If you are looking for a great German city to visit, you have to add Nuremberg, Germany, to your list. There are so many great things to do in Nuremberg that you can stay busy for months!
We added Nuremberg to our German tour when we found a $21 flight from Nuremberg to London. We had planned to visit Berlin after leaving Bacharach but couldn’t pass up this great flight deal to London.
Before finding this flight, Nuremberg, Germany, wasn’t even on our radar. That is what prompted me to write this post. We adored Nuremberg, and I wanted to be sure others didn’t miss it as we almost did.
Not only is Nuremberg the second-largest city in Bavaria, but it is also one of the most beautiful cities in Germany!
Nuremberg is best known for its haunting association with the Nazi party and for being a part of some of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe.
Despite being severely damaged in World War II, many of the medieval buildings of Old Town are still located within the town’s old city walls, making most of the attractions on our list within walking distance of one another, making the city easily walkable.
As the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire and one of the many strongholds of the Nazi regime, Nuremberg has seen its share of history throughout the years. This means that there are numerous historical sites to explore.
Of course, Nuremberg has plenty to offer you for those who aren’t into history. As one of the art and culture hubs of the country, Nuremberg has plenty to offer everyone.
1. Nuremberg Castle
The Imperial Castle, also called Nuremberg Castle, towers above the city as if it still watches over the people below.
The towering structure stands 351 meters tall in Nuremberg’s Old Town (Altstadt). The castle was home to German kings and emperors from 1050-1571, meaning it is an essential piece of Nuremberg’s history.
While you can tour the Imperial Castle independently, I would advise taking a guided walking tour through Nuremberg’s Old Town. This will allow you to learn more about the city center and the history of Nuremberg, including the castle.
The historic stables are now a youth hostel at the lower end of Nuremberg Castle. The Pentagonal Tower is also in this area. This tower originated in 1040.
Higher up, you will find the Kaiserburg, which originated in the 11th century, and the Sinwell Tower. You can also explore the Palas quarters of Nuremberg Castle, which date back to the 13th century.
Take time to tour the Castle Gardens of Nuremberg Castle, which date back to 1525, and don’t miss the opportunity to check out the Deep Well, which is over 50 meters deep (this can only be viewed with a tour guide).
We loved walking around Nuremberg Castle, especially at sunset. It was one of my favorite things to do in Nuremberg!
You can get more information on the Nuremberg Castle website.
2. Imperial Castle Museum
While you’re at the castle, take time to explore the Imperial Castle Museum. The Castle Museum is home to many historical artifacts from the castle.
Numerous artworks and historical documents from the imperial city are on display. In addition to this, the museum also houses a nice collection of armory and weapons, some of which date back to the Holy Roman Empire.
You can purchase a combo ticket that includes several areas of the Imperial Castle, including the castle chapel, the Deep Well, Sinwell Tower, and the museum.
The castle grounds should be on your list of things to do in the free imperial city of Nuremberg!
3. Nuremberg Old City Walls
While visiting Nuremberg, you have to take some time to walk the city walls. The Nuremberg city walls date back to the 14th century and are still incredibly intact today!
Throughout history, these fortified walls helped to protect the city of Nuremberg, so much so that the city was only captured once, in 1945, by the United States of America during World War II.
As you walk the 5 km of paths that circle the walls of Nuremberg’s old town, you come across many gates and towers, many of which can be explored.
To walk the walls, start on the west side of town and walk towards the city’s south.
4. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
The Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds is one of the most significant museums in Germany.
The National Socialist regime (later called the Nazi Regime) chose Nuremberg to hold their mass propaganda rallies well before they had risen to power, thanks to the city’s history with the Holy Roman Empire and its central location in Germany.
During the 1930s, this party built Congress Hall and the Nazi Rally Grounds to hold the Nazi party rallies as part of its grand plan.
That portion of Congress Hall was where the Nazi Party held rallies and is now a museum. The north side of the hall is pierced by a metal stake and contains the famous exhibition, “Fascination and Terror.”
The 1,300 square meters of the Documentation Center show the impact that the Nazi Party had on Nuremberg.
You can learn more about the Documentation Center using their audio tours and on-site video displays in English. Guided tours are offered in English with advanced notice.
Although not proud of this time in their history, the German people still believe in remembering the past so as not to repeat it.
If you want to hear the history of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, you can take a walking tour, including the old town and the rally grounds.
5. Nuremberg Trials Memorial
The Nuremberg Trials Memorial (Memorium Nuremberg Trials) can be most easily visited on Saturdays when the court is not in session.
In courtroom 600 of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, you can take a sobering audio tour to learn about the room where high-ranking Nazi war criminals were brought to justice, called the Nuremberg Trials.
The top floor of the courtroom has been turned into a museum about the Nuremberg Trials. This museum is dedicated to recording the impact of a terrible time in history, explains the defendants and their crimes, and is very moving to visit.
6. Germanic National Museum
To dive deeper into Germany, visit the Germanic National Museum while visiting Nuremberg.
