Nuremberg Introduction Walking Tour, Nuremberg

Nuremberg Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nuremberg

The most "German" of all cities in Germany, Nuremberg has witnessed many historic events in its lifetime. Sadly, the first thing immediately associated with Nuremberg is the rise of the Third Reich, the Nazi rallies, and the postwar trials over the Nazi leaders. Indeed, the city was favored by Hitler, who planned to build here a grandiose architectural complex for his party.

Nonetheless, prior to WWII, Nuremberg had given the world its famous sausages and gingerbread, and even earned some rather joyful, informal titles like the "treasury of Germany" and the "city of toys”.

Most versions as to the origin of its name suggest the word "nor", the Latin for rock, referring to the castle built on the rocky outcrop (Nuoin-berg) in the early 11th century, around which servants, artisans and merchants began to settle and thus laid foundation for the future city. The first documented mention of Nuremberg, as the location of the Imperial Castle, dates back to 1050.

Thenceforth until 1571 the city expanded and rose dramatically in importance due to its location on key trade-routes on the Pegnitz River. The largest growth of Nuremberg occurred in the 14th century when it was appointed to hold the first Imperial Diet by the newly elected kings of Germany. The Frauenkirche, built between 1352 and 1362 in Hauptmarkt, is where the Imperial Court worshiped during their stay.

The cultural flowering of Nuremberg in the 15th-16th centuries made it the center of the German Renaissance. Symbolic in this respect is Nuremberg's being the birthplace of the great German artist, Albrecht Dürer, who lived here from 1509 until his death in 1528, and whose house is now a museum.

Previously a free imperial city, Nuremberg officially became part of Bavaria in 1806. Later in the 19th century it emerged as an industrial hub, and grew further in significance during the Nazi era, becoming an important site for military production during World War II. Unfortunately, 90% of the city was destroyed in 1945; but fortunately, after the war, much of the medieval Old Town was rebuilt.

These days, Bavaria's second largest city after Munich – although Franconian in essence, with a distinctive vibe and dialect – Nuremberg is a popular tourist destination, visited annually by up to two million guests. If you are in Nuremberg, make some time to explore its notable attractions with the help of our introductory walk.
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Nuremberg Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Nuremberg Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Nuremberg (See other walking tours in Nuremberg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Ella
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Nuremberg Castle
  • Albrecht-Durer-Haus (Albrecht Durer House Museum)
  • St. Sebaldus Church
  • Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square)
  • Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
  • Kaiserstraße (Kaiser Street)
  • St. Lawrence's Church
  • Handwerkerhof (Crafts Yard)
  • Nuremberg Transport Museum
Nuremberg Castle

1) Nuremberg Castle (must see)

Nuremberg Castle is one of the most famous and magnificent castles in Germany. Every Holy Roman Emperor between 1050 and 1571 resided part-time at the castle. Essential administrative functions were carried out at the castle. Charles IV enacted the Golden Bull at the castle in 1356. This decree required that newly elected German kings would hold their first general assembly at Nuremberg.

The Sinwell Tower was built for defensive purposes in the 13th century. Sinwell means extremely round in Middle High German. Visitors can climb the tower's wooden spiral staircase to an observation platform. Photos of Nuremberg immediately after WWII are displayed at the top of the tower. You can see how much damage Nuremberg had and how meticulous the rebuild has been.

Visitors must be accompanied by a guide to see the Deep Well. This site is one of the highlights of the castle. The well is nearly 50 meters (164 feet) deep and was an essential water supply for the castle. The house covering the well was built in 1563.

The Double Chapel is another exquisite site. This Romanesque Imperial Chapel dates to the 13th century. The chapel features an emperor's gallery, which allowed the emperor to remain separate from the other worshippers.

The Imperial Hall was used as a dining hall and for festivities. Today, visitors can find Holy Roman Empire exhibits. The Emperor's Living Room features colorfully painted ceiling squares. The wall panels are decored with gold and date back to the 15th century.

The Corner Chamber features gorgeous art and gifts given to the Imperial Crown. Visitors will also find an impressive wooden model of the city, as well as the jeweled Imperial Crown. Visitors will find weapons from the 13th to 19th centuries in the Imperial Castle Museum.

After touring the castle, don't miss the Castle Garden with its beautiful flower beds.

Why You Should Visit:
Nuremberg Castle is steeped in history and has been beautifully restored. Visitors can walk the cobblestone paths, immerse themselves in the castle's history, and admire the stunning architecture and art displays.

