Nuremberg Old Town Walking Tour (Self Guided), Nuremberg

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.
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Nuremberg Old Town Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Nuremberg Old Town Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Nuremberg (See other walking tours in Nuremberg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 17
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: Ella
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Nuremberg Central Station
  • Frauentorturm (Women's Tower)
  • Handwerkerhof (Crafts Yard)
  • Mauthalle (Former Customs House)
  • St. Lawrence's Church
  • Heilig-Geist-Spital (Hospice of the Holy Spirit)
  • Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square)
  • City Hall (Rathaus)
  • St. Sebaldus Church
  • Nuremberg Toy Museum
  • Weissgerbergasse (Weissgerber Street)
  • Maxbrücke (Max Bridge)
  • Trodelmarkt (Flea Market)
  • Ludwigsplatz (Ludwig's Square)
  • St. Jacob's Church
  • St. Elizabeth's Cathedral
  • Zum Guldenen Stern Restaurant
Nuremberg Central Station

1) Nuremberg Central Station

Nuremberg Central Station (German: Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof) is the largest station in north Bavaria and belongs to the 20 stations in the highest category of importance allocated by DB Station&Service. The Hauptbahnhof is located on the southeastern perimeter of Nuremberg's Altstadt, immediately opposite the Königstor (King's Gate) where the streets of Marientorgraben, Frauentorgraben, and Bahnhofstraße meet. The DB Museum, the corporate museum of Deutsche Bahn AG (formerly the Verkehrsmuseum), is close to the station, as is the Staatstheater Nürnberg opera house.

Having been originally built as in the neo-Gothic style, the station was rebuilt in 1900 largely in the Neo-Baroque style. The most striking feature is the muschelkalk which characterizes the exterior façade. The portals to the individual halls are richly decorated and primarily depict symbols of technological progress; for example, a winged wheel above the portal in the Mittelhalle. The lounge, in which the present-day travel center is located, was built in 1904/1905 by Bruno Paul in the Jugendstil. Sections of the walls are decorated with fine mosaics, the roof is ornamented with unobtrusive stucco.

The Jugendstil lounge is one of the few areas of the station, which has survived the destruction of the Second World War. Above the main portal is an advertising column from the early 20th century.

In 1950 plans were made to change the Neo-Baroque style to a Neo-Gothic style. Shortly before work began, however, it was stopped so that only a few areas were changed.

Why You Should Visit:
While the building itself is very nice it is worth noting that the reason Nuremberg was chosen for the Nazi rallying grounds was its ability to link Germany by rail, so this central station is historical as well.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Frauentorturm (Women's Tower)

2) Frauentorturm (Women's Tower)

The walls and gate to the Old Town are located opposite the Central Railway Station. Having stood for over 500 years, they are an impressive and powerful sight. The Frauentorturm, rebuilt to its present form in 1558 to guard the Frauentor (gate), is unique due to its arched windows and round, top window. Located in an enchanting area with medieval walls and courtyards, traditional shops & restaurants, etc., Frauentorturm is one of the first things you see if you arrive in Nuremberg by train.
Handwerkerhof (Crafts Yard)

3) 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.
Mauthalle (Former Customs House)

4) Mauthalle (Former Customs House)

This medieval building has served as a granary and customhouse throughout its centuries-old history. It was built as a granary around 1498 on the site of the former city moat. At the time, this was the largest grain house in the city and stored food for times of crisis.

The Former Customs House features a gabled roof. The eastern gable has an intricate network of blind ogee arches. The city's coat of arms, with the imperial eagle, is featured in the lancet-arched portal.

The impressive roof has five stories and rests on top of the three-story sandstone building.

The granary began serving as a customhouse in 1572. The building was heavily damaged during WWII but has been restored. The original builders used half-timbers on the facade; the remaining half-timbered facade can be seen on the building's easter wing. The rest of the building was rebuilt using brick.

The cellar features 26 pillars and now houses the Barefoot brewery and restaurant.
St. Lawrence's Church

5) 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 in 1493-6) the carvings of which depict the Passion of Christ. It is surmounted by a veritable explosion of pinnacles which soar 20 meters 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 meters in diameter.

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)

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

The Hospice of the Holy Spirit was completed in 1339. The Imperial Mayor built it to provide care to the poor and needy in the area. At the time, it was the largest hospital in the Empire.

The hospital was expanded in the 16th century and stretched over the Pegntiz River. Today, visitors can view the "Sude," which housed the preacher, and the northern wall of the Hospice Church. The church has a polygonal roof turret.

An additional chapel that fell into ruins housed the crown jewels of the Empire from 1424 to 1796. These crown jewels included royal regalia and the Holy Lance, which was shown to believers once a year. In addition, the royal regalia would be transported to Frankfurt Cathedral for coronations.

The hospital houses Nuremberg's oldest bronze sculpture, which was created around 1380. Adam Kraft's Calvary dates to the early 1500s and is located in the Crucifixion Courtyard.

Today, the Hospice of the Holy Spirit houses a senior home as well as a restaurant. The medieval architecture reflecting over the river makes for an impressive photo opportunity.
Hauptmarkt (Main Market Square)

7) 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.
City Hall (Rathaus)

8) City Hall (Rathaus)

The City Hall is one of the most important buildings in Nuremberg. Construction of this imposing building began in 1332. The oldest part of the complex is the great ceremonial hall, a stunning example of Gothic architecture. When it was completed in 1340, the ceremonial hall was the largest in the area.

The city hall was expanded in the early 17th century. Architect Jakob Wolff designed a palazzo-like building that is reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. The facade features three Baroque portals, and the central portal contains the city's two coats of arms and the imperial eagle.

In 1649, the city celebrated the end of the Thirty Year's War with a massive Peace Banquet in the city hall.

Replicas of medieval imperial regalia are on display on the first floor. In the cellar, visitors will find medieval dungeons.

Bombs destroyed city Hall during WWII. However, it was painstakingly reconstructed and reopened in 1962.
St. Sebaldus Church

9) St. Sebaldus Church

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 Toy Museum

10) Nuremberg Toy Museum (must see)

Nuremberg has been building beloved toys for over 600 years. Its artists have created dolls, pewter figurines, and modern toys.

Lydia Bayer began collecting toys in the 1920s. After Lydia's death, her daughter opened the Lydia Bayer Museum and displayed the impressive collection. The Bayer heirs later collaborated with the city to open the Toy Museum.

Today, the Toy Museum features over 80,000 items and houses several exhibits.

The Lydia Bayer "Cabinet" commemorates Lydia Bayer and her daughter, who were vital to the museum's collection and success. The room features some of Bayers' finest pieces.

In the Dolls, Parlors, Kitchens exhibit, visitors can see four centuries of dolls, mini-kitchens, market stalls, and shops. Girls were historically encouraged to play in these kitchens and shopping replicas to prepare them for life as housewives.

In this exhibit, visitors can discover how dolls have evolved through the centuries.

The Technology and Work exhibit shows off toys that reflect technical achievements. As new inventions and technologies were introduced, toys quickly followed. Children and adults alike wanted miniature versions of the steam engine, railroad, telephone, automobile, and airplane. These technology toys were made of iron and often featured clockwork mechanisms. This area features metal toys made in America. Visitors will be impressed by the model cars, trains, and model railways.

In the Toys Since 1945 section, visitors can see modern toys such as Matchbox cars and Barbie dolls.

On the top floor, visitors will find a wonderful play area for kids. In addition, there's a builder's shed, and artistic handicrafts are available. Finally, there's an outdoor play area where kids can play classic games.

Opening Hours:
Mon (during Christmas market): 10am-5pm; Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat, Sun: 10am-6pm; Daily (during the International Toy Fair): 10am-8pm
Weissgerbergasse (Weissgerber Street)

11) Weissgerbergasse (Weissgerber Street)

Weissgerber Street is one of the most beautiful streets in Nuremberg. While much of Nuremberg was damaged during WWII, this street features over a dozen historical homes that survived intact. The historical homes feature traditional half-timber construction and show off Nuremberg's delightful architecture.

Weissgerber refers to the tanners who lived in this lane. These tanners used potassium aluminum sulfate to craft soft, fine leather. First, the hides were soaked and treated with a rammer. Next, the tallow was scraped off with a special blade, and then tanners dried the leather in frames on the city wall. A depiction of a rammer and knife is visible at Number 24.

Today, the street is no longer home to leatherworks, but it is a popular spot for galleries, restaurants, and bars.

The beautifully preserved half-timbered buildings with colorful latticework make Weissgerber Street one of the most photographed spots in Nuremberg.
Maxbrücke (Max Bridge)

12) Maxbrücke (Max Bridge)

The Maxbrücke is an arch bridge over the Pegnitz in the old town of Nuremberg . The three-bay sandstone cuboid bridge has tracery fillings made of cast iron and is considered the oldest stone bridge in the city. It connects the Unschlittplatz in the Lorenz old town south of the Pegnitz with the Nägeleinsplatz in the north of the Sebald old town. The structure is located between the flea market island in the east and the Kettensteg in the west.

The Max Bridge was built by the Rothenburg master builder Jakob Grimm and was completed in 1457. At that time it was called the Stone Bridge . Later, in order to be able to defend the city against attacks from the river, two round cannons were added. In honor of the Bavarian King Maximilian I Joseph , the bridge was renamed Maxbrücke in 1810 . The place on the new building near the north side of the bridge was given its current name Maxplatz for the same reason .

The Maxbrücke was damaged by a fire in the wooden water tower of the Nägeleinsmühle on the northern bank of the Pegnitz, so that it was repaired and redesigned according to plans by Bernhard Solger . In 1852 it was opened to traffic again.

The bridge offers sweeping views to the Weinstadel and Henkerssteg.

The Weinstadel is a medieval and imperial city building in Nuremberg . It is one of the most famous architectural monuments in the northern part of Nuremberg's old town and is a stop on the Nuremberg Historical Mile . The name Weinstadel is derived from its function as a former imperial city wine warehouse, which was set up around 1571 on the ground floor of the main building.

Henkerssteg (Hangman's Bridge) is a wooden bridge 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.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Trodelmarkt (Flea Market)

13) Trodelmarkt (Flea Market)

Trodelmarkt is an island named after the flea market held here. It is located in the west of the old town between Maxbrücke and Fleischbrücke . The island is connected to the mainland via the Charles Bridge as well as the Henkersteg in the southwest and the Schleifersteg in the northeast. In the northwest there is a bridge belonging to the executioner's tower , in which a legal history exhibition on the life and work of the executioner is shown.

When the two previously separate city ​​fortifications on the Lorenzer and Sebalder sides of the old town were combined across the Pegnitz between 1320 and 1325, the so-called executioner's tower was built as part of the fortifications on the western tip of the island.

A market was held on the island as early as the Middle Ages. At that time pigs were traded there, which is why the square was called Säumarkt . In 1444, a meat house, the so-called Small Meat Bank, was built on the island in addition to the already existing meat banks on the southwest side of the main market . The newly built meat shop included 19 new meat banks and 32 meat banks for butchers who did not come from Nuremberg.

Grinding mills have been in operation on the island and in its vicinity since 1440 .

From the 16th century, the citizens of the Sebald (northern) side of the old town on the island began trading old and used items. That is why the Säumarkt was renamed the flea market in 1809/1810 . The meat store had to give way to a market hall, which was built there in 1895-1897.

The characteristic development - narrow rows of houses with sales stalls in front of them - was completely destroyed in bombing raids during World War II. During the reconstruction after the war, attempts were made to recreate the old structures.

Trodelmarkt hosts a great 1,000 square meter flea market twice a year. It lasts 3 days in May and September. A variety of goods can be bought from its many vendors, including toys, jewelry and much more.
Ludwigsplatz (Ludwig's Square)

14) 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.
St. Jacob's Church

15) 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.
St. Elizabeth's Cathedral

16) 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.
Zum Guldenen Stern Restaurant

17) Zum Guldenen Stern Restaurant

This historic restaurant was originally built in 1380 on the cobbled Zirkelschmiedsgasse street. The restaurant was first mentioned in 1419 and has been serving bratwurst and other delectable dishes ever since. This is Nuremberg's oldest restaurant that has been continuously operating from the same location.

The restaurant features beautiful traditional architecture. The interior has low, wood panel ceilings, family-style seating, and a cozy fireplace.

The house specialty is the Nuremberg bratwurst. Local Nuremberg butchers produce the bratwurst. They are spiced using ancient recipes and are grilled fresh rather than pre-cooked. The bratwurst is roasted every day on an open beechwood fire.

Other menu items are also traditionally created. The Wehr family makes the barrel sauerkraut, and the homemade potato salad uses local potatoes. Don't miss the delicious apple strudel for dessert.

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