely the most outlandish piece of architecture we witnessed in Nuremberg. This expansive and grotesque sculpture illustrates different scenes from Hans Sachs’ poem about the vicissitudes of marriage (from the initial stages of love through bickering to death).
Looking at the sculpture, you’ll understand why the artist was lampooned when it was unveiled in 1984. The comical caricatures are graphic enough to be understood even without reading the titles.
19. St. Sebaldus Church
The St. Sebaldus Church (St Sebalduskirche) is Nuremberg’s oldest church having been initially erected in Romanesque fashion in the mid 13th century. It was remodeled in the 14th century and its Gothic towers were completed in the late 15th century. St. Sebaldus’ exterior is studded with religious sculptures and symbols. Don’t forget to check out the exquisite carvings over the Bridal Doorway to the north, depicting the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
Although St. Sebaldus Church doesn’t quite measure up in terms of the number of art treasures found in its rival Church of St. Lawrence, its nave and choir are among the best examples of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture in Germany.
A highlight of the interior is the Gothic St. Sebald’s tomb – whose remains are encased in a monument cast in brass. In the chancel and ambulatory are several splendid carvings by Veit Stoß. I really liked the lovely stained glass windows as well.
The St. Sebaldus Church is open daily from 09:00-16:00 (January-March) and 09:00-18:00 (April-December). Free entrance.
20. Tucher Mansion Museum and Hirsvogel Hall
The Tucher Mansion Museum and Hirsvogel Hall (Museum Tucherschloss und Hirsvogelsaal) is a good place to visit if you’re interested in seeing what life was like for 16th-century merchants. The Tucher Mansion Museum shows the domestic home of an affluent merchant family from the Renaissance era.
The mansion represents the heritage of the Tucher family and showcases valuable furniture, tapestries, and paintings. The rooms have been decorated in such a way that they capture the true-to-life atmosphere of a bygone era.
The small garden between the Mansion and Hirsvogel Hall is lovely and invites you to sit and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere. The grand Hirsvogel Hall has an Italianate Renaissance exterior and its interior is enhanced by the presence of rich wall paneling and a lovely ceiling painting.
The Tucher Mansion Museum and Hirsvogel Hall are worth seeing and make for a brief but interesting visit. Remember to get the booklet in English at the counter as all the information is in German.
The Tucher Mansion Museum and Hirsvogel Hall are open from 10:00-15:00 (Monday), 13:00-17:00 (Thursday) and 10:00-17:00 (Sunday). The price of admission is 6 EUR.
21. Wander Around the Craftsmen’s Courtyard
The Craftsmen’s Courtyard (Handwerkerhof) a large courtyard with medieval-style small half-timbered houses selling mostly locally made items. Geared mostly towards tourists, it is basically a recreation of an old-world Nuremberg crafts quarter. It still warrants a quick visit to take some pretty pictures and is a good place to pick up souvenirs.
As you stroll around the small cobblestone alleys you can see artisans plying their conventional trades in cozy workshops for which Nuremberg became famous since the Middle Ages: glassware, pewter (often in the form of beer mugs), intricate wood carvings, ceramics, candles, and toys.
The Craftsmen’s Courtyard is open daily from 07:00-23:00 (the shops are open from 11:00-18:00).
22. Uncover Nuremberg’s Past at the City Museum in the Fembo House
For anyone interested in the history of Nuremberg, the City Museum in the Fembo House is a must-visit. The museum is ensconced in a beautifully preserved patrician house from the 16th century.
Note the large sundial on the building’s facade – Nürnberg still has 32 of the original 73 in working condition. Nearly 1000 years of local history is well documented for visitors eager to learn more about Nuremberg’s past, which is presented in the restored historic rooms of the Fembo House.
As you make your way through the rooms, you will learn about important past industries, trade and crafts, the formation and rule by the city council and its relationship with the Bavarian rulers in past centuries. Nuremberg’s position at the heart of Germany and the wealth of the artists who lived here during the Middle Ages ensure interesting displays.
Overall, I found the City Museum well-curated and organized in an intuitive manner. I really liked the excellent wooden scale model of Nuremberg’s Old Town and the recreation of a traditional map printing workshop. Many of the rooms are in their original state fitted with authentic furnishings and artwork. One room, in particular, has an exquisite stucco ceiling.
The City Museum in the Fembo House is open from 10:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Friday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday and public holidays). During the Nuremberg Christmas Market, it is also open from 10:00-17:00 on Monday. The entrance costs 6 EUR. Do make use of the audio guide since there isn’t any information in English.
23. New Museum
Nuremberg is not only proud of its art and background in industrial products but also its role in contemporary design. The New Museum (Neues Museum) is dedicated to contemporary fine arts, applied arts, and design. In addition to the vast permanent exhibition, large temporary exhibitions are staged.
More so than the museum, I liked the building’s innovative design. This sleek building stands out for its curved glass facade that reflects the town walls opposite and is a sight to behold. The museum shop has a large selection of ultra-modern household items on sale.
Modern art isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you enjoy contemporary art, you’ll enjoy this museum. Otherwise, it can seem a bit hollow.
The New Museum is open from 10:00-18:00 (Tuesday-Wednesday, Friday-Sunday) and 10:00-20:00 (Thursday). The price of admission is 5 EUR.
