Germany has always been a place we have wanted to explore more and we are fortunate to have this guest post on things to do in Nuremberg!
With Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich, Germany has a lot to offer tourists. However, there are several other cities you may not have had on your bucket list for adventures in Germany.
One of these cities is definitely the Franconian metropolis Nuremberg which is located in northern Bavaria. Why Franconian? Because it may be a part of Bavaria, this region has its own cultural background, and Franconians don’t like it at all when you call them Bavarians. So if you take a few days, you will learn to know Nuremberg not only from its well-known but also from its typically Franconian side.
At first glance, everything seems to be a bit cool and reserved. But once you’ve gotten used to Nuremberg’s obstinate mentality, you’ll quickly become a part of one of the coolest cities in Germany.
Best things to do in Nuremberg
The Nuremberg Castle is for sure the most famous landmark of the city. It’s located 50 meters above the rooftops of Nuremberg on a sandstone cliff, and it’s often called “Kaiserburg Nuremberg”. However, this is not correct, because the castle complex consists of three parts: the Burgrave castle, the Kaiser castle and the imperial city buildings.
The historical significance of the Nuremberg Castle
The Nuremberg Castle is one of the largest castles in Germany. In addition, it was one of the most important castles of the Middle Ages in Europe. The earliest dates showing that on this place people start to build are going back about 1000 years! Over the centuries, the castle has repeatedly been the scene of major political events.
Visit the Toy Museum
Nuremberg has been the city of toys for more than 600 years. The tradition of toy making varies from the doll makers in the Middle Ages to the manufacturing of pewter figurines up to the present International Toy Fair Nuremberg.
What can you see in Nuremberg’s Toy Museum?
Immerse yourself in the tradition of the toy city at the Toy Museum Nuremberg. The museum in Nuremberg’s Old Town is one of Nuremberg’s most popular attractions, especially for families. On around 1,400 m² there is plenty of extraordinary exhibits to admire like historical dolls, wooden toys and toys made of tin, a huge model railway, and many more.
But the Toy Museum Nuremberg does not only show the toys of the past decades and centuries. It also shows what kids are playing with since the year 1945 (for example Barbies, Lego or Matchbox).
Nazi party rally grounds
During the reign of terror of the National Socialist Party in the 1930s and the early 1940s, Nuremberg was the place of the so-called megalomania of the Nazi regime. In the south of the city, you can still the remains of those gigantic constructions, like the so-called German Stadium or the Congress Hall.
The whole ground consists of about 16 areas, and in the incomplete congress hall, you will also find the Documentation Center. In this Center, there is a permanent exhibition called “Fascination and Violence” which is about the causes and the consequences of Nazi Germany.
But not only that. The Documentation Center also deals with the urban planning of the former Nazi architect Albert Speer.
In total, not every project of Albert Speer could be finished as World War II started and the funds were needed to finance the war. Therefore, such constructions as the German Stadium (which would offer more than 400.000 seats) couldn’t be completed.
Visit the Craftsmen’s Courtyard
The Craftsmen’s Courtyard (Handwerkerhof) is a very special attraction. Imagine a kind of small, medieval city in the middle of a big modern city. If you love craftsmanship and like to enjoy Franconian cuisine, then the Handwerkerhof is just right for you.
This courtyard was established in the year 1971 within the historical town wall in the former arsenal of Nuremberg. When you enter the courtyard, you will find yourself in small alleyways and half-timbered houses, where artisans offer their crafts and in where typical Franconian specialties can be enjoyed in traditional restaurants.
The Church of St. Lorenz
The St. Lorenz church in Nuremberg is one of the most beautiful buildings of Gothic architecture in Germany. And therefore, it’s one of the most attractive sights in Nuremberg.
In addition, St. Lorenz stands for an impressive artistic treasure. The multitude of important works of art inside even gives you the impression of being in a museum instead of inside a church.
One of the important works you will find in St. Lorenz is the so-called “Angelic Salutation” which is an assemblage of woodcarvings made by the German sculptor Veit Stoß.
Additionally to the art, St. Lorenz has one of the largest organs in the world. It consists of 12,000 pipes and 165 registers!
Albrecht Dürer’s House
In the heart of Nuremberg’s Old Town, the Albrecht Dürer’s House is one of the city’s most important and well-known museums.
Here, the painter Albrecht Dürer lived and worked for nearly 20 years until his death in the year 1528. Dürer is Germany’s most famous painter and is well-known for works such as “Self-portrait” or the woodcut “Rhinocerus”.
In the Albrecht Dürer House, you can walk through the rooms of this famous artist. The half-timbered house from the 15th century is one of the few preserved burgher houses from the Nuremberg heyday. Furthermore, it’s also the only artist’s house from the 16th century that has been so well preserved in northern Europe.
The rooms are conveying an authentic atmosphere and reflect the history of the house as the first German artist’s museum since the year 1828. A special feature is the guided tours by an actress playing Dürer’s wife name was Agnes. There are also some temporary exhibitions showing the rich collections of urban art collections.
At the beginning of the 14th century, the Nurembergers wanted to unite two city fortifications.
For this, they have built, among other constructions, a bridge which is called till today Hangman’s Bridge (in German: Henkersteg).
The bridge got its unusual name because, at one of its ends, there was the apartment of the executioner located which was in the hangman tower. The tower, in turn, was located on a small island because of one reason:
As the occupation of the executioner was considered dishonorable, the hangman was banished to the island. The citizens would be afraid of being expelled from the Christian community if they came in contact with the hangman. Thus, if the executioner had to do his duty, he would need to leave the island over the “Henkersteg”.
Today, the covered wooden walkway is a popular photography spot, together with the hangman’s tower. The small island (which is called Pegnitzinsel) where the hangman used to live, is now a place of popular flea markets.
Nuremberg’s Christmas Market
If you are looking for things to do in Nuremberg and decide to visit Germany in December, you should visit Nuremberg’s Christmas market. For it’s one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world and the most famous one in Germany but also in the world! It’s the Oktoberfest of all Christmas Markets if you will.
There are a lot of reasons to fall in love with Nuremberg’s Christmas market.
For some, it’s for sure the delicious aroma of the spices in Nuremberg’s traditional gingerbread. So don’t forget to get some of this gingerbread as a souvenir, folks!
For the others, it’s the place where you can do some shopping for glass Christmas tree baubles, hand-made gold foil angels or figurines and nutcrackers made of wood.
With a bit of luck, you will be there when it’s snowing on your stroll through the Christmas market which will make the whole scenery completely fabulous.