We have to admit, we were particularly looking forward to our time in Nuremberg. It was apparent by the many positive reviews we’ve heard about Nuremberg, that this is one of those must-visit destinations. In fact, we heard so much about Nuremberg that we were a little nervous – perhaps we’d set our hopes and expectations too high?
Fortunately, the nerves vanished quickly and the relief set in as we realised that Nuremberg is everything people say it is… if not better than anticipated. For us, this student city has just the right amount of big city feel without over doing it. As a bonus, Nuremberg is scattered with numerous photogenic sights and corners.
In this blog article, we reveal our personally trialled tips for a perfect city vacation to Nuremberg: From the best view (which is a real insider tip!) to baking Traditional German Gingerbread – Lebkuchen! Because you simply can’t leave Nuremberg without tasting their regional specialty, can you?
1. Nuremberg: Franconia’s “Metropolis”
Nuremberg is by far the largest city in Franconia. This only really hit us when we saw the Metro Station in Nuremberg. About half a million people live here but that sounds like a lot more than it actually feels. In the centre, you can easily reach the main attractions by foot.
Speaking of sights, there is a great deal here in Nuremberg – above all, is the famous medieval Kaiserburg. However, Nuremberg is not just the classic highlights, there is also an abundant of really great cafés and museums, which are definitely very worthwhile visiting too.
A sad historical note: During World War II Nuremberg was almost completely plummeted to the ground, with over 90 percent of the city being destroyed. Therefore, the cityscape of Nuremberg is, unfortunately not so much the traditional half-timbered buildings as you might imagine, but the up-side is that many of the buildings were rebuilt in the old traditional style.
Travel Season for Nuremberg
We visited Nuremberg in the summer and would definitely choose to visit again during the warmer months. The city is really alive at this time of year, you can sit outside almost everywhere and there are also some great events (especially the Bardentreffen – which we’ll tell you about later). However, a visit around the Christmas season is just as popular, because of the Christmas Markets (called “Christkindlesmarkt” here), which Nuremberg is famous for, far beyond the country’s borders.
2. Attractions in Nuremberg
There are more attractions in Nuremberg than you can discover during your visit. You should definitely see the Kaiserburg (the landmark of the city), the Weinstadel as well as Henkersteg, the Weißgerbergasse and – last but not least – the view from the Sebalduskirche.
A walk to Kaiserburg is definitely part of a Nuremberg stay. The landmark of the city is located on a hill just above the old town and can be reached in about 15 minutes. From the top you have a beautiful view of Nuremberg.
You can of course visit the premises of the castle (including the Knight’s Hall and the double chapel). We just visited the deep well and the Sinnwellturm. From the Sinnwellturm you have a fantastic view, which we certainly couldn’t miss. We will share some more information with you later in this blog article. Another tip: The beautiful castle garden is also worth having a look.
All information about visiting the Kaiserburg (including opening times and admission fees) can be found on the website of the Bavarian Palace Department: Kaiserburg Nürnberg
Weinstadel and Henkersteg
The postcard motif in Nuremberg is none other than the building ensemble upon the Maxbrücke Bridge. From there you have the best view of Weinstadel and Henkersteg. The beautifully renovated medieval half-timbered building of the Weinstadel, is particularly striking. A little tip for photography fans: Just by the bridge, you can capture almost a mirror reflection in the river on calm days!
The most famous and photographed alley in all of Nuremberg is the Weißgerbergasse, and for good reason: here you will find the largest existing building ensemble of the old traditional half-timbered houses in Nuremberg. Many think that the whole of Nuremberg is made up of these old traditional timbered houses, but this is unfortunately not the case, as a large part of the buildings fell victim to the Second World War. Thus, making it rather special to walk through the Weißgerbergasse.
Our tip: Here, you will find two worthwhile stopovers – a small ice cream factory and the coffee roaster ‘Bergbrand’. We will share more information about these two locations further down below.
A popular photo opportunity in Nuremberg’s Old Town is the Heilig-Geist-Spital. This medieval-looking building is now used as a retirement home and you can take some great pictures of the Heilig-Geist-Spital from the Museumsbrücke bridge. A little tip: If you happen to be in the area, it’s not far to the popular Café Bar Katz. Further information can be found in the culinary chapter of this blog article.
Main Market and Schöner Brunnen (Fountain)
The beautiful Schöner Brunnen (“beautifuk fountain”) located on the Nuremberg Main Market, certainly lives up to its name. The architecture is less reminiscent of a classic fountain, but rather that of a gothic, opulent church spire.
Do not be surprised if you come by and see someone who looks as if they have been glued to the grates of the Fountain: he or she is most likely just turning the golden ring. Yes, that’s right. Apparently it is supposed to bring luck to the person who turns the ring three times (but of course, you have to wish for something).
And now things start to get a bit funny: there is, in fact, a second (black) ring, which the locals swear by. According to them, the golden ring is intended for tourists. Whether gold or black: don’t forget to turn the ring when you’re passing by!
Evening after evening during the warmer months, both young and old gather together on the square in front of the Tiergärtnertor. What you see in the photo is just the beginning, the later the evening, the fuller it gets. You simply pick up a beer from the legendary Café Wanderer and make yourself comfortable on the ground.
The place is also worth a stop during the day, because here you will find two beautiful buildings: The Albrecht-Dürer-Haus – the house where Albrecht Dürer lived and worked, and the Pilatushaus. Not to forget the Tiergärtnertor itself, which is a gate of the former city wall.
What Kreuzberg is in Berlin is Gostenhof in Nuremberg. Gostenhof is affectionately known by locals as GoHo – as a counterpart to New York’s SoHo district – and is the hipster, trendy, art district of Nuremberg. What that means: The graffiti density is higher than anywhere else and there are so many great cafes and shops that we simply could not see everything in one day.
We visited two cafés here: one was the legendary Café Mainheim and the other was the coffee roasting house Kaffeerösterei Machhörndl. We’ll tell you about both of them later in this blog post. (Spoiler: Both are highly recommended!)
Next, we landed in the wonderful stationery store called Papeterie Anemoi. Seriously, we wanted to buy the entire store! There was just so much intricate detail in one spot.
Neues Museum (New Museum)
The fact that we landed in the Neues Museum was more or less due to a coincidence. From our hotel (more about that later) it was only a few steps to the entrance of the Neues Museum. However, the Neues Museum is definitely recommended – provided you are a fan of modern art. We were not only impressed by the exhibitions and the museum shop, but also by the photogenic spiral staircase.
Address: Luitpoldstraße 5, 90402 Nuremberg
3. The Most Beautiful Views of Nuremberg
With its characteristic rooftop landscape, Nuremberg from the top is quite a highlight. The most famous lookout point over the city is that of the Kaiserburg, but we’ll share with you some other view points, which are just as worthwhile.
From the Church Tower of Sebalduskirche
One of our highlights in Nuremberg was the tower climb of the Sebalduskirche. But because we were in town during the Bardentreffen event, there was even a guided tour during our favourite time of day – at sunset! When our tower guide finally unlocked the door to the viewing platform, our jaws dropped with excitement. We almost missed the actual sun setting, but luckily we got a short beam through the clouds again. The outdoor area is very, very narrow and the view down below is very deep, but so breathtaking!
Address: Winklerstraße 26, 90403 Nuremberg
Guided tours: There are regular tours for the tower. It is best to ask for up-to-date information either directly on site.
From the Adlerparkhaus
Now we have one of those insider view point tips, which we found out through a local. From the last floor of the Adlerparkhauses (Parking Houses) you have a great view of the old town, the Sebalduskirche and the Kaiserburg. Best to come at sunset, because that’s when the light is most beautiful. Although we spent only three days in Nuremberg, we were up here two out of three evenings. That really says it all, doesn’t it?
Warning: Access to the parking garage is only allowed with a valid parking ticket. Entrance tickets are normally checked.
Address: Adlerstraße 4, 90403 Nuremberg
From the Sinwellturm
The most famous view of the city is from the Sinwellturm of the well-known Kaiserburg. The former defence tower dates back to the 13th Century and remained completely unscathed during World War II, despite its very exposed location. Even though the view from the tower is clouded by bars, the 360-degree view is nevertheless unique. Further information can be found on the Website of the Bavarian Palace Department.
Location: Inside the Kaiserburg
Admission: 3.5 Euro (combined ticket Tierfer Brunnen & Sinwellturm).
4. Event Tip: Nuremberg Bardentreffen
We were lucky enough to be guests in the city during the Nuremberg Bardentreffen event. During this open-air music festival, all of Nuremberg comes alive: bands come together and perform for three days across several stages. From young to long-established, well-known to upcoming emerging, both national and international bands. This photo below shows only the largest stage on the Main Market, so you can guess just how big the festival really is.
But that’s not all: in fact, the whole city turns into an open-air concert. At every corner of the street, amateur musicians gather and play their songs during the Bardtreffen. The exuberant moods, which saturate the streets are definitely something special. We even heard from two local Nuremberg women, who told us that the Bardentreffen is their favourite event of the entire year. That’s really saying something!
On the official website you will find all other information including dates for next year: Nuremberg Bardentreffen. Who knows, maybe it will overlap with your visit.
5. Regional Specialties in Nuremberg
Nuremberg Baking: Lebkuchen (German Gingerbread)
Call us crazy, but we actually dared to bake gingerbread (Lebkuchen in German) while the outside temperature was a sweltering 33 degrees Celsius. But we have two main reasons for this: Firstly, the Wicklein Store (where we did the baking) was pleasantly air-conditioned. Secondly, these things are just so incredibly delicious, there is no way it could ever be too hot to lose that desire.
Be that as it may, Nuremberg is, as everyone knows, the Lebkuchen capital. There is a lot of debate about where the best Lebkuchen actually is. We chose Wicklein, the oldest Lebkuchen bakery in Nuremberg. Not only did we stock up on for the next Advent season, we also tried baking (and decorating) it ourselves.
Address: Hauptmarkt 7, 90403 Nuremberg
Gingerbread workshop: You can find all the information on the website of Nürnberg Tourismus. There you can also book a course directly.
Nuremberg Bratwurst (German Sausage)
Rarely, will you see a meat eater leave Nuremberg without having tried the famous Nuremberg Rostbratwurst (grilled sausages). Compared to their Franconian competitors, the Nuremberg sausages are very small, but particularly spicy.
You can order the Nuremberg Bratwurst not only in the restaurants, but also by a quick takeaway stand. This specialty is called in German “Drei im Weggla” – translated means “Three in the Weggla” – and basically is three Nürnberger Rostbratwürste in a bread roll. Typically, neither mustard nor ketchup is eaten – because that would drown the taste of the sausages too much. In the old town you get “Drei im Weggla” for example in the well-known Bratwursthäusle.
Nuremberg Rotbier (Red Beer of Nuremberg)
Rotbier or Red Beer has been brewed in Nuremberg since the Middle Ages in accordance with the purity law. For the production, the malt is specially roasted and gives the beer thereby its characteristic taste. Probably the most famous place to taste red beer is the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof Brewery near Tiergärtnertor. The beer is usually sold there in 1 Litre bottles. Cool thing: you can even borrow glasses from the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof Brewery and then make yourselves comfortable at the Tiergärtnertor.
6. Favourite Restaurants and Cafes in Nuremberg
Kaffeerösterei Bergbrand – Coffee Roasters
The Kaffeerösterei Bergbrand is the perfect stopover if you need a quick caffeine boost after visiting the half-timbered buildings in the Weißgerbergasse. We ordered two espresso macchiato, which were really good. We made ourselves comfortable outside the café amongst the shade of the trees, but the café is also very well furnished on the inside.
Address: Weißgerbergasse 38, 90403 Nuremberg
Die Kleine Eismanufaktur – The Small Ice-Cream Factory
Our expectations were very high due to numerous recommendations on Instagram and excellent reviews on the internet. And what can we say? We were not one bit disappointed! The ice cream parlour stands out in the famous Weißgerbergasse with its small but fine selection of ice cream. Also on offer are a few daily vegan varieties. Conclusion: very, highly recommended!
Address: Weißgerbergasse 28, 90403 Nuremberg
Café Bar Katz
Café Bar Katz is a great place to enjoy a coffee outdoors in summer. There is an open front section near the Heilig-Geist-Spital, where you can sit very comfortably. The interior is vintage-inspired. Especially in the evening, the café is a popular meeting place, more so for their big gin selection than the coffee.
Address: Hans-Sachs-Platz 8, 90403 Nuremberg
Café Mainheim is an institution in Nuremberg’s trendy Gostenhof district. Everybody knows it and that’s why Café Mainheim is always well visited. They serve breakfast, sandwiches and of course, coffee – very good coffee too. They also serve lunch during the week, so we chose to order some warm sandwiches, which were really tasty. Inside, the eatery is a mix of vintage and modern furniture, and outside you can sit on wooden benches and tables.
Address: Bauerngasse 18, 90443 Nuremberg
If you can catch the whiff of freshly roasted coffee when entering, then a café has already won us over. The Machhörndl is a roastery, shop and café – all in one. Here you can buy coffee for your home or enjoy it on the spot. Big plus: When you order, you can choose between different varieties. Unfortunately, this luxury is an occurrence far too rare in our opinion. Thus, highly recommended and thumbs up from us!
Address: Obere Kieselbergstraße 13, 90429 Nuremberg
The Green is an instagram dream come true. The stylish, minimalist deli serves bowls, smoothies and other well-prepared food. The coffee comes from the aforementioned coffee roaster: Machhörndl. Hipster store or not, we really enjoyed our Açaí Bowl, even if we had to wait a little longer. We would definitely come again.
Address: Fürther Str. 11, 90429 Nuremberg
Zeit & Raum (Time and Space)
No other restaurant was recommended to us as often as Zeit & Raum in preparation to our Nuremberg visit. The menu offers mainly salads and Flammkuchen (which is like a delicious crispy thin crusted, white sauce, cheesy tart-pizza hybrid). They also have an extensive breakfast menu.
The interior decor is a cool mix of Oriental and Southeast Asian furniture – we really liked the cozy atmosphere. If you want a place out on the open terrace during the summer, then a reservation cannot go amiss. Incidentally, students receive a 20% discount on the total invoice (with ID).
Address: Wespennest 2, 90403 Nuremberg
The Bratwurstglöcklein is an institution in Nuremberg, where tourists and locals alike come here to order 6, 8, 10 or 12 original Nuremberg sausages – best case scenario with sauerkraut on the side. The sausages are served on a tin bell-shaped plate. We found the ambience of the restaurant in the Handwerkerhof especially pretty.
Address: Waffenhof 5, 90402 Nuremberg
7. Our Hotel Tip in Nuremberg
The family-run Hotel Victoria was our home in Nuremberg for three nights. The location is ideal for exploring the city as it is located in the old town right next to the Handwerkerhof. On foot it is a good 10 minutes to the main market.
Our very cozy room was on the first floor overlooking the Handwerkerhof. Since we were guests both during a weekend and during the Bardentreffen event, it goes without saying that the nights were a bit louder than usual. The beds were very comfortable, however.
The breakfast was very good. For us muesli fans, we were delighted to have such a large selection of toppings. In addition, the friendly staff deserves special praise. It really felt more than just a welcome! Oh yes and here’s something not so self-evident: you can take free chilled drinks from the fridge in the lobby at any time during the day or night!
You can book the hotel via this link or to find out more: Hotel Victoria
This blog article was written in collaboration with FrankenTourismus. As part of the “14 cities” campaign, we travelled to a total of 14 Franconian cities in the spring and summer of 2018.
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, we will get a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A million thanks from the both of us!
Have you been to Nuremberg before? How did you like it? Or perhaps you have some extra tips for Nuremberg or experiences that you would like to share with us? Maybe you’re also planning a road trip through Franconia and have some questions for us? Let us leave a comment – we always look forward to them!