Bavaria is full of amazing cities, and Nuremberg is no exception. Come explore medieval castles and Gothic churches, with World War II history around every corner. Eat your weight in gingerbread and/or sausages. Tour a famous Renaissance artist’s home or just walk around the Altstadt admiring half-timbered homes and river views. An easy day trip from Munich, spending one day in Nuremberg should be on your Germany bucket list!
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Why Visit Nuremberg, Germany? Bavaria’s Historical Jewel
Germany has A LOT of fairytale, picturesque, and historic cities. So, what makes Nuremberg special?
The city is saturated with history.
Nuremberg has been an important trade and cultural center since the Middle Ages. The Holy Roman Emperor had a palace here dating back as far as the year 1050, and thousands of people still visit the Imperial Castle today.
Famous artist Albrecht Dürer called Nuremberg home in the early 1500s. His home and workshop are a must-see for art enthusiasts.
Beautiful cathedrals surround city squares where local farmers’ markets flourish, or Christmas markets when the season’s right.
Nuremberg hosted the Nazi Party Rallies in the 1930’s. The dilapidated remains of the buildings and grounds now house Nuremberg’s Documentation Center, to teach and warn about the power of propaganda.
At the end of World War II, the Nuremberg Trials were held at the city’s Palace of Justice. Visit the memorial to a small piece of justice won.
Don’t care about history? How about food?
Nuremberg sausages are small, key-hole-sized sausages, dating back to the Middle Ages so people could sneak food through key holes to people in prison or people locked outside the city walls.
They’ll serve it to you on a plate nowadays, with delicious German potato salad or traditional sauerkraut.
Nuremberg’s gingerbread, or lebkuchen, is world-renown and not to be missed. Bakeries carry it year-round, and it’ll be piled high at stalls in the famous Nuremberg Christmas market.
Traveling with kids?
The DB Museum of Transport has trainloads of fun for the family, and the Toy Museum is another popular stop for little ones.
Getting to Nuremberg from Munich
The most popular way to visit Nuremberg is as a day trip from Munich. It’s quick and easy, an hour by train, and is the perfect addition to any Munich itinerary.
First step: grab a Deutsche Bahn (DB) Bayern train ticket. These are easy to purchase each day from a kiosk at any DB station.
These regional train tickets are good for up to 5 people in your party and are by far the cheapest way to get around southern Germany. The only catch is they can’t be used between 6AM-9AM on weekdays (morning rush hour).
Check the schedule the night before. Bayern ticket in hand, with names written on the ticket (yes, they check), hop the first train that leaves from Munich’s Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) in the morning.
Be aware that the last train back to Munich at the end of the day will be packed with day trippers like you trying to get back to Munich for dinner.
Arrive at the train station 20 minutes or more before the last train is due to arrive.
Walk as far down the platform as you can. There is less competition for seats; although there will still be plenty of people waiting for that last train back.
How to Get Around Nuremberg
Nuremberg is very walkable, and the Bayern ticket also covers the buses, trams, S-bahn, and U-bahn in Nuremberg. That Bayern ticket is a real money saver!
Pro Tip: The Hauptbahnhof will have free public transport maps. Grab one before you head out! They can be lifesavers when you get lost.
Walking through the AltStadt (Old Town) is the best way to see Nuremberg.
Highly recommend saving Nuremberg maps offline and following the walking directions.
See German half-timbered houses, amazing cathedrals and fountains, the river bridges over the Pegnitz River, and the Hauptmarkt before arriving at the Kaiserburg on the north side of the city center. That walk only takes 20 minutes, if you don’t stop for pictures.
To walk to the Kaiserburg from the Hauptbahnhof:
- Cross the street from the Hauptbahnhof, walking north toward the very large walls and stone tower.
- Once there, take Konigstrasse north until you hit the river.
- Museumsbrücke crosses the river. Look right to see the Holy Spirit Hospital, partially founded on an island in the middle of the river. Look left to see the Fleischbrücke, a medieval stone arch bridge. Continue north into the Hauptmarkt square.
