You have surely heard, seen, or even tasted something originating from this magical city of Germany. Nuremberg is like a fairytale coming alive and impresses every traveler, both for its Bavarian architecture and traditional delicacies. It is the second-largest city in the federal state of Bavaria after Munich with a population of half a million and attracts tourists both foreign and native.
Take a walk in Nuremberg’s old town area
Nuremberg was one of the most important cities of the Middle Ages but was almost completely destroyed during World War II. Today’s old town or Altstadt was rebuilt by keeping to the same architecture, which gives a sense of another era.
The most important sights of the Bavarian city are located in Altstadt, so you will not have a hard time locating them. One of them is the imperial castle of Nuremberg, which was built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It is worth taking a walk at least in the outer yard of the historic complex, which thanks to its location overlooks the entire city. The wall that encloses the Altstadt is one of the most admirable fortifications in Europe due to its impressive structure. You can also explore the almost 5 km trail parallel to the walls, which will lead you to very beautiful parts of the old town. Inside the walls, you will find a small shopping area, with family shops of handicrafts made by craftsmen in the traditional old way. At the Handwerkerhof as it is called in German, you will find, among other things, shops for ceramics, glassware & leather. Part of the old town is the main shopping street of Nuremberg, where you will find a wide variety of famous brands.
Tip: In your walk, you should include Nuremberg sausages, sold in canteens along the sidewalks. Accompanied by fresh bread, these are the most famous street food in the city and are simply delicious! If you prefer something lighter though, you can try authentic pretzels.
See also: “Hamburg: Germany’s northern gem!“
Historical connection with World War II
For many, Nuremberg is widely known for its connection to the Nazis and not unjustly so. During the rise of the Nazi Party, the city held an important position as a center and starting point for huge political rallies. Later, in the middle of World War II, it became a military production center for war equipment.
After the end of the war, the Nazis were tried for their crimes against humanity in the well-known Nuremberg Trials. The trials took place symbolically in the same city that was the center of the Nazi Party.
The Documentation Center of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds (Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände), documents the actions of the Nazis, giving a comprehensive picture of the national socialist dictatorship, as well as the history of the political rallies that took place in its building. This permanent exhibition is 4 square kilometers in size and also includes audio tours.
Visit the German National Museum
A trip is never considered complete unless you visit at least one museum in your destination. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum has the largest collection of German art in the state, with more than 1 million objects. In the museum, you will find paintings, sculptures, musical instruments of historical value, as well as a large collection of antique toys and dollhouses.
Tip: You can combine your visit to the museum by crossing the Human Rights Road located in the same area. This is an impressive monument dedicated to world peace consisting of 27 columns with engraved excerpts from the Universal Proclamation of Human Rights in all languages!
Traditional Christmas in Nuremberg
Nuremberg is famous for its Christmas celebrations, which is proved by the number of tourists during this period. Today it is the most popular Christmas destination in Germany with tourists and locals reaching 2 million visitors a year. The picturesque Bavarian buildings in combination with the thousands of Christmas lights that adorn the city during the holidays, evoke images from a fairytale.
The Christmas market is set up in the main square of the old town every year and is in fact one of the largest and oldest in all of Germany, as the first written reference to the Nuremberg Christmas market dates back to 1628. In the various kiosks, you can find, among other things, handmade ornaments, jewelry, decorative items, carved inscriptions with personal dedications, and much more.
This festive atmosphere is complemented by the multitude of aromas from traditional food, sweets, and drinks. Lebkuchen cookies are very popular and you will find them everywhere in the Christmas market. This is a kind of sweet gingerbread that first appeared in the 13th century and is still a tradition of the city. At the Christmas market, you will find them either with chocolate coating or decorated with elaborate designs and shapes.
Tip: Choose Lebkuchen with chocolate to eat and with decorations to gift!
The also very popular Glühwein is a mulled wine with honey, cinnamon, and various other spices, sweet both in taste and aroma! You can accompany it with delicious caramelized almonds!
See also: “Christmas in Germany“
Activities in Nuremberg
Nuremberg offers various year-round and seasonal activities that will bring out the child inside you! Some of those are:
- Nuremberg Volksfest
If you visit Nuremberg in the spring or fall, then you will most likely chance upon the Volksfest, a massive theme park that runs twice a year from 1826 to this day and welcomes a total of 2 million visitors a year. It is a unique activity for both children and adults with a huge variety of exhilarating rides to choose from.
Ice-skating is one of the most fun and affordable activities in the city during the winter season. Every winter the Nuremberg Arena is converted into an ice rink and in addition to ice hockey, it is also open to the public for ice-skating. If you are unfamiliar with ice, do not hesitate to ask the staff for help!
- Playmobil FunPark
If you travel with children and have time at your disposal, then you should not miss the Playmobil theme park! Just 30’ from the center of Nuremberg, indoor and outdoor facilities have been set up, in which you will find life-size copies of the company toys! Among other things, you can find a giant pirate ship, a palace, and an Indian village.
The city is well integrated with the German rail network, which allows you to see other Bavarian cities easily and affordably. It is advisable to visit during the winter season to experience the Nuremberg Christmas. If you are lucky you may find the city in white, a spectacle you will surely remember.