Medieval castles, World War II museums and a dreamy Christmas market in the Bavarian city of Nuremberg
With its cobblestone streets, medieval fortress and terracotta roofs, Nuremberg seems like the quintessential German city. However, its long and varied history, from a commercial hub and home of the German Renaissance to the site of massive Nazi rallies and eventually the Nuremberg trials, sets it apart.
Easily accessible from Munich, the city offers a mix of old and new buildings, as much had to be rebuilt after Allied bombings during World War II destroyed 92% of the city in just over an hour. However, the classic Bavarian style can still be found in the pretty collection of historic artisan houses along Weissgerbergasse.
To get a firm grasp on the city’s history, we can arrange a private guided walking tour during which you’ll visit the Palace of Justice and Zeppelin Grandstand. We can also arrange for a private driver to bring you to the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, the site that held Nazi Party rallies in the 1930s and now an exhibition.
Things to see and do in Nuremberg
World War II walking tour
We can arrange a walking tour of Nuremberg where you’ll visit some of the most important sites from World War II. Your guide will bring you to the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where there is an exhibit called Fascination and Terror. It informs visitors about the causes, context and repercussions of the Nazi’s reign of terror, with a particular focus on the Party Rally Grounds and the rallies in Nuremberg.
You’ll then visit the Party Rally Grounds, where you’ll see Zeppelin Grandstand, which was the site of six massive Nazi party rallies. Many of the best-known photos of Nazi rallies were taken at the grandstand.
Palace of Justice
Nuremberg’s Palace of Justice was the location of the Nuremberg trials, where 22 Nazis were put on trial for war crimes by a military tribunal. Some parties wanted the trials to be held in Berlin, but Nuremberg was chosen for two reasons, one practical and one symbolic.
Nuremberg’s court complex was largely undamaged, had enough space, and had a large prison complex within it. However, Nuremberg was also the site of massive Nazi party rallies, and was where the Nuremberg Laws were passed, which stripped Jews of German citizenship. It was thought to be fitting to end the Nazi party in the same city it started.
Located on the top floor, above court room 600 where the trials were actually held, the Nuremberg Trials Memorial is a museum educating visitors about the trials. Court room 600 is still in use today but is open to view if you happen to visit when the court isn't in session.
The city’s old medieval area is perched on a hilltop and, from Sinwell Tower, you can take in the rows of terracotta-tiled rooftops and the painted cathedral towers. We offer a walking tour of the area that visits the outside of the castle complex, though you’re free to head back to explore the interior at leisure.
Inside the Imperial Castle, you’ll find a double chapel and a castle museum devoted to the history and military events of the castle. You can also stroll through the grounds of the nearby Maria Sibylla Merian Garden, named for Nuremberg artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian.
Built on the eastern side of the main market in 1361, the Frauenkirche is a brick Gothic cathedral. Inside, you’ll find a collection of medieval artwork that includes the Tucher Altar. Created in the 1400s by an unknown master artist, this darkly arresting painting is of the crucifixion of Jesus, flanked by scenes from the annunciation and the resurrection.
The cathedral is a hall church with two aisles and nine bays supported by four massive columns. At midday, the church’s glockenspiel clock is activated. A bell starts the sequence, followed by trumpeters and drummers, and then the procession of electors around a figure of the Holy Roman Emperor.
Albrecht Dürer’s House
While in Nuremberg, you can visit the quirky house that once was home to Germany’s best-known Renaissance artist, Albrecht Dürer. Located in Nuremberg’s old town, the five-floor house is impressive in size and curious in design. Unusually, the bottom two floors are a soft grey sandstone, while the top three floors are a red and white timber-framed construction.
The house was turned into a museum in 1871 and features period furnishings, a re-creation of his workshop and rotating exhibits of his drawings and prints. You can take a guided tour from an interpreter playing his wife, Agnes, for an even more authentic experience.
The Nuremberg Christmas market, or Chriskindlesmarkt, is one of the biggest in Germany. You can stroll under the string lights and breathe in the smells of mulled wine, roasted almonds, gingerbread and bratwurst. Running daily through Advent, the market draws about 2,000,000 visitors to its stalls, which are set up in the central market square of Nuremberg’s old town.
The ceremonial opening features Christkind, a young woman with curly blonde hair, a tall golden crown and sleeves like angel wings, standing on the balcony of the Frauenkirche to give a speech to officially kick off the holiday season.
Best time to visit Nuremberg
Nuremberg is lovely to visit year-round, as the weather in the city is quite mild. However, if you visit in December, you can enjoy the Christmas market.
Map of Nuremberg
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Nuremberg
- Rothenburg 40 miles away
- Bavaria 51 miles away
- Munich 91 miles away
- Heidelberg 108 miles away
- Frankfurt 122 miles away
- Neuschwanstein 131 miles away
- Baden-Baden 141 miles away
- The Black Forest 151 miles away
- Oberwesel 155 miles away
- Dresden 163 miles away
- The Rhine Valley 165 miles away
- Titisee 169 miles away
- Freiburg 175 miles away
- Cologne 213 miles away
- Berlin 233 miles away
- Hamburg 291 miles away
Photos of Nuremberg
Accommodation choices for Nuremberg
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Ideas for experiencing Nuremberg
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Spend an afternoon with a professional baker in Nuremberg and try your hand at baking your own Nuremberg Lebkuchen. You’ll learn about the history of the sweet treat, and you’ll get to bring your desserts home with you.View details