Am I mad for taking a day trip to Nuremberg, Germany all the way from the UK? Quite possibly, but is it doable? Yes! Is it an adventure? Absolutely!
After my mum found return flights from London Stansted for just £10 per person to Nuremberg (which just happens to be one of my favourite German cities) I didn’t need any persuasion at all for a spontaneous trip away, despite the early start. We’d booked onto the first flight out at 7.35am so it just meant that we needed to get to the airport early and after a slightly mad dash through security, we were on the plane admiring the incredible sunrise before we were zooming off to Germany!
The flight is a short hour and a half, and once you factor in the time difference, it was 10am when we arrived. Nuremberg Flughafen (that’s airport to you and me) is small but modern and efficient. We hopped on the u-bahh – Nuremberg’s underground – and headed into the city centre on the u2 red line which is just outside the terminal underground. You can buy your tickets from the machine before you catch the train and you can change the language to English so it’s pretty straightforward! It only cost 3 euros twenty cents per person for a one way journey (you can pay by contactless too keeping things simple) which takes just fifteen minutes – yes just fifteen minutes!! It’s makes Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow seem like they’re miles away!
We took the u-bahh on the U2 line to Hauptbahnhof which is the main train station and then changed onto the U1 line for one stop to get to Lorenzkirche, which isn’t far from the Christmas market and all the shops!
We walked straight to the market which is a simple 3 minute walk where we had a quick wander through the market, heading across diagonally to visit the Schoner Brunnen which literally means the beautiful fountain. Tourists turn the gold ring for luck and it means that you will return to Nuremberg so we of course turned the ring. Our favourite sausage house, Bratwursthausle hadn’t opened yet (boo) so we went somewhere else in the market but they were equally delicious. Nuremberg is famous for small sausages (think chipolata size sausages) and you can only get them in this part of Germany so make the most of it! They’re best enjoyed in a crusty brotchen which is known as “Drei Am Weckla”, meaning three in a roll. Add some mustard or ketchup and you’ve got yourself a tasty snack for only 3 euros 50 cents!
The best way to warm up at a German Christmas market is a hot cup of gluhwein in one of the annual mugs, these change each year and while a gluhwein is only 3 euros, you pay a deposit of 3 euros for the mug which you get back when you return your mug to the stall. Alternatively you can keep the mug and start a collection as each city often has its own mug design which changes each year. One of the highlights for me is the Incredible Food at German Christmas Markets which is unlike anything you’ll find in the UK.
Nuremberg is great for shopping and we spent the rest of the morning wandering round the shops which still had lots of black Friday sales on, while picking up snacks on the way – I love pretzels (no trip to Germany is complete without one) and so I grabbed a butter pretzel for 1 euro 50 cents from Brezen Kolb who do the best pretzels in the whole city (this is confirmed by locals) while wandering the shops.
After all the walking and shipping, a stop for “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake) was needed and my local friend had recommended that we visit Konditorei Café Beer which served incredible cakes. We ordered some coffee, hot chocolates and cake ( I can recommend the kasesahntorte and the truffletorte) and rested our feet for a while before
Next up, more shopping and my absolute favourite shop in Nuremberg has to be the famous Christmas shop Kathe Wolfhardt and there are two in Nuremberg! Kathe Wolfhardt originates in Rothenberg Ob Der Tauber which you’ll know if you’ve read about my trip to Rothenberg last year but this store will definitely get you in the festive spirit, I can’t go inside without purchasing anything – it’s just impossible! Of course I picked up a little gingerbread house Christmas bauble to add to my street when I get home. We headed back to the market to take some more snaps and I picked up some roasted cashew nuts (4 euros for 100g) which are a really popular snack at Christmas markets. I also grabbed an iconic Lebkucken heart – a sort of gingerbread biscuit – which is a Christmas market staple. They also work as great souvenirs.
The evening is a great time to explore the two other markets Nuremberg has to offer, both of which are round the corner from the main market; children will love the Kindersmarkt which is specifically geared up for children where they can write letters to Santa, decorate gingerbread men and go on rides while adults will love the partnersmarkt. We stopped for an Italian gluhwein, which is made using Italian wine from the south Tirol stall although I have it on good authority from a local that the best gluhwein is from the Verona stall where they make it with a merlot wine. The Glasgow stall was also really busy where you could grab a Hot Toddy! I also had some room for more sausages so stopped by my favourite drei am Weckla place – Bratwursthausle – which was well supplied with sausages by now and has the added bonus of a lovely brass band which plays Christmas Carols.
Finally, we headed to the Hotel Steichele for dinner with family friends who are local to Nuremberg which was just a short walk across the city centre (nearest u-bahn station: Weisser Turm which literally translates as the white tower). I highly recommend ordering the Schweinschaufele with kloss (usually a huge portion of pork shoulder, which is deliciously soft), Nurnburger bratwurst (yes more sausages) or Schweinefilet nach Forestin Art (pork medallions with a mushroom sauce). The restaurant serves excellent, traditional German food at reasonable prices and the experience is much more pleasant than if you went somewhere nearer to the Christmas market which would be much busier.
Admittedly, the tiredness started to kick in (it was a very early start) and eventually we had to leave. We hopped on the u-bahn on the U2 line all the way to the airport which only took 20 minutes to catch our 11 o’clock flight back to the UK. It was a super long day but was it worth it? Absolutely!
For more ideas, check out my Guide to Nuremberg at Christmas Time which explores more of the city and other things to do at Christmas time.
Have you visited Nuremberg before?