The charming medieval city of Nuremberg is known as the unofficial capital of Franconia. If you love fairytale landscapes and travelling with little ones, Bavaria’s second largest city is definitely one to add to your European bucket list.
Watch the highlights video from our Nuremberg Adventures:
Disclaimer: We were hosted by the Nuremberg Tourist Board for this trip, however, all views, opinions and photos are my own and remain a copyright of the Curious Pixie. This post also contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my full disclosure here.
Family Friendly Things To Do In Germany
There is also no denying the sombre tone of some of the city’s landmarks. Nuremberg’s 1000 year history is incredible yet dark and tumultuous. The epicentre for the Nazi Party Rallies and subsequently the Nuremberg Trials, it paid a colossal price for being Hitler’s favourite city. Around 95% was destroyed during World War II in the space of an hour! Over the past few decades it’s been rebuilt with the new blending in with the reconstructed old, whilst still holding onto its original character.
Dark tourism aside, it’s a remarkable place to visit with half timbered houses, cobbled stone streets, incredible gothic architecture and spectacular viewpoints. Full of some of the most picturesque family vacation spots in Germany.
Here is a weekend guide to help you navigate a short break to the city:
How to get to nuremberg
The two main ways to travel to Nuremberg is by air or rail. Albrecht Dürer Airport Nuremberg is only 5 miles outside of the city centre. It’s served by several budget and regional airlines and very accessible. Ryanair operate direct services from Manchester and London Stansted.
The easiest way to get into the centre of Nuremberg is by metro U2, it runs every 10 minutes to and from the airport. A metro ride to the central station Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof takes only 13 minutes. Check out the latest flight times and prices here.
WHere to Stay in Nuremberg
When travelling as a family it’s always great to have space. Apartment hotels are an ideal option, where you can receive the best of both worlds – Hotel service with families in mind.
Family Friendly Hotels In Germany
Adina Apartment Hotel Nuremberg offers accommodation in Kornmarkt. It offers stylish spacious studio rooms, one and two bedroom apartments. Each apartment features a fully equipped kitchen, laundry, separate living areas, flat-screen TV and a work desk. Plus all the rooms are accessible for disabled people. Guests can also enjoy the fitness centre and wellness facilities, which include a sauna and an indoor pool.
On the outskirts of the old town everything is easily reachable by foot making it a great location.Click for availability at the Adina Apartments Nuremberg
For more Nuremberg hotel ideas, inspiration and latest prices head to Tripadvisor.
Best Things to do In nuremberg
Tour Kaiserberg (imperial castle)
A symbol of the city since the Middle Ages, Kaiserberg Castle was also one of the most important fortified Imperial Palaces of the old Holy Roman Empire. Perched high on a hill fortified by the 13th century walls, the castle is from Burgstresse through the Heavenly Gate located beside the Hasenburg Tower.
Visitors can wander along the winding stone pathways, which connect to the Sinwell Tower, the Deep Well, and a small half-timbered house in the centre of the courtyard.
One of the best views of the city is from the castle walls, so expect to see lots of tourists trying to see the beautiful cityscape. Try and plan a late afternoon visit so you can see Nuremberg bathed in golden light.
Go to Albrecht Dürer House
One of Nuremberg’s most famous residents was German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer. His beautiful timber framed house in Nuremberg’s Old Town where he lived from 1509 until 1528 is set underneath the Imperial Castle. Today it’s a museum dedicated to the artist’s life and displaying some of his most prominent art work.
wander Weissgerbergasse (Tanners Lane)
A stroll down the hill from the castle is the photogenic Weißgerbergasse (Tanner’s Lane). The charming half-timbered multicoloured historical homes used to house the city’s wealthiest residents, but today serve as cafes, restaurants, boutiques and bars.
Even on the rainiest and greyest day the largest group of artisan houses in Nuremberg still manages to look beautiful. Almost like standing in a magical Bavarian fairytale.
Browse Hauptmarkt (The Main Square)
The city’s main square, Hauptmarkt is the heart of the city for many Nuremberg inhabitants home to the daily farmers market. Take the opportunity to sample some genuine German street food in the lively square.
It’s the site of many of the annual festivals and events including the Nuremberg Flea Market and the Old Town Festival. More famously on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday it’s the location for Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. One of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe.
Make a wish at Schöner Brunnen
Built in the 14th century Schöner Brunnen is considered one of the most important attractions in the city and a definite eye-catcher. The fountain is 19 meters high and has the shape of a Gothic spire. It literally translates as ‘beautiful fountain’, and found in the main square of the city next to the town hall.
The ornate details of the fountain are impressive, depicting 40 colourful figures representing the worldview of the Holy Roman Empire. Also considered a talisman, many believe turning the Golden Ring on the fountain grille three times will grant a wish.
Handwerkerhof, is a pretty cobbled courtyard within the old town walls. Although not as old as it looks, the courtyard was built in the 1970s to pay tribute to the golden age of craftsmanship in Nuremberg. Well worth a visit to shop for local handcrafted products and wander around the charming medieval looking village.
count all the bridges
Since the Middle Ages bridges have been part of the Nuremberg cityscape. Don’t miss the wooden Henkersteg (Hangman’s Bridge) which connects Trödelmarkt, with its many exclusive shops.
