12 Best Things to Do in Nuremberg

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated November 20, 2023 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jem
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Nuremberg isn’t just a dot on Germany’s expansive map; it’s a dynamic fusion of history and modernity that stands out distinctly. Imagine walking on ancient cobbled pathways that have witnessed centuries, only to lead you to bustling market squares alive with chatter and commerce. The city’s medieval walls, standing tall and proud, cast their shadows over contemporary cafes where locals sip their morning brew. From the very moment I arrived in Nuremberg, it was evident that this wasn’t just another city. It felt less like a mere destination and more like an unfolding adventure, a tapestry of tales waiting to be discovered.

Located in the heart of Bavaria, Nuremberg is a city that wears its history on its sleeve. But don’t let the ancient walls and historic landmarks fool you. Beyond its storied past, you’ll find a city bursting with life, from its lively markets to its burgeoning food scene. Whether you’re tracing the footsteps of emperors at the Kaiserburg Castle, savoring the city’s famed sausages, or diving deep into its wartime history, Nuremberg offers a unique blend of the old and the new.

Over the years, I’ve navigated its narrow alleys, chatted with locals over a pint of Franconian beer, and uncovered hidden gems that most guidebooks miss. And now, I want to share that with you. This isn’t just a list of things to do; it’s a personal invitation to experience Nuremberg through the eyes of a traveler, not a tourist. Ready to explore? Let’s dive in. To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Nuremberg.

The nicest places to visit in Nuremberg right now
This article on the Best Things To Do in Nuremberg contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Places to Visit Nuremberg

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Nuremberg? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this quaint vacation spot in Germany. So keep reading to discover all these unique Nuremberg places to visit.

Are you looking to explore renowned museums, historic sites, and diverse culinary offerings? Are you thinking about visiting the Romantic Road? Or would you prefer to stroll through charming streets, enjoy traditional German cuisine, or attend cultural events? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Nuremberg can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Nuremberg that you should know about.

1. Kaiserburg Castle

If there’s one place that encapsulates Nuremberg’s rich history, it’s Kaiserburg Castle. Dominating the city’s skyline, this fortress has seen emperors come and go, with its walls echoing tales from the days of the Holy Roman Empire. It’s not just a relic of the past; it’s a living piece of history.

When compiling a list of the best things to do in Nuremberg, Kaiserburg tops the chart. The view from the castle is worth the visit alone. You’ll get a bird’s-eye perspective of the city, with its patchwork of red roofs and the Pegnitz River snaking through. But don’t just stop at the view. The museum is packed with historic artifacts. I recommend taking a guided tour. It sheds light on the castle’s architectural nuances and its significance in Nuremberg’s narrative.

Outside the castle’s main structure, there’s still so much to see. Take a stroll through the gardens – they’re well-kept and offer a peaceful break. Curious about that old well? Go check it out. And don’t just pass by the chapel; the details inside are worth a closer look.

For those keen on delving into the city’s past or just capturing a postcard-perfect view, Kaiserburg Castle is the place to be.

Kaiserburg Castle is the location that best captures Nuremberg's historic past.
Kaiserburg Castle is the location that best captures Nuremberg’s historic past.

2. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds

One of the more somber yet essential stops in Nuremberg is the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. This massive complex was once a propaganda machine for the Nazi regime. Now, it serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of unchecked power and ideology.

For anyone keen on understanding Europe’s 20th-century history, this place is high on the list of best things to do in Nuremberg. The permanent exhibition, “Fascination and Terror”, delves deep into the causes, contexts, and consequences of the Nazi reign. Through photographs and documents, visitors understand the machinery of Nazi propaganda. Multimedia displays further highlight the impact of their massive rallies.

While the grounds themselves are vast and can take hours to explore, the Documentation Center provides a focused lens on the era. The audio guide, available in multiple languages, is a valuable companion, offering detailed explanations and personal accounts.

Visiting here is a sobering experience, but it’s crucial for understanding the weight of Nuremberg’s history. It’s not just a walk through the past; it’s a lesson for the future.

This enormous facility served as the Nazi regime’s propaganda tool.

3. Germanisches Nationalmuseum

Dive into the heart of German culture and history at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. The museum is the largest of cultural history in the German-speaking region. It boasts an impressive collection from prehistoric times to today.