The German National Museum houses over 25,000 exhibits that date back to the middle ages. Here you can explore decorative items, works of art, books, clothing, scientific instruments, and more while learning about the history of Germany.
One of my favorite parts of the German National Museum showcases the artwork of Albrecht Dürer. Below we talk about Albrecht Dürer’s house, so don’t miss this area!
7. German National Railways Museum (Deutsche Bahn Museum)
Another of the things to do in Nuremberg for history lovers is to visit the German National Railway, also called the Deutsche Bahn Museum or the Bavarian Railway Museum.
The first Geman railroad, the Bavarian Ludwigsbahn, ran from Nuremberg to Fürth, making Nuremberg an essential hub for rail travel.
Some exhibits include a section of the train from King Ludwig II’s royal train, the Nordgau locomotive from 1853, and a 1930s DRG Class SVT 877 from the Hamburg-Berlin line, the fastest rail connection in the world at the time.
There are also exhibits showcasing tunnel and bridge development and an 80-square-meter model railway.
The museum dedicated to the German railway is well worth a visit if you are interested in transportation history.
8. St. Sebaldus Church (Sebalduskirche)
The St. Sebaldus Church was completed between 1225 and 1273. This historical Protestant Church is home to numerous artifacts and works of art, making it one of the top things to do in Nuremberg.
Inside Sebaldus Church, you will find a Gothic east choir that dates back to 1379! Inside a pillar on the church’s north aisle is the Madonna in an Aureole, which dates back to 1420.
Other highlights of St. Sebaldus Church include a silver sarcophagus containing the remains of a saint from 1397 and a beautiful 6,000-pipe organ.
9. St. Lorenz Church (St. Lawrence Church)
The St. Lorenz Church stands towering over the Lorenzer Platz.
One glance and you will see that it is the city’s largest church. The twin-towered 14th-century Gothic church has an incredible rose window between its towers.
Inside St. Lorenz Church, you will find an incredible collection of artwork, including sculptures, paintings, and more.
I loved the stained glass window over the choir and the huge 12,000-pipe organ that are part of the church.
10. Albrecht Dürer’s House
Albrecht Dürer was a famous German Renaissance artist that lived in Nuremberg from 1509 through 1528. We mentioned his artwork above when we talked about the German National Museum.
The charming five-story half-timbered house dates back to 1420 and is a work of art, in my opinion!
Adding a visit to Albrecht Dürer’s house to your list of things to do in Nuremberg will allow you to see some of Dürer’s best work. In addition to this, you can also see the antique kitchen and the original living quarters of the home.
Guided tours are available. Please visit the museum’s website for more information.
The Albrecht Dürer House is located not far from Nuremberg Castle, easily within walking distance.
11. Schoner Brunnen
Head to Nuremberg’s central old town square to find the Schoner Brunnen, which translates to ‘beautiful fountain.’
The 19-meter beautiful fountain was constructed between 1385-1396 and was designed like a Gothic church spire, giving it a unique shape that is said to evoke the worldview of the Holy Roman Empire.
The fountain was wrapped in a concrete shell to preserve it during the Second World War and remained protected.
Tradition holds that your wish will be granted if you turn the golden ring on the beautiful fountain grill thrice while making a wish.
Give it a try during your time in Old Town. What do you have to lose?
12. Nuremberg Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum)
If you are traveling with kids (or a kid at heart), you will want to include the Nuremberg Toy Museum, also called the (Spielzeugmuseum), on your list of things to do in Nuremberg.
The Nuremberg Toy Museum is housed in a historic home that dates back to 1517 and is dedicated to highlighting the cultural history associated with toys.
The museum contains toys from the middle ages, including the dolls that Nuremberg was famous for making during the medieval ages.
Another popular attraction is the collection of toys created by one of Germany’s most famous toy manufacturers, EP Lehmann. This collection includes the famous model trains from the company.
Of course, a toy museum must include games, right? The Toy Museum certainly does. There is an entire section devoted to board games!
Kids will also love the toy store, outdoor play, and craft areas.
13. Stadtmuseum Fembohaus
A lesser-known city museum is Stadtmuseum Fembohaus.
The museum is housed in a historical home that dates back to the 16th century. The building not only served as a home but also as a map-printing business.
Today, you can learn more about German history by exploring the culture and customs prevalent in Nuremberg’s past.
Art lovers will enjoy seeing the gallery dedicated to German art, maps, and furnishings from the 1600s.
A highlight of the museum can be found on the fourth floor. Here you will see an incredible hand-carved scale model of Nuremberg’s old town, including the town walls, as they would have looked when the home was built in the 1500s.
Hauptmarkt is the primary market in Nuremberg, Germany, and has been a market area for centuries.
This area has several Nuremberg attractions, including the “Beautiful Fountain” and the Old Town Hall. The Old Town Hall was built in 1616 and is notable for its medieval dungeons, ornate doors, and torture chamber!
It is in the Hauptmarkt where you will find the famous Christmas markets of Nuremberg. Even if you aren’t visiting during Christmas, you can still enjoy shopping here and partaking in some delicious German goods.