Maxbrücke is the oldest stone bridge in the city, linking Unschlittplatz with Maxplatz.
There is a photo op moment on Museumsbrücke as it grants a beautiful view onto Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospital of the Holy Spirit), Fleischbrücke and Pegnitz.
And Fleischbrücke is a late single arch Renaissance bridge that links the St Sebald and St Lorenz areas of the city built in 1596-98.
Step into a kids world at the toy museum
The museum with its beautiful gabled facade celebrates Nuremberg’s status as the traditional toy-making capital in Germany. When travelling with kids the Toy Museum (Spielzeugmuseum) is a don’t miss attraction.
There are three floors filled with toys of all kinds. One is dedicated to dolls and also toys of old from wood carvings, stuffed animals, pewter and tin toys all the way to the modern age with Lego, Barbie, Playmobil and Matchbox. Designated play areas next to the entrance and on the third floor will keep the kids happy too with lots of building blocks, board games, retro electronics, and wooden toys for entertainment.
As we found it’s not only for kids, adults will find it will transport them back to their childhood. Introducing the kids to the 90s version of Nintendo Super Mario Bros. on a rainy day a family highlight!
make some lebkuchen
If you’re a fan of gingerbread, Nuremberg is the city for you! Their world famous Lebkuchen was first baked by Franconian monks, who created this sweet baked treat as early as the 14th century. The special blend of cinnamon and cardamom, coriander, ginger, and vanilla, honey and a plethora of nuts, for centuries it was considered a holy food.
One of the best ways to try it is to actually bake some yourself. At The Wicklein Lebkuchen Bakery in Hauptmarkt, book a ginger bread making workshop and experience the gingerbread bakers’ handicraft. Learn about the spices, stories and secrets and bake your own batch. For only €14.90 each for a 1.5 hour session, it’s a fantastic family experience.
admire the gothic churches
Within the walls of the Old Town there are so many magnificent churches. Simply walk along Koenigstrasse and you’ll stumble upon three stunning churches: Frauenkirche in Hauptmarkt and St. Lorenz Church, a spectacular gothic masterpiece and St. Sebaldus Church. They’re beautiful, both inside and out and worthy of a stop on your city walk.
explore fembohaus – the city museum
Fembohaus is a City Museum in a large late Renaissance merchant’s house dating back to the end of the 16th century. Once a family home and then a printing workshop, it’s now home to municipal museum containing more than 950 years of Nuremberg history.
Wander from a listening station where you can hear three centuries of music composed in the city to maps printed in the Fembohaus in the 17th century. The entire second floor has rooms furnished in the period style of the 1600s giving an insight into family life. On the fourth floor is huge hand-carved scale model of Nuremberg’s Altstadt from the same year the house was built.
Marvel at some of the well preserved architectural gems including a beautifully ornate central room of the house, with a lavish Baroque stucco ceiling.
meet the animals at nuremberg zoo
Nuremberg Zoo (Tiergarten) is set in an extraordinary and unique landscape. Set in a large, densely wooded park visitors can roam around open-air enclosures which moulded out of the red sandstone found in the region.
It’s one of the largest in zoos in Europe an is dedicated to conservation breeding of endangered species. It participates in 46 international programs and is a partner zoo of the Species Conservation Foundation.
Located in the eastern area of the city, it’s a 15 minute tram ride away. No. 6 from the Main Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof Nürnberg) takes you straight to Tiergarten (Zoo).
Visit the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds
A visit to Nuremberg wouldn’t be right without acknowledging one of its darkest chapters. Adolf Hitler chose Nuremberg because it was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire in an attempt to legitimise his regime.
Today the architectural megalomania of these grounds are still there for people to see. The Zeppelin Tribune from where Hitler delivered his Nazi propaganda to his supporters stands but in severe disrepair and with its future unknown. Crumbling, the city is divided as to whether the structure should be maintained or discarded.
The unfinished Congress Hall designed to seat 50,000 spectators now features a permanent exhibition called Fascination and Terror, which explains how the Nazi Party influenced the political landscape.
Perhaps not the first place you’d think to take children, however, the only area with an age restriction of 14 and over is the exhibition. The rest of the grounds are free and fine to visit. The surrounding area now serves as a recreational area with a boating lake and popular beer garden. Makes it easier for adults
Find the waY of human rights
The Way of Human Rights sculpture is a Nuremberg’s acknowledgement to its past and instead being known as city who now upholds human rights.
Designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan, walk through the imposing arch from the Kornmarkt. Each of the 8 metre high, 27 pillars have one article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights engraved in German and a 2nd language.
Don’t Forget the Nürnberg card
The Nürnberg Card includes free
Have you been to Nuremberg or visited Germany with kids? What did you love? Let me know in the comments box below.
Below are some easily bookable activities we enjoyed to help plan your trip:
Where would we be without our Lonely Planet Guide!
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Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my full disclosure here.