Nuremberg, Germany is a super cute town (well, on the larger side for a “town”) in southern Germany, about an hour train ride from Munich. Dan and I, as well as our friends Tinh and LaKenya, visited Nuremberg for a fun Fall weekend before hitting Oktoberfest earlier this year. Nuremberg was pretty, interesting, and a convenient place to explore before diving into Oktoberfest!
On our first day in Nuremberg, a Saturday late afternoon & evening, we arrived via the Deutsche Bahn directly from the Frankfurt Airport train station. The trip was 2.5 uneventful hours, the majority of which were spent napping on the train.
On arrival, we walked to our hotel, the Adina Hotel, in Nuremberg’s Old Town – i.e. inside the old city walls. After checking in to our hotel, we had just had enough time to walk to our first tour – a beer tour of Nuremberg’s famous Underground a/k/a the Historische Felsengänge. Our tour started right at Hausbraueri Altstadhof (which smelled amazing) and if you are not exactly on time, you will miss the Underground Beer Tour. The Underground Beer Tour lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes and we visited Underground and tasted of two beers in Hausbraueri Altstadhof.
After our tour, a little tipsy from the beer tasting, we really wanted to eat at Hausbraueri Altstadhof because it smelled DELICIOUS. However, unfortunately, they were all booked up, as were all of the other delicious smelling restaurants in the nearby area… Before leaving, I had read about one restaurant that served Nuremberg’s famous sausages that did not take reservations. We were luckily able to squeeze right into that restaurant – bra. We dined on the Nuremberg Sausages (what else?!), wine infused sauerkraut, and apple strudel. #when in Germany. Exhausted from our overnight flight, we called it an early Saturday night.
Our second day in Nuremberg, and our only full day, started early with a trip to the Nuremberg Castle a/k/a the Kaiserburg Castle, Nuremberg’s main tourist attraction. Nuremberg Castle opens at 9h during high season (April – September, 10h otherwise) and is located at the verrrry top of town. Tickets can be purchased same day, but there are lines (which can be long) after about 10 AM. Pro tip – arrive very early.
Upon purchasing our tickets, we went to a viewing of the “water well” demonstration at the recommendation of the ticket office. This was a surprisingly interesting attraction focused on the castle’s incredibly deep water well. I usually skip these types of things, but this was definitely worth the 15 minute show. The water well is located in the small building just across from the ticket office – confirm times with the ticket office. After the water well, we toured the castle, which was just meh (meaning skippable if you have seen just enough castles; the exterior and its views are more impressive). If you do tour the castle, of interest inside are the first few rooms and the beautiful chapel. In my opinion, the rest is not that exciting but if you are interested, could take a few hours. I would allow an hour if you are traveling with a group.
After taking a number of photographs of Nuremberg from Kaiserburg Castle, we visited Nuremberg’s Fall Festival for lunch and some shopping! Actually, before I planned this trip, I had no clue that it was the weekend of Nuremberg’s Fall Festival, but we were in luck! Nuremberg’s Fall Festival, held for a couple weeks late in September, is located in the same place its famous Christmas Festival takes place – the Haupmarkt in front of Frauenkirche Nuremberg.
While the shopping was just so so, the eating and drinking at Nuremberg Fall Festival was 100%. I enjoyed frites with mayonnaise and a flammkuchen with a glass of German sparkling wine! Dan enjoyed a pork sandwich from a sausage stand called schweinsteak. While I would not make a special trip to Nuremberg for this Fall Festival, it was definitely worth a stop since we were in town!
I would point out that if you are in Nuremberg and happen to miss a market, there are tons of little cute shops and stalls near the Handwerkerhof (and old-timey, touristy part of town), which is located just inside the Old Town wall entrance located closest to the train station. We picked up some lovely fruit here, as well as Nuremberg’s famous Christmas treat, the Elisen-Lebkuchen.
After lunch we did some more strolling around Nuremberg, and walked along its most famous street – Weiβgerbergasse. While certainly good for Instagram, Weiβgerbergasse is not that exciting otherwise.
For dinner on Sunday night, I made an advance reservation at the charming Trödelstuben. Here, we dined on Germany beer and Kaese Spaetzel, which is one of my favorite German dishes and kind of like mac and cheese!! The night ended with some drinks in our hotel bar (lame, I know, but Oktoberfest was the next day!).
Our third day in Munich was the day we departed for Munich for the Oktoberfest! As such, we did not do much besides walk to the train station with our luggage.
Side note, the Nuremberg train station is quite comprehensive, with everything from shopping mall type stores, to pharmacies, to food! Plan to arrive early if you are not familiar with the train station, and particularly European trains.
After finding our platform, we had some extra time and were finally able to try the famous 3 sausages in a bun dish! It was a surprisingly delicious breakfast!
One short hour later, we arrived in Munich for the Oktoberfest, our most favorite festival!!
NUREMBERG TRAVEL TIPS
- Get to the Castle early, like as soon as it opens, to avoid the crowds and the line. Its so crowded!
- Make reservations for the Underground Tour in advance; they book up. And on that note, arrive at least 10 minutes early. The tour will leave you.
- Make dinner reservations, especially on the weekend.
- Many, many shops are closed on Sunday.
- Nuremberg hosts a lot of festivals and other events; Google when planning your trip.
- Most of Nuremberg’s WWII historic sites are just outside of the Old Town, via a short train or Uber ride.
- On that note, if you want to visit the WWII historic sites, best to spend 48 hours (rather than 36).
- The best way to get around Old Town Nuremberg is to walk but wear walking shoes, the town is entirely up hill.
- If you need something, the train station is a good source of shops and food establishments that are open late.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Deutsche Bahn – Deutsch Bahn website in English. Book your train tickets here 90 days in advance of travel for the best fares. I recommend creating an account so that you can modify your tickets, if necessary.
Adina Hotel – Dr.-Kurt-Schumacher-Straße 1, 90402 Nürnberg, Germany. Pool and fitness center included.
Nuremberg Underground Tours – The ticket site for tours of Nuremberg’s Underground. Numerous tours are offered, most in German. That being said, all tours come with a personal audio guide that translates into a number of languages. We did the beer tour – the “Rotes Bier” tour. Tour departs from the entrance to the Hausbraueri Altstadhof on Bergstraβe street. Take note; this can be a bit confusing.
Behringer’s Bratwurthäusle – Werner Behringer GmbH, Rathausplatz 1, 90403 Nürnberg. Open daily, no reservations.
Kaiserburg Castle – Burg 13, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany. April – September 9h – 18h. October – March 10h – 16h. 7 euros/person for all admissions.
Trödelstubben: Trödelmarkt 30, 90403 Nürnberg, Germany. Open daily 11h – 23h. Reservations strongly recommended.
Nuremberg – Nuremberg’s website in English.
ON A BUDGET
On a budget? Yep, Nuremberg, and southern Germany in general, is a good budget option, especially in pricey Western Europe. For example, southern Germany is usually cheaper than France, England, Luxembourg, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
For an extra budget tip, Nuremberg is a decent option for Oktoberfest if you do not want to (or cannot) stay in pricey Munich. Nuremberg is a direct 1 hour train ride from Munich’s main train station, which is a 10 minute walk from Oktoberfest.