Tourism isn’t always pretty.
Sometimes, it’s difficult to swallow.
It’s about confronting the past and learning from the mistakes made.
In the case of Nuremberg, we are talking about the actions and horrors inflicted of one man- Adolf Hitler whose legacy to Nuremberg is a tainted, poisoned one.
It was his favourite city. He saw the city as a classic example of a city rich in Germanic and imperial history and agreed with it’s mayor who once called it the “most German of German cities.”
Nuremberg became the venue for the Nazi Party Rallies and subsequently the Nuremberg Trials.
The city and it’s residents paid a hefty price for Nazi Germany’s obsession with the city.
Thousands of lives were lost and the entire city was destroyed by the Allied forces on 2nd January, 1945 which led one local to describe it as a ‘hell on earth.’
From those ashes, the locals over the past few decades have painstakingly rebuilt the city, helping restore much of the city’s original character and medieval charm.
Walking around the sandstone facades and timber framed buildings of present day Nuremberg, like Dresden, the city is a symbol of the courage of the people and a reminder of the resilience, power of the human spirit.
That spirit is evident today in their festivities like the world famous Christkindlmarkt and in the friendly faces of people at the city’s many excellent bars, shops, cafes where tourists are welcomed with open arms.
In my opinion this is one of Germany’s most underrated cities-a real hidden gem.
There’s so much to enjoy-the beautiful architecture, great museums, craft beer, a whole bunch of waist expanding gastronomic delights and very friendly people.
48 hours gives you just enough time to get a nice snapshot of this very cool city.
Here’s how I spent 48 hours in Nuremberg with €130 to spend.
10 am : Check into the Nuremberg Youth hostel
My 48 hours in Nuremberg kicks off by checking into the brand new, Nuremberg Youth hostel .
If you love a hostel with character & history you will love the beautifully renovated Youth Hostel Jugendherberge Nuremberg which is housed in the 500 year old imperial stables of the city’s famous Kaiserberg castle.
Expect clean, comfortable rooms , an excellent breakfast with great views of the old town from the top of the hill. Drawback is that it is not a very social hostel with no common room and organized activities but if you’re looking for a nice, quiet base with good facilities- this is perfect.
Cost: Bed and breakfast in a single room costs €26.50
10:30am : Brunch with a view at Café Celona
I missed breakfast so I go in the search for a bite. When the sun is out in Nuremberg, the best place for breakfast or a drink is by the river Pegnitz at Cafe Celona. The breakfast buffet with croissants, cold meats, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit is fantastic and great value at just €4.50.
11:30am : Nuremberg- City of Human Rights
I’m heading to the Germanisches National Museum. Enroute I visit the the way of Human Rights, a huge outdoor sculpture designed by Israeli artist Dani Karavan.
Each of the 8 metre high , 30 pillars have one article of Universal Declaration of Human Rights engraved in German and a 2nd language. The sculpture is part of Nuremberg’s effort to become a city championing human rights & move away from it’s dark past of being Hitler’s favourite city.
11:45am: See the world’s oldest surviving globe!
The main reason for me visiting the local Germanisches National museum was to see the world’s oldest surviving globe by Martin Beheim. One of the interesting aspects of the globe is that there is no sign of America on the globe. America was not included because the year Beheim created the globe was 1492 and Columbus had just set sail to America. There are interesting titbits of information on each country on the globe to check out – startling facts revealed by Mr Beheim include the startling revelation that King of Ceylon possessed the world’s largest ruby & Ceylonese walked everywhere naked! This globe symbolizes European exoticism at it’s best.
Entry price is a steep €8 ( €5 reduced) but free every Wednesday between 6-9pm
1pm: Welcome to the home of the pretzel : Brezen Kolb
‘Pretzels, fresh pretzels!’ bellows the man heartlily from a rather dull grey kiosk.
Nuremberg is the home to the pretzel ( brought later to America by German immigrants ) and there’s no better place to sample this salty treat than at Brezen Kolb
For 50 years Brezen Kolb in Nuremberg has been serving yummy pretzels via their kiosks across the city & they found a new fan in me.
Lots of butter , garlic and chives- damn it was tasty!
At €1.60 this is a great snack on the go.
1:30pm : Hausbraurei Altstadthof
I’m still hungry and also feeling a bit thirsty.
Time for a nice beer.
I head to the historic Hausbraurei Altstadthof.
Sitting under a floral arrangement of hops I order master brewer Herr Engel’s excellent Rotbier & Dunkelsbier ( €1.70 for 0.2l)
Paired along with the famous Nuremberg bratwurst ( €7.50 for 6 portions & comes in a red vinegar stock with fresh crusty bread) this was a memorable feast.
3pm : Lazing on in the ‘Love Island’
‘Liebesinsel’– ‘Love Island’ is the perfect spot for lazing in the sun in Nuremberg, reading a book and as the name suggests, plenty of opportunities to observe amorous local couples.
Ahh the irony…in medieval times they would butcher pigs here 🙂
430pm: Souvenir shopping at ‘Handwerkerhof’
‘Handwerkerhof’ , a craftsmen courtyard by the old city wall is the perfect place for buying gifts for loved ones. From hand blown glass to dolls to model airplanes to localmade coconut cookies : this place has it all. You can also buy the famous Lebkuchnerei Nuremberg Gingerbread here. Made by the Franconian monks in the 14th century, back then the gingerbread was a imperial delicacy made with exotic ingredients like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and southern almonds and honey from the imperial forest.
530pm: Chilling out at Tiergartnertor Platz
Day or night the Tiergartnertor Platz is a great place to come and hang out with the locals. During the summer, action really hots up here in the evenings with locals coming armed bottles of wine or beer and spreading themselves on the warm cobbled stones. Great atmosphere.
My favourite spot here was Café Wanderer –buy a glass of their excellent house franken weisswine and just enjoy the feast of humanity in front of you. Plus there is free wifi here too.
Cost: Glass of Franken weisswine at Café Wanderer: €3.20
730pm: Dinner at Vapiano
I round off my first day in Nuremberg with a visit to Vapiano- a v.popular Italian restaurant chain in Germany. Excellent , if slightly oily spaghetti with garlic and fresh herbs comes in at just €6.25 . Tiramisu here looks tempting but I resist.
9:30am: Breakfast at Jugendherberge Nuremberg
The buffet breakfast at Jugendherberge Nuremberg is one of the best breakfasts you’ll find in a hostel. Great selection of cold meats, cheese, bread rolls, yoghurts, fresh fruit and teas and coffee sets you up nicely for the day.
10:30 am Nuremberg’s darkest chapter: Visit to the Nazi Party Rally grounds and the Documentation Centre
I dive into one of the darkest chapters of Germany’s and Nuremberg’s history at the former Nazi Party Rally grounds.
The architectural megalomania of these grounds are still there for people to see. Spanning 11 kms the only thing that remains for visitors to see is the concrete, weed infested Zeppelin Grandstand which was modelled along the lines of the Pergammon Altar.
The columns falling into disrepair were blown up in 1967. The building is currently under municipal ownership but having been used for open air events , currently lies in a bad state of disrepair and it’s future legacy is unknown.
It’s hard to describe the emotions of visiting the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, the hollow emptiness of this huge place falling into disrepair and general decay.
The whole idea of the gigantic structures was to make the visitor feel small and insignificant while the Fuhrer standing on his pedestal (in picture) in the Zeppelin stand would be even more larger than life and omnipresent.
Decades on, ones still feels that sense of insignificance. Not personally but more ..the insignificance of the place and it’s purpose.
A wave of sadness & sense of loss envelopes me after visiting the place, thinking of the sheer absurdity of this structure.
This feeling of loss is further deepened after a trip to the Documentation Centre.
The North wing of the unfinished yet dominating Congress Hall ( planned to be bigger than the Colosseum) contains the Documentation Centre which focuses on the history of the Nazi party rallies where mass gatherings were used by National Socialists propaganda for demonstrating to Germany the model of the ‘perfect national community’.
The documentation centre has permanent exhibition ‘Fascination and Terror’ which looks at the dire consequences of Hitler’s tyranny and also looks at the rise of his cult , the disturbing B&W films from the rally grounds where supporters are hailing the dictator & also the subsequent & significant Nuremberg trials.
Today the area has undergone a controversial transformation with a football stadium that is home to the local football team FC Nuremberg & the Zeppelin field which is a venue for rock concerts and also international sporting events.
Still, there is that sense of eerieness about the place that is hard to shake off, even hours after visiting.
Something doesn’t feel right about the place.
To get to the grounds, hop on Tram 9 from Hauptbahnhof to Dokuzentrum. Entry fee -€5, students, €3.
Day ticket for public transport: €5.10
1pm : Cinnamon donuts at Burg Backerei
Back in Nuremberg, I am hungry , looking for a place to snack and in the old town I stumble upon a solution-the local bakery ‘Burg Backerei und Lebkuchnerei’
I’ve sampled Lebkuchnerei- gingerbread already so I instead plump for a nice sugary cinnamon donut which was delicious.
Cost : Just €1
1:30pm : Meet the unlucky bride at the ‘Beautiful Fountain’
Sweet tooth satisfied, I head upto the main market square where the Christmas Market is held and the heart of the city where locals come to buy fresh meat, vegetables and fruits throughout the week.
I find a crowd of people gathered around a 19 metre long Gothic steeple known as the ‘Schone Brunnen’ aka Beautiful Fountain.
Beyond the usual gaggle of tourists, there is bunch of locals and a bride and groom.
The rather unhappy bride & groom..
They are standing by a gold ring attached to ‘Beautiful Fountain.’
Folklore dictates that if you turn the ring left three times, any wish you express will come true.
Maybe it was the elderly lady muscling in, hogging the ring and her limelight…
2pm: Lunch at Bok City
I am still hungry so I pop into the City Point shopping mall of Nuremberg which houses all the leading designer brands, fast food outlets which Asian fusion fastfood chain-Bok City.
The standard of oriental fastfood in Germany is pretty decent and the chicken stirfried rice here was tasty and perfect along with Vietnamese beer, Sabeco’s ‘Saigon Export.’
Cost: With beer, €8
3pm: Off to Nuremberg’s trendiest neighbourhood- the ‘GoHo’
I am in ‘GoHo’ district of Nuremberg- packed with vintage, secondhand and design shops like Fachmarie and Vinty’s…
This is a great neighbourhood for finding cool stuff.
My favourite though is Laden 14,80– sells cool stuff ranging from vintage lamps, vinyl, sunglasses, records & other unusual antiques like the lighters in picture.
4pm: Beer o’Clock at Palais Schaumburg
Palais Schaumburg in Goho is a top place for drinking local Spatler beer ( €2.40) and serves affordable (€7-€11) range of German/Italian cuisine. Free wifi is excellent.
6pm: Tasty bite at local Mexican- Hot Tacos
This place is as good as Mexican food gets outside Mexico and Berlin.
Loved the chilled out vibe and the very tasty burritos paired together with the local pilsner-Quickie: a citrus flavoured, not too hoppy, light local pils.
Service is slow but the food is lecker indeed. I’d go back to Nuremberg just to eat here again.
Cost: With beer €8.50
8pm: Cocktails at Mata Hari
Best place to end my 48 Hours in Nuremberg is with a nice cocktail and the if you love a good cocktail, Mata Hari this is THE place in town to come to. With glittering disco balls hanging from the ceiling and space for just 40 people so visitors can enjoy a nice low-key, intimate atmosphere. They have a regular programme of live music and DJ sets so this is a great place to enjoy a few good cocktails and wind down the day.
Cost: Cosmopolitan – €7
2 nights, bed and breakfast at Youth Hostel Nuremberg €53
Brunch at Café Celona €4.50
Germanisches National museum €8
Pretzel at Brezen Kolb €1.60
Nuremberg Bratwurst +beer at Hausbraurei Altstadthof €10.90
Glass of Franken weisswine at Café Wanderer €3.20
Dinner at Vapiano €6.25
Day ticket for public transport for Day 2 €5.10
Entry into Documentation Museum €5
Cinnamon donuts at Burg Backerei €1
Lunch at Bok City €8
Spatler beer at Palais Schaumburg: €2.40
Mexican at Hot Tacos €8.50
Long Island Iced Tea at Mata Hari €7
Return transfer to Nuremberg Airport via metro €5
Nuremberg: Getting there and away
Nuremberg airport , 7km north of the centre, is served by regional and international carriers, including Lufthansa, Air Berlin and Air France.
The underground U2 directly connects the airport with the main train station and the citycentre in just 12 minutes and costs just the price of a single metro ticket: €2.50
Deutsche Bahn run trains hourly to and from Frankfurt (€39, 2½ hours) and Munich (€41, 1½ to two hours). There are direct connections several times daily to Berlin (€77, five to 6½ hours)
The lowcost Berlin Linien buses leave for Berlin daily at 12.10pm and cost way €39 one way and journey time is four hours. They leave from the Hauptbahnhof.
Big thanks to Angela Gosswein and the Nuremberg Tourism Board for their support during my trip. Check out their website for more ace tips about things to do in Nuremberg.
Also a big thank you to Catharina Fischer and the German National Tourism Office , their partners for the ‘Youth Hotspots’ campaign – Jugendherberge : The German Youth Hostelling Association and Deutsche Bahn for sponsoring my ‘German Wanderlust’ tour.
I toured Germany as part of an effort to highlight and discover the country’s emerging ‘Youth Hotspots.’
Please note: While my trip has been sponsored, the views and thoughts represented in this article are my own.