- Walk diagonally left across the square, towards the Schoner Brunnen fountain, to Hauptmarkt (the street on the other side of the square). Continue north.
- The road changes names to Rathauspl. and then slightly veers left and changes to Burgstrasse. You’ll be able to see the castle by now. Continue up the hill for amazing views and to tour the castle.
This walking route can also be done in reverse, if you’d rather take public transport up to the castle and leisurely walk back to the train station. This walking route covers 75% of the main tourist sites in Nuremberg.
For attractions further out of the city center, like the Nazi Party Rally Grounds Documentation Center and the Nuremberg Trials Memorial Museum at the Palace of Justice, take public transport like a tram or bus.
Possible public transport options are noted below for each site in its description.
What to See in One Day in Nuremberg: Suggested Itinerary
1. Start at The Kaiserburg / Imperial Castle of Nuremberg
A medieval palace complex dating back to the times of the Holy Roman Empire, the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg should be at the top of your must-see list for Nuremberg.
Known as the Kaiserburg in German, this castle complex has housed Holy Roman Emperors and the kings of Bavaria, and was even a place of interest to the Third Reich for its German historical nature.
Tours begin with the original Palas and Double Chapel, first built on the ruins of another building on this rocky outcropping in the year 1200. Walk through medieval halls and see how Holy Roman Emperors lived. The double chapel is a two-story chapel, so the emperor didn’t have to worship with the commoners below.
Next, continue through to The Bower. This building was nearly completely destroyed and then reconstructed after WWII and now houses a fascinating display on medieval weaponry and the castle’s military history.
The Kaiserburg’s Deep Well Tour is a crowd favorite in an unassuming building in the center courtyard. Tours are only available in German, but the demonstration of the well is interesting nonetheless. What good is a castle without its own protected water source?
This well is, as its name gives away, pretty deep. At 50m (164ft) deep, it’s an impressive engineering feat for the time, considering this well was probably built in the 1200’s when the castle was first constructed.
Miraculously, the tallest point of the castle complex, the Sinwell Tower, wasn’t damaged during the WWII bombings. You can climb this tower and be treated to unparalleled views over the city, with photographs from before and after the war to compare to today’s view.
Complete your visit with a nice stroll through the gardens and grounds, open to the public regardless if you buy a ticket to go inside any of the other buildings.
Time Required for Visit
The Palas, Double Chapel, and Bower require 1.5-2 hours, especially if you take the audio guide.
The Deep Well is a separate guided tour option and takes about 45 minutes.
The Sinwell Tower depends on your fitness level climbing the tower and how long you stay up top admiring the views. Say 45 minutes to an hour to be safe.
Total time if you do everything: +/- 4 hours
Minimum time to make it worth your while: 2 hours + a stroll through the gardens on the way out
Walking from the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station) is our recommendation.
Alternatively, take public transport. There aren’t a lot of options inside the city walls, so you’ll have to take a combination of routes to get close, and then walk the rest of the way to the castle.
Take the U-bahn (lines U1, U2, or U3) to Plarrer station, just two stations west from the Hauptbahnhof. Exit the subway and walk up to street level.
Hop on Tram 4 going north. Ride north for 3 stops and disembark at Tiergartnertor. Follow the path up to the old walls and gate, following signs for Albrecht Durer House.
Once you’re through the walls, turn left, away from the Durer House, and follow the streets up to the Kaiserburg. You can’t miss it.
2. Photo Op with the Schöner Brunnen / Beautiful Fountain
This fountain lives up to its name: it’s a beautiful fountain in the corner of the city’s main square (the Hauptmarkt). A great photo op in this square full of photo ops!
It looks like a Gothic church spire was plucked off the top of the nearby Frauenkirche (church) and plopped on the ground, which makes sense as the original fountain was built in the 1300’s around the same time as the church.
The current fountain is a beautifully restored ornate replica that’s been on this spot for about a century. Find the golden ring in the grille around the fountain and turn it for good luck!
Time Required for Visit
As little as 5 minutes to walk by and take a picture.
Walking around the Hauptmarkt is a must-do, but Bus 36 also stops at Nuremberg Hauptmarkt, right across the street from the fountain.
3. Walk through a Beautiful Cathedral
The churches are all free to enter when services are not in session. Even if you’re not religious, these old cathedrals are worth a tour.
Take a minute to appreciate the time and effort that went into building these magnificent edifices without power tools or machines. The details are all handmade!
The Lorenzkirche (St Laurence Lutheran Church) is closest to the central train station and also has its own stop on the U-bahn U1 line. A Gothic beauty!
The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady Catholic Church) anchors one side of the Hauptmarkt, Nuremberg’s most popular square. Another Gothic marvel to wander through.
The Sebalduskirche (St Sebald’s Lutheran Church) is just a block away from the Hauptmarkt. This awesome cathedral was severely damaged during WWII but has been fully restored. The before and after pictures will blow you away.
Time Required for Visit
As much or as little time as you want. It’s always worth popping in for 10 minutes in between visiting other sites. All the cathedrals are close to other historical sites.
All on the way to other locations if you walk through town.
Lorenzkirche, as noted, is also on the U1 subway line.
Frauenkirche is on the Hauptmarkt Square. Bus 36 drops off across the square at Nuremberg Hauptmarkt stop or Buses 37, 46, & 47 all stop at the Holy Spirit Hospital (Heilig-Geist-Spital) stop, about a block south of the church.
Sebalduskirche is also easily accessible from the Hauptmarkt, just one block north, so take Bus 36 to the Nuremberg Hauptmarkt stop and walk north from there.
4. Enjoy the Pegnitz River and its many Bridges
The Pegnitz River bisects the old walled city of Nuremberg. Some of the bridges that cross it are as old as the city gets, dating back to the Middle Ages.
The Fleischbrücke is the oldest stone arch bridge in Nuremberg.
Museumsbrücke is almost as old as the Fleischbrücke and has a great view of the Holy Spirit Hospital which spans over the river and into an island in the middle of the river.
Time Required for Visit
A quick stop on your way to other sites, 10 minutes max.
Walking is your best bet. Both are less than a block south of the Hauptmarkt, if you prefer to take a bus to the Hauptmarkt first.
5. See Half-Timbered Houses in All Their Glory
Known as the prettiest street in Nuremberg, Weißgerbergasse is a beautiful spot for rows of colorful medieval half-timbered houses.
Just a residential street with a few shops here and there, it’s really just a photo op or pleasant views while on a stroll.
Time Required for Visit
A quick stroll through on your way to other sites, 10 minutes max.
About a block west of Sebalduskirche, easy to get to on foot from the Hauptmarkt.
Via public transport: Bus 36 or Tram 4 or 6 to the Hallertor station, on the west side of the city just north of the river.
6. Visit the Documentation Center at the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Throughout Germany you’ll find “Documentation Centers.” These buildings serve the dual purposes of remembering and teaching about the horrors of the National Socialists Party (the Nazis) and the atrocities that happened during World War II.
Nuremberg’s Documentation Center focuses on the power of propaganda and how the Nazi Rallies of the 1930’s reinforced their agenda.
The museum is housed in the unfinished Nazi Congress Hall. It’s a shell of the building it was meant to be, and it’s a haunting reminder of the power of words.
This was one of the most compelling and moving documentation centers that we’ve visited so far. The propaganda machine behind Hitler and the Nazi Party was a fearsome thing to contend with, using fear to fully brainwash an entire population. It’s unnerving and terrifying.
The documentation center sees 3 times as many visitors as it was originally designed for, so an expansion project began in 2021. An interim exhibit is in place for visitors, and exhibit plaques have been scattered throughout the grounds as well.
Walk around the lake to the Zeppelin Field in what’s a peaceful park today, but also see the Steintribüne (Stone Grandstand) where Hitler once stood and spoke. It’s eerie when you recognize it that way.
For more information about construction progress, the interim exhibit, and hours & fees, check the website before you go.
Time Required for Visit
To see the interim exhibit at the Documentation Center, it takes about an hour. A stroll around the Zeppelin Field to read its exhibit plaques is about 1.5 hours; the zeppelin field is a very large space.
Is this Site OK for Kids?
The museum is not recommended for children under 14 due to the mature content.
The grounds and zeppelin field are big and flat, and little kids can run around to get out some energy while you read the exhibit plaques.
This museum is well outside of the city center, but definitely worth the trip! Trams 6 & 8 and Buses 45, 55, 65, & 96 all stop right by the entrance (or they did before construction).
The S-bahn S2 line Dutzendteich station is just down the street. The entrance is under the bridge.
Pro Tip: Shouldn’t have to say it, but I’m gonna anyway – don’t be the idiot tourist that gives a Nazi salute on this grandstand, or anywhere in this park, or anywhere in Germany, for that matter.
It’s actually illegal, and there’s a good chance if a park officer catches you doing it, they’ll arrest you or at least heavily fine you and yell at you. DON’T BE STUPID.
7. Nuremberg Trials Memorial at the Palace of Justice
Another important World War II historical site: the courtroom where the Nazis were put on trial after the war.
The Nuremberg Trials were originally held by the International Military Tribunal and saw the Nazis held accountable for their actions.
The memorial museum above the Palace of Justice (their courthouse) gives detailed information about the monumental task of preparing for and holding the trials.
Courtroom 600, where the trials were held, was a working courtroom up until March 2020. It used to be hit or miss if the courtroom was being used and unavailable during your visit. Now, there’s a good chance the courtroom will be open for tours.
Guided tours are not currently held in English, but the exhibits have English translations. Check the website for further information.
Time Required for Visit
An hour to read all the exhibits in the museum and take a peek inside the courtroom.
Is this Site OK for Kids?
Not recommended for children under 14, but there are no age restrictions. Little kids will get bored; tweens may not quite be ready for the mature content. Use your parental judgement.
Not in the city center. Take the U-bahn U1 line to the Bärenschanze station. The Palace of Justice is a two-block walk to the west.
Is One Day in Nuremberg Enough?
Not really, but you can see A LOT in one day. The above Nuremberg itinerary is a very full day! Swap out one or two of the historical sites for a more kid-friendly site or reduce the amount of time spent at the Kaiserburg to give yourself more time for lunch.
You’ll need it as German restaurants are much slower about bringing the check. (A common difference between American and European eating etiquette.)
Hit the highlights and you’ll be satisfied with your day trip to Nuremberg. But if you have more time…
Two to three days is ideal for a less rushed Nuremberg experience. There is plenty more to see in Nuremberg!
Other Things to Do in Nuremberg with More Time
Albrecht Dürer House
This one’s for all the artists out there! Albrecht Dürer is a famous Renaissance artist that lived and worked in Nuremberg in the 1500’s. He is known for his paintings but also his prints.
A printing press workshop is set up at the Albrecht Dürer House and holds demonstrations to see how mass production of art became a reality.
DB Transport Museum
A good option for kids and adults, the DB Museum of Transport is all about trains.
Two permanent exhibitions walk through the history of the railroad in Germany and the transformation of rail stations throughout the years. Both are fascinating and will entertain the whole family!
World War II Art Bunker
Nuremberg’s underground tunnels were transformed into secret bunkers during the war.
The Nazis stole famous artworks and artifacts from around Europe and shipped them to secret caches. Nuremberg’s tunnels were one such hiding place.
Luckily, the medieval underground tunnels were deep enough and sturdy enough to withstanding the bombings the city received, and the art remained safe.
Take a guided tour and learn about everything these tunnels safeguarded during the war.
A fun museum entirely about toys through the ages! It is interesting how games and toys reveal so much about a culture. The Toy Museum entry includes an audio guide with 2 hours’ worth of fun anecdotes.
A thorough history of Germany, from prehistoric times to today. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum has everything from paintings and prints to scientific and musical instruments.
Medieval weaponry, folk art, and even 1700’s Fashion all have their own exhibits. A perfect rainy day activity to get to know the German culture.
Nuremberg Christmas Market in Hauptmarkt
Europe’s Christmas markets are legendary, and Nuremberg is no exception!
Remember that lebkuchen (gingerbread) we talked about? Stalls are stacked high with it at Christmas! And don’t forget mulled mead, a staple of any Christmas market.
Get an adorable Christmas ornament souvenir, usually handmade, or just walk around enjoying the ambience. Europe knows how to do Christmas!
A brief guided tour of Nuremberg’s medieval dungeons paints a ghastly picture of what it was like to be jailed and questioned during the Middle Ages.
The tour includes 12 cells and a torture chamber.
When’s the Best Time to Visit Nuremberg?
The spring and summer are delightful. Summer sees a surge of tourists, but if you avoid German national holidays, it’s still pretty easy to get around.
Fall coincides with Oktoberfest, which is actually held in September. The beer fest tends to draw people away from sightseeing, so you may find yourself at less crowded sites.
Winter is cold and snowy, but the Christmas market is worth it.
How to Save Money in Nuremberg
A few ways to save some money on your day in Nuremberg. A bit of planning will ensure these are worth it. Beware of purchasing a pass and not using it enough to justify its cost.
1. Bayern ticket
We’ve already talked about this above. The Bavaria regional train ticket is the cheapest and easiest way to get around Bavaria, basically covering all transport for the day.
2. Nuremberg Municipal Museums Day Pass or Annual Season Ticket
The Nuremberg Municipal Museum sites include the Documentation Center, Nuremberg Trials Memorial, Albrecht Dürer’s House, Medieval Dungeons, World War II Art Bunker tour, and the Toy Museum, among others. For the complete list, see the website.
The Day Pass
All of the covered attractions are normally €6 base entry for adults. If you add a €3 upcharge and convert to a day pass, you get free entry to the other sites for that day only.
However, the day pass doesn’t cover special guided tours, like the Medieval Dungeons, the WWII Art Bunker tour, or the costumed guided tours with Agnes Dürer at the Dürer House or Katharina Tucher at the Tucher Mansion.
This may not be a problem though. For example, you can still get into the Albrecht Dürer House and tour it on your own with the included audio guide.
As of December 2021, the only English-speaking costumed guided tour with Agnes is on Saturdays at 2PM. If you’re not visiting on Saturday, you’re not missing out on anything. If you want to do the tour with Agnes, it’s only €3 more, and the pass will still pay for itself if you go to a 3rd site.
The Annual Season Ticket
A season ticket, however, covers everything for an entire year. A single Annual Season Ticket covers one named adult for €28. It will have your name on it, so you can’t trade off with your spouse or friend.
An Annual Season Ticket XL costs €42 and covers one named adult, one accompanying adult, and any of your own children.
This pass is worth it if you visit 5 or more of the Nuremberg Municipal Museums, whether that’s all in one day or over two or three days.
3. Bavarian Palace Association 14 Day Pass
Several spots in Munich are included in the pass, as well as several other Bavarian palaces around the region. Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, and Neuschwanstein are all included.
The pass will pay for itself if you visit both the Kaiserburg in Nuremberg and the Munich Residence complex. Everything else is just a bonus after that.
4. Nürnberg Card
Free admission to all Nuremberg museums and free travel on public transportation with the Nürnberg Card.
This card has a catch: you have to stay at one of the official hotel partners in Nuremberg. So, it’s not applicable to day trippers, but could be very useful for those that have 2 consecutive days to spend in Nuremberg.
Visiting 4 or more museums pays for the card. It includes museums from both the Bavarian Palace Administration and the Nuremberg Municipal Museums, so you don’t have to buy individual passes at each site.
Purchase the card online ahead of your trip and it will be mailed to your home. Don’t forget to bring it with you! Alternatively, purchase at the Tourist Information Center in Nuremberg, or possibly your hotel’s front desk.
Enjoy your day in Nuremberg!
Whether you hit the highlights in one day trip to Nuremberg from Munich or you stay in town for a few days to see it all, Nuremberg is sure to be a highlight of your vacation!
Some more relevant resources for planning your Germany vacation:
- Epic Europe Summer Trip: 4 Countries in 12 Days
- Popular Day Trips from Munich
- Day Trip to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial
- One Day in Berchtesgaden
- Explore Salzburg in One Day