Daily markets occur in Hauptmarkt, with vendors selling pastries, flowers, fruits and vegetables, and more.
Be sure to check out the city’s only baroque church, St. Giles’ Church, also located in this area.
This was one of my favorite old-town areas and well worth visiting!
15. Frauenkirche: The Church of Our Lady
The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) dates back to 1352 and is located in Hauptmarkt.
The church is an architectural stunner with its incredible spires and the clock dating back to 1506. The clock goes off daily at noon, and the little show illustrates seven Electors pacing around Charles IV. Seeing if you happen to be in the area around noon is fun, but I wouldn’t make a memorable trip otherwise.
The interior of The Church of Our Lady was designed with the attendance of the Holy Roman Emperor in mind, including the Tucher altar from 1440 and two monuments by Adam Kraft.
If you would like, you are welcome to attend daily mass at the church.
16. Neues Museum Nürnberg
Lovers of modern and contemporary art will want to visit the Neues Museum during their time in Nuremberg, Germany.
The world-class museum focuses on modern art, which is apparent when you see the modern building that houses the art. The spaces are bright and open, with clean lines and a gorgeous spiral staircase.
The artwork at the Neues Museum spans from 1950 until the modern day. There is a permanent modern art exhibit in addition to the rotating exhibits offered at the museum.
You can opt for a guided museum tour of the Neues Museum for a more in-depth look at the artwork.
17. Handwerkerhof Market
Handwerkerhof Market is a recreation of an old-world-style craft market located within the city walls of Nuremberg. Here you can shop for souvenirs and German crafts or enjoy some German restaurants in this old town area.
18. Weißgerbergasse (Tanner’s Lane)
One of my favorite areas of Nuremberg is Weißgerbergasse, also called Tanner’s Lane.
This medieval village is one of the best-preserved streets in the old town and is worth visiting!
The colorful half-timbered houses took my breath away. I mean, it doesn’t get any more Bavarian than this!
The area shows how the artisan leather workers rose to status in the town thanks to their leatherworking craft.
Today, Weißgerbergasse is no longer filled with leather workshops. Instead, you will enjoy fun boutique shops, great bars, and restaurants.
19. Tour the Cellars
Head underground in the town of Nuremberg, and you will be surrounded by a fun surprise: beer tunnels!
These underground tunnels were once used to store the city’s beer, thanks to a law that stated that anyone who wanted to sell beer had to have their own cellar!
During World War II, the cellars were used to house people and valuables, including artwork and historic artifacts from the city.
Today, this maze of tunnels still exists, and you can take a tour to see them.
20. Eat a Lebkuchen
You have probably seen a lebkuchen at least once in your lifetime. Lebkuchen is a type of German gingerbread found all over German Christmas Markets.
Seeing as lebkuchen originated in Nuremberg, it only makes sense to try one during your visit.
The cookie is flavored with honey and spices and can be traced back to the Franconian monks living in this area in the 1200s.
You can find lebkuchen in many stores throughout Nuremberg, which are shaped like hearts to attract tourists. These heart-shaped lebkuchen are supposed to be used as a souvenir instead of consumed.
21. Nürnberger Bratwurst
The namesake sausage of the city, the Nürnberger Bratwurst, is one of our all-time favorite sausages!
These pork sausages are about the size of a breakfast sausage and are said to have been around for over 500 years!
Traditionally grilled over a beechwood fire, these small sausages are sold from street vendors as Drei im Weckla (three in a bun).
We ate Nürnberger Bratwurst at Bratwurst Roslein, which was delicious! Bratwurst Roslein is a huge German beer hall serving delicious pretzels, cold beer, tasty saur kraut, and Nürnberger Bratwurst.
22. Nuremberg Christmas Market
While we haven’t personally made it to the Nuremberg Christmas Market yet, it is definitely on our couple’s bucket list!
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is famous for being one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. I can imagine the stalls filled with German goods and traditional German food surrounded by snow and Christmas lights within the historic walled city. I’m sure it will be an incredible experience.
The Christmas markets usually run from November 26 until December 24 in Nuremberg.
23. Nuremberg Wine Festival
It is no secret that Germany holds a great beer festival, but did you know this area is also famous for its wine? It’s true, and Nuremberg honors that tradition annually with the Nuremberg Wine Festival.
The festival occurs during the summer months and showcases the Franconian wines grown near Nuremberg.
One of the most beautiful (and historic) buildings in Nuremberg is Weinstadel. The view of the building from across the water is truly mesmerizing.
While you can’t go inside the half-timbered house constructed in the 1400s, you can admire it from the outside.
The building itself has served several purposes throughout the years. It has been a wine warehouse and a house for lepers, and today is used as student housing.
25. Nuremberg Zoo
Kids will love visiting the Nuremberg Zoo during their time in the city. The zoo is home to over 2,000 animals of over 300 species.
The zoo spans over 170 acres and is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. The spacious and natural enclosures help ensure zoo animals enjoy the best life possible.
You can enjoy seeing American buffalo, Siberian tigers, gorillas, leopards, and more.
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About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.