Before setting foot in Nuremberg, my knowledge was limited to its iconic Christmas market, interesting World War II history, and its world-renowned sausage.
While these alone can justify a visit, Nuremberg has a breadth of attractions likely of interest to the solo traveller.
In this article, I’ll share tips on navigating the city’s historic streets and offer insights into the city’s unique museums and cultural scene.
Things to do in Nuremberg
I typically travel with my partner, but when he took some time to be with his family, I seized the opportunity for a swift city break to Nuremberg.
Having not travelled solo in a while, I kicked off my visit with a walking tour of the Old Town, immersing myself in its rich cultural sights.
This tour not only gave me an overview of the city’s history but also highlighted areas I was interested in exploring further.
Based on my experiences, here’s what I believe are the best things to do in Nuremberg and places to visit.
1. Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle
The most popular attraction in Nuremberg is the Imperial Castle.
Strategically perched atop a hill, it offers visitors a panoramic vista of the city, laying out Nuremberg like a map before you.
This makes it an ideal first stop, setting the tone for the rest of your exploration.
Venturing into the castle grounds, you can wander freely during the daytime without any entrance fee.
The museum housed within the castle is a treasure trove for those intrigued by medieval warfare.
It has an impressive collection of armaments and armours. If weaponry piques your interest, then this museum is a must-visit.
However, while guided tours provide deeper insights into the castle’s history and significance, do note that during my visit, these tours were exclusively in German.
2. Albrecht Durer’s House
You can head down to your next stop at Albrecht Durer’s House from the Imperial Castle.
Albrecht Durer was well known around Europe during his lifetime and remains Nuremberg’s most famous artist.
His works are on display in many Old Masters galleries around the world, underscoring his lasting legacy in the world of art.
You can visit Durer’s half-timbered house if you’re curious to see how Durer and the upper classes lived in the 16th century.
You won’t see any of his famous artwork there, but the experience of wandering around this well-preserved home is worthwhile.
I enjoyed seeing the interior of this half-timbered house as I had never been inside one before.
Continuing downhill along Albrecht Durer Street, you’ll eventually reach Weissgerbergasse, one of the most picturesque streets in Nuremberg.
Characterised by its well-preserved, historic timber-framed houses, the street offers a unique glimpse into the city’s medieval past.
“Weissgerber” translates to “tawers” in English, which refers to artisans who processed and tanned hides, specifically those used for making gloves. The street was traditionally inhabited by these tawers, hence the name.
This was my favourite part of Nuremberg, but I feel a bit sorry for the residents who had to deal with the constant stream of tourists photographing their pretty houses.
This is the walking tour of Nuremberg that I went on during my solo visit.
4. 15th Century Wine Store
As you make your way across the historic chain bridge, which, despite its age, appears strikingly well-preserved, the 15th-century Wine Store comes into view.
This medieval half-timbered building, with its thick walls and robust architecture, speaks volumes of Nuremberg’s rich history tied to wine trade and storage.
Interestingly, this relic of the past now serves as a student residence. Considering the juxtaposition is intriguing: young students, engrossed in modern-day academics, reside within walls that have stood witness to centuries of history.
I can’t help but wonder about the stories and conversations that these walls have ‘heard’ and how today’s students might feel about living amidst such history. They probably don’t think twice about it.
5. The Beautiful Fountain
After taking in my fill of the half-timbered charm, I headed back towards the main square or Hauptmarkt.
This is the location of the Nuremberg Christmas Market, one of Germany’s biggest and most historic Christmas markets.
Within the square, a distinct landmark captured my attention – the fascinating Schöner Brunnen or the Beautiful Fountain.
The Beautiful Fountain dates back to the 14th century and stands as a testament to the city’s Gothic artistry.
It’s adorned with forty figures representing the worldview of the Holy Roman Empire, from philosophy and the liberal arts to the church and the dynastic rulers.
Its peculiar design might seem eerie to some, but there’s no denying its allure.
In my travels, I’ve encountered many fountains, but none quite as captivating and historically rich as this one in Nuremberg.
6. Nazi Party Rally Grounds
With an already packed one-day itinerary, I regretfully missed out on visiting the Nuremberg Trials Memorium and the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.
These sites bear significant weight in Nuremberg’s contemporary history and serve as a sombre reminder of the city’s past during the Nazi era.
The Rally Grounds, spanning an extensive area, were the backdrop for the massive Nazi Party rallies between 1933 and 1938.
These gatherings played a key role in spreading the propaganda and showcasing the power of the Third Reich.
The grounds still house many structures from that time, including the vast Zeppelin Field and the Congress Hall, with its unfinished facade.
Nearby, the Nuremberg Trials Memorium stands on the site where key figures of the Nazi regime faced justice after World War II.
This courtroom is an essential piece of post-war history, addressing the war crimes and atrocities committed.
Given the historical context, I strongly recommend setting aside time for these sites when in Nuremberg, for they offer a deep insight into a crucial chapter of the 20th century.
7. National Museum
I did, however, manage a quick visit to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, which turned out to be a highlight of my trip.
Within its vast collection, I was particularly drawn to the paintings by Albrecht Durer.
