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The ultimate guide to Nuremberg

The ultimate guide to Nuremberg

A peek inside the unofficial capital of Franconia. From historical landmarks to tiny sausages, here’s what to see and do on a visit to Nuremberg.

I was thoroughly enchanted by Nuremberg when I moved here in December of 2015. Cosy streets, a nearly thousand-year history, the Pegnitz River flowing through; this place had all the trappings of what one imagines of a proper German town.

More than six years later—the shine of novelty having long worn to the tarnish of familiarity—I’m still delighted to call Nuremberg home. 

One of the city’s best qualities is its size. Highly walkable and well-served by underground and street transportation, it’s easy to get around and maximise your time here.

Since British Airways launched a new direct route between London Heathrow and Nuremberg in late March 2022, this Franconian city is a perfect destination for your next city break. 

If you’re into history…

Pentagonal tower, with the Imperial Stables and Luginsland behind it, at Kaiserburg Imperial Castle in NurembergA walk up to Nuremberg's Imperial Castle will give you a vantage point for the city's breathtaking views

Nuremberg has a written record dating back to 1050, and the Imperial Castle has been here through the centuries.

Tour or no tour, a walk up the hill to gaze over the rooftops of Nuremberg from the castle viewpoint is a must and requires no admission. This is usually the first spot I take visitors and it never fails to impress. 

A short stroll below the castle will bring you to Tiergärtnertor Square, where you’ll find Albrecht Dürer's House. Dürer is a prominent figure around Nuremberg and, remarkably, the half-timbered house he spent almost two decades in has survived from the 15th century.

You’ll see Dürer’s work around town whether you visit the museum house or not—his hare and rhinoceros paintings in particular have inspired many a replica. 

"There’s no denying Nuremberg’s all too recent dark past"

Though it’s a lively and (reasonably) well-adjusted city today, there’s no denying Nuremberg’s all too recent dark past.

The Nazi Party Rally Grounds remain as an important site for research and education, and a visit to the Documentation Centre within these grounds is a particularly eye-opening experience. 

If you’re into culture…

Nuremberg sausages served in a bread rollCredit: Uwe Niklas via Stadt Nürnberg. Nuremberg's famous small sausages must be between seven and nine centimetres long and weigh no more than 25g.

Museum enthusiasts will appreciate the many offerings in Nuremberg. Whether you wish to learn about the Deutsche Bahn railways, explore the city’s 600-year history of making toys, or delve into the life of a 1600s executioner, there is—though I regret to use the clichéd phrase—something for everyone. 

"The Bratwurst Museum takes visitors on a journey through the sausage’s conception"

The City Museum at Fembo House is lovely and an underground tour of the historic rock-cut beer cellars is worth your time (do enjoy a post-tour Rotbier at Hausbrauerei Altstadthof).

But my favourite Nuremberg house of culture is a rather new one: the Nürnberger Bratwurstmuseum

An homage to the tiny sausages butchers have been making here since 1313—a proper Nürnberger must measure between seven and nine centimetres in length and weigh no more than 25 grams—the Bratwurst Museum takes visitors on a journey through the sausage’s conception and its influence on the very fabric of Nuremberg life.

You’ll definitely want a bite by the time you leave. 

Where to eat and drink in Nuremberg

Its location near the Hauptmarkt (main square) might leave you wondering why I’ve sent you to a not-at-all secret restaurant, but Bratwursthäusle is and has been one of my favourite places to eat since my own first visit to Nuremberg.

Sitting outside is nice enough, though inside is where you’ll find the real atmosphere. It’s rustic, the air is thick with the scent of grilled sausage, and in non-COVID times you’ll probably share a table with strangers—it’s a deliciously jovial experience.

To reach my preferred restaurant for Franconian fare, you’ll need to leave the Altstadt (Old Town) and head to the neighbourhood of St. Johannis (about 20 minutes by foot) to find Zeltner. The Schäufele—a bone-in pork shoulder with an irresistible cap of crisped fat—is divine. 

Also in St. Johannis is Helena, which serves excellent Greek food and is one of my own regular spots for a relaxing Friday evening dinner.

Alternatively, you might venture to the Gostenhof neighbourhood and enjoy Georgian food at MER

For a modern approach to Franconian flavours, Fränk’ness is a joy. Their vegetarian dishes are an especially refreshing alternative to the pork-forward plates found throughout the city.

And because a great evening out often includes a nightcap, I’ll note that Herrengedeck is an excellent spot for craft cocktails and harder-to-find spirits.

Where to stay in Nuremberg

Dating back to 1898, Le Méridien Grand Hotel is a local institution with a rather sumptuous lobby. The location is excellent and 190 rooms means there’s usually availability (though do book well in advance if you’re visiting Nuremberg during Christmas market season).

I’m quite partial to the hotel’s Atelier Bar, which is open to the public. 

I thought I knew the best view in Nuremberg—curiously, the top of the Adlerstrasse parking garage—then I stayed at the new Motel One Hauptbahnhof and enjoyed a (few) drink(s) in their 14th-floor Cloud Bar.

There simply isn’t another perspective on the city like the one you’ll find in this hotel. (Note: the Cloud Bar is only open to hotel guests.) 

While the view alone is worth staying here for, Motel One’s budget-chic accommodations are a real pleasure. Compelling design throughout the property, comfortable beds and a locally sourced breakfast—not to mention the well-stocked gin bar with more than 50 choices on offer—make this hotel my top pick for visitors.

For an overnight closer to the main square, check out Sorat Hotel Saxx or the Karl August—a recent opening in Nuremberg’s fashionable new Augustinerstraße pedestrian zone.   

Unmissable spots on a Nuremberg walking tour

Night view of Ehekarussell fountain (or marriage carousel) in NurembergSure to raise a few eyebrows, the Ehekarussell (marriage carousel) fountain depicts the ups and downs of married life

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Weißgerbergasse, Nuremberg’s “postcard” street lined with historic half-timbered houses.

This is also where you’ll also find the best ice cream in the city at Die Kleine Eismanufaktur—be prepared to wait in line!

"I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Weißgerbergasse, Nuremberg’s 'postcard' street"

Have a wander through the charming Handwerkerhof, a beautifully constructed replica of a medieval shopping quarter. 

Finally, don’t miss the Ehekarussell (marriage carousel) fountain sculpture located at Ludwigsplatz. Not that you could miss it if you happen to walk by. It’s large, it’s weird, you’ll have a lot of questions—it’s one of my favourite oddities of Nuremberg.

Summer was invited to stay at Motel One Hauptbahnhof for two nights.

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