Our FIRST TIME ever in Nürnberg was short but sweet! We stayed in a nice cosy hotel just about 50 metres from the famous Christmas market in the old town, so we were able to walk around and up to all the major tourist attractions and sights. The Christkindlesmarkt being one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world was definitely worth a visit, as well as the castle, churches and some museums in the old town. You won´t stay hungry for too long also, there are many nice restaurants which offer traditional Bavarian & food.
It´s one of GERMANY`S OLDEST CHRISTMAS FAIRS, dating back into 16th century. In the 18th century there were already around 140 craftsmen selling goods on the market, but the crowds eventually lost interests in visiting the market – after some years of less importance it was revived in the 1930s. Nürnberg was destroyed in the WWII, but the market has been successfully re-established since those times and is world known today, attracting many tourists from all over the world and it is opened from late November until 24th of December every year. Don´t forget to buy some famous “LEBKUCHEN CAKE” hearts and try the glorious NUREMBERG SAUSAGE WITH SAUERKRAUT! It will get very full in the evening, but the stalls are opened from morning on. There is a special part of the market where you find international stalls, selling products from different world countries.
Just a short walk from the market and you are at the CASTLE – the whole old town town is surrounded by walls that once protected the city and the castle is just at one of its gates. There are nice views over the city from up there!
Built on a sandstone rock (which in parts you can also climb for fun) the castle is an important silhouette of Nürnberg. Together with the CITY WALLS (now surrounding the old town) it is considered to be one of Europe’s MOST FORMIDABLE MEDIEVAL FORTIFICATIONS. This Middle Age castle complex is actually made out of 2 CASTLES, “Kaiserburg” and “Burggrafenburg”. You can see the imperial apartments in the main building with 16th and 17th century paintings, tapestries and furniture, the Romanesque chapel, the well with its 47-metre shaft, “Sinwellturm” tower and a collection of weapons and tools. What is also interesting is that the former imperial stables are today turned into a Youth Hostel.
There are numerous MUSEUMS you can visit in and around the old town. Amongst the most known are Albrecht Dürer´s House, City Museum, Mediaeval dungeons, Toy Museum, School Museum, WW II Art Bunker, Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds, German Games Archive, Hirsvogel Hall, Museum Tucher Mansion and some more.
FOOD & RESTAURANTS
First baked by monks in as early as 14th century, the Nuremberg Lebkuchen (GINGERBREAD) have developed into world famous sweets and the colourful Lebkuchen hearts are one of the most sold goods in the town, especially in the winter time. Right next to it, there are many stalls offering the famous “Nürnberger wurst” SAUSAGES, which are surprisingly small – usually you can order them in a sandwich (3 in a bun), with sauerkraut and mustard and if you like sausages this can be a convenient snack before or after lunch. Another regional speciality is a so-called “SCHÄUFELE” – pork shoulder. The meat is tender inside and the rind should be very crispy and crunchy.
With all that food you need to drink something also – and here, BEER is the best choice. For centuries, Nuremberg was an important city for brewing beer and there are many varieties – dark, light, or traditional red. The most known is Tucher beer, but you will come across also some other traditional breweries, if you want something special try the SMOKED BEER. Linked to the important beer tradition one finds lots of interesting restaurants and rock cut cellars which used to be meant for storing hops, but some of them are turned into restaurants and bars today.
CHRISTMAS TIME IN NÜRNBERG
Christmas is a great time to visit Nürnberg, mostly because of the famous market! In the evening there are many visitors and it does get very full so if you go with small kids it´s better to visit the market during the day. It seems like the whole town is in the Christmas spirit and everything is nicely decorated – the heavy meaty food also fits more to the cold winter than to a summer day, especially if you find a cosy old restaurant. You can also take a ride with the traditional “POSTKUTCHE” horse carriage and enjoy the Christmas lights without even having to walk.