The 15 Best Things to Do in Nuremberg, Germany

View of Nuremberg, Germany
Peter Unger / Getty Images

The 950-year old city of Nuremberg (spelled Nürnberg in German) is still alive with history. It is Bavaria’s second largest city, about two hours from Munich and a frequent stopover for people on their way to the southern capitol.

This charming city has a castle and whimsical statues and fountains as well as one of the best Christmas markets in the country, but is also well-known for its infamous connection to the Nazi party. There are many highlights of Nuremberg that no traveler should miss — from history buffs and art lovers to culinary travelers and romantics.

Here is the best of Nürnberg.

01 of 15

Walk Nuremberg's Old Town & City Walls

Sinwell Tower in Old Town Nuremberg

Franz Marc Frei / LOOK-foto / Getty Images

Altstadt - St. Sebald, Nürnberg, Germany

The ideal way to explore Nuremberg’s Altstadt (Old Town) is on foot. Although much of Nuremberg was destroyed during World War II, the medieval old town has been faithfully reconstructed.

One of the main attractions is the original city walls, Stadtgraben (protective ditch), and towers. Not just for show, the walls were first put up in the 11th century and were very effective in deterring invaders. Over the long history of Nuremberg’s fortifications, the city was only ever captured once: in 1945 by the Americans.

The best stretch of the walls to walk is along the west side of the town between Spittlertor and what was once Maxtor. Continue through the Burgviertel (castle quarter) which is filled with its sandstone and timber framed houses. The street of Weißgerbergasse is a wonderful example of the impressive craftsmanship.

02 of 15

Storm the Castle

Kaiserburg Castle in Nuremberg

GettyImages / Heinz Wohner  LOOK-foto


Burg 17, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 2446590

What would a castle quarter be without a castle? Kaiserburg or Nürnberger Burg was a royal residence of Germany’s kings between 1050 to 1571. This impressive castle is one of the most important surviving medieval fortresses in all of Europe.

The castle sits atop a sandstone hill presiding over the city. With 351-meter-tall fortifications, visitors can climb up to the observation platform at the castle for panorama views of Nuremberg. Another point of interest in the castle goes the other direction. The Tiefer Brunnen (Deep Well) from 1563 bores down 164 feet into the cliffside. To discover the history of the castle, the Imperial Castle Museum of the Bower showcases medieval weapons and suits of armor.

If you want to stay castle adjacent for cheap, there is a hostel in what was once the imperial stables, Jugendherberge Nürnberg.

03 of 15

Visit the Home of Albrecht Dürer

Home of Albrecht Dürer in Nuremberg

GettyImages / SeanPavonePhoto


Albrecht-Dürer-Straße 39, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 2312568

Partly damaged during the war, the house was magnificently restored in 1971 on Dürer’s 500th birthday. It is hard to miss both because of the crowds who gather here, and the giant bunny (simply known as "Der Haseby artist Jürgen Goertzon the street out front.

One of Nuremberg’s most famous residents was the artist Albrecht Dürer. A champion of the Northern Renaissance that lived in the late 1400s and early 1500s, he created some of the first maps of the stars and may be Germany's greatest painter.

The picturesque house he lived and worked in just below the Imperial Castle is now a museum dedicated to his life and work. A master of the self-portrait, his work is prominently on display and the décor matches the time period when he lived here. Guided tours are available in German and occasionally in English for super-fans.

Partly damaged during the war, the house was magnificently restored in 1971 on Dürer’s 500th birthday. It is hard to miss both because of the crowds who gather here, and the giant bunny (simply known as "Der Haseby artist Jürgen Goertzon the street out front.

04 of 15

Visit the Nazi Party Rally Grounds

Nazi party rally grounds Nuremberg

GettyImages / Norbert Probst


Bayernstraße 110, 90478 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 2317538

Adolf Hitler declared that Nuremberg should be “City of the Nazi Party Rallies” in 1933. This legacy still looms large.

