Nuremberg Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nuremberg

Prior to WWII and the ensued military tribunals over the Nazi leaders, the north Bavarian city of Nuremberg had long made name for itself as the home of magnificent medieval architecture, comprising solid fortifications and stone towers of the Old Town, Kaiserburg Castle, Hauptmarkt (central square) complete with Frauenkirche, a 14th-century Gothic church, and more. If you are in Nuremberg, make time to explore these and other notable sights of the city with the help of this orientation 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: 18
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: Ella
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Christkindlesmarkt (Nuremberg Christmas Market)
  • City Hall (Rathaus)
  • St. Sebaldus Church
  • Nuremberg Castle
  • Tiergärtner Tower & Old Town Wall
  • Castle Garden (Burggarten)
  • Albrecht-Dürer-Haus
  • Nuremberg Toy Museum
  • Hangman's Bridge (Henkerssteg)
  • Ludwigsplatz (Ludwig's Square)
  • Breitengasse
  • St. Elizabeth's Cathedral
  • St. Jacob's Church
  • German National Museum
  • Handwerkerhof
  • St. Lawrence's Church
  • Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospice of the Holy Spirit)
  • Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
Christkindlesmarkt (Nuremberg Christmas Market)

1) Christkindlesmarkt (Nuremberg Christmas Market) (must see)

Christkindlesmarkt takes place during Advent in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, and in adjoining squares and streets. With about two million visitors a year, it is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany and one of the most famous in the world. Every year the Christmas market begins on the Friday preceding the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24, unless that day is a Sunday.

Historians assume that the market has its origins in traditional sales at the weekly market between 1610 and 1639 and that it gradually evolved into an independent market. Originally, the market opened on Thomas’ Day, December 4. Due to the large number of visitors, opening day was rescheduled to the Friday before the start of Advent in 1973 and has remained so ever since.

In addition to the stalls where you can eat, drink and buy gifts, you will see a team of Clydesdale horses pulling a bright yellow stagecoach sponsored by the German Communications Museum. The inexpensive 10-minute ride around the market is and is available from 1 to 7pm daily.

Opening Hours:
Nov 27–Dec 24: 10am-9pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
City Hall (Rathaus)

2) City Hall (Rathaus)

The City Hall was constructed between the 14th and 17th centuries. The figures decorating the building symbolize Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and the Roman Catholic Church. The torture chamber beneath the main building is also worth visiting.
St. Sebaldus Church

3) St. Sebaldus Church (must see)

Located at the Albrecht-Dürer-Platz, in front of the old city hall, the St. Sebaldus Church takes its name from Sebaldus, an 8th-century hermit and missionary and patron saint of Nuremberg. It was originally built as a Romanesque basilica with two choirs in the 1230s with the two towers having been added in the 15th century. In the middle 17th century, galleries were also added and the interior was remodeled in Baroque fashion.

The church suffered serious damage during World War II and was subsequently reconstructed. Some of the old interior did survive, including the Shrine of St. Sebaldus, works by Veit Stoss and the stained glass windows. The church had an organ by the 14th century, and another by the 15th.

The main organ had been built in 1440–41 by Heinrich Traxdorf, who also built two small organs for Nuremberg's Frauenkirche. Until its destruction in the 20th century it was one of the oldest playable organs in the world, and all the more notable because Traxdorf was one of the first organ builders to depart from the Gothic Blockwerk organ by dividing the windchests and separating the front stops into Flute (Principal) and Octave (see pipe organ).

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.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9:30am-4pm (Jan-Mar); 9:30am-6pm (Apr-Dec)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Nuremberg Castle

4) Nuremberg Castle (must see)

Nürnberger Burg is a group of medieval fortified buildings on a sandstone ridge dominating the city's historical center. Together with the city walls, is considered to be one of Europe's most formidable medieval fortifications. It represented the power and importance of the Holy Roman Empire and the outstanding role of the Imperial City of Nuremberg. The complex comprises three sections: the imperial castle ("Kaiserburg"), some buildings of the Burgraves of Nuremberg ("Burggrafenburg"), and the municipal buildings of the Imperial City at the eastern site ("Reichsstädtische Bauten").

The castle was damaged in 1944-45, with only the Roman double chapel and the Sinwell Tower remaining entirely intact. After the World War, the castle was restored under the direction of Rudolf Esterer and Julius Lincke to its historical form, including the Luginsland tower which had been completely destroyed. It took some thirty years to complete the rebuilding and restoration to its present state.

Why You Should Visit:
Lovely castle grounds and the tour is well laid out to see everything. The audio guide is worth the extra fee to learn more about the history of what you'll discover.
The Sinwell tower offers beautiful views of Nuremberg along with comparison photos of the city after it was bombed to near total destruction in WWII.
The gardens on the backside of the castle are tranquil and lush, perfect for escaping the city.

Go early in the morning as the place gets crowded as the day wears on.

Opening Hours:
[Kaiserburg] Daily: 9am-6pm (Apr-Sep); Daily: 10am-4pm (Oct-Mar); Last admission 30 mins before closing time
[Burggarten] Daily: 8am earliest - 8pm latest (Apr-Oct)
[Maria Sibylla Merian-Garten] Sun, Mon: 2-6pm (Apr-Sep); 2-4pm (Oct)
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tiergärtner Tower & Old Town Wall

5) Tiergärtner Tower & Old Town Wall (must see)

The city wall and its 128 towers, built in the Middle Ages, served as Nuremberg’s fortifications. Many of the towers and the wall are still in good condition. The Tiergärtner tower and its gates served as the main portal into the city. Due to the town’s growth, larger gates were subsequently constructed.
Castle Garden (Burggarten)

6) Castle Garden (Burggarten)

The gardens were laid out around the castle in the 11th century when Emperor Federic resided here. Since then, they have changed many times but are still a marvelous sight. The meticulously tended gardens contain various trees, bushes and flowers that change beautifully with the seasons.

7) Albrecht-Dürer-Haus (must see)

The home of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer 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 Dürer purchased the house five years later.

Since 1871 the Albrecht-Dürer-Haus has been a museum dedicated to Dürer'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, Dürer'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 Dürer, the wife of the artist.

Why You Should Visit:
English audio guide included in the ticket price. The amazing stories about the building and Durer's life are fascinating (eg. petty bureaucrats and 'facilities').
Aside from learning about Dürer as an artist and his era, you can watch a woman make prints of some of his most famous images or buy several souvenirs from the nice gift shop across the street.
If you're not an art buff, the house is still worth it – attractive on the outside, it's also quite interesting on the inside, as in the different rooms you'll get a feel for what it was like to live in that era.

As the restaurant is highly rated yet very small, you must be ready to share the table with other people if necessary (sometimes it is a good opportunity to meet new people). Booking is mandatory if you want to be sure to eat there.

Opening Hours:
Mon (Jul-Sep, Dec during Christmas market): 10am-5pm; Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Thu: 10am-8pm; Sat, Sun, Holidays: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Nuremberg Toy Museum

8) Nuremberg Toy Museum (must see)

Nuremberg is considered one of the great Toy capitals, and faithful to its popularity offers the possibility of visiting the 'Spielzeugmuseum', or Toy Museum. This is one of the most impressive museums in Europe with a very extensive collection, and quality in each of the exhibits. It opened in 1974 and offers collections of all ages (especially the last 200 years) and ethnicities. You can find all kinds of toys – from simple ones made of normal material such as wood, metal, porcelain, cardboard, etc., to the sophisticated things visible nowadays in the relevant shops. Both adults and particularly children may be interested in visiting; when tired, they may occupy themselves with real play.

If you don't speak German, be sure to request the audio guide when you purchase your ticket so you can get the most out of your visit.
The best part of the museum is the top floor with all the train collections. Avid toy train collectors would probably enjoy this museum the best!

Opening Hours:
Mon (during Christmas market): 10am-5pm; Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat, Sun: 10am-6pm; Daily (during the International Toy Fair): 10am-8pm
Hangman's Bridge (Henkerssteg)

9) Hangman's Bridge (Henkerssteg)

This wooden bridge was built in 1457 for the town’s hangman who lived in a tower outside of the community. After a flood in 1595, the bridge was reconstructed and a tiled roof was added.
Ludwigsplatz (Ludwig's Square)

10) Ludwigsplatz (Ludwig's Square)

Ludwig’s Square (Ludwigsplatz) is famous for its unique fountain reflecting the stages of married life. The expressive bronze statues of the Marriage Carousel were created by Professor Jürgen Weber in 1984, whose statue stands in the center of the fountain mocking the figures of the couple depicting the marriage scenes.

11) Breitengasse

The Breitegasse is a shopping street in Nuremberg, where there are many shops. Accordingly, it is there. The rents are so high that almost all retail stores have been replaced by chain stores.
The "Breite Gasse" is pedestrian zone. It is best to take the metro line U 1 from the stops Lorenzkirche or Weißer Turm . These two metro stops are the "Breite Gasse".
Sight description based on wikipedia
St. Elizabeth's Cathedral

12) St. Elizabeth's Cathedral

St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral initially belonged to the German Knights Order. In 1785 it was rebuilt in a neoclassical style with a large dome. Damaged during World War II, it was reconstructed between 1947 and 1959. Further restoration of its exterior were performed from 1975 to 1976.
St. Jacob's Church

13) St. Jacob's Church

St. Jacob's Church, built in the 14th century in the Gothic style, formerly served as a hospice for the elderly. It was damaged during World War II and subsequently reconstructed. Its beautifully decorated late Gothic Twelve Messenger Altar is particularly impressive, as well as the Mourning of Christ sculpture, created by an unknown artist in the 16th century.
German National Museum

14) German National Museum (must see)

Founded in 1852, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum houses a significant German art collection, ranging from medieval painting, sculpture and arts & crafts, to fairly recent German works and history. It also offers a great insight into the daily lives of people living in a German city and shows how life was back several centuries ago, exhibiting such common objects as glassware, musical instruments, or watches.

Out of the museum's total holding of some 1.3 million objects (including the holdings of the library and the Department of Prints and Drawings), approximately 25,000 are exhibited. Also interesting is the actual architecture of the museum. Modern glass structures and art galleries have been built around a preserved but ruined church. As with every attraction in Nuremberg, the English audio guide is great. A bonus is that about 80% of the exhibits have signage in English.

The museum is open late on a Wednesday and free of charge after 6pm, though you would still need a few more hours to see everything.
Study the map you get at the start and try to plan your visit, as the museum areas don't flow into each other and you could spend much time backtracking.

Opening Hours:
[Permanent & Temporary Exhibitions] Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-6pm; Wed: 10am-9pm
[Archive, Department of Prints & Drawings, Numismatic Collection] Tue-Fri: 9am-4pm
[Library] Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 9:30am-6pm; Wed: 9:30am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

15) Handwerkerhof

Just opposite the Central Railway Station, through the gates of the medieval tower Altstadt, you’ll find yourself in Handwerkerhof (Crafts Yard). Find original handmade souvenirs, including dolls, glasswork, gingerbread, bags, jewelry and much more. German style workshops and the great hospitality of the craftsmen create a pleasant atmosphere. Also, it’s the best place for fresh beer and Nuremberg sausages.
St. Lawrence's Church

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

Dedicated to one of the most venerated saints of the Roman Catholic Church, this church was badly damaged during World War II and later restored, now standing as one of the most prominent among the Evangelical Lutheran churches in Bavaria. More notably, the church is rich in 14th and 15th Century altarpieces, the earliest dating from 1316.The church’s Gothic choir called "St. Laurentius" was designed by medieval master mason Konrad Roriczer in 1445. There are also notable sculptures, including the famous statue of the "beautiful Madonna" – unusually portrayed smiling – from around 1280. Most striking is a stunning stone tabernacle, (built 1493-6) the carvings of which depict the Passion of Christ. It is surmounted by a veritable explosion of pinnacles which soar 20m to the springing of the vaulting. As if this were not enough, the church has an exceptional array of medieval stained glass, mostly from the 15th century.

The building and furnishing of the church were cared of by the city council and by wealthy citizens. This is probably the reason why the art treasures of St. Lawrence were spared during the iconoclasm during the Reformation period. Despite St. Lawrence's being one of the first churches in Germany to be Lutheran (1525), the wealthy citizens of Nuremberg wanted to preserve the memory of their ancestors and refused the removal of the donated works of art.

The west facade is richly articulated, reflecting the wealth of the Nuremberg citizens. The facade is dominated by the two towers, mirroring St. Sebald and indirectly Bamberg Cathedral with a sharp towering West portal doorway, and an indented rose window 9 metres in diameter.

Why You Should Visit:
If you want to escape all the shoppers and summer heat outside, this is the cool place to relax for a while.
A must-see in the day, evening, and at night for the variety of lighting that makes it almost magical.

Try to find the opportunity to join a church concert. Typically on every Saturday.

Opening Hours:
Sun: 10am-3:30pm; Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat: 9am-5:30pm; Thu: 9am-7pm

Free/by donation Guided Tours (~45mins):
Mon-Sat: 11am / 2pm (not at church events); Sundays & Holidays: 2pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospice of the Holy Spirit)

17) Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospice of the Holy Spirit)

Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospice of the Holy Spirit) was built in 1332 by Konrad Gross, city mayor one of the richest men in town. You can get the most beautiful view of the biggest institution for the poor in the imperial city. The inner courtyards are accessible from the Spitalgasse through the restaurant’s portal.
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)

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

The Frauenkirche ("Church of Our Lady") stands on the eastern side of the main market in Nuremberg. An example of brick Gothic architecture, it was built on the initiative of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor between 1352 and 1362. The church contains many sculptures, some of them heavily restored. Numerous works of art from the Middle Ages are kept in the church, such as the so-called Tucher Altar (c. 1440, originally the high altar of the Augustinian church of St. Vitus), and two monuments by Adam Kraft (c. 1498).

The church was built in place of the former Jewish synagogue, which was destroyed during the pogrom of 1349 (which followed an outbreak of Black Death). Charles IV wanted to use the Frauenkirche for imperial ceremonies, which is reflected in the porch with the balcony, and in the fact that the church is relatively unadorned except for the coats of arms of the Holy Roman Empire, the seven Electors, the town of Nuremberg, and the city of Rome, where the Holy Roman Emperors were crowned.

One of the most notable features of the church is the Männleinlaufen, a mechanical clock that commemorates the Golden Bull of 1356. The clock was installed in the church between 1506 and 1509. The Holy Roman Emperor is shown seated with the prince-electors surrounding him.

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.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9am-6pm / Sun: 12:30-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

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 Museums and Galleries Tour

Nuremberg Museums and Galleries Tour

Nuremberg houses a variety of history and art museums. Visitors can discover the city's history at Fembo House, explore the development of communications at the Transport and Communications Museum, enjoy art exhibits at the New Museum of Art and Design and return to one’s childhood at the Toy Museum.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Nuremberg City Center Tour

Nuremberg City Center Tour

Nuremberg, the second largest city in Bavaria, has a wonderful assortment of Middle Age and modern architecture. Considered the center of German humanism, it is also the birthplace of the German railway. It is the famous place where fascism was put on trial following World War II. Take this self-guided tour and enjoy the splendid views of this old city.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Western Nuremberg Tour

Western Nuremberg Tour

Western Nuremberg is known as the Johannis district. It features a number of parks, historical graveyards, beautiful Baroque houses and churches. Its charming gardens are great places to relax and enjoy nature, sculptures and fountains.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 Km or 2.7 Miles
Hitler's Nuremberg Tour

Hitler's Nuremberg Tour

Adolf Hitler referred to Nuremberg as the City of the Party Rallies, considering it the standard for German cities. The monumental Party Rally Grounds is located on a 24.5 hectare territory in southern Nuremberg. The huge buildings resemble ancient Roman architecture. Nowadays, this enormous complex represents the fall of the Third Reich.

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.1 Km or 5.7 Miles
Southeastern Nuremberg Tour

Southeastern Nuremberg Tour

Nuremberg is full of historical attractions. The southeastern portion of the city features extensive public parks, which host many events, and one of the biggest exhibition centers in Germany.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 Km or 4.3 Miles
Shopping Tour in Nuremberg Altstadt

Shopping Tour in Nuremberg Altstadt

Historical Nuremberg attracts thousands of tourists each year. Known for its Christmas markets, beer, sausage, gingerbread and toys, the city center is rich in small shops and large markets. Just walk down Altstadt and you’ll find anything you want.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles