Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria, and befitting an old German city whose origins date back to the days of the Roman Empire. In modern history it is mainly known as the place where Nazi Germany’s racist Nuremberg Laws were enacted, as well as the place where the Nuremberg trials were held, for the leaders of that country itself. However, the city’s dark past does not take over its being, and its cultural treasures and long history present the visitor with a fascinating mosaic that makes it one of the most desirable tourist destinations in Germany, and perhaps even in Europe as a whole. The central building, which is in the heart of the city and has a close and inextricable historical connection, is the Nuremberg Castle, also known as the Kaiserburg.
If you are interested in a place where ancient and modern history mix, a place where you can meet original Bavarian culture together with cosmopolitanism that comes from the multitude of tourists visiting it and the multitudes of immigrants living there, then Nuremberg is the place for you.
As mentioned, Nuremberg has a rich and varied historical past, one that allows you to get an impression of the history of Europe in general and Germany in particular, all in one city. It is recommended to spend sufficient time visiting the historical sites of the city, both due to its ancient and modern history.
There is no doubt that one of the most significant tourist sites in the city is the Emperor’s Castle, or Kaiserburg in German. It is a monumental building from the Middle Ages, which already at first glance will make it clear to you what the status of Nuremberg was, the unofficial capital of the empire at that time. The castle, located in the northern part of the city, overlooks it with a panoramic view that you will not find anywhere else. It is built around a fourteenth-century tower, and this is where every new emperor was obliged to hold his first banquet.
Around the castle is the palace, which in the past served as the nerve center of the castle in particular and of the city in general. The palace has undergone several renovations over the years, and today it includes several points of interest, including a museum of local history. Another interesting site in the place is the deep well of the castle (Tiefer Brunnen), which was dug to a depth of fifty meters into the ground, in order to supply water to the place in any situation.
If you’re into it, you might be happy to know that the (former) stable of the castle now houses a hostel where you can spend the night. This may not be the level you are used to, but there is no doubt that spending the night in a medieval castle (and at a reasonable price) is not something that comes on foot.
Due to Nuremberg’s important position in the old German Empire, it was given a status of honor by the Nazi Party in Germany even before it came to power in 1933. Conferences and processions were held in its streets, and it was only natural that the party would hold its most important conferences in Nuremberg, even after it came to power.
The center stands out especially in the northern part of the city, as it is characterized by the congress hall, a huge metal structure built by the Nazis, and this to give a different validity to the status of the city in the Third Reich. The exhibition Fascination and Terror is regularly displayed in the building, which makes the documentation center one of the most important sites for analyzing the rise of the Nazi Party to power in Germany, including retrospective analyses, fascinating interviews and rare testimonies.
Right next to the documentation center, you can reach the “Zeppelin field (airship)”, where the Nazi leaders gave their speeches to the crowd. This is a huge field, capable of holding up to 200 thousand people.
The address of the documentation center is Bayernstraße 110, 90478 Nürnberg, Germany
Room 600 in the Justice Palace in Nuremberg (Justizpalast) is where, between 1945-1949, the famous trials of the most senior generals and industrialists in Nazi Germany were held by Allied judges. These trials were the opening shot for the persecution of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, which continues to this day.
You can visit the courtroom, although it is quite difficult to find free time for guided tours in English. It is recommended to find out in advance the possibilities for a visit, as many times the most convenient time to visit is on the weekends. This is a must-visit site for anyone who cares about the legacy of the Holocaust and World War II, as this is where most of the world was exposed to the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany and its proxies.
Address of the Hall of Justice – Bärenschanzstraße 72, 90429 Nürnberg, Germany
Germany has a rich, varied and glorious history, and Nuremberg’s dark past sometimes makes us forget that it was such an important city in an empire that greatly shaped the face of Europe. In the National Museum of Germany you will find over 25,000 exhibits, which will give you a more comprehensive and complete perspective on the history of this ancient and important country. Among the items you will find works of art (some dating back to the Middle Ages), books, weapons, archaeological and prehistoric items, letters and much more. Unless you plan carefully in advance, your chances of covering the entire museum (or even most of it) in one day are very low.
However, there are some works that are absolutely not recommended to be missed, especially if you are an art lover. Among these are the mother portrait of the famous German painter Albert Dürer, Rembrandt’s self-portrait and a portrait of Matin Lotter, painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Another reason to visit the museum is its Israeli connection and its statement regarding human rights. In 1988, the Israeli architect Danny Kraven was chosen to build the passage that would connect the old wing of the museum with the new one. He built the crossing as a monument to mark human rights, which gave it the name “The Human Rights Way”. In this crossing you will find a large arch, and below it a series of columns indicating the various sections of the UN Charter of Human Rights.
The address of the museum is Kartäusergasse 1, 90402 Nürnberg, Germany
Even if you don’t identify with the character of Sheldon from the series “The Big Bang”, trains and transportation infrastructure are still a very interesting topic. Nuremberg was the first city where a railway was built in Germany, which connected it with the city of Furth, which led to the opening of the country’s first railway museum in the city, in 1899.
In the museum you will find a number of fascinating exhibits, for example the royal train of King Ludwig II. There are many exhibits depicting the infrastructure, bridges and tunnels built in the German railway system over the years, as well as scale models of trains and carriages that were in use from the early 1870s. It is a fascinating place for fans of the genre, as well as for any child and those who still feel like a child.
The address of the museum is Lessingstraße 6, 90443 Nürnberg, Germany
Befitting a city of its status, it is no wonder that Nuremberg was equipped with impressive fortifications at the beginning of its days as a central city. The city walls were first built at the beginning of the 11th century, with the founding of the city, and received their current design and shape during the 16th century. Just to illustrate the effectiveness of these fortifications, we note that the city was under siege only once in history. It happened in 1945, when the Americans besieged the city before its occupation.
Today, about four kilometers of wall remain, including over sixty guard towers and of course the city castle, which is connected to it. You can visit most parts of the wall, and be impressed by both the appearance of the old city and the impressive creatures that contributed greatly to the stability of Nuremberg and making it such a central city in the history of Germany.
This amazing fountain, whose construction at the end of the 14th century took about 11 years, is perhaps one of the best illustrations of the power of the German Empire of that time. The fountain, which, like Roman fountains, was built on the edge of the central square of the old city, spans 19 meters and includes many displays that symbolize different aspects of the empire’s greatness.
Starting from the bottom of the fountain, which symbolizes the importance of philosophy and the arts, go through the middle to the figures of the statesmen who were elevated to the rank of national heroes, and end at the top, which includes Moses and the seven prophets by his side, all of which together constitute a fascinating concentration of symbols. The fountain is of such great historical importance to the residents of Nuremberg (and not only), that during the Second World War it was surrounded by a concrete wall that protected it from the frequent bombings of the city by the Allies. After the war the shield was removed, and the fountain was discovered under it preserved and without a scratch.
In Nuremberg, the attractions and history mix, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between them. For example, the Nürnberger Felsengänge is both an amazing display of the city’s heritage and the excavation into the mountain, but also a fascinating attraction for beer lovers and those interested in breweries. That’s how it is when you visit one of the oldest cities in Europe, past and present mix.
It is truly an architectural and cultural wonder. Over the years, the people of Nuremberg dug into the sandstone, creating alcoves in it which they used as cellars for storage, water storage and more. Over the years, the place, more than 20 dunams (!) in size, became the main center for the city’s breweries. In the more ancient times of the city, for example in the Middle Ages, more than forty breweries operated in the city, with each of them carving out its own cellar to store the barrels. Over the years, the cellars were consolidated, and even today there are breweries that use the place to store their beer barrels (an example of this is the local Hausbrauerei Altstadthof brewery).
You can come to the place for tours and beer tastings throughout the week, although it is recommended to find out in advance which days the tour takes place in English.
The size of the zoo in Nuremberg is about 280 dunams, which makes it one of the largest zoos in Europe. Another factor that makes it unique is the fact that many of its cages are inside cavities carved out of the sandstone (similar to the breweries mentioned above), which creates a more natural environment for the animals kept in them. The zoo in Nuremberg participates in the conservation efforts of a variety of wild animals, which are in danger of extinction in the wild.
In addition to the natural cages carved out of the sandstone, you will find open areas in the zoo, a semi-safari where a variety of African savannah animals (such as zebras, giraffes, etc.) roam in almost complete freedom, displays of a variety of snakes and venomous amphibians, and many more. This can be an amazing experience both for nature lovers and for children who come to Nuremberg and are tired of the historical gloom that sometimes characterizes it.
The zoo’s address is Am Tiergarten 30, 90480 Nürnberg, Germany
Albrecht Durer was one of the most famous German painters in history, and perhaps the greatest of them all. He lived between the years 1471-1528, and lived and worked in his home in Nuremberg starting in 1506 until his death. This is the only house in Europe of a fifteenth-century artist that has survived to this day. Although the building was damaged during World War II, it was carefully renovated and reopened to visitors in the early 1980s.
The building itself is five stories tall, making it one of the few large buildings that survived Nuremberg’s heyday in the fifteenth century. You will find a variety of antique furniture, as well as changing exhibitions of Durer’s works. On top of that, there is the restored studio of this Renaissance craftsman, which allows a rare glimpse into the way the craftsmen worked at that time. This is a must-see for any art lover, and luckily it’s right next to the Kaiserburg Fortress.
Albrecht Dürer’s home address – Albrecht-Dürer-Straße 39, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
Nuremberg’s Toy Museum
After all, you have a museum where both adults and children can have a lot of fun, because who doesn’t want to see, feel and play with toys of all ages and types?
The Nuremberg Toy Museum was established there due to the fact that it is considered the largest toy manufacturer in Germany, and was inaugurated in 1971 (along with Albrecht Durer’s renovated house). The museum itself is in a five-story building, built at the beginning of the 16th century. As you go up the floors you will progress through the history of toy production, with the first three floors dedicated to toys made before the war, and the upper floors to toys made after it. Among the toys you can find dolls, playhouses, Lego and many more. In addition, the active play area on the upper floor will ensure that even if the children get bored at some point watching the games, they will always be able to feel them under their hands.
Address of the Games Museum – Karlstraße 13-15, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany
If you want to experience the charm of the city, the one that characterized it in the period before World War II and in the centuries preceding it, then the old quarter is the place for you. The colorful facades, some of which are designed in the baroque and harcoco styles, create a calm atmosphere of a Bavarian village. The cobbled streets will take you away for a little while from the rush of vehicles and the noise of the city around you. The boutique cafes and outdoor tables are pleasing to the eye, ear and palate. In short, it is the perfect experience for a leisurely afternoon in Nuremberg.
This site is partly suitable for all travelers in Nuremberg, and partly only for those with a particularly strong heart. The Hangman’s Bridge connects the old city to the island of Trödelmark which is in the middle of the Pigniz River and is an incredibly photogenic bridge. The building next to it, the Weinstadel Tower, is the largest wooden (or semi-wooden, to be precise) building in Germany.
If you are confident in your courage, we will discover that the name of the bridge, as you probably guessed, was given to it because the nearby tower traditionally housed the executioner of Nuremberg, for many years. There will be those who attribute bad luck to the area, but today it has become a museum describing the “work” and the people who did it. Not for the faint hearted.
This place will not be easy for you to find, but if you invest, it will pay off very well. These gardens are hidden from the view of the tourists (and the locals), so you are not expected to be in them with too many people. This is the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon, when you are surrounded by greenery and beautiful vegetation.
So how do you get there? You need to get to Johannisstraße, which is in the northwest of the city. One of the gardens is at number 43, and the other at number 13. At first glance it will show you that you are facing a private area, but all you have to do is open the door during the opening hours (between 8:00 and 20:00), and here you are in these stunning gardens, founded in the 17th century.
This area is worth research in its own right, but we’ll mention it here if only so you can use the name to search for yourself. For many nature lovers, two days or more in the city is too much, so many are looking for a way to get to nature and experience landscapes, greenery, water and the other pearls that Mother Earth has created for us.
Franconian Switzerland (Franconia is the ancient name of the province where Nuremberg is located, and you will find it everywhere) is a relatively short drive from Nuremberg, making the area ideal for day trips from the city. You can find a lot of information online about the sites, caves, routes, rock formations, castles and more, all of which are hidden in this region of the country.
Here is one example of a very unique pastime, which can be done in the area. Franconian Switzerland is famous for its breweries, so it’s the perfect region for beer lovers. If you also like to travel in nature, then you have earned twice. There are several routes that combine breweries in them, with the easiest of them being the “Five Breweries Route” (5 Seidla Steig). This is not an easy route, and it is definitely intended for those who are used to walking a lot (the length of the circular route is about 18 kilometers), but it is definitely worth it. During it you will pass by five local and unique breweries, and of course you will also be able to quench your thirst from the beautiful road.
Forth is right next to Nuremberg, and it’s actually quite hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. However, it is a separate town from Nuremberg, with a unique history, sites and people. There’s plenty to do in Forth, with an emphasis on indoor indoor activities (so it could be perfect as a rainy winter’s day trip).
You will find a park dedicated to wild animals (Wildschweingehege), the Rathaus palace, the new artistic theater Comödie Fürth and more. In addition, in the Jewish context, you can find here the Jüdisches Museum, which describes what was once the largest Jewish community in Franconia.
You will find the museum at the address – Königstraße 89, 90762 Fürth, Germany