The grounds and Congress Hall were never fully realized, but are still an impressive site. Modeled on the Holy Roman Empire, this was the place for major Nazi events and parades with grandstands based on the Pergammon Altar providing seating to watch troops goose-stepping across the grounds. There are hours of newsreel footage that show the grounds during their nefarious heyday.

The development of this location was stalled as the war continued, and completely abandoned as the Nazi party crumbled. It stood as a sad memorial to this time period for decades and is currently under municipal ownership, perhaps forever in partial ruins.

The massive Congress Hall is the largest preserved Nazi building, planned to seat 50,000 people. A Dokuzentrum (Documentation Center) within the hall covers the rise and fall of the Nazi Party.

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05 of 15

Memorialize the Nuremberg Trials

Memorium Nuremberg Trials

Horacio Villalobos/ Getty Images

Bärenschanzstraße 72, 90429 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 23128614

In the east wing of Nuremberg’s Justizpalast (Palace of Justice) is a museum dedicated to the notorious Nuremberg trials that took place after World War II between 1945 and 1949.

On the top floor, there is a museum about the Nuremberg Trials. Visitors hear about the lead-up to war, individual roles people played, and can even visit courtroom 600. This is where leaders of the Nazi regime were prosecuted for their crimes.

The site is still a working courtroom, but visitors can observe this location between sessions. The easiest time to visit is on Saturdays with tours available in English. 

06 of 15

Eat at the World's Oldest Sausage Restaurant

Zum Gulden Stern

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Waffenhof 5, 90402 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 227625

Nürnberg Rostbratwurst are a very popular sausage in Germany. Each sausage is about the size of a fat little finger, weighing about an ounce and measuring three to four inches in length. Made from coarsely ground pork, the sausages are usually seasoned with marjoram, salt, pepper, ginger, cardamom and lemon powder.

This sausage is under the Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) like the German beer from CologneKölsch, or the Spreewald's famous pickle. More than three million Nürnberg Rostbratwurst are produced every day and they are eaten around the world.

Served everywhere from imbiss stands to biergartens, there is nowhere better to eat this wurst than in the city of its birth. The best place to eat them is at Bratwurstglöcklein im Handwerkerhof. This restaurant has been cooking nürnberger bratwurst since 1313 and is the oldest sausage kitchen in Nuremberg. Wurst are cooked traditionally, grilled on a charcoal grill and served on the classic tin plate with sauerkraut, potato salad, horseradish, fresh bread or pretzel, and—of course—a Franconian beer.

07 of 15

Celebrate Christmas at One of Germany's Best Markets

Nuremberg Christmas Market - Christkindlesmarkt Nürnberg
Juergen Sack / Getty Images

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt (Nuremberg Christmas Market) is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany.

Dating back to the 16th century, the traditional market takes place on the cobblestone streets of Nuremberg’s romantic Old Town. Its organizers keep a watchful eye on the tasteful decoration of the wooden huts (no plastic garlands or taped Christmas music allowed).

Add another Nuremberg specialty to your diet at this time of year with Nürnberger Lebkuchen, a unique gingerbread just made here and shipped around the country. Buy some as a souvenir, or look for traditional ornaments like the Rauschgoldengel (gold angel) or Zwetschgenmännle (prune figure). 

08 of 15

Circle Old Town on the Mini-Train

Old Town Nuremberg Mini-Train

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

If you want to see all the sites of Old Town Nuremberg but don't feel like walking through the cobblestone streets, hop aboard the Mini-Train. The 40-minute loop around Old Town starts in the main market square and passes the Maxbrücke Bridge, St. Lawrence Church, the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, and the Imperial Castle before arriving back at the market. While you enjoy the ride, an on-board tour guide will share stories and histories of various buildings along the way.

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09 of 15

Marvel at the Architecture of Weinstadel

Bavaria, Nuremberg, Weinstadel

W. Meier / Getty Images

Altstadt - Sankt Sebald Mitte, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 203321

Located on the Historical Mile in Nuremberg, Weinstadel is a medieval wine storage warehouse that originally served as a hospital for lepers. A visit to this historic structure is a quick stop in Old Town, but be sure to take a moment to marvel at this perfect example of German architecture in the Middle Ages. Its half-timber frame, sandstone brick walls, and picturesque location alongside the river make it an iconic backdrop for a souvenir photo of your trip.