The museum’s vast array of artifacts includes everything from medieval armor and Renaissance art to musical instruments and modern design pieces. Each exhibit tells a story, shedding light on the evolution of Germanic cultures and their influence on the broader European landscape.

Whether you’re marveling at ancient sculptures or exploring the intricacies of German craftsmanship, there’s something here for every history enthusiast.

Among the coolest things to do in Nuremberg, a visit to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum stands out. It’s not just about viewing objects; it’s about immersing oneself in the rich tapestry of German history. The museum also hosts regular workshops, lectures, and special exhibitions, making each visit unique.

For those looking to get a comprehensive understanding of Germany’s cultural heritage, this museum is a must-visit. With its blend of history, art, and innovation, it offers a journey through time that’s both enlightening and engaging.

Explore German history and culture at its core at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
Explore German history and culture at its core at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.

4. Nuremberg Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum)

When you think of Nuremberg, grand castles and heavy history might come to mind. But there’s a lighter side to this city, and it’s beautifully showcased at the Nuremberg Toy Museum. This delightful museum traces the history of toys from ancient times to today’s digital age.

Housed in a charming historic building, the museum is a treasure trove of dolls, trains, teddy bears, and board games. Each floor takes you on a journey through different eras, highlighting the craftsmanship and innovation behind some of the world’s most beloved toys. It’s fascinating to see how toys have evolved over the centuries, reflecting societal changes and technological advancements.

For families and toy enthusiasts, the Nuremberg Toy Museum is a top pick. But even if you’re traveling solo or with friends, it offers a nostalgic trip down memory lane. Remember that old train set or the doll you cherished as a child? Chances are, you’ll find something similar here.

Beyond the exhibits, the museum hosts interactive workshops. There are also special events, making it dynamic for visitors of all ages. It’s a reminder that history can be fun and that Nuremberg has a playful side waiting to be discovered.

A more whimsical aspect to this city, as the Nuremberg Toy Museum exquisitely displays.
A more whimsical aspect to this city, as the Nuremberg Toy Museum exquisitely displays.

5. Underground Tours

Beneath Nuremberg’s busy streets lies a hidden world waiting to be explored. The Underground Tours aren’t your typical tourist activity; they’re a deep dive (literally) into the city’s past. Think tunnels from the 14th century that once stored the city’s famous beer and later doubled as bomb shelters during the world wars.

On these tours, you won’t just walk and listen. You’ll feel the city’s heartbeat from centuries ago. Learn how these cool cellars were crucial for medieval brewing and how they turned into safe havens during WWII. It’s history, but not the kind you snoozed through in school. It’s alive, tangible, and, honestly, pretty cool.

While the underground vibe is a stark change from the bustling city above, it’s a testament to Nuremberg’s enduring spirit. And trust me, it’s not just a history lesson. It’s an adventure, revealing parts of the city even some locals haven’t seen.

If you’re in Nuremberg and want to go beyond the usual, this is your ticket. Dive in, explore the depths, and connect with a side of the city that’s as authentic as it gets.

An in-depth look into the past of the city can be had with the Underground Tours.
An in-depth look into the past of the city can be had with the Underground Tours.

6. St. Lorenz Church

Right in the midst of Nuremberg’s bustling old town, you’ll stumble upon St. Lorenz Church. This is more than just another old church; it’s a deep dive into Gothic architecture and Nuremberg’s storied past. Built in the 13th century, its towering spires and detailed stained glass windows are hard to miss.

Step inside, and you’re transported back in time. The vast nave, medieval sculptures, and the renowned “Angel’s Salutation” hanging from the ceiling are just a few highlights. And the organ? It’s massive and has a sound that fills every corner of the church. If you’re around during an organ concert, don’t miss it; it’s an experience in itself.

But what makes St. Lorenz stand out isn’t just its architecture or art. It’s the vibe. Amidst the city’s hustle and bustle, this church offers a quiet spot to reflect and soak in some history. It’s a reminder of how Nuremberg has always been at the crossroads of culture, faith, and art. So, if you’re looking to get a real sense of the city beyond the usual tourist spots, make sure St. Lorenz is on your list.

It delves deeply into the history of Nuremberg and the architecture of the Gothic period.
It delves deeply into the history of Nuremberg and the architecture of the Gothic period.

