15 Best Things to Do in Nuremberg Germany: The Ultimate List
Planning to visit the German city of Nuremberg? Here’s your ultimate guide and the best things to do in Nuremberg for the perfect city break.
The city of Nuremberg is the second largest city in the region of Bavaria in Southern Germany. It’s a small city but one of the best in Germany for history, culture and of course its yearly Christmas market.
Amongst Nuremberg’s charming, cobblestone streets you’ll find many pastel, half-timber houses, stunning Gothic churches, and the atmospheric Pegnitz river. Stay around long enough and you’ll be able to dig deep into WWII history, uncover the city’s interesting museums and discover the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg and the city walls.
Keep reading to find out about all the amazing things to do in Nuremberg and make sure you get the most out of your trip.
*This ‘Nuremberg Germany things to do’ travel guide contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
When to Visit Nuremberg
Nuremberg is a year-round destination with many events, festivals, and things to do throughout the year. It’s worth noting that Germany experiences all four, very distinct seasons; summers can be hot and winters can be very cold.
The best time to visit Nuremberg for good weather and fewer crowds is in the spring and autumn. At this time you can see agreeable temperatures and brighter, sunnier, and longer days but at the same time not too many crowds. Hotel prices are also the lowest at this time.
Summer is the best season to visit in terms of warm and even hot weather but it’s also the most crowded and expensive.
If you don’t mind the cold, the end of November and December are also great times to visit Nuremberg. At this time you’ll be able to visit Nuremberg Christmas Market– one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. While, yes, it is more crowded and hotel prices increase, the added festive atmosphere is just magical.
I visited Nuremberg at the beginning of December most recently for the Christmas market and my stay was just wonderful.
Top Things to Do in Nuremberg, Germany
For a relatively small city, Nuremberg is packed with things to do. From learning about Medieval history to World War II history, from art to Christmas shopping there’s enough to fill at least 2 days in the second-largest Bavarian city.
Here are some of the best attractions and things to do in Nuremberg Germany.
Explore the Old Town or Altstadt
Nuremberg’s historic center- also known as Altstadt contains most of the city’s historic sights. When looking at a map you’ll notice that the historic center is divided in two by the Pegnitz river.
The north side is known as Altstadt-Sebald or Mitte and the south is known as Altstadt- St. Lorenz, each side named after the significant churches in the immediate area.
Many of Nuremberg’s best things to do are located in this area but before you rush off to see them make sure to take some time to wander the streets of the old town and really explore.
There are some truly beautiful cobblestone streets in the area, particularly in Altstadt- Sebald. You also notice colorful half-timbered houses with beautiful details. One of the prettiest streets in the Old Town is Weißgerbergasse which is a must to take in the gorgeous architecture on each side. Weißgerbergasse is also one of the best photo spots in Nuremberg.
If you’d like to discover the old town with the help of a guide, then I recommend this Old Town Guided Walking Tour. Not only will you discover the streets of the Old Town but also the main market square and all the hidden corners and secret spots. Click here to find out more and book.
Go Shopping at Handwerkerhof
If you arrive at Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof (central train station) and head into the center, Handwerkerhof will be the first great place you come across. Head through the Frauentor gate and you’ll arrive in Handwerkerhof, a Medieval model village full of cafes, beer bars, restaurants, and shops.
The little village is one of the prettiest and best places in the city where you can see how Nuremberg may have looked in Medieval times. Full of small, half-timber houses, stone pathways, and a looming round tower whose beer garden ‘Balkon’ is a must for beer lovers.
You’ll be able to shop for some typical Nuremberg snacks, coffee, and beer as well as crafts and souvenirs. It’s a lovely place to explore for a while.
Learn About German Art at Albrecht Dürer’s House
Albrecht Durer is one of Germany’s most famous painters and his house in Nuremberg is where the 16th Century painter lived and worked from 1509. Today the Albrecht Dürer house is a museum that shows not only many examples of Durer’s work but also what the house looked like over the centuries.
As this is one of the only 16th Century artist’s houses in Europe that have survived virtually unscathed, it provides a great insight into what life would have been like then. It’s also a great opportunity to discover works by Germany’s most famous Medieval artist.
You can also catch some changing municipal exhibitions in the house for an insight into more modern, local art.
Visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market
Nuremberg at Christmas is a beautiful sight. Flickering fairy lights, Christmas market stalls, beautiful decorations, Christmas trees everywhere, and the smell of gluhwein around every corner.
Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt is known to be one of the best Christmas Markets in Germany which takes over the entire Hauptmarkt each year for advent. It also happens to be the oldest too.
During the Christmas Market, you can walk around and stock up on Christmas gifts as well as decor and ornaments while warming up on gluhwein (mulled wine) and tasting all the best local snacks. The festive atmosphere in town is just magical as everyone strolls around and has a good time.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to the Nuremberg Christmas Market, Germany
Explore Nuremberg Imperial Castle
One of Nuremberg’s most popular attractions is the Imperial Castle. Perched high on a hill above the old town, this castle has been a symbol of Nuremberg for centuries.
First built somewhere around the 11th Century it was used to serve and accommodate rulers throughout the Middle Ages, during the period of the Holy Roman Empire, and during the rule of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Actually, every Holy Roman Emperor stayed at the Imperial Castle in Nuremberg between the dates of 1050 and 1571.
You can visit the Nuremberg castle which includes the Sinwell Tower, a chapel, Imperial Hall, and the rose garden as well as walk around the grounds. You can also learn more about Nuremberg’s local history through the variety of different exhibitions. Make sure to also take in the best view of the Old Town from the Castle.
Things to Do in Nuremberg: Walk the City Walls
Nuremberg has some of the most impressive city walls of any city in Germany. The walls span 5km around the Old Town and were constructed between the 12th and 16th Centuries. Many segments of the walls are open to the public to walk around and explore including some of the gates and towers.
You’ll be able to walk around, get a great view of the Old Town from above and learn more about the walls and Nuremberg’s history. If you’d rather walk the walls with a local, knowledgeable guide who can also take you to all the hidden corners and secret spots make sure to check out this Private Old Town Walking Tour.
Marvel at the Churches
Nuremberg is filled with a few really lovely churches that are worth a peek inside while exploring the city. They are all located in the city centre so you needn’t go far to appreciate their stunning gothic architecture and stained glass windows.
The main churches to visit in Nuremberg are Sebalduskirche (St Sebald Church), immediately north of Hauptmarkt, Frauenkirche, and Lorenzkirche (St Lorenz Church). They are all slightly different in their own, great way, and equally impressive. Be sure to note their columns rising sky-high, ribbed ceilings, and colorful stained glass windows.
St. Sebaldus Church, named after the patron saint of Nuremberg, dates back to 1225. It was originally built as a Romanesque basilica but changing times and architectural styles meant that updates throughout the century cemented it as a more and more Gothic building. It was fully restored after WWII when it was seriously damaged.
St. Lorenz Church has a similar story and is one of the only High Gothic churches in Nuremberg. It still contains many of its pre-Reformation artworks.
You find Frauenkirche on Hauptmarkt, on the Old Town’s main square. What immediately stands out is its unique architecture and facade. Over 700 years old, the Gothic Church still contains many restored scriptures and historic works. It’s well worth a peek inside while exploring the Aldstadt.
All the churches are free to enter but you’re encouraged to leave a donation.
Learn about History at the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
While not the most uplifting attraction Nuremberg has to offer, it is one of the most important. Historically Nuremberg was closely tied with the early formation of the Nazi Party.
The Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds was where the Nazi Regime held huge rallies inviting future Party officials and supporters to build friendships and show their support of Adolf Hitler.
The grounds have been preserved to this day, to teach visitors about the past but also as a stark reminder so that history never comes back to repeat itself.
Visiting the site you’ll be able to see all the most important places, the Congress Hall, for example, the Party’s Meeting Place. You’ll also be able to see the stand from where Hilter gave many of his speeches to supporters. In the Documentation Center you’ll also find many artifacts and documents about this time in history. For history buffs, this probably is one of the best things to do in Nuremberg.
Tiergärtnertorplatz is a wonderful square just by the Imperial Castle and Tiergärtnertor, one of the most imposing of Nuremberg’s old city gates. It’s full of charming half-timber houses almost everywhere you look and the perfect place for a Nuremberg snap.
On the square, you’ll find not only the Tiergärtnertor city gate but also Albrecht Durer’s House and some lovely cafes and restaurants. In general, the square has a wonderful atmosphere, especially on a summer’s evening when many flock here for a sundowner after a day of exploring.
For the best pictures and bird’s eye view of the square make to sure climb up Tiergä