During my Viking River Cruise from Bavaria to Budapest, I visited Bavaria’s second largest city, Nuremberg. It is known for its half-timbered houses, Gothic churches, its castles as well as its three-mile medieval wall that features the original gateway and 80 original watchtowers.
Historically known for its metal and toy craftsmanship, it is also infamous for its role in World War II when it was the site of Nazi rallies at Zeppelin Fields. Later it became known as the site for the war crimes trials at the Palace of Justice.
Today it’s one of the most beautiful medieval cities in all of Germany. The city’s bratwurst is world famous and there are breweries around every corner. You should spend at least two full days in Nuremberg to really get a feel of this beautiful city. Here are the top things to see and do in Nuremberg!
Nuremberg Castles is a mix of historical buildings that were built on sandstone rock around a thousand years ago. It is an imperial castle and was once among the most important fortified imperial palaces in the Holy Roman Empire. The castles date back over 1000 years, but the current building dates back to the 13th century, at which time Nuremberg was an Imperial Free City.
You enter the castle from Burgstresse and through the Heavenly Gate located beside the Hasenburg Tower, named for the Bohemian Hasenburg family. Here you can also see the Sinwell Tower, dating from the 13th century and the Deep Well, a small half-timbered house in the center of the courtyard.
Other notable buildings include the Castellan’s House, the Secretarial Building and the Finance Building. The castle grounds take around 30-60 minutes to see. Of all the things to see and do in Nuremberg this is an absolute must!
Many people arriving in Nuremberg on a coach or river cruise will arrive at the Market Square in the heart of the city. It is the site of many of the annual festivals and events including the Nuremberg Flea Market and the Old Town Festival. It is also the location for the famous Christmas market that begins on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday.
During the week, the Market Square is also the location for a spot of shopping as there are stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and other local produce. The most photographed monument, Schöner Brunnen, is located here while the tourist office is also on the square.
When in Nuremberg you must try their famous Bratwurst sausage, with its recipe dating back to 1313. Traditionally these sausages are made with ground lean pork and are usually seasoned with lemon powder, ginger, cardamom, salt, pepper and marjoram. I had the opportunity to try it at two places Bratwurst Roslien and Goldenes Posthorn.
Bratwurst Roslien is a traditional style Bavarian restaurant that sits up to 60 people. Here I got the chance to try some delicious Nuremberg Bratwurst along with a dark beer is a must. Goldenes Posthorn is a cozy restaurant right next to the church of St. Sebald. Here I enjoyed a meal including sausage and beer, always a winning combination!
Just south of the right on Adlerstrase and Konigstrase is a parking lot called Ladestation im Parkhaus Adlerstrase. I was told that from here I could get the best views of medieval Nuremberg and they were right! Just take the elevator to the top floor and there you have some epic views!
This is one of the prettiest houses in Nuremberg. Albrecht Durer was a Renaissance artist who lived in Nuremberg his birth in 1509 until his death in 1528. The house lies right next to the medieval walls just south-west of the castle.
This five story house dates back to the year 1420. From the outside, you can see that the lower two floors are made from sandstone and the upper floors are made from timber. The house has been converted into a museum since 1871, dedicated to the Durer’s life and work.
Where once Adolf Hitler gave his megalomaniacal speeches to the faithful, there is now an exhibition called ‘Fascination and Terror’ that looks at the causes, context and consequences of the National Socialist regime of terror. The eleven square kilometer building is the remains of the Congress Hall ordered under Hitler but never completed.
As well as the exhibition, which is available in seven languages, there are also educational programs and special exhibitions spread across the site. There are also a number of photographs and documents from the time alongside computer animations and touch screen displays.
Medieval Nuremberg is one of the few remaining medieval cities in Germany that still have a preserved wall. The wall dates back to the 12th century and it took over 400 years to complete The walls are some four kilometers in length. Together with the castle, it is considered to be one of Europe’s last remaining medieval weir systems.
The city is also known for its bridges, crossing the Pegnitz. The Fleisch Bridge is a late Renaissance bridge that links the St Sebald and St Lorenz areas of the city. It is a single arch bridge that was built in 1596-98. Another is the Chain Bridge, the oldest of its kind in Europe that was built in 1824 and is a total of 68 meters in length.
Nuremberg is a beautiful medieval city that should not be missed when in Bavaria. For me the highlights were the beautiful medieval castle, eating Bratwurst and trying some delicious Bavarian beers. If you’re visiting Munich, this city is a short 60 – 90-minute car or train ride.
What did you think of of the things to see and do in Nuremberg, Germany? Leave a question or comment below! If you plan to visit the city, I can recommend using Viking Cruises from Bavaria to Budapest – this was how I travelled during this visit.