Remembered as the nerve center of Nazism and for the trial of Nazi officials, Nuremberg remembers a sad page in our history.
However, this Bavarian city fascinates with its imperial castle and medieval historic center, one of the best preserved in the world, where you can stroll among magnificent Gothic churches, half-timbered houses and craft workshops.
See what to see and do in Nuremberg.
Imperial Castle of Nuremberg
First stop the imperial castle of Nuremberg visible from every corner of the city.
Kaiserburg, in German, during the Holy Roman Empire was used as the occasional seat of emperors, including Frederick Barbarossa.
During the Middle Ages it became one of the most important royal palaces in Europe. The castle includes the Count’s Palace, seat of the Burgraves of Nuremberg.
For great views of the city, climb to the top of Sinwell Tower built in the late 13th century.
The most important room of the Kaiserburg is the Romanesque chapel known as the Double Chapel, built around 1200 along with the imperial palace containing the imperial apartments. Finally, take a walk in the lovely garden.
Walls of Nuremberg
Like any medieval city, Nuremberg also has its imposing walls intact. Built between the 14th and 15th centuries, the walls completely surrounded the 5 kilometers of the historic center (Altstadt), making Nuremberg an impregnable city.
Today there are 4 km left and the 80 defensive towers at the city gates. Walk around the walls or along the inner boulevards to step back in time.
Next, explore the medieval quarter (Handwerkerhof) located inside the city walls, in the area in front of the main station, and then stroll between craft shops and the traditional Stube where you can try the famous Nuremberg sausages, to accompany the beer.
Albrecht Dürer’s house
Albrecht Dürer, one of the greatest painters, engravers and mathematicians of the 1500s, lived right at the foot of the majestic Nuremberg Castle.
The scholar lived from 1509 to 1528 in the house that can be visited today. It is an impressive half-timbered house built in 1420.
Inside you’ll find a living room and reconstructed kitchens, as well as a large workshop with still-working printing equipment.
Today the rooms exude an authentic atmosphere and reflect the house’s history as the first Northern European artist’s museum since 1828.
In the Dürer room you can admire valuable copies of Dürer’s paintings. In the Room of Prints and Drawings, special exhibitions present a large number of treasures from the graphic collections of the Museen der Stadt Nürnberg (Nuremberg City Museums).
Finally, Agnes Dürer, his wife, guides you to discover the house, thanks to an audio guide in several languages and also personally on special tours. Obviously as an actor.
It is the central square of the city, where the market has been held since the Middle Ages. In this lovely square is the Church of Our Lady, Frauenkirche in German, the main Catholic church of the city.
It is a church with a magnificent Gothic style on the facade of which every day at 12 the carillon (1509) is activated with the parade of the statues of seven prince electors bowing before the emperor.
The scene is reminiscent of the Golden Bull with which Emperor Charles IV decreed in 1356 that every newly elected king or emperor had to convene the first government meeting in Nuremberg.
In the square you will also see the Schoner Brunnen, or the fountain where the main characters of the medieval history of the Bavarian center are sculpted.
The Hauptmarkt is especially evocative at Christmas when it hosts the Christkindlesmarkt, the most famous Christmas market in Germany.
Nuremberg Toy Museum
The Nuremberg Toy Museum, known in German as the Spielzeugmuseum Nürnberg, is a museum dedicated to the history of toys.
Nuremberg has a long history of toy production rooted in the ancient tradition of medieval ‘Dockenmacher’ (doll makers).
Since the 19th century, Nuremberg has become an important center for international toy production. THE
At this museum in the historic center, based almost entirely on the private collection of Lydia and Paul Bayer, you can see antique wooden toys and dolls among many other different eras.
German National Museum
The German National Museum is the most important in Nuremberg and includes several museums.
Don’t miss the medieval section, full of important and wonderful religious sculptures, the one on German painting, with works by Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Hans Baldung Grien, Kirchner and Caspar David Friedrich, and the music section, with an amazing collection of ancient and valuable instruments, the scientific one, which preserves 16th century sundials and globes, and the one devoted to modern German art.