Before this visit, I was largely unfamiliar with Durer’s work, but standing before his masterpieces, I was even more intrigued.
The detailed expressions and rich colour palettes introduced me to an interesting side of German Renaissance art.
The museum is well worth a visit, especially if you want to see more of Albrecht Durer after a visit to his house.
Solo Travel in Nuremberg
Where to Eat in Nuremberg
I must admit I’m not very good at the solo eating thing. I don’t mind going to cafes alone; I actually quite enjoy that, and I go to the movies alone all the time, but there is something about eating solo in restaurants that makes me feel uncomfortable. I must practice more!
I was lucky that I visited Nuremberg while the Christmas markets were on, so for the most part, I snacked on street food from the markets and picked up takeaway.
This was only a short solo trip, so that wasn’t much of a problem, but if I was travelling for longer periods, I would probably have to get up the courage to eat in a restaurant alone.
Nuremberg has great traditional Bavarian cuisine that goes way further than their famous sausages, so I do regret not sampling what was available.
Where to Stay in Nuremberg
I stayed at the NH Nuremberg City Hotel on this city break, courtesy of the tourist office.
The hotel is located across from the main train station and is a short walk to the Old Town, perfect for visiting the city’s main sights and the Christmas market.
Although this is a fairly typical 4-star hotel, it’s worth staying here for breakfast alone, which is one of the best I’ve had anywhere in Europe. The NH Hotel also has a good sustainability rating, using 100% renewable energy.
If you’re visiting Nuremberg in winter, I suggest staying in one of hotels near Nuremberg Christmas market that are located near the main square, Hauptmarkt. That is if you want to be in the heart of Nuremberg during the festivities.
Tips for Travelling Alone
Solo travel can often stir up a mix of excitement and apprehension, especially for us women travellers.
Even though I was a little nervous about travelling alone after such a long time travelling as a couple, the people in Nuremberg were particularly warm and friendly.
I met a number of people as I wandered around the city, both locals and other tourists; I always had an opportunity to feel connected.
For solo female travellers keen on experiencing Nuremberg, I’d recommend a few things:
- Stay centrally: Opt for a hotel in a well-lit area, preferably close to the main attractions. This reduces the need for late-night commutes and allows for easy exploration on foot. That said, Nuremberg is exceptionally safe, and I felt very comfortable staying near the train station.
- Join group activities: Participating in walking tours can be a great way to meet people and bond over shared experiences. It offers a gentle introduction to the destination if you’re feeling a bit nervous about where to start.
- Stay informed: Keep abreast of local news, particularly about any city-wide events, as they can affect transport and crowd levels. Watch out for pickpockets at the Christmas market as it gets very crowded, particularly in the evenings and on weekends.
While Nuremberg hosts many events throughout the year, December stands out as an especially nice time for a visit.
The city comes alive with one of Europe’s most authentic and traditional Christmas markets, offering a festive atmosphere that’s both traditional and unique.
It allows for a deep dive into Germany’s traditions, and the market also provides a space where solo travellers can blend in or mingle.
This post is part of my series on recommend stops on a fun Bavarian road trip itinerary. Here you’ll find an itinerary for visiting Bavaria and Southern Germany that includes Nuremberg.
Is it Worth Visiting Nuremberg
Absolutely, it’s worth visiting Nuremberg! Nuremberg is a city steeped in history, from its medieval architecture to its significant role during World War II.
On a visit, you can explore the iconic Nuremberg Castle, discover the city’s past at the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and the Nuremberg Trials Memorium, and enjoy its vibrant cultural scene.
The city’s Christmas market is also one of the most renowned in Europe, making it a special destination during the festive season.
With its rich heritage, museums, and charming old town, Nuremberg offers a unique blend of historical depth and contemporary vibrancy, making it a worthwhile destination for travellers.
For more information on visiting Nuremberg, including upcoming events and other essential details, I recommend checking out Nuremberg Tourism, the city’s official tourist office website.
It’s particularly useful if you want to visit Nuremberg’s museums and cultural sights.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Travel responsibly in Nuremberg with these tips:
Stay Green: When selecting accommodation, look for eco-friendly hotels in Nuremberg. The city has seen a rise in hotels prioritising sustainability, many of which use renewable energy. Staying in such places ensures a comfortable stay and supports the city’s move towards a greener future.
Mindful Dining: Nuremberg’s culinary scene is diverse and delicious. When dining out, make an effort to order only what you can finish to minimise food waste. Additionally, frequenting eateries that source local ingredients supports sustainable farming practices and reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods.
Ethical Shopping: Nuremberg’s markets and boutiques offer a range of unique products. As tempting as it is to splurge, focus on buying items you truly need or will use regularly. Support artisans who employ sustainable methods and materials, ensuring your souvenirs are memorable and kind to the environment.
Sustainable Diets: The city offers various eateries that focus on organic, vegan, or vegetarian fare. Opting for such food choices, even just for a meal or two, can positively impact the environment. It’s a great way to savour the local flavours while making an eco-friendly dietary choice.
Choose Green Transportation: The city’s public transport network is efficient, and hiring an electric vehicle (EV) is a viable option if you must drive. Nuremberg’s layout is also conducive to walking or cycling, making it easy to explore sustainably.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research.