24. Go On A Day Trip
Once you are done sightseeing in Nuremberg, our final recommendation would be to take a day trip from Nuremberg. Bavaria’s checkered and turbulent past has left behind a rich architectural and cultural heritage. Baroque fortresses and fairy-tale castles, and numerous romantic, medieval-looking towns are all in the vicinity of Nuremberg.
You can embark on a day trip to the fascinating historic city Bamberg – a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site – as well as Bayreuth, famous as the seat of the Wagner Festspielhaus. Picturesque towns such as Coburg, Würzburg, Regensburg, Ingolstadt, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber also make for good day trips from Nuremberg.
Where to Eat & Drink in Nuremberg
There is a wide array of dining options in Nuremberg covering a broad spectrum of cuisines, meaning that even the pickiest of eaters will be satisfied.
Some of the best bars, restaurants, cafes in Nuremberg are –
1. Rösttrommel Kaffeerösterei – stylish cafe that serves some of the best light roasted coffee and cakes in Nuremberg.
2. Bergbrand Rösterei – an elegant cafe in the heart of Nuremberg Old Town, which is one of Nuremberg’s most authentic and revered cake shops. Perfect place for breakfast.
3. Bratwursthäusle bei St. Sebald – the most famous Bratwurst eatery in Nuremberg. The bratwurst at this rustic inn is grilled over a flaming beech-wood grill and is exemplary.
4. Hausbrauerei Altstadthof – a great brewpub serving authentic Franconian cuisine and tasty beer.
5. Essigbrätlein – Nuremberg’s premier fine dining joint that has been around for almost 500 years. Nouvelle cuisine and the chef’s own creations are on offer. Reserve in advance.
6. Heilig-Geist-Spital – another great restaurant specializing in Franconian cuisine. The carp and pork shoulder are exemplary. Their wine list is extensive.
7. Indisches Restaurant NAMASTE Nürnberg – decorated with wooden carvings and colorful fabrics, this restaurant offers top-notch North Indian food.
8. CôDung Sushi – a popular joint specializing in contemporary Asian fusion cuisine with a focus on sushi and Thai curries.
9. Delphi – a wonderful Greek restaurant serving traditional Greek/Mediterranean food.
10. Bierwerk – one of the best beer bars in Nuremberg with a good selection of tasty brews. They also serve beer-infused cocktails.
11. Vintage Bar – this speakeasy-style cocktail bar is located in the Old Town and is one of the best places in Nuremberg for a late-night infusion. An eclectic range of cocktails on offer.
Where to Stay in Nuremberg
The best place to stay in Nuremberg would be in the Old Town or in the vicinity. Virtually all of Nuremberg’s main attractions can be found here, so this area is a perfect base for sightseeing. Keep in mind that accommodation gets tight and prices inflate during the Christmas Market and the toy fair in late January to early February.
Hostel: Jugendherberge Nürnberg – Youth Hostel, a popular choice for budget-minded travelers looking for someplace close to the city center. The hostel is less than 100 m from the Imperial Castle and only 400 m from the Central Market Square. The hostel is well connected by public transport making it easy to get around.
Budget: ibis Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof, an excellent choice if you’re on the lookout for a frugal, no-frills option in central Nuremberg. The location couldn’t be any more convenient, just 200 m from Nuremberg Central Station and just opposite the entrance to the Old Town. There are plenty of shopping and dining options nearby.
Mid-range: Hotel Drei Raben, a great choice if you are planning to stay in the Old Town. This boutique hotel features comfortable chic rooms and also has unique themed rooms which tell mythical stories about Nuremberg. It is within a comfortable walking distance of all the main sights in Old Town like the Church of St. Lawrence and the German National Museum.
Luxury: Sheraton Carlton Nuernberg, this elegant 5⋆ hotel is an excellent option if you’re looking for hotel opulence in Nuremberg. The spacious and snug rooms feature stylish furnishings, straight lines, and light colors. The hotel is well connected with public transport making it easy to get around.
Nuremberg Travel Tips
Best Time To Visit Nuremberg?
Late spring, the summer through to early autumn or more precisely the period from May to September is undoubtedly the best time to visit Nuremberg. The days are long, and plentiful amounts of sunshine entices Germans to parks and roadside cafés. Another advantage of visiting Nuremberg in the summer is that many attractions, especially those with outdoor features, operate longer opening hours.
As in many parts of the world, the weather in Nuremberg has become fickle. Recent summers have seen record-breaking heat waves, and even in autumn, it can be quite warm.
Winter in Nuremberg is also an interesting period to visit. Nuremberg’s world-famous Christmas Market takes place in the main square from the last weekend in November to Christmas. Winter temperatures often hover around the freezing point, but it is seldom severely cold. It doesn’t snow too often in Nuremberg, but when it does the city (Old Town in particular) takes on an unbelievably picturesque appearance.
Is Nuremberg Safe?
Yes. Overall, the security risk to travelers in Nuremberg is low. Violent crime in Nuremberg is rare and the most serious threat for tourists is always petty theft. Although you are unlikely to get mugged, popular events and major tourist sights attract bag-snatchers and pickpockets. Use common-sense and precautions with valuables, particularly at night, and you will be fine.
How Does Tipping in Germany Work?
As far as tipping in Germany is concerned, there are no standard rates. Tipping is less frequent than in most Anglo-Saxon countries. Service and tax are generally included on restaurant bills, but it is customary to leave a tip of about 10 percent of the bill rounding up to the next euro or round number is often acceptable.
Now, what do you think? What are some of the best things to do in Nuremberg? And is Nuremberg on your bucket list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!