If you are looking for a well-maintained city, with a Middle Ages soul and a medieval structure, Nuremberg is the one for you.
Even today, the old city walls with about forty towers still surround the historic center. Moreover, here and there, there are half-timbered houses, the typical constructions of Germany and northern Europe, beautiful in their perfect imprecision and asymmetry.
Nuremberg can be visited almost entirely on foot, and the main attractions are within the old city walls.
My advice is to stay overnight just outside the walls, to save some money, and reach the historic center in 1-2 minutes on foot.
Nuremberg in a nutshell
The following is an interactive map with the main city attractions marked with blue pins. Please notice that the Documentation Center at the former Nazi party rally grounds is outside the city center, and you need to zoom the map to see it.
The purple pins mark places that can be visited if you have extra time, the green pins mark some famous museums instead.
Finally, the two restaurants where I have been and that I recommend are marked with brown pins, while the red line is the layout of the old city wall.
I suggest to take a look at the old city wall first and then enter the historic center. By just randomly moving, you will pass by impressive churches, romantic corners with half-timbered houses, and picturesque bridges over the river Pegnitz.
All the main attractions are easily reachable in a few minutes’ walks and going from one side to the other of the historic center is a stroll of less than 2 km (although sometimes uphill).
The Nuremberg Castle is a group of fortified buildings located on a hill directly over the historical center of the city.
The castle is famous because all German kings and the Holy Roman Emperors stayed here.
It is a very crowded place and to reach it, you need to go uphill, but the panoramic view of the city will be your reward.
Albrecht Dürer’s House, now a museum, is located right next to the castle.
The religious buildings in the historic center are beautiful, impressive, and well-maintained. I recommend seeing them from both outside and inside. You won’t regret it.
During my city tour I have visited the following churches in Nuremberg:
St. Sebaldus Church
Located in front of the City Hall, its towers stand in the middle of the historic center, north of the river Pegnitz. It competes for beauty and richness of interiors with its twin, St. Laurence Church, located in the other half of the historic center, south of the river.
St. Laurence Church
It is the antagonist of St. Sebaldus Church, built to give the other half of the city an equally impressive religious building. There is a big square in front of the church where you can admire its façade in all its beauty.
Our Lady’s Church (Frauenkirche)
Unlike the two previous churches that are Protestant, this is a Catholic building with a unique façade. It is located in the market square (Hauptmarkt), next to other major attractions.
St. Egidien Church
This church is the last remaining Baroque building in Nuremberg. After the bombings of World War II, the administration decided to rebuild the interiors in a modern style.
St. Elizabeth Church
It is a must-see because of its pink colonnade and other colored inner elements, which make this building very different from the previous ones. You find this church in a suggestive corner of the city. Other attractions right next to it are the White Tower, the Marriage Fountain, and St. Jakob Church.
St. Jakob Church
Another Gothic Church, this one is located in front of St. Elizabeth Church. The interiors have been rebuilt in a modern style, but the church dates back to 1200.
Market Square (Hauptmarkt)
One of the most famous squares in Nuremberg, the market takes place here every weekday.
Some of the churches mentioned above, as well as the City Hall, and the Beautiful Fountain, are located within walking distance from this square.
This fountain is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe. It was built like a colorful Gothic pinnacle.
Jakobsplatz (St. Jakob Square)
This was one of my favorite corners in Nuremberg. Near the already mentioned St. Elizabeth Church and St. Jakob Church, you find here:
Fountain of the wedding carousel (Ehekarussell)
It represents scenes of married life with all its ups and downs and has been placed here to hide one of the subway vents.
White Tower (Weißer Turm)
It is a fortification that dates back to the ancient medieval structure of the city.
Old City Walls
During the years, the ancient fortifications of the city have been partially renovated. Moreover, a small medieval district, the Handwerkerhof, has been rebuilt inside the walls, near the railway station. It is now a popular tourist attraction.
The river is not a point of interest itself, but the charming city views created by its stream and the half-timbered houses on its banks.
Other tourist attractions
The whole historical center is full of attractions, from civil buildings of historical importance to famous museums, fountains, and sculptures. I think the following are worth mentioning.
Mauthalle (Toll Hall)
A medieval building with a rectangular plan.
It means literally: Ship of Crazy People Fountain. It is an unfinished work (a fountain without water) because there were not enough funds to complete it.
The Way of Human Rights
27 pillars with an article of the Declaration of Human Rights printed on it.
Nuremberg National Theater
The Opera House is located immediately outside the walls.
Here some ideas marked in green on my interactive map above.
German National Museum
It exhibits objects of German culture and art, from the birth of man until modern times.
Albrecht Dürer’s House
House-Museum with the reconstruction of the medieval-style rooms and some copies of Dürer’s works.
Let’s not forget that the toy industry has ancient history and traditions here.
Things to drink and eat
Beer. Needless to say. Go away from the famous brands and, if you don’t know what to choose, take any of the local craft beers, maybe just because the bottle has a particular shape.
For me, it was impossible to resist the Nuremberg sausage (Nürnberger Bratwurst). It is usually a short and thin sausage, served in portions of 6-9-12, etc. accompanied with sauerkraut or potato salad.
I ate at the very central Bratwurst Röslein, and I can recommend it, even if it is in a very touristic area. It has many tables, excellent service, and great food. The second place where I have been (found by chance) was La Bas, located near the Way of Human Rights. I marked both of them with brown pins in the map above.
If you have extra time
If you have some extra time, I recommend a visit to the baroque garden or the Nazi party rally grounds, a sort of modern Colosseum. The Nazi documentation-center is right next to it.