A combination ticket provides access to Nuremberg Castle, the Double Chapel, the Imperial Castle Museum, the Deep Well, and the Sinwell Tower. Guests can only visit the Deep Well with a guide. Audio guides for the castle are available in several languages.
Albrecht-Durer-Haus (Albrecht Durer House Museum)

2) Albrecht-Durer-Haus (Albrecht Durer House Museum)

The home of German Renaissance painter and printmaker Albrecht Durer from 1509 to his death in 1528 lies in the extreme north-west of Nuremberg's Altstadt, near the Kaiserburg section of the Nuremberg Castle and the Tiergärtnertor of Nuremberg's city walls.

The house was built around 1420. It has five stories; the bottom two have sandstone walls, while the upper stories are timber-framed; the entire structure is topped by a half-hip roof. In 1501, it was purchased by Bernhard Walther, a merchant and prominent astronomer. Walter remodeled the house, adding small windows to the roof so that it could function as an observatory. Walther died in 1504, and Durer purchased the house five years later.

Since 1871 the Albrecht-Durer-Haus has been a museum dedicated to Durer's life and work. It was heavily remodeled sometime in the 1890s, with the large dormer on the north-facing roof being the largest addition. In October 1944, it took significant damage from Allied bombing. It was rebuilt by 1949 but did not reopen as a museum until 1971, Durer's 500th birthday.

The museum features installations of period furnishings, a re-creation of Dürer's workshop in which visitors can view demonstrations of printmaking techniques, and rotating exhibitions of drawings and prints by Dürer from the City of Nuremberg's Graphic Collection. Visitors can also receive a guided tour of the house from an actress playing Agnes Durer, the wife of the printmaker.

Why You Should Visit:
The amazing stories about the building and Durer's life are fascinating (eg. petty bureaucrats and 'facilities').
St. Sebaldus Church

3) St. Sebaldus Church

Saint Sebaldus Church, situated at Albrecht-Dürer-Platz in Nuremberg, in front of the old city hall, is a landmark steeped in deep historical and religious significance. Named after Sebaldus, an 8th-century hermit and missionary who is also the patron saint of Nuremberg, the church has played a central role in the city's spiritual life since its construction in the 1230s. Originally built as a Romanesque basilica featuring two choirs, Saint Sebaldus Church is notable for its architectural evolution over the centuries. The addition of two towers in the 15th century and further interior modifications in the middle 17th century, which introduced Baroque elements and galleries, mark significant periods in its development.

The church has endured its share of tribulations, most notably suffering severe damage during World War II. However, it was meticulously reconstructed, preserving some of its most valued historical components. Among these are the Shrine of Saint Sebaldus, renowned works by the artist Veit Stoss, and its exquisite stained glass windows. These elements highlight the church's artistic and religious heritage, contributing to its status as a cultural treasure.

Music has also played a pivotal role in the church's history. Notably, it housed an organ as early as the 14th century, with the main organ built in 1440–41 by Heinrich Traxdorf, a pioneer in organ building. This organ was particularly remarkable not only for its age but also for its innovative design which moved away from the traditional Gothic Blockwerk.

Today, Saint Sebaldus Church remains a vital part of Nuremberg’s cultural and spiritual landscape, offering a rich tapestry of history, art, and music to worshippers and visitors alike.

Why You Should Visit:
Great atmosphere that puts you back into medieval times! Also in a beautiful area, just off the northwest corner of the Main Market.

Admission is free at the public church tours, although donations are appreciated. For tower tours, the fee is €5 (children €2).
Several times a year, the church and tower are open until late at night, as part of the "Blue Night" festivities in Nuremberg.
Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square)

4) Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square) (must see)

The Main Market Square has been the center of activity and commerce in Nuremberg since ancient times. The celebrated marketplace runs Monday through Saturday. Visitors and locals love to shop the plentiful fruits and vegetables, fresh bread, treats, ready-to-eat meals, and fresh flowers.

The Main Market Square features several iconic landmarks. The Beautiful Fountain was completed in 1396 and is a Gothic masterpiece. It stands an impressive 19 meters (62 feet) tall.

Forty ornate figures decorate the fountain. The figures represent important icons in the Holy Roman Empire such as philosophy, liberal arts, the four Church Fathers, the four Evangelists, the seven Prince-electors, the Nine Worthies, Moses, and the seven Prophets. Legend tells of good luck brought to visitors who spin the two brass rings on the fence.

