At the beginning of December, I visited Nuremberg in southern Germany. Germany is so magical at Christmas so visiting in December is a must if you have never been and Nuremberg is home to the German Christmas Market so it’s rather special.
Nuremberg has a lot of history as it was one of Adolf Hitlers favourite cities; a lot of the Nazi Party Rallies took place in the main square but the city was also heavily bombed and destroyed in the World War Two Bombings. Much of the city has since been rebuilt so it’s a fascinating place to visit and there are lots of great museums.
THINGS TO DO IN NUREMBERG:
The Castle is based at the top of a hill in the City Centre and offers spectacular views across the town. It had been snowing when we visited so there was lots of snow covered rooftops which was magical. The Castle itself is medieval and dates back to the Middle Ages although it was bombed during the war so much of it has since been restored to it’s former glory. We went round the castle itself to learn about the history and we also went to the top of the Sinwell Tower, which gives 360 degree views of the city.
It started snowing as we finished at the castle so we walked down the hill towards the Christmas Market, feeling very festive!
The castle costs €7 each to visit.
Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market)
A trip to Nuremberg at Christmas isn’t complete without a visit to the famous Christmas Market. There are roughly 180 wooden stalls, all decorated beautifully in traditional red and white Nuremberg colours and there are quite strict rules about who can sell at the Christmas Market which means the quality of the stalls and the products is fantastic; you have to be local to Nuremberg and all products have to be handmade. The only exception to this is the Playmobile stall, which is local to Nuremberg.
My favourite stalls were the food and drink stalls, selling delicious Nuremberg bratwurst which are small sausages, traditional to the local area. It can get very chilly on the market so I’d recommend stopping off for a warming mug of gluhwein (Mulled Wine) which will warm you up. I’ve written a separate blogpost all about the food and drink we tasted on our trip which you can read all about here.
There are two other markets next to the Christkindlmarkt and these are the Partners Market and the Kinderweihnacht (Children’s Christmas Market).
After the war, Nuremberg developed lots of international relations with other towns and cities and these are represented in the Partner Towns Market with stalls selling products from these towns. Children will of course love the Kinderweihnacht so this is definitely worth a visit if you have kids.
We went back to the market several times throughout our visit to see it during different times of the day and I must admit, it was pretty special at night time.
The market opens on 1 December and closes on Christmas Eve and its based in the historic Main Market Square, the Hauptmarkt. You can find more information and check the dates of next years market here.
There are some beautiful churches in Nuremberg but in the middle of the HauptMarkt, there’s the Frauenkirche which means the “Church of our Lady”. At noon every day, what feels like the whole square will come to a standstill where everyone will watch the Männleinlaufen – the mechanical clock go round with the bells of the church ringing.
There are so many museums to visit that we didn’t have time to visit all the ones we wanted to so we visited the StadtMuseum Femo-Haus. My favourite part of this museum was the pre-war model of the medieval town before the bombing on the fourth floor. The museum also provided us with English audioguides, free of charge which guided us through the museum.
You’ll pass the Stadt Museum Fembo Haus as you walk down the hill from the castle so it’s very easy to find. It’s quite a distinctive building as you can see from the picture below.
The museum costs €6 each to visit.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit the Nuremberg Trials Museum but I’ll definitely be going on my next visit!
The Schoner Brunnen which means “Beautiful Fountain” is a fountain in the HauptMarkt (the main market square), right next to the Christmas Market. On the black fountain grille, there is a small golden ring and according to legend, if you turn it three times it will bring you good luck. I think this legend has changed over the years because I’ve also heard a version that you will return to Nuremberg if you turn the ring!
We also saw a couple get engaged by the ring – a woman had turned the ring and when she turned around, her boyfriend was knelt before her with a ring! It was very romantic and she said yes!
DAY TRIPS FROM NUREMBEG:
You can also visit lots of other places easily from Nuremberg; we visited Bamberg which was only 45 minutes by car and Munich which was a two hour train ride away.
You can read all about Bamberg and Munich here.
You can get reasonably priced flights from London Stanstead to Nuremberg through Ryanair and the Deutsche Bahn trains are very reasonable priced for travelling across Germany.
Have you ever visited Nuremberg before?