7. Nuremberg Zoo (Tiergarten Nürnberg)

Located on the eastern edge of the city, the Nuremberg Zoo offers a refreshing escape from the urban hustle. Spread over 67 hectares, this zoo is expansive. It’s home to over 300 species, ranking it among Germany’s largest animal parks.

The zoo’s layout is designed to mimic natural habitats, giving visitors a sense of walking through different parts of the world. From the African savannah, where you can spot lions and giraffes, to the Manatee House with its gentle sea cows, there’s a wide range of ecosystems to explore. The zoo also places a strong emphasis on conservation, with several programs aimed at protecting endangered species and their habitats.

For families traveling with kids, the Nuremberg Zoo is a no-brainer. But even if you’re a solo traveler or with a group of friends, it’s a great place to unwind and learn. With its mix of education, conservation, and recreation, it’s a standout in the list of Nuremberg things to do.

Whether you’re an animal lover or just looking for a relaxing day out, the Nuremberg Zoo offers a unique experience that’s both enjoyable and enlightening.

A cool respite from the bustle of the city can be found in the Nuremberg Zoo.
A cool respite from the bustle of the city can be found in the Nuremberg Zoo.

8. Hauptmarkt Square

At the heart of Nuremberg’s old town lies Hauptmarkt Square, a bustling hub of activity and a central meeting point for both locals and tourists. This historic square has been the city’s main marketplace for centuries, and its vibrant atmosphere is palpable.

Every day, vendors set up stalls selling fresh produce, flowers, and local delicacies. But the real star of the show is the “Nuremberg Bratwurst”, a local sausage that’s been a favorite for over 700 years. Grab one from a street vendor, and you’ll quickly understand why.

The square houses the iconic Schöner Brunnen. This 14th-century fountain is adorned with 40 colorful figures, representing the Holy Roman Empire’s world view. It’s not just a photo op; it’s a piece of Nuremberg’s rich history.

If you’re in town in December, the square transforms. It becomes the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, a renowned ancient Christmas market. But no matter when you visit, Hauptmarkt Square is always buzzing. It’s a must-visit to feel the city’s heartbeat and experience its culture.

For decades, the city's primary marketplace was located in this historic plaza.
For decades, the city’s primary marketplace was located in this historic plaza.

9. Albrecht Dürer’s House

A stone’s throw from the hustle of Nuremberg’s main attractions, you’ll find the former residence of Albrecht Dürer, one of Germany’s most celebrated Renaissance artists. This half-timbered house, standing since the 15th century, offers a unique glimpse into the life and times of the artist.

Dürer lived and worked here from 1509 until his death in 1528. Today, the house operates as a museum, showcasing a collection of his works, personal artifacts, and period furnishings. As you wander through the rooms, you’ll feel the artist’s daily life. From his workshop, masterpieces were born, and in the kitchen, meals were made.

One of the highlights is the interactive exhibit on the top floor. Here, an actress takes on the role of Dürer’s wife, Agnes. She offers insights into the artist’s life, his works, and Renaissance era challenges.

For art enthusiasts and history buffs, Albrecht Dürer’s House is a must-visit. But even if art isn’t your thing, the house provides a fascinating look into Nuremberg’s past, making it a worthy stop on any city tour.

An essential stop for history and art lovers alike is Albrecht Dürer's House.
An essential stop for history and art lovers alike is Albrecht Dürer’s House.

10. The Sinwell Tower and Handwerkerhof

Encircling Nuremberg’s historic old town are the formidable city walls and towers, a testament to the city’s medieval defensive architecture. Stretching over 5 kilometers, these walls have stood guard for centuries, protecting Nuremberg from potential invaders and playing a pivotal role in its history.

Walking along the walls, you’ll encounter numerous towers, gates, and bastions, each with its own story to tell. The Sinwell Tower, for instance, offers panoramic views of the city, while the Handwerkerhof, located near the Königstor gate, is a quaint craftsman’s courtyard filled with artisan shops and traditional German eateries.

Among the best things to do in Germany, a stroll along the city walls offers a blend of history, architecture, and scenic views. It’s a chance to step back in time and imagine the city as it was during the Middle Ages. Plus, with plenty of spots to pause, relax, and soak in the surroundings, it’s a journey that can be as leisurely or as brisk as you like.

