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The 10 Best Things to See and Do in Nuremberg

By Diana Hernández |

Guarantee having good luck at a fountain with a love story behind it, ride a bike along a castle’s moat and try the typical Nuremberg cookies.

Berlin, the German capital, is also the most visited city in this country. That’s because it houses impressive historic sites such as the East Side Gallery of the Berlin Wall. Also, it offers tasty treasures for beer lovers. Today we want to take you to another German city that’s full of history, shopping experiences and delicious food.

History of Nuremberg

The origin of this city (Nürnberg in German) dates back to the Middle Ages. Since that time, social changes and war have left an imprint on the city’s constructions. For centuries, it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Also, that’s where the renowned German Renaissance artist, Alberto Durero, was born. Then, in the 20th century, it was a strategic location for the National Socialist Party. However, after World War II it was there where they held the trials against the main Nazi leaders.

The Bavarian City of Nuremberg

The fastest route to get to the second most populated city in Bavaria is by taking the train from Munich (München, in German). The trip lasts less than 1.5 hours and it’s truly worth it. You’ll get to enjoy story-like landscapes full of mountains and vegetation.

The 10 best things to do in Nuremberg

Even though the city of Nuremberg harbors many attractions, we’ve selected the top 10 for you:

#1 Buy souvenirs at Hauptmarkt Square

Depending on the season when you visit Nuremberg, you’ll be able to find different local produce and artwork. Thanks to variety of products and foods they sell –such as Glühwein or hot wine–, the best time of the year to visit it just before and after Christmas celebrations.

#1 Buy souvenirs at Hauptmarkt Square

#2 Adjust your watch at the Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady

Visit the church at noon when the mechanism that has told time for the inhabitants of the city since the 16th century is activated. The church was built by Charles IV of the Holy Roman Empire in the mid 14th century. It was erected on the same spot where a Synagogue used to stand until it was burned down together with the Jewish community that went there. Certainly, it’s a part of history you’ll reflect on as you visit the structure with its gothic façade that, strangely, lacks the tall towers that are so typical of this architectural style.

#2 Adjust your watch at the Frauenkirche or Church of Our Lady

#3 Get a dose of good luck at Schönner Brunnen

This magic wooden carved fountain has a love story behind it. They say that a young locksmith apprentice who was in charge of building the gate that led to this fountain fell in love with his master’s daughter. After the old man refused his daughter’s hand to the young apprentice claiming that he was not good enough in his trade, the boy decided to make the perfect ring for her. For that time, it was extremely difficult to make a perfectly round ring given the lack of tools and technology. Given that the young man achieved his goal, they say that, nowadays, when you visit the fountain, you must turn the ring on the fountain thrice in order to have luck in love or in anything you wish for.

#3 Get a dose of good luck at Schönner Brunnen

#4 Try Nuremberg-style sausages

When you visit the main square, have lunch at one of the restaurants around it. The most typical dish you’ll find is Nuremberg-style sausages. They’re smaller than the ones you’ll find in the rest of Germany –3 to 4 inches– and they are prepared with marjoram. They’re usually served with meerrettich sauce (mustard) and sauerkraut (acid cauliflower salad). You can also order them Drei im Weggla style; this means, three sausages between two slices of bread, like a sandwich.

#4 Try Nuremberg-style sausages

#5 Cross the River Pegnitz along the Henkersteg or Executioner’s Bridge

There are several bridges in Nuremberg that prove that the city is divided into two by the River Pegnitz. Tourists love crossing these bridges to get the best pictures. Although all the bridges have an interesting story behind their construction, the Henkersteg or “executioner’s bridge” is quite peculiar. It used to connect the land with a small island where they sent people who got leprosy, executioners and their families, as they were all considered impure.

#5 Cross the River Pegnitz along the Henkersteg or Executioner’s Bridge

#6 Ride a bike along a castle’s moat

The Kaiserburg or Nuremberg Castle dates back to the 11th century. It’s probable that most of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire spent at least one night there. Nowadays it houses the Imperial Museum with its huge collection of historic arms, and it offers visitors the chance to enjoy great views of the city from top of the castle’s walls. However, if you want to have an out of the ordinary experience, rent a bike. You can do so online or on site. Then, ride along the bike trail they built in what used to be the castle’s moat.

#6 Ride a bike along a castle’s moat

#7 Visit Lorenzkirche, the church that survived several bombings

The construction of Lorenzkirche began in the 13th century and it reflects the population’s wealth. Today, it’s practically a miracle to still be able to visit it since was a bombing reference site during World War II. Despite all the attacks and its huge dimensions, it was one of the few buildings that remain standing after 90% of the constructions in the area were destroyed.

#7 Visit Lorenzkirche, the church that survived several bombings

#8 Visit the place that inspired the creation of Human Rights

The trials against Nazi leaders were held at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice between 1945 and 1946. In room 600 the accused were judged for their war crimes against peace and humanity. Most were sentenced but some escaped justice by arguing that they had only acted that way because they were following orders. Some others fled to other countries and others even committed suicide. Today you can visit the room unless they’re holding a trial.

The categorization of all these crimes led to the creation of the International Humanitarian Law.

#8 Visit the place that inspired the creation of Human Rights

#9 Reflect on what the Nazis did at the Documentation Center

At the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände or Documentation Center of the Nazi Party Congress you’ll find an exhibit about the history of the National Socialist Party. You’ll also find the square where Hitler used to give his speeches as well as an impressive but unfinished Coliseum. The idea of opening this place to the public was to raise awareness about the atrocities that took place there so that they never happen again.

#9 Reflect on what the Nazis did at the Documentation Center

#10 Try the Nürnberger Lebkuchen or Nuremberg cookies

The Nürnberger Lebkuchen are typical cookies from Nuremberg. Their recipe includes a great amount of dry nuts and spices, it’s worldly known and it’s registered by the German Foods Laws. You can find them in many stores around the city and you can buy one cookie or even a whole box.

#10 Try the Nürnberger Lebkuchen or Nuremberg cookies

Now you know the 10 things DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, recommends seeing, doing and eating so that you enjoy your trip to Nuremberg the most. We hope you have lots of unforgettable experiences!