There are so many wonderful things to do in Nuremberg, Germany.
This city is packed with history, incredible art museums, beautiful churches, and one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
When you heard Nuremberg, you may think of its WWII past, the Nuremberg Trials, the Nazi Party Grounds, and intense bombings that destroyed over 90% of this medieval city.
And learning more about that history is definitely one of the most important Nuremberg things to do when you visit.
However, there is so much more to see in this city. There are so many more things to do in Nuremberg than to explore its infamous past.
I hope this article helps to show you all of the wonderful Nuremberg attractions that you won’t want to miss.
Getting to Nuremberg
There is a small airport in Nuremberg (code: NUE) which is reachable by budget airlines or from other cities around Germany.
The largest international airport that is close to Nuremberg is Munich. From Munich Airport (code: MUC) it takes two hours by train to reach Nuremberg. You can take the train to Munich’s main train station and then onward to Nuremberg several times per day.
Check train times and book train tickets for around Germany on the DB App (Android here and iOS here). Booking directly on the German train app is the cheapest and most convenient way to book train journey’s within Germany.
If you are coming by train from Prague or elsewhere outside of Germany, I highly recommend booking with Trainline. This website offers very competitive prices and also shows you if there are cheaper options like the Flixbus available.
Getting Around Nuremberg
Before arriving in Nuremberg, I got myself the Nürnberg Card.
The Nürnberg Card is a 48-hour pass that includes free public transportation within the city center of Nuremberg as well as free entry to a ton of museums. Pretty much every museum and Nuremberg attraction on this list is included in the Nürnberg Card.
Nuremberg has an u-bahn (subway system) as well as a fantastic bus and tram network that between them, can take you pretty much anywhere in the city.
However, besides a few of the Nuremberg things to do that are on the edge of town, you can pretty much walk all over the downtown area of Nuremberg without too much of a problem.
Much of the city is cobbled, so be sure to wear some comfortable walking shoes.
Where to Stay in Nuremberg
There are some really fantastic locally-owned hotels in the downtown area of Nuremberg.
- Art & Business Hotel: This is where I stayed on my most recent trip and I highly recommend staying here on your first trip to Nuremberg. It’s located right near the train station which means it’s also very close to all of the public transportation. The hotel is owned and operated by a local family. The rooms are clean and stylish and the breakfast might just be one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had. Rooms start as low as $65 USD per night. Book a stay at Art & Business Hotel here.
- Sorat Hotel Saxx: This hotel is located right in the center of the old town only a block away from the location of the Nuremberg Christmas Market. This is the absolute best location if that is what you plan to do when visiting the city or if you just want to be at the center of all of the best things to do in Nuremberg. It’s stylish, clean, and relatively affordable with rooms that start at just under $100 USD per night. Book a stay at the Sorat Hotel Saxx here.
- Karl August: This is a pretty new hotel having only just opened about a year ago. This is a true boutique hotel experience in Nuremberg with a cute cafe and restaurant on-site as well as a coworking space. There is a beautiful pool and a fitness center and the rooms are plush and comfortable. Rooms start at $85 USD per night. Book a stay at Karl August here.
Map of Things to Do in Nuremberg
The Best Things to Do in Nuremberg
These are some of the top Nuremberg attractions that you won’t want to miss during your trip to this beautiful German city.
As mentioned above, the Nürnberg Card is a great way to save if you plan on visiting all of these different Nuremberg things to do. For a full list of what museums are included on the pass, check the website here.
1. Imperial Castle of Nuremberg
The Nuremberg Castle is probably one of the most popular things to do in Nuremberg.
Perched on the top of a hill just north of the old town, it’s very easy to walk here from any point in the city. Although it is on a hill overlooking the city, it isn’t a particularly steep walk to the top.
You can walk around the park and even through the fortification walls to explore some of the interior areas of the castle for free. There is a cute cafe located here that is popular on a sunny day with plenty of outdoor seating.
However, if you are interested in learning more about the history of the castle and want to see some of the rooms recreated to how they looked during medieval times, it’s worth going inside.
Entry to the castle costs €7 for adults. Children under 18 visit the museum free of charge. If you have the Nürnberg Card, entry is included in the pass.
2. Nuremberg Zoo
The Nuremberg Zoo is located just on the outskirts of the city and is reachable by taking the u-bahn and then bus 45. You can see directions here.
The Nuremberg Zoo one of the most visited places in Nuremberg for tourists. It’s often rated as one of the best zoos in Europe and has over 300 animals in 165 acres (67 Hectares).
The zoo is focused on the conservation of animals and their natural environments. Researchers from across the world come to the Nuremberg Zoo to work and the zoo itself has over 100 employees.
Whether you are traveling to Nuremberg with kids or not, the zoo is a very interesting place to spend some time and learn about the conservation work that they’re doing here.
3. St. Sebald Church
Located right next to the city hall (another beautiful building worth visiting while you are in Nuremberg), St. Sebald Church is one of the oldest and most important churches in Nuremberg.
Construction on this medieval church began in 1225. It was finally completed in 1275 as a Romanesque basilica. Since the reformation, it has been a Lutheran church.
Be sure to have a look at the organ. The organist at St. Sebald Church was considered one of the most important people in Nuremberg over the centuries.
Between 1446 and 1810 there was a head organist serving the church and community. Most of them served until their death (except that one guy who was asked to leave after cheating on his wife).
It’s well worth walking through this historical church and, if you get the chance, coming and listening to the organ being played.
4. Hauptmarkt & Frauenkirche
Hauptmarkt is the main square here in Nuremberg and visiting the daily market here is definitely one of the best things to do in Nuremberg.
The stalls have lots of fresh produce, which is wonderful if you are staying in an apartment and self-catering while you’re here. They also have things like raclette (cheese that is heated and then scraped onto a piece of bread or potato), locally made honey, gingerbread, and more.
While in Hauptmarkt, be sure to go over to the Schöner Brunnen, the beautiful fountain.
You can’t miss this tall, gold-covered fountain with its black gate around the outside of it. Find the gold ring that is hooked over the baclk gate (it’s only a small ring) and spin it three times for good luck.
In the plaza is the Frauenkirche. This is one of the most beautiful churches in Nuremberg in my humble opinion. From the outside, it retains the medieval architecture that makes Nuremberg one of the most stunning cities in Germany.
The church was originally built in 1362 on the orders of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles IV. It is one of the few Catholic churches in the city. Inside, the nearly-pink stone arches make you feel so very small.
Once it was finished, Charles IV had his son baptized here. Have a look at the altar when you are inside. It was built in 1440 and was originally the altar of a completely different church.
5. Nuremberg Christmas Market
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is famous around the world. It’s one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world which means people travel from all over to see this wonderful market.
It isn’t just one of the best things to do in Nuremberg in December, it’s one of the best things to do in Europe during the month of December.
Whether you have been to a German Christmas market before or it will be your first time, a visit to this expansive market is such a fun way to spend an evening (the sun sets around 4 pm in December here, so the Gluwein drinking can start early!).
Sample the mulled wine, the giant gingerbread cookies, the Nuremberg sausages, and grab an ornament or two. It’s all about merriment and keeping warm at this beautiful market.
Read more about the market on their official website here.
6. Try Traditional Nürnberger Lebkuchen
Nürnberger Lebkuchen is easiest to find at Christmas time when the Christmas market is in full flow and it seems like every other stall is selling it.
Lebkuchen is kind of like gingerbread, but oh so much better.
Sweetened with honey and more like a cake than a cookie in texture, this fluffy biscuit can thankfully be found all year long.
If you are not visiting during the month of December, I recommend going to Wicklein Lebkuchen which is located right in the Hauptmarkt area.
The shop itself is one of the best things to do in Nuremberg because it feels almost like going into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory. The smell of chocolate hits you as soon as you open the door. If you walk up to the counter, you’ll see the chocolate pouring through the machine beneath the glass.
The store has tons of things on offer, including plenty of lebkuchen that is prepacked and ready to pack in your carry-on luggage for friends back home. But you get the chance to have the freshest and fluffiest lebkuchen all to yourself.
The plain lebkuchen with the almond slices is my personal favorite, but they also have them dipped in their rich milk chocolate as well.
7. Eat Nuremberg Rostbratwurst
Although I fell in love with the lebkuchen in Nuremberg, I’m really more of a savory gal. So when I learned about the very specific sausages that are made in Nuremberg, I was most excited about those (ok, I was most excited about the beer, but we’ll get to that later, I promise).
Nuremberg sausages must follow a few rules in order to be called Nuremberg Rostbratwurst. They must weigh 20-25 grams (.7-.88 oz). They must be between 7-9cm (2.75-3.5 inches). They cannot have more than 35% fat content. And finally, they must be cooked over beechwood that has been aged for three years.
With something that has been so closely guarded, you feel that you are almost guaranteed something delicious. And well, you are. These sausages are absolutely fantastic and can be served two ways – three in a bun (with or without sauerkraut, your choice) or six on a pewter plate with sauerkraut.
These were some of my favorite spots to have them when I was in Nuremberg. You can of course find the sausages at stalls all over the city, but these are more restaurant style than stand.
- Bratwursthäusle bei St. Sebald – if you just want it in a bread roll, head straight inside to the bar (you’ll see them grilling when you walk in) and order there. These must be eaten as take-away. If you want them on a plate, wait at the front for a server to seat you.
- Bratwurst Röslein – The best overall place for good local food and a nice plate of the roast bratwurst.
- Restaurant Burgwächter – One of my favorite restaurants in Nuremberg and one of the best places in the city to try their bratwurst. This is an especially great place on a sunny day to sit outside.
8. Nurnberger Bratwurstmuseum
Want to learn even more about these delicious little sausages? There’s a whole museum dedicated to them and it’s surrounded by several of the best things to do in Nuremberg, so you don’t have to go out of your way.
Much like the sausages, this museum is quite small but interesting and quite tongue-in-cheek. You’ll be able to learn about why these sausages are so small and why these rules came about in the first place.
It’s also an interesting peek into the history of this city in general. There is so much medieval and royal history in Nuremberg and even the humble bratwurst was involved in its past.
9. Henkerhaus Museum
Just next to the bratwurst museum is the Henkerhaus or hangman’s house.
This was the home of the city’s executioner over 500 years ago. The executioner and his family lived right over the Pegnitz River, which was a short walk to the neighboring tower where his work was done during the day.
Much like the bratwurst museum, this museum offers a really fascinating insight into a less glamorous side of Nuremberg history, including the legal system during the Middle Ages.
Entrance is €3 and the museum is open daily from noon until 5 pm. However, if you are visiting in winter, note that it is closed from January to the end of March.
10. Weinstadel and Maxbrücke
As you walk out of Henkerhaus and out through the covered bridge, you will find yourself in front of two more famous Nuremberg attractions, Weinstadel and Maxbrücke (brücke means bridge in German).
I highly recommend walking onto and over to the middle of Maxbrücke for one of the best views in Nuremberg.
Before visiting Nuremberg for the first time, I saw photos of these buildings; the Weinstadel to the left and the Henkerhaus and tower to the right, both reflected in the Pegnitz and I decided that I had to come to Nuremberg.
Much like the neighboring Henkerhaus, Weinstadel doesn’t have a warm and fuzzy past either. Originally built to house the visiting lepers who were only allowed in the city for three days around Easter to receive medical treatment and new clothing.
In 1571, it became a wine depot, hence its current name which translates to wine barn. In the 1950s, it was converted into student housing and the interior was completely renovated. Now it is the largest half-timbered building in Germany.
11. St. Lawrence Church
Lorenzkirche, or St Lawrence Church, is just on the edge of the old town but was perhaps my favorite church that I visited on my recent trip to Nuremberg.
The church was originally built in the 15th century, but like much of Nuremberg, was badly damaged by bombing during WWII. It has been completely restored to its Gothic origins, but it may not look like this for much longer, so now is the time to visit.
There is currently much debate surrounding the church and the parish’s plans to convert some of the building into offices, shops, and a kitchen. It would completely change the interior look of the church.
The main reason it’s being so hotly debated within Germany is that this church is one of the most important and prominent Lutheran churches in all of Germany.
12. Germanisches Nationalmuseum
There is a lot to love about this museum, but there was one main reason I went here.
The Germanisches Nationalmuseum is a must for things to do in Nuremberg if you like travel or history or the history of travel. Here resides the oldest still existing globe in the entire world.
The globe was made in 1492, so you won’t see any land masses between Asia and Europe. There is a lot of information available to read about how the globe was made which makes it all the more fascinating.
And right next to the oldest globe in the world? The second oldest globe in the world! This one was made nearly 100 years later in the 16th century, but much was still unknown about the Americas, but there is a land mass there.
The museum has some really fantastic art from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as being part of an old monastery that has been seamlessly reconstructed to be part of the museum exhibits. It’s well worth visiting.
Entry is €8 for adults, but if you are visiting as a family, the family ticket which includes two adults and up to four children under 18 is a bargain at only €10.
13. New Museum – Nuremberg State Museum of Art and Design
If you are a modern art and design lover, you can’t miss a visit to the New Museum. The spiral staircase, the stunning exhibits, the way everything is so thoughtfully displayed.
Be sure to ask at the front desk for an English translation of the exhibits. They also have them at the entrance to the different exhibits, but only German is written on the walls of the exhibits, so keep an eye out for the translations.
The museum has constantly changing exhibits, but they are always beautiful and thought-provoking, and unique. There are three levels of the museum and all offer something quite different from the room you were in before.
It’s not very large and you can easily visit in about an hour unless you want to linger longer. There is a huge locker area to put any bags and coats here. I found this particularly helpful as I came here shortly after checking out of my hotel but still with a bit of time before my train.
Entry to the museum is €7 and entry is free for those under 18.
14. Nuremberg Opera House
If you don’t have the time or the travel budget to go to a show inside the opera house, even just exploring the exterior is worth adding to your list of things to do in Nuremberg.
It’s worth checking their website in the days before your visit to the city because very often they will have one or two free events at the Opera House alongside some of their larger paid events.
They have everything from opera and ballet to live theater and musical events. It’s a stunning building and a beautiful thing to do in the evening in Nuremberg, especially on a chilly autumn night when the beer gardens aren’t open.
15. Handwerkhof Nuremberg
This beautiful little area makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a German Christmas market all year. Located across from the main train station, it’s easy to get here by public transportation and a fun place to visit for lunch or a morning coffee.
It’s a small medieval village surrounded by the city’s fortification and set upon cobbled streets. You’ll find a little beer garden here, a fantastic cafe, cute craft shops, and a few souvenirs that you perhaps didn’t intend to buy before you arrived.
If you are visiting during the festive period, it’s another place to add to your things to do in Nuremberg list alongside the main Christmas Market. There is a huge Christmas tree here as well as tons of other decorations that make it really feel like Christmastime.
16. Rock Cut Cellars
Nuremberg is home to south Germany’s largest labyrinth of rock-cut cellars. Originally built because the city decreed back in the Middle Ages, anyone selling beer or wine must have a cellar.
So each tavern was excavated beneath their buildings in the old town to create a place to age and store their alcohol. As the city grew larger and more wooden structures were built in the old town, it became apparent that the city needed a way for people to escape in case of a fire.
Many of the cellars were then linked and more tunnels were dug to link the cellars to exits north of the city center.
During WWII, many of these cellars were converted into bomb shelters, making them even easier to access.
Now, only a few breweries still use these cellars to store the city’s famous red beer and only one of those breweries offers tours of the cellars.
Book a tour online here with the brewery and arrive a few minutes before it starts. You’ll be able to learn all about the history of beer brewing in Nuremberg and get to walk through these historic tunnels.
And most important of all, you’ll emerge from the tunnel and be handed a cellar-cold red beer to sample.
This difficult-to-pronounce street is one of the most picturesque in the city. If you enjoy photography or colorful medieval buildings, this is one of the best things to do in Nuremberg.
While you’re here, pop in for a coffee at Bergbrand coffee roasters. This cafe is serving up some of the best coffee in the city and is a great place to head to start your day or for a mid-morning pick-me-up.
The interior is fantastically designed and the coffee is exceptional. As the name suggests, they are roasting the beans themselves and you have a few choices when you decide what beans you want, what style of coffee you want, and even what milk you want.
After you warm up and caffeinate up, head along this historical street and enjoy the views.
18. Walk along the City Fortification Walls
Like many of the buildings and structures in Nuremberg, the majority of the city’s fortification wall was destroyed by bombings during WWII.
However, much of the fortification has been rebuilt and along with it, a beautiful pedestrian walking path that nearly circumnavigates the city. You can walk all the way from the main train station to the castle along the city walls.
If you are staying in the city center, this is a nice place to go for a walk or run in the morning. It’s also a convenient way to get from Handwerkhof to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
19. Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
No list of things to do in Nuremberg could be complete without digging into the history that has made Nuremberg so infamous.
Of the two places that focus on the history of the Nazi party here in Nuremberg, I think the journey should start at the Documentation Center.
When I last visited the city (November 2022), the Rally Grounds were under construction, so you could not visit. However, the Documentation Center was still open and had a very powerful temporary exhibit that is well worth going it.
The Nazi Party had a large following in Nuremberg and due to the success of their first rally here, decided that they would have all future rallies at this Kongresshalle.
The museum walks you through why locals felt so connected to this message, how it all grew from there, what happened to the city, and what happened to the people, including the Jews of the city, during this time period.
It is hard-hitting, like any museum that focuses on the Nazi party should be, and it doesn’t shy away from the facts.
Entrance to the museum is €6 or €12.50 for a family ticket of two adults and up to three children.
20. Memorium Nuremberg Trials
Once you learn about how the Nazi party grew and prospered in Nuremberg, you can come to where the Nazi party officials and others involved saw their end.
This museum is located inside the actual courthouse where the trials took place. You can still go inside and see the courtroom, but only when it is not being used as it is still a functioning courtroom to this day.
The museum entry includes an audioguide in several different languages and is incredibly thorough. I recommend giving yourself at least an hour and a half here if you are interested in learning about all that happened.
The museum and audioguide cover everything from the start of the war to the destruction of the city to the sentiment of Germans around the country. It moves on to the selection of the location for the trials, the selection of the judges, and which judicial system would be used (German or American).
It talks about the selection of lawyers, what the charges would be, and what the punishments would be. It finishes by detailing what happened to the majority of the officials whose trials took place here.
It also has an interesting section at the end that shows other atrocities that have taken place since WWII and some that continue to take place around the world today.
It’s a somber museum that I think is one of the most important places to visit in Nuremberg.
The museum is very fact-heavy and perhaps not interesting to some people, but if you have any interest in history or this time in Germany and what came of these evils after WWII, you should not miss it.