Do you ever get those moments when you just really want to get away and explore a new city? After reading through the list of destinations in a low-cost airline promotional email (which isn’t as cheap as expected once you add on a return flight), I was torn about where we should go for our weekend getaway. I considered Cologne, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin – and it took a good hour of driving Bogdan up the wall as to where we should go, before we eventually settled on Nuremberg.
While I do admit it was quite a random choice, compared to the more well-known Germanic cities, I was so pleased we visited. It’s a city with very interesting tales to tell, contrasted architecture, friendly locals and great value, yet delicious, food. With all these qualities, Nuremberg was the perfect long-weekend destination and if you’re looking for an easy-to-explore city, crammed with history and sausages, look no further than here.
How to get there
We flew from Manchester Airport and we were up in the sky for approximately two hours. From the airport we took the U2 metro (U-Bahn) to the central station of Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof. It took about 15 minutes and cost a couple of euros each – the machine took card payments which was very handy. From the station, we walked to our hotel which took 10 minutes and it’s as simple as that!
Where to stay
After deliberating between a few hotels, we settled on Melter Apartments purely for its good location and bathroom – if you see our bathroom you’ll understand why! A two night stay in November cost us £185.00 and this didn’t include breakfast. I’ll be sharing a hotel review of Melter Apartments in a few days – so stay tuned!
Nuremberg doesn’t have a huge selection of hotels, but if you’re looking for some ideas on where to stay, I’d also recommend:
- Adina Apartments with an indoor swimming pool and rooftop terrace (from £113 per night)
- Subway stop apartment with totally Instagrammable interiors (from £55 per night)
- Super stylish apartment with a SMEG fridge and walking distance to Old Town (from £82 per night)
- If you’re looking for something totally different, how about a yurt? (from £35 per night)
What to do
As we only stayed for two nights, we only managed to scratch the surface of Nuremberg, but we did keep ourselves busy in every way we could – even though I had a sore foot and spent the majority of the weekend hopping!
Go for a wander around the Nürnberg Hauptmarkt
The Nuremberg market square is a place buzzing with activity. We visited on a rainy Saturday morning, but it didn’t stop traders and customers browsing the fresh flowers, vegetable, fruit, cheese and sweet stalls. Make sure you visit the market first thing on a Saturday morning as it’s closed on Sundays, and if anything else it will be a good introduction to the city.
After you’ve had a good look around the market, the imposing church Frauenkirche, is a great place to stop by and admire the Gothic architecture which dates back to the 14th century.
As we were visiting in late November, we just missed the start of the Christmas markets – I believe these opened the weekend after! I can just imagine the square with all the festive stalls, fairy lights and traditional decorations to be pretty impressive.
Spend a couple of hours learning about the Nazi era at the Documentation Centre (Dokumentationszentrum)
As a big history lover, I was particularly interested in visiting the Nazi Documentation Centre. We took the number 9 tram from the main station and passed by the local areas of Nuremberg, before reaching a stark and eerie building which was our destination.
The museum was very interesting and we used an audio guide which took us through the rise and fall of the Nazi regime. As well as seeing lots of raw footage of the marches and concentration camps, interviews with survivors and hearing recordings of the trials – the one thing which really struck me was some of the imagery. It was sobering and I actually felt speechless walking through the museum as we saw the sheer extent of Hitler’s brutal regime.
It’s not to be taken lighthearted as I’m sure you can imagine, and in actual fact as we walked through we both felt distressed at the things we learnt and saw. But I do think it’s an essential visit if you’re in Nuremberg as it will really open your eyes to the realities of that era. Be prepared to spend a few hours here, I believe it took us about 2.5 hours to complete the inside of the museum – but there are also surrounding grounds to see too.
Visit the Nuremberg Castle (Kaiserburg Nurnberg)
Okay so maybe this wasn’t the greatest idea we had, but on the final morning (a few hours before our flight) we decided to go for a walk to the Castle before saying goodbye to Germany. Whilst on that walk, we ventured to a beautiful church (Pfarramt St. Lorenz) for the Sunday service. During the time we were in the church, the heavens quite frankly opened and the rain returned.
For some reason, I thought it would be the perfect time to go up the hill towards the castle for one final adventure. Safe to say, once we actually arrived at the castle we were soaking wet and not in a particularly good mood. We couldn’t actually enjoy the view across the city that much, as the rain was falling so heavily! And due to time constraints, we just couldn’t explore the castle unfortunately. I think on a clear day (without any rain), it would be a great place to visit and to step back to the medieval times.
Go shopping for Christmas decorations
It’s never too early to shop for Christmas decorations and we did exactly that, thanks to the various Christmas shops! If you’re looking to buy a decoration, I’d recommend shopping around a little as we found two shops which stocked exactly the same products – just a two minute walk away from each other. And if shopping for Christmas decorations isn’t your thing, rest assured there are plenty of other fab shops to browse in – but you may need an extra piece of hand luggage!
Where to eat
If you’re looking for… breakfast
Our hotel offered breakfast at the cafe next door, Mondo, for an additional cost. Mondo offered healthy and organic choices – think fresh juices, veggie bowls, breakfast buffets and coffee. While we didn’t have breakfast here, we grabbed a hot chocolate after a day of sight-seeing and enjoyed a really nice atmosphere.
On Saturday we walked to the Five Diner, which is located a short walk from the main square. The diner is linked to the hotel next door and those guests are given a priority, but luckily on the morning we visited we got a seat. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we only stopped by for breakfast and it was excellent and filled us up for a good few hours. For 6.50 euros each, we ordered the continental breakfast which included a small cheese & meats selection, boiled egg and fresh bread along with a selection of jam, honey & Nutella. The staff were also really friendly and even taught us some German! Danke!
After walking by Casa Pane numerous times, we decided to go here for our last breakfast in Nuremberg and boy, did we go overboard with the carbs! We basically merged breakfast and lunch together as we ordered a pretty random selection of bread, eggs and mini pizzas. It was a cheap, yet cheerful bakery and would be the perfect place to grab something on the go…
If you’re after… a quick snack
Which leads me nicely to that feeling when you just want to have something to eat, but don’t want to sit down or spend too much money. Since our trip to Bucharest in the summer, I’ve had a big craving for pretzels. Thankfully we were in Germany – the land of freshly baked, salty pretzels. If you see pretzel carts around the city, I’d recommend just grabbing a few. Make sure you have coins with you and enjoy!
If you fancy… burgers and cocktails
As we arrived quite late in the evening on Friday, we were in no mood to browse the streets aimlessly for somewhere to eat. Luckily prior to the trip, I discovered Hans Im Gluck which is famed for it’s burgers and cocktails. We were welcomed with open arms and got a seat right at the bar – which came in rather handy when ordering drinks!
I’d recommend one of the chicken burgers but opt for regular fries rather than the sweet potatoes – unfortunately they didn’t quite hit the spot. Oh and don’t forget a the tipple of your choice!
If you’re after… some German sausages and beer
For our second and final evening in Nuremberg, we headed out in the pouring rain to Bratwursthausle. Admittedly, this wasn’t our first choice of restaurant but as we didn’t reserve and didn’t want to fall into a proper tourist trap, we headed here.
At the beginning it was a bit odd, as the waiters wanted us to join a table where we’d be facing two men – whilst practically sitting on top of them too as it was so small. They didn’t really seem that bothered by the fact we wanted to have dinner there – but after waiting for five extra minutes, we got our own table right next to the kitchen.
We opted for the bread to start (including more PRETZELS!) followed by two portions of the house sausages (with one being particularly smokey) and cabbage and potato salad sides. To accompany the meal, we somehow ended up drinking glass after glass of wine – which led to us ordering even more sausages! With our bellies well and truly stuffed, the walk home proved to be somewhat entertaining…
If you’re craving… something sweet
… mainly because on the way back to the hotel, we had a sudden craving for pancakes and mulled wine. So, we ended up in Creperie Am Hauptmark which is conveniently located in the market square. Here we had some delicious pancakes (with extra Nutella – because it would have been rude not to!) and a glass each of mulled wine. From a slightly hazy memory, I think they didn’t accept card payments so if you’re craving a crepe remember your euros!
Alternative places to eat that looked good, but we didn’t eat there!
- Hutt’n Essen & Trinken – traditional German food with generous portions. I believe this was our first choice on the Saturday for dinner, so if you decide to go – book in advance and tell me how it was!
- Crazy Nate’s West Coast Mexican – after something spicy? Join the fiesta and treat yourself to a Mexican feast or at least some tequila.
- Boogie’s BBQ – burgers, ribs and fries – enough said, really.
Whilst I knew Nuremberg was a prominent city because of the Nuremberg Trials, after leaving the city, I felt more educated and experienced about what Germany has to offer. Nuremberg was a city which intrigued me and inspired us to explore more of Germany.
If you’re looking for an affordable city break to Germany, I’d certainly recommend Nuremberg – especially before the secret is out! Have you visited Germany before and if so, where would you recommend? I’d love to hear what you think – even if it’s just for a good sausage and beer recommendation!