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Nuremberg, Germany is a Bavarian city with a lot of history, and an emphasis on Christmas markets. But even if you’re not going to be here during the holidays, there’s a lot to do after five o’clock. And for a central hotel recommendation, check out this review of the Park Plaza Nuremberg.
The Christmas markets are the #1 thing to do in Nuremberg, if you’re lucky enough to be here during the holidays! Nuremberg has the largest Christmas market in all of Germany – and that’s really saying something.
How to Get to Nuremberg, Germany
There is a small airport in Nuremberg, but it’s rather small and mostly regional. You’re more likely coming here by train; Munich is only 1 hour 15 minutes away, Frankfurt is only about 2 hours. Trains are fast, efficient, and operate numerous times throughout the day. Plus, Nuremberg’s central station is right in the middle of the city!
Nuremberg is extremely walk-able, especially if you’re on business anywhere near the city center. Nothing on this list would take any longer than about 15 minutes to walk to, which should give you a sense of the size of the city. You could rent a car, but I didn’t see the need. Ride-share services are available too, but I didn’t need those either!
Where to Eat in Nuremberg, Germany
Bratwurstgloecklein // This casual, traditional restaurant is located in the Handwerkerhof Market – one of the five places to visit below – and traces its roots back to literally the 1300s! It serves Nuremberg sausages, which are distinct to the city; they’re finger-sized and light in color, until they’re charred of course. Eat them with bread and mustard.
Essig Braetlein // The place to go if you have both the funds and the ability to plan ahead. It’s got TWO coveted Michelin stars and is very high-end, serving modern versions of dishes inspired by German flavors. This restaurant serves set menus for both lunch and dinner. Lunch is “cheap” at only EUR 88-100 per person, whereas dinner will set you back up to EUR 160 for 7 courses. Because of the rare 2 Michelin stars, reservations are a must, and should be made at least a month in advance. But if you’re lucky enough to be able to go, this is considered by some to be one of the best restaurants in all of Germany.
Hausbrauerei Alstadthof // Right by the Nuremberg Castle is this neat old brewery that serves Nuremberg’s classic, historic red beer. It’s a microbrewery that has an onsite distillery (Ayrer’s) brewing whiskey in small batches. And, it’s also a restaurant that serves very traditional Nuremberg food, including this pig face salad, which a waitress kindly informed me wasn’t usually enjoyed by Americans. I ordered it anyway and found it to be very vinegar-y, but interesting! (The other food is pretty traditional Bavarian.)
Delphi // A trendy Greek restaurant, open till 11:00p and popular with locals as a late-night spot. Try the feta-saganaki, a fried sheep’s milk cheese. Unlike the others on our list, this is definitely not Bavarian food!
Pretzels and other pastries // Bavaria is known for its soft pretzels, and lots of shops in Nuremberg serve them with a spread of soft, mild cheese and sliced green onions on top. It’s delicious. There are lots of other savory pastries served here, many with cheese and meats. I picked up this entire platter of pastries for about EUR13 at Nuremberg’s central train station.
Things to Do in Nuremberg at Night
Take an underground walking tour // Nuremberg was bombed heavily during WWII, but because of its underground tunnels, it didn’t suffer as many casualties as expected. There are various guided tours that teach you all about Nuremberg’s history and walk you through its underground tunnels, built centuries ago. They even start and end at the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof on our list and include small tastings – because that brewery still makes use of part of the underground tunnels! Guided tours are only available in English on the weekends, but all tours allow you to purchase English audioguides and walk through the cellars. Tours start at 5:30p every day, and 9p on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so you can enjoy after your workday.
Kaiserburg Imperial Castle // Only about a 2 minute walk from the underground walking tour is the Nuremberg Castle, an impressive landmark dating back to the Middle Ages. The castle itself closes at 6p, with the last entry at 5:30p, but you can visit the beautiful gardens until nightfall. Even if you’re only able to walk past the castle, it’s worth a quick stop for a photo, especially since it’s so centrally located.
Handwerkerhof Market // This is a collection of shops in the center of Nuremberg that prides itself on being handmade. Some of the shops are family-owned and have long histories, including Dornauers chocolate shop (pictured). The market is open until 10p and is especially fabulous at Christmastime, but you can walk through year-round and purchase handmade chocolate and lebkuchen (gingerbread). Inside the market is the Bratwurstgloecklein restaurant on our list.
Christmas Market // If you’re visiting Nuremberg near the holidays, you must go to the Christmas Market. It’s the largest in Germany and spans multiple city blocks, selling mostly Bavarian foods and beer. It’s open from November 27 – December 24, most days until 9p. It’s also smack in the middle of everything, near the Kaiserburg Castle, so it’s hard to avoid if you’re visiting then.
Neues Museum // This is a great modern art museum, right next to the Handwerkerhof Market. It normally closes at 6p, but it’s open til 8p on Thursdays. Keep in mind, you might see some very modern exhibits here, with some political and social commentary. It is a pretty liberal, out-there museum, which I think provides an interesting cultural perspective, but you should be aware that it’s more progressive than most U.S.-based museums!
Also check out:
- Bilbao, Spain After 5:00 pm
- Copenhagen, Denmark After 5:00 pm
- Sol Area of Madrid, Spain After 5:00 pm
- Brussels, Belgium After 5:00 pm
- Dubrovnik, Croatia After 5:00 pm
- Nuremberg, Germany After 5:00 pm