Another impressive landmark on the square is The Church of Our Lady. This Gothic church was built in the 14th century and features a beautiful facade.

The Main Market Square hosts various festivals and events throughout the year. Popular events include the Nuremberg Flea Market, the Nuremberg Old Town Festival, and the Christmas market.
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

5) Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) (must see)

The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) is a landmark of Nuremberg, located on the eastern side of the city's main market. This church, exemplifying brick Gothic architecture, was constructed between 1352 and 1362 under the direction of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. It was built on the site of a former Jewish synagogue, tragically razed during the pogroms that followed the 1349 outbreak of the Black Death.

Designed to serve as a ceremonial place for imperial events, the church features a distinctive porch with a balcony. The architectural design is relatively modest, focusing on functionality and symbolic decorations, including the coats of arms of the Holy Roman Empire, the seven Electors, the town of Nuremberg, and the city of Rome—significant as the coronation site for Holy Roman Emperors.

Inside, the church houses a rich collection of medieval artworks. Notable among these is the Tucher Altar, circa 1440, which originally served as the high altar in the Augustinian Church of Saint Vitus. Additionally, the church contains two monuments crafted by Adam Kraft around 1498, showcasing the artistic heritage of the era. Many of the sculptures within the church have undergone extensive restoration, preserving their historical and artistic value.

A prominent feature of the Church of Our Lady is the mechanical clock (Männleinlaufen) installed between 1506 and 1509. This clock not only tells time but also commemorates the Golden Bull of 1356, featuring a mechanized display of the Holy Roman Emperor seated with his prince-electors. The clock stands as a symbol of the church's historical and cultural significance, bridging Nuremberg's past with the present.

Why You Should Visit:
Photogenic, easy to find, with some lovely stained glass windows and a late Gothic altarpiece from 1445 inside. On a very cold, rainy day it also provides a place of refuge, warmth and peace.
At its front door are the open-air stalls, selling lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and gingerbread. Going up the steep steps to the viewing area overlooking the market is quite an experience.

Try to visit at noontime when the clock mechanism is activated. After the bell tolls the hour, you can watch an animated procession with figures depicting the electors of the Holy Roman Empire paying homage to the Emperor. It's a brief but entertaining show if in the area.
Kaiserstraße (Kaiser Street)

6) Kaiserstraße (Kaiser Street)

Kaiser Street (Kaiserstraße) in Nuremberg stands as a beacon of luxury shopping, drawing visitors with its blend of historical charm and contemporary glamour. Established with some shops dating back to 1810, this premier shopping mile offers a rich tapestry of high-end retail experiences along its one-mile stretch.

At the heart of Nuremberg's shopping scene, Kaiser Street is home to internationally renowned designer brands like Prada, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana, making it a coveted destination for fashion aficionados. Shoppers can indulge in a variety of products ranging from the latest fashion trends to unique boutique items. The street is particularly noted for its exquisite offerings of fine leather goods, elegant fabrics, stylish footwear, and sophisticated home design items.

Art lovers are treated to a diverse array of artworks, from timeless classical paintings to cutting-edge modern pieces. The presence of luxurious jewelry stores adds to the allure, presenting meticulously crafted, elegant pieces that captivate the eye.

Kaiser Street is not just about shopping; it also caters to the lifestyle of its visitors with numerous chic cafes dotted along the street. These establishments provide a perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate with a coffee or a meal after a day of retail therapy.

Kaiser Street embodies the essence of luxury shopping with its exclusive brands, refined products, and atmospheric setting, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the pinnacle of retail in Nuremberg. Whether it's fashion, art, accessories, or interior design, Kaiser Street offers an unparalleled shopping experience in the heart of this historic city.
St. Lawrence's Church

7) St. Lawrence's Church (must see)

Saint Lawrence's Church in Nuremberg stands as a testament to both the resiliency and rich artistic heritage of the region. Dedicated to Saint Lawrence, a revered Roman Catholic saint, the church is primarily noted for its transformation and significance within the Evangelical Lutheran tradition, particularly after it was one of the first to adopt Lutheranism in 1525. This historic church suffered considerable damage during World War II but was meticulously restored, preserving its status as a prominent landmark in Bavaria.

Architecturally, the church is celebrated for its splendid Gothic elements, particularly the "Saint Laurentius" choir, designed by the medieval master mason Konrad Roriczer in 1445. This choir is a masterpiece of Gothic design and craftsmanship, highlighting the church's architectural significance.

