Bavaria is home to some of Germany’s most interesting and impressive destinations, and the city of Nuremberg is surely one of them. Nuremberg’s historical center quickly wins visitors over with its quaint character and postcard worthy scenery. The city is also a good place to learn how the terror of Nazi Germany came to be.
If you’re looking for somewhere to add to your itinerary in southern Germany, Nuremberg should definitely be it. You can reasonably cover the city’s main attractions in just a day there, especially if you follow our Nuremberg itinerary which will show you precisely what to do in Nuremberg in 1 day.
Best Time to Visit Nuremberg
To get the most from your time in Nuremberg, it’s worth paying close attention to what the city is like at different times of the year. Like most of Germany, Nuremberg experiences four distinct seasons and vastly different weather in each one. But there are also festivals and high season for tourists to take into consideration.
For a nice balance of decent weather and fewer tourists, the best time to visit Nuremberg is during either spring or autumn. From March to May and later in October ‘till November, the weather should be quite nice for outdoor sightseeing, while the city shouldn’t be too busy. You might want to avoid coming around Oktoberfest, as there could be many local German visitors then.
Another good time to visit Nuremberg is in late November and December when you can catch one of Germany’s most famous Christmas markets. While the markets are fun, you should expect accommodation to be more expensive and the city to be much busier. Both of these conditions you’ll likely encounter in summer as well, but with hot weather and none of the merry atmosphere that the markets bring.
How to Get Around Nuremberg
When visiting Nuremberg, you’ll naturally want to know the best ways to get around the city. Most of your time in Nuremberg will likely be spent in the city’s Altstadt, except for the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds which is out past the Südstadt district.
Now, you’d think with a historical center like Nuremberg’s, that getting around on foot would be your only option however, buses and the metro are available and useful for traveling around inside the Old Town. Beyond the city walls, you also have trams and the S-Bahn urban trains to help you.
Tickets are shared across all the networks and start at €3.20 for a single trip, while other ticket types like a short-trip and all day cards are also available. Tickets can be bought from ticket machines at stations and stops or on the VGN app.
Where to Stay in Nuremberg
Working out where to stay is often the most time-intensive part of planning a trip. You’re not only trying to learn the layout of a new city, but also find somewhere that suits your budget and needs. Don’t leave it too late or you might run the risk of the best places to stay in Nuremberg all being booked.
The good news is that understanding where to stay in Nuremberg is relatively easy. If possible, you’ll want to stay in the city’s Old Town and surround yourself with its attractions and restaurants. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to stay as close to the city walls as possible. To make things even easier, here are the best recommendations for Nuremberg, for travelers of any budget.
To treat yourself during your time in Nuremberg, choose the Sheraton Carlton Nuernberg for your stay. This excellent five-star hotel is just a block outside of the city walls and features rooms with a classic modern decor, as well as a spa and a rooftop terrace.
If you’d prefer a comfortable option that’s also reasonably priced, look no further than the Nürnberg City Apart. This two-bedroom apartment proves to be excellent value-for-money thanks to its Old Town location and long list of amenities which includes a fully equipped kitchenette.
Nuremberg is another German city that doesn’t really “do” budget accommodation, regardless Bruderherz is the best option available. This clean and modern budget hotel offers guests dorm rooms in a great Old Town location near the station.
For more accommodation options in Nuremberg check out Booking.com. They continuously offer the best rates and their custom service is on point.
The Perfect 1-Day Nuremberg Itinerary
Spending one day in a city like Nuremberg may not feel like enough time. Fortunately, the best of Nuremberg is situated in such a way that you really only need 1 day in Nuremberg to see what makes it special. That is, if you know where you’re going and what you’re looking for, which is where this itinerary comes in. You’ll explore the city’s Old Town and even have time for one of Nurmberg’s outer attractions.
However, before we get to our Nuremberg itinerary we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
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Having touched on that always important bit of advice, let’s get to the Nuremberg travel itinerary and take a look at how you can fit all the best things to do in Nuremberg in just one day.
Many of the best places to visit in Nuremberg are inside the city’s historic center, known simply as the Altstadt. It’s there that you’ll find all manner of landmarks and attractions, each with its own storied past. Interestingly, the Old Town of Nuremberg is divided into two halves by the Pegnitz river. To the south lies Altstadt – St. Lorenz, while the northern and upper section is Altstadt – St. Sebald.
The main attractions in Altstadt are covered below, but there are a few that deserve a special mention. One is the towering Gothic church of St. Lorenz which looks distinctly medieval despite being heavily restored after WWII. Another is the street of Weißgerbergasse, which is an absolute delight to walk through thanks to the vibrant half-timbered houses that flank it. It’s also a good idea to allow a little extra time just to wander around the Altstadt and discover it for yourself.
Recommendation: If you want to learn a little bit more about the largest German cities during the Middle Ages at the heart of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, consider booking this guided walking tour. On this informative tour you’ll get to explore the romantic old town of Nuremberg with a knowledgeable guide and discover the main attractions of the city, such as Albrecht Dürer’s House, Nuremberg Castle, Tiergärtnertorplatz, and the Hauptmarkt with the beautiful fountain and the Frauenkirche. You can book your spot on this tour here.
No matter where you are in Germany, there’s always a main square. In Nuremberg that square is the Hauptmarkt. On the Hauptmarkt you’ll find two major attractions; one of which is the glorious golden Schöner Brunnen fountain. This gilded Gothic attraction dates all the way back to the 14th century. The other noteworthy landmark is the Church of Our Lady, which dates from the same time and has art from the Middle Ages inside. Hauptmarkt is also where you’ll find the city’s iconic Christmas market.
Carving its way through the middle of Nuremberg is the Pegnitz River, creating pretty scenery wherever it goes. You’ll definitely want to go for a walk along the river to see it all, criss-crossing from one bank to the other as you go.
As you go, you’ll cross an interesting selection of old bridges, each highlighting a different period in the city’s history. For instance, the 16th century Fleischbrücke looks quite elegant with its Renaissance stone design, while the Henkerbrücke is full of medieval charm. You’ll know you’ve hit the end of the riverfront when you’re met with the Schlayerturm, part of the city’s fortifications.
Walking deeper into the Old Town you’ll want to find your way to Tiergärtnertorplatz. This square in the Altstadt’s northeast corner sits just outside the Tiergärtnertor, one of the most impressive city gates. But the gate is just one of many fascinating sights that surrounds this square. You also see a variety of half-timbered homes, plus the city walls and the city’s castle looming over the plaza. Tiergärtnertorplatz is also where you’ll discover Albrecht Dürer’s House, where the renowned Renaissance artist once lived, now serving as a museum of his life’s work.
Imperial Castle of Nuremberg
Covering the hill at the northern end of the Old Town is the Imperial City of Nuremberg, the most important historical attraction in the city. This large castle complex was once a residence for the Holy Roman Emperor and today you can explore its courtyards, terraces, and castle museum. From Nuremberg Castle you can enjoy some spectacular views out over the city, while the museum has a permanent exhibition which details the importance of the Holy Roman Empire and Nuremberg’s place in it.
It’s now time to take a closer look at the city walls of Nuremberg, even though you will have encountered them at least once or twice already. Directly below the castle you’ll find the peaceful gardens of the Burggarten, sitting atop a section of the walls. While up there, you’ll be able to enjoy various views along the city walls on this side of the Old Town. It’s also possible to walk along a section of the walls that directly look down on Tiergärtnertorplatz. Otherwise, just go for a stroll weaving in and out of the walls, and admire them on your way.
Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Leaving the city center behind, make your way southeast several kilometers to the museum at the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds. This area was once the designated Nazi party rally grounds and an unfinished congress hall which was built there during that same time. It now houses the museum in its north wing. The permanent exhibition of the museum, “Fascination and Terror”, focuses on the rise and destruction of the Nazi Party, and the influence their rallies had.
Have More Than 24 Hours in Nuremberg?
Now that you’ve spent your first 24 hours in Nuremberg seeing the main sights you should explore further with whatever time you have left. While you will certainly find other things to do around the city, another option is to go out and see what else this corner of Germany has to offer. To give you some ideas, here are some day trips from Nuremberg worth the journey.
One of the most popular places to visit from Nuremberg is the town of Bamberg. Lying not far to the north of Nuremberg, Bamberg has a gorgeous Old Town that rivals Nuremberg’s, while still feeling vastly different.
Upon arriving in Bamberg, it’s best to head straight to the city’s iconic Town Hall. Sitting precariously on an island in the Regnitz River, the Town Hall has one end covered in incredible murals and the other looking like a half-timbered house. Continuing across the bridge through the Town Hall will bring you into its Old Town, which has received UNESCO World Heritage status.
Finding your way back to the riverfront, you’ll be rewarded with a view of Bamberg’s Little Venice, with traditional houses in a row along the water. On the hills behind the Old Town sits a fantastic collection of landmarks to explore, including Bamberg Cathedral, the New Residence palace, and Michelsberg Abbey.
Another Bavarian city that delights visitors with its medieval charms is Regensburg. Resting on the banks of the Danube River, the city is a popular stop for river cruises and also makes a great day trip from Nuremberg.
Begin your visit with a gentle walk along the waterfront of the Danube River and then venture out onto the iconic Stone Bridge. From the 12th century bridge you’ll be able to admire the city’s skyline and the various towers that break free from its rooftops. Walking back under the Brückturm tower you’ll enter Regensburg’s Old Town which is full of medieval landmarks like the Old Town Hall.
True of many German cities, there’s no end to the number of churches you’ll come across in Regensburg. The Gothic Regensburg Cathedral is the highlight, but the extravagant rococo interior of the Alte Kapelle is worth seeing as well.
3. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Sitting on Germany’s famous Romantic Road, the picturesque town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of Germany’s most frequently photographed destinations. Of course, it’s easy to see why when there’s a quaint medieval scene around every corner.
Now, Rothenburg ob der Tauber is quite a small town, making it the perfect size to cover with a day trip. To explore it’s well-preserved medieval center, you’ll first need to pass through one of the mighty gates that sit along its fantastic town walls. After climbing up the walls and taking a walk along them, make your way to the town’s central square; Marktplatz. There you’ll find the wonderful Old Town Hall and the intricate Marktplatz Fountain.
Rothenburg’s most iconic spot though is Plönlein which is just a short walk away. Fight your way past the other tourists to see this gorgeous street corner surrounded by gorgeous buildings and gate towers. Before leaving, be sure to take in the view from the Burggarten of the town vineyards which lead down to the River Tauber.
And there you have it, everything you need to know to properly experience Nuremberg in 1 day. Take this advice and you should have a great time visiting this charming old city.