The Germanisches Nationalmuseum collects over one million works of art from the Iron Age to the present day.
Church of San Lorenzo
The church of St. Lawrence, with its magnificently sculptured facade, is one of the principal and most beautiful churches of Nuremberg.
It was built in the Gothic style between 1250 and 1477, but, like all the monuments of the city, it was completely destroyed by the Second World War. and as such, it was largely rebuilt from 1949.
Today it represents the main place of Evangelical Lutheran worship. Inside you will see brilliant works by Veit Stoss and Adam Kraft.
Nazi Documentation Center
Even today, in the area used to host party congresses south of Nuremberg, gigantic architectural remains bear witness to the megalomania of the National Socialist regime.
Spanning eleven square kilometers, the complex was intended to provide a monumental setting for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) to celebrate itself. The Documentation Center, Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, is now located in the Congress Palace, the unfinished arena designed to seat 50,000 people. Made of glass and steel, the center with a strong contemporary accent keeps alive the memory of a sad page in history.
Commemoration of the Nuremberg Trials
World history was written in the criminal court of the Nuremberg Palace: Here on November 20, 1945 the trial of the “main war criminals” began in room 600. The 21 main representatives of the National Socialist regime were called to answer for crimes against peace and humanity.
In October 1946, 11 months later, the sentences were handed down. From 1946 to 1949, twelve subsequent criminal trials were held in US military courts.
More than 60 years later, a permanent exhibition on the trial has been opened at the original site to provide important information about the process and the aftermath of this event.
The role the defendants played in the National Socialist power structure and the crimes they were accused of are explained here. Soundtracks and historical films help bring the famous Nuremberg Trials to life.
The importance of these criminal proceedings made “room 600” famous around the world. The “Nuremberg Principles”, which emerged from the International Military Tribunal, are today the basis for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
They demonstrate how attitudes towards those responsible for the fate of the nations and peoples of the world have changed since 1945/46.
An underground labyrinth, carved out over the centuries, stretches beneath the city.
Over time it had a dual function: it was actually used for beer fermentation but also as a shelter for the inhabitants during the bombings of the Second World War. Today with different tours it is possible to visit the underground passages.
What to eat in Nuremberg
In Nuremberg you will discover Bavarian cuisine that has rural origins but has become more refined over the centuries, reaching stately tables.
Among the specialties you must try: i Knödel or canederli (large bread or potato dumplings, enriched with pimento and cheese, served in broth or with meat dishes), spatula (the irregularly shaped pasta serves as an accompaniment to meat dishes), i Frankfurt Bavarian White Germans (based on beef and pork), n Schweinshaxe (pork shank cooked in beer at a low temperature), la Viennese schnitzel (kotole), the Leberkaese (cooked sausage resembling cooked ham), theObazda (a cream based on Camembert, paprika and butter that accompanies various dishes).
Don’t forget the soups includedWedding soup based on chicken stock, or la Flädlesuppe (meat broth with crepe noodles). Of the desserts not to be missed, apart from the classic Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), the Prinzregententorte, consisting of seven discs of cookie dough alternating with layers of buttercream and chocolate, covered in chocolate frosting. Or the Kaiserschmarren, omelette emperor, with raisins, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with apple cream and cranberries. Of course, the traditional Bavarian beers must be drunk.
How to get to Nuremberg and the surrounding area
From Italy the fastest way to get to Nuremberg is definitely by plane. The city is even equipped with an airport, which is about 12 minutes from the center and connected to the metro.
For those who prefer the train, the main station is a few steps from the historic city center. Once there, you can easily get around on foot and by public transport.
When to go to Nuremberg
Climatically, the best months to visit Nuremberg, as well as Bavaria, are between April and September.
The ideal is spring, but also September. The summer months have pleasant temperatures but are the most crowded with tourists, even though they are the rainiest months of the year.
Winter is the season for lovers of snow and the Christmas atmosphere. In December, Nuremberg hosts the Christkindlesmarkt, the most famous Christmas market in Germany.