When people first think of Nuremberg, perhaps images of the infamous Nazi capital and the Nuremberg Trials come to mind. If anything, the city has had a long and tumultuous history under the Third Reich, which is a shame, because it has clouded an otherwise beauty, worthwhile place to visit in the Bavaria region of Germany. I spent four nights there, and I wished that I could’ve stayed longer.
From Heidelberg, I took a Flixbus to Nuremberg– normally, the journey is supposed to last three hours but, due to the snowy conditions that day (which greatly surprised me– first time that I’d seen so much snow!), our arrival was an hour late. However, I wasn’t too concerned, just because I wouldn’t be meeting my Couchsurfing host until that night around 20:00, so I still had plenty of time to check out the city’s Christmas markets, one of the most famous in the country.
It happened to be opening night the day I came, and it was utterly PACKED in the city center– mind you, I was traveling with a big backpack, and it made it hard for me to squeeze through the crowds. I still managed to check out the stalls selling food, mulled wine, Christmas decorations, and everything else, all the while getting pretty good views of the markets from a second-story mulled wine cafe– such madness!
After doing my tour of the markets, I popped into Starbucks to get warm before it was time to head to my host’s flat, located just a bit outside the heart of the center. He welcomed me in warmly, having prepared an organic stew as supper, which was delicious. After getting to know each other a bit, I freshened up and went to bed.
The following morning was my first full day in Nuremberg. I got some suggestions of places to eat and visit from my host during breakfast, and then I set out for my first destination: the Justizpalast (Palace of Justice) where Courtroom 600 was situated. Used in the Nuremberg Trials, Courtroom 600 remains a functioning courtroom to this day, and it was interesting to see how history had happened right there in that room.
Upon finishing the rest of the exhibition inside the Justizpalast, I headed out towards the heart of the city. Along the way, I stopped by an organic burger joint that my host had recommended me and I, starving like crazy, ordered a massive burger (didn’t know it’d be that large) with fries and a Rotbier (“red beer,” native to Nuremberg). The meal certainly satisfied my hunger, and even more, as I wasn’t hungry at all for the rest of the day.
I continued my visit after lunch, making a short circuit around part of the center’s fortified walls before going in and strolling along Weißgerbergasse, a picturesque street with colorful, half-timbered houses that represents traditional German culture. I popped into two of the city’s tallest churches– Saint Sebaldus and St. Lorenz– and took a photo of Albrecht Dürer’s House from the outside before going up to Nuremberg’s Imperial Castle, which only has its castle grounds left. The rooftop views of the city, however, were a stunning surprise.
Descending back to the Hauptmarkt (where the Christmas markets were happening), I stopped by a tiny cafe (Die Maulbeere) that my host had suggested to purchase some cake slices to-go: I opted for a cheesecake and a rum-raisin sort of Linzer tart to bring back to my host as a gift, and together, we had an afternoon tea with those. I’ll go as far to say that those cakes were INCREDIBLE: fluffy, light texture, rich flavors…highly recommend the place.
Just before returning to my host’s flat, I checked out the Handwerkerhof (“Craft’s Yard”), which is a small, picturesque quarter with several traditional crafts store. There was also a Christmas market going on, and I strolled through the charming area on my way back, returning around 16:00.
The next day, I did a day trip to Regensburg (to be posted later). When I returned in the late afternoon, I rested a bit at my host’s flat before heading out for dinner at a restaurant nearby, which he’d recommend, too. I got spätzle, which I’d been especially craving, but it turned out lukewarm, to my disappointment– it’d have been better to go for a hearty, traditional Middle Francocian dish (as Nuremberg is located in Middle Franconia), but it wasn’t a bad deal for dinner. Just outside the restaurant was a Biergarten, which had festive, Christmas lights put up for the season– it was incredibly lovely and I felt as if I was stepping into some magical world. Following dinner, I returned to my host’s flat to rest for the night.
I took another day trip the next morning, this time to Bamberg (again, to be recounted later). It was only for a half day, and I returned to Nuremberg around 13:00. I had some time, then, to visit the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds just a bit outside the city center, where it was a former rally ground for the Nazis and today is a museum dedicated to the history of its establishment. It was crazy to believe that the Nazi Party became such a powerful influence on German society, let alone the world– even more incredible was how many horrible things they’d done to people, and getting away with it. Just like with the Justizpalast, learning about Nuremberg’s history was really humbling, how its dark history has *sort of* tarnished its traditional Bavarian beauty.
After spending some time in the museum, I left to return to the city center, where I checked out the Christmas markets for the last time, as it was my last full day in Nuremberg. I bought some of the city’s famous gingerbread as souvenirs and then I returned to my host’s flat, resting a bit before getting sub-par tacos at a nearby Mexican restaurant (didn’t know about that, but at least I tried…). Bought some pastries for the road the following day and, upon arriving back at the host’s flat, I chatted with him a bit before we said our goodbyes and thank yous, considering that I would be leaving extremely early the next morning (5:00) to catch my 6:30 flight back to France.
Nuremberg had been the most-notable city that I’d spent the longest time in during my visit to Germany this past November. It would’ve been great to stay a bit longer, not just to see more sites, but also try more of the delicious food that the city has to offer– in fact, I’d go back just for the food! I gelled really well with my Couchsurfing host, which made it all the more a great experience. Definitely worth a visit (and a revisit) while in Germany.
I’ll be posting about my day trips from Nuremberg soon, so stay tuned!
— The Finicky Cynic
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