10 of 15

Go Underground to the Medieval Dungeons

The Medieval Dungeons

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Rathauspl. 2, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 227066

The Medieval Dungeons (Mittelalterliche Lochgefangnisse) are a series of 12 small cells and a torture chamber in the vaulted cellar of Nuremberg's Old City Hall. A testament to medieval judicial processes, the dungeons served from 1320 onward as a place to punish criminals of all ranks and classes in the city. Located on Historische Felsengänge in the Bergstrasse district of the city, Old City Hall offers multimedia tours of the dungeons daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

11 of 15

Explore the Germanic National Museum

Germanisches National Museum

GettyImages / Neil Farrin 


Kartäusergasse 1, 90402 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 13310

The Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Germanic National Museum) holds the country's largest collection related to German art and culture.

The museum covers everything from toys to armor to scientific instruments in its 1.3 million items, as well as over 300,000 works of art. Among its collection is the world’s oldest surviving globe. Created in 1492, there are stark differences to the globe we are used to today. There is no America on the globe as it had to yet to be discovered by Europeans.

Approach the museum from Kartäusergasse and Straße der Menschenrechte (The Way of Human Rights). This street is a monument dedicated to world peace.

12 of 15

Watch the Clock at the Church

Frauenkirche in Nuremberg

GettyImages / Peter Zelei Images


Hauptmarkt 14, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 206560

The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is a focal point of the center of the city off of the Hauptmarkt. Gather here every day at noon to see the "Running Men" clock (built in 1509) strike noon and the moving electors pay tribute to Emperor Charles IV.

At Christmas, mount the steps of the church and find the special exhibition of the Christkindlesblick which allows for excellent views from the balcony over the square for a small entrance fee.

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13 of 15

Dine in a 700-Year-Old Hospital

Holy Ghost Hospital in Nurnberg

GettyImages / grafalex


Spitalgasse 16, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 221761

The Heilig-Geist-Spital Nürnberg (Holy Spirit Hospital in Nuremberg) is a spectacular site overhanging the canal. It is one of the largest hospitals of the Middle Ages, founded in 1332, and is one of few still standing.

It was severely damaged during World War II, but was beautifully rebuilt in the 1950s and is an eye-catching attraction. Step inside the hospital without needing a sick note and dine in the restaurant. They serve traditional Bavarian food in the most atmospheric of environments.

14 of 15

Take a Walk on the Wild Side at the Zoo

Zoo Nuremberg

GettyImages / Helmut Meyer zur Capellen


Am Tiergarten 30, 90480 Nürnberg, Germany
Phone +49 911 54546

Tiergarten Nürnberg (Nuremberg Zoo) is one of the largest zoos in Europe at nearly 70 hectares.

Founded in 1912 and located in the Nuremberg Reichswald just east of the Altstadt, the zoo is in a former sandstone quarry. These features have been utilized by the zoo to create natural enclosures for animals like the Siberian and Bengal tigers.

Also to be observed are snow leopards, bison, maned wolves, South African cheetahs, bottlenose dolphins, bearded vultures, lowland gorillas, and polar bears. 

15 of 15

Turn the Golden Ring for Luck

Detail of the Schoener Brunnen (beautiful fountain) with the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in back, Nuremberg, Germany

interlight/Getty Images 

Hauptmarkt, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany

The Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain) lives up to its name. Located in the elegant central square of Hauptmarktthis fountain was designed in the late 1300s to top the nearby Frauenkirche. However, it was so impressive on completion it was decided to keep it within the square to better appreciate its beauty. It even survived World War II intact as it was protected in a concrete shell.

Today it stands 62 feet high and its many golden decorations catch the sunlight. A total of 42 stone statues surround the fountain including Moses and the seven prophets at the top, with a big copper ring on the north side of the fence. Legend says you should turn the ring left three times for luck and locals and tourists all visit to the fountain for a bit of gut Glück.

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The 15 Best Things to Do in Nuremberg, Germany