Artistically, Saint Lawrence's Church houses an impressive collection of medieval art, including altarpieces from the 14th and 15th centuries, with the earliest dating back to 1316. Among its notable sculptures is the "beautiful Madonna," an unusually cheerful representation from around 1280. Additionally, the church features a remarkable stone tabernacle created between 1493 and 1496, adorned with carvings that depict the Passion of Christ and capped with a dramatic array of pinnacles that reach up to the vaulting, soaring 20 meters high.

The church also boasts an exceptional collection of medieval stained glass, primarily from the 15th century, adding a vibrant splash of color and artistry to its interior. This collection survived the turbulent times of the Reformation, largely due to the determination of Nuremberg's affluent citizens who, during the Reformation's iconoclasm, chose to preserve these artworks as a tribute to their ancestors.

The west facade of the church is a striking feature, reflecting the opulence of the Nuremberg citizenry. It is distinguished by its two towers and an elaborate West portal that echoes the grandeur of Saint Sebald and Bamberg Cathedral, complete with a commanding rose window that measures 9 meters in diameter.
Handwerkerhof (Crafts Yard)

8) Handwerkerhof (Crafts Yard)

The Crafts Yard opened in 1971 and features traditional crafts. Visitors and locals can watch craft creators at work using traditional tools to create handmade goods. The Crafts Yard invited visitors to go back to a time period when goods were painstakingly made by hand and were treasured possessions, often passed from generation to generation.

The Crafts Yard is located in the Free Imperial City's former armory. Surrounded by the ancient town wall, the Crafts Yard features narrow walkways, half-timbered houses, and cozy inns.

As you stroll through the yard, you can walk tinsmiths and woodworkers making toys and goldsmiths creating art. Crafters create traditional goods such as model railways, miniature doll prams, and handmade figurines.

The yard hosts exhibitions showcasing crafting traditions such as bookbinding and gingerbread making.

Visitors can watch the artists at work as well as purchase these unique items. Bring home beautifully handmade souvenirs and gifts.

The Crafts Yard also has delightful cafes, restaurants, and bars sprinkled about the craft shops.
Nuremberg Transport Museum

9) Nuremberg Transport Museum (must see)

This museum was originally opened in 1882 in another location. The present building was constructed in 1925. The museum covers 200 years of railway history.

In 1835, the first railway track in Germany was laid between Nuremberg and Furth. The first locomotive, the Adler, was imported from England. The railway quickly impacted towns and cities and opened the door to the industrial age. Unfortunately, that same rail network played a horrible part in transporting millions of Jews to death camps during World War II.

Exhibits include various historical railway vehicles and 160 models, a model railway, and a library with extensive titles on railways.

Notable historic vehicles on display include parts of Bavarian King Ludwig II's royal train. Visitors can see Germany's oldest preserved steam locomotive from 1853. In addition, an original 1829 coal wagon is on display. This is the oldest railway vehicle on exhibit on the continent.

The 1:10 scale models take up 1,000 square meters (10,000 square feet). The first model was created in 1882, and all the models are exquisitely detailed. Visitors can walk through a train tunnel, go through a level crossing, view working signals, and watch models with sound and lights. Attend the 10-minute demonstration of a typical railway. A model railway is used to show 5,000 relays that show railway operation.

Visitors will be inspired by the ICE-4 model, the next-generation high-speed train.

Walking Tours in Nuremberg, Germany

Create Your Own Walk in Nuremberg

Create Your Own Walk in Nuremberg

Creating your own self-guided walk in Nuremberg is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Nuremberg Old Town Walking Tour

Nuremberg Old Town Walking Tour

The historical center of Nuremberg, Old Town (German: Altstadt) is easily differentiated from other parts of the city. Divided in two by the Pegnitz River, the district represents a complex architectural ensemble with a maze of historical lanes (e.g. Weissgerbergasse) packed with half-timber houses, linked by centuries-old bridges, such as Maxbrücke, and set against the picturesque backdrops of...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Hitler's Nuremberg Tour

Hitler's Nuremberg Tour

Despite Nuremberg's storybook appearance, the city's not so distant past is rather dark. Back in 1933, amid the rise of the Third Reich, the Nazis worked really hard to leave their stamp on the city, prettifying it and renovating the architecture in a bid to accommodate their massive rallies and bombastic military parades.

In fact, no other city in Germany is more intertwined with the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles