Nuremberg is a historic city in Bavaria, Germany that is filled with fascinating sights and attractions. Not only that, it is one of my favourite places in Germany and has some of the best sausages and beer. Those may be related. You can read about the “wurst” time I had there (sorry) when I was eating sausages around Germany a while back. You’ll find a lot of information about the city in this blog post, and together with this one you will have all you need to have the best time in Nuremberg.
With roots dating back to the 11th century, Nuremberg has played an important role in German history and culture. This guide on what to do in Nuremberg provides an overview of the top things to see and do in the city, from visiting medieval castles and churches to exploring world-class museums.
What to do in Nuremberg – Summary
|Medieval imperial castle complex with towers, museums, and city views
|St. Lorenz Church
|Beautiful medieval Catholic church with Gothic architecture and Renaissance artwork
|Largest museum of German cultural history with expansive collections of art, artifacts, and scientific instruments
|Nuremberg Transport Museum
|Transportation museum located in the former railway depot, with exhibits on trains, planes, and automobiles
|Museum housed in a historic merchant’s house displaying Nuremberg’s toy-making history
|Documentation Centre at Nazi Party Rally Grounds
|Museum in the unfinished Congress Hall covering the Nazi regime and rallies held in Nuremberg
|Palace of Justice
|Site of the historic Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals after WWII, including Courtroom 600
|St. Sebaldus Church
|Medieval Catholic church containing the shrine of St. Sebald, Nuremberg’s patron saint
|Albrecht Dürer’s House
|Former home and museum of the legendary Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer
|Altstadt (Old Town)
|Well-preserved medieval center with sights like Hauptmarkt square, Weißgerbergasse, city walls and towers
Nestled between the cities of Munich and Frankfurt, Nuremberg is the second largest city in the German state of Bavaria. It is situated on the Pegnitz River and surrounded by an extensive medieval wall with towers and gates.
Nuremberg has a long and storied history. It was an important hub for trade and commerce in the Holy Roman Empire. The city also served as the site of Nazi rallies and war crime trials after World War II. Today, Nuremberg is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, art treasures, unique culinary traditions, and fascinating museums.
Some of the top attractions that no visit to Nuremberg is complete without include:
- Nuremberg Castle
- St. Lorenz and St. Sebaldus Churches
- Germanisches Nationalmuseum
- Nuremberg Transport Museum
- Toy Museum
- Nazi Documentation Centre
- Historic Old Town
One of the most iconic landmarks in Nuremberg is the breathtaking Nuremberg Castle. Perched on a sandstone cliff overlooking the city, the castle dates back to the 11th century. It has been used as an imperial residence for medieval rulers.
The castle is comprised of multiple buildings enclosed within fortified walls. Key highlights include:
- Sinwell Tower – a circular 14th century stone keep with an observation deck offering panoramic city views
- Deep Well – which plunges over 50 meters into the sandstone
- Imperial Castle Museum – with exhibits of medieval artifacts like suits of armor
- Palace – used for official ceremonies and events
Visitors can take a self-guided audio tour to explore the castle, soak in views of Nuremberg from its ramparts, and learn about its long history.
St. Lorenz Church
The Altstadt (Old Town) of Nuremberg contains many architectural and cultural gems. One of them is the magnificent St. Lorenz Church, a medieval Catholic parish church dating back to the 13th century.
The church has an elongated choir hall built in the 15th century in the Late Gothic architectural style. Art and architecture highlights inside St. Lorenz Church include:
- Life of Saint Lawrence fresco by Michael Wolgemut
- Tabernacle by Adam Kraft
- Annunciation carved by Veit Stoss
- Tucher Altarpiece
St. Lorenz Church gives visitors a glimpse into Nuremberg’s deep religious heritage and medieval artistic achievements.
Nuremberg is home to the largest museum of German cultural history – the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Spanning over 1,000 years of artifacts, the museum is housed within a historic monastery and church.
Some of the highlights of its vast collections include:
- The world’s largest exhibition of works by Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer
- Medieval sculptures, panel paintings, weapons, and musical instruments
- Scientific instruments, clocks, porcelain, glassware, and toys
- Extensive library of early printed books
The museum beautifully illustrates the cultural traditions, artistry, and innovations of the German-speaking world through the centuries. Visitors can spend hours immersed in its rich exhibits.
Nuremberg Transport Museum
Located in Nuremberg’s former railway depot, the DB Museum offers fascinating insights into the evolution of transportation in Germany and Europe. As the site of Germany’s first railway line, Nuremberg was at the forefront of transportation history.
Exhibition highlights of the Nuremberg Transport Museum include:
- Vintage locomotives, including the Adler steam engine
- Model trains
- Interactive exhibits demonstrating tunnel and bridge design
- Collections of bikes, automobiles, ships, and aircraft
Visitors of all ages, especially families with kids, will love exploring the museum’s hands-on displays and learning about the development of planes, trains, and automobiles over time.
No visit to Nuremberg is complete without a stop at the Toy Museum, located in a historic merchant’s house. Nuremberg has been a major center of toy manufacturing for centuries.
This delightful museum has extensive exhibits related to the history of play, including:
- Antique dolls, dollhouses, puppets, and toy knights
- Model railways
- Tin toys and toy soldiers
- 20th century favorites like Barbies, Legos, and Playmobil sets
Kids can enjoy the hands-on “Kids’ World” section. For an inside look at Nuremberg’s long toy-making heritage, a trip to the Toy Museum is a must.
Other Notable Nuremberg Attractions
In addition to the top highlights covered above, some other significant attractions and landmarks in Nuremberg include:
- Documentation Centre at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds – Housed in the unfinished Congress Hall, this museum covers the rise and fall of the Nazi regime and party rallies held in Nuremberg.
- Palace of Justice – Home to the historic Nuremberg Trials where Nazi war criminals were tried by Allied forces after WWII. Courtroom 600 can be visited.
- St. Sebaldus Church – A medieval Catholic church with the shrine of St. Sebald, Nuremberg’s patron saint. It contains works by Veit Stoss.
- Albrecht Dürer’s House – The home of the legendary Renaissance painter Albrecht Dürer has been converted into a museum about his life.
Exploring Nuremberg’s Historic Old Town
Much of Nuremberg’s medieval architecture survived extensive bombing during WWII. Wandering through the historic Altstadt (Old Town) is like taking a trip back in time to the 14th and 15th centuries when Nuremberg was a flourishing trade hub.
Must-see sights while exploring the charming Old Town include:
- Hauptmarkt – the central market square home to Nuremberg’s famous Christkindlesmarkt Christmas market. Dominated by the Gothic Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) and the Schöner Brunnen fountain.
- Weißgerbergasse – Picturesque cobbled lane lined with half-timbered houses housing cafes and shops. One of the most photographed streetscapes in Nuremberg.
- City Walls and Towers – Remnants of the medieval fortification system that once encircled Nuremberg can still be seen.
- Handwerkerhof – A recreation of an old world craftsmen’s village within the city walls featuring traditional artisan workshops.
With its quintessential medieval charm, fascinating Nazi history, unique museums, and culinary heritage, Nuremberg offers an exciting and varied experience for visitors. Culture lovers, history buffs, families, and foodies will all find plenty to see and do in this historic Bavarian city.
From exploring Nuremberg’s imperial past at the Kaiserburg Castle, admiring sacred art at St. Lorenz Church, and learning about traditions and innovations at its museums, there are many ways to discover Nuremberg’s rich cultural legacy.
Whether you spend a day or several, a visit to Nuremberg is sure to be a memorable one.