For those keen on exploring Nuremberg’s roots and gaining a unique perspective of the city, the walls and towers are a must-visit. It’s history, architecture, and nature, all rolled into one.

A charming craftsman's courtyard with artisan stores and authentic German restaurants is called the Handwerkerhof.
A charming craftsman’s courtyard with artisan stores and authentic German restaurants is called the Handwerkerhof.

11. Nuremberg Transport Museum (Verkehrsmuseum)

If you’re a fan of trains, history, or both, the Nuremberg Transport Museum is a spot you can’t miss. Located near the central station, this museum delves into Germany’s railway history. It showcases everything from vintage locomotives to modern high-speed trains.

The museum has two main sections. The Deutsche Bahn Museum focuses on German railways’ history. Meanwhile, the Museum of Communications delves into postal services and telecommunications in Germany. Together, they paint a comprehensive picture of the country’s transport and communication milestones.

The standout attraction here is the collection of historic trains. You’ll find restored steam engines and luxurious royal carriages. There’s even a replica of the Adler, Germany’s first locomotive. Interactive displays, hands-on exhibits, and detailed models make the experience engaging for visitors of all ages.

For those looking to understand the pivotal role transport and communication have played in shaping modern Germany, this museum is a top pick. It’s a blend of education and nostalgia, offering insights into the innovations that propelled the country forward. A visit here is not just about trains; it’s a journey through time.

You ought to visit the Nuremberg Transport Museum if you have an interest in trains, history, or both.
You ought to visit the Nuremberg Transport Museum if you have an interest in trains, history, or both.

Tucked away in the heart of the city, the Ehekarussell Fountain offers a quirky and thought-provoking take on the journey of marriage. Officially named the “Hans Sachs Fountain”, this modern water feature became a talked-about Nuremberg landmark after its 1984 installation.

Among the coolest things to do in Nuremberg, a visit to this fountain sparks both amusement and contemplation. The sculptures depict the various stages of marital life, from the blissful beginnings to the challenges and, sometimes, tumultuous turns. Some find it humorous, while others see it as a stark representation of reality. But everyone agrees: it’s a unique fountain unlike any other.

The artist, Jürgen Weber, based the fountain on a poem by Hans Sachs, a 16th-century Nuremberg shoemaker and poet. The poem and the fountain both serve as reminders of the joys, trials, and unpredictability of life and love.

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, the Ehekarussell Fountain offers a unique blend of art, history, and social commentary. It’s a spot where you can reflect, laugh, and appreciate the complexities of human relationships, all while enjoying the heart of Nuremberg.

A humorous and insightful look at the marriage journey can be found in the Ehekarussell Fountain.
A humorous and insightful look at the marriage journey can be found in the Ehekarussell Fountain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Nuremberg

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Nuremberg? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Nuremberg:

Is Nuremberg worth visiting?

Absolutely! Nuremberg is a blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and modern attractions. From medieval castles to bustling markets and world-class museums, there’s something for every traveler. Plus, the city’s compact size makes it easy to explore on foot. Whether you’re a history buff, foodie, or just looking for a unique European experience, Nuremberg delivers.

How many days do I need in Nuremberg?

While you can get a good feel for Nuremberg in a day or two, I’d recommend spending at least three days to truly explore. This gives you time to visit major attractions, wander the old town, and even take a few side trips. Trust me, there’s more to Nuremberg than meets the eye!

Is Nuremberg expensive to visit?

Like most German cities, Nuremberg can be a bit pricey. However, with some savvy planning, it’s easy to visit on a budget. Opt for local eateries, use public transport, and prioritize free or low-cost attractions. Remember, some of the best experiences, like strolling the city walls, won’t cost you a dime!

Is one day enough to visit Nuremberg?

One day in Nuremberg can be enough to see some of the city’s highlights, but it would be a tight schedule. Nuremberg, with its rich history, beautiful architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, offers a lot to explore. If you only have one day, here’s a suggested itinerary to make the most of your visit:

  1. Nuremberg Castle: Start your day early at the Nuremberg Castle, one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The castle offers a glimpse into the city’s medieval past and stunning views of the old town.
  2. Altstadt (Old Town): Wander through the charming streets of the Old Town. Visit the Hauptmarkt, the central square, which hosts the famous Christkindlesmarkt during Christmas.
  3. St. Lorenz Church: This impressive church is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and houses numerous works of art.
  4. Germanisches Nationalmuseum: If you’re interested in art and history, this museum is a must-visit. It’s Germany’s largest museum of cultural history.
  5. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds: For those interested in World War II history, this center provides a comprehensive look at the Nazi regime’s propaganda and the Nuremberg Trials.
  6. Local Cuisine: Enjoy some Franconian specialties for lunch or dinner, such as Nürnberger Rostbratwürste (Nuremberg sausages) or Schäufele (pork shoulder).
  7. Evening Stroll: End your day with a leisurely stroll along the Pegnitz River or through one of the city’s many parks.
It's an intimate invitation to see Nuremberg as a visitor, not just a tourist.
It’s an intimate invitation to see Nuremberg as a visitor, not just a tourist.

What’s the best time to visit Nuremberg?

While Nuremberg is a year-round destination, many travelers love visiting during December for the famous Christkindlesmarkt. If you prefer milder weather and fewer crowds, spring and early autumn are ideal. But honestly, every season offers a unique charm, so you can’t go wrong!

What is Nuremberg best known for?

Nuremberg is renowned for its deep-rooted history and cultural significance. It’s a city that played a pivotal role in the Holy Roman Empire and later became infamous for the Nuremberg Trials post-WWII. Additionally, it’s celebrated for its medieval architecture, like the Kaiserburg Castle, and festive events, notably the Christkindlesmarkt, one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world.

How do I spend a day in Nuremberg?

Start with a stroll through the old town, soaking in the medieval charm. Visit the Kaiserburg Castle for panoramic city views. Dive into history at the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Grab a bite of the iconic Nuremberg Bratwurst for lunch. In the afternoon, explore the Germanisches National Museum or relax by the Pegnitz River. End your day at Hauptmarkt Square, enjoying local delicacies.

Is there anything to see in Nuremberg?

Absolutely! Nuremberg brims with attractions. From the historic Albrecht Dürer’s House and the City Walls to modern marvels like the Nuremberg Transport Museum, there’s a lot to explore. The city’s blend of history, art, and vibrant street life offers a rich tapestry of experiences. Whether you’re into history, culture, or just wandering around, Nuremberg has sights that’ll captivate any traveler.

What is the most beautiful street in Nuremberg?

The most beautiful street in Nuremberg is often considered to be Weissgerbergasse. This charming street is renowned for its picturesque appeal and historical significance. Here’s what makes Weissgerbergasse stand out:

  1. Traditional Half-Timbered Houses: Weissgerbergasse is lined with beautifully preserved half-timbered houses. These buildings, with their distinctive timber framing and colorful facades, offer a glimpse into the city’s medieval past.
  2. Historical Ambiance: The street has retained much of its historical character, making it feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s a great place to experience the old-world charm of Nuremberg.
  3. Photogenic Views: The street is incredibly photogenic, making it a favorite spot for photographers and visitors looking to capture the essence of Nuremberg’s traditional architecture.
  4. Boutiques and Craftsmanship: Along Weissgerbergasse, you’ll find a variety of small shops, artisan boutiques, and cozy cafes, adding to the street’s vibrant and lively atmosphere.
  5. Peaceful Strolls: Despite its popularity, Weissgerbergasse often offers a more peaceful and relaxed experience compared to the busier parts of the city, making it ideal for leisurely strolls

Final Thoughts on Exploring Nuremberg

There’s a magnetic pull to Nuremberg that’s hard to resist. Every corner tells a story, from its medieval walls to the aroma of fresh Nuremberg Bratwurst wafting through the streets. Dive into its rich history, but don’t forget to mingle with the locals at a bustling market or grab a pint at a traditional German pub.

This isn’t your typical touristy city. Nuremberg is a place where the past meets the present, and every visit feels like a new adventure. So, if you’re looking for a destination that offers both historical depth and modern-day charm, fly to Germany, because Nuremberg should be at the top of your list. Trust me, it’s a journey you won’t forget.

The top things to do in Nuremberg for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the top things to do in Nuremberg? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment