48 hours in: Nuremberg

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Spring is bringing a warm glow to this Bavarian city, which is about to get even easier to visit thanks to the arrival of new budget flights, says Simon Calder

Travel essentials

Why go now?

The second half of March sees Bavaria's beautiful second city emerging from winter: the last snows melt away from the elegant Altstadt (Old Town), and spring takes over in the leafy surroundings.Nuremberg is about to join the no-frills map, with Ryanair starting flights before Easter. And to complete the budget-break picture, Germany's greatest youth hostel reopens fully this weekend.


Touch down

You can fly on any nationality of airline you like from the UK to Nuremberg – so long as it is Irish. CityJet (0871 221 2452; cityjet.com) operates "full-service" flights twice daily from London City; Ryanair (0871 246 0000; ryanair.com) starts flying from Stansted on 28 March and will go daily for the summer.

Nuremberg's compact airport is 7km north of the Altstadt, at the end of U-Bahn line 2. Buy a €2.50 ticket from the machine, board a driverless train (every 10 minutes) and you'll be at Hauptbahnhof (1) in 13 minutes.


Get your bearings

From the Hauptbahnhof (1), Königstrasse runs north-west into the city centre, passing the main tourist office (2) at number 93 (00 49 911 233 6132; tourismus.nuernberg.de; 9am-7pm daily, 10am-4pm Sun).

Two bridges, Museumsbrücke (3) and Fleischbrücke (4), cross the Pegnitz river to the Hauptmarket – location for another tourist office (5), open 9am-6pm (10am-4pm Sun). The main street north from here, Burgstrasse, runs up to the skirts of the castle (6) – the Burg.

If you plan to visit all the museums on this itinerary, buy the Nurnberg Card (bit.ly/NurnCard), price €23. It includes two days' of unlimited public transport plus entry to dozens of museums.


Check in

All room rates quoted here include a generous buffet breakfast.

Aesthetically, the best place to stay is the Youth Hostel (7) (00 49 911 230 9360; bit.ly/NurnHost) which fully reopens this week. It occupies the 15th-century Imperial Stables, with a dramatic interior (filled with elaborate arches and, usefully, Wi-Fi) with spectacular views – especially from the Tower rooms. Beds from €26.50, double and family rooms available.

Nuremberg is a convention destination, and hotel rates soar if a big event is in town; conversely, at quiet times you can pick up a bargain. For resurrected grandeur, the optimum location is the Hotel Deutscher Kaiser (8) – whose elaborate façade dominates Königstrasse at number 55 (00 49 911 242 660; deutscher-kaiser-hotel.de). The hotel dates from 1889, and in the 21st century its grandiose public rooms are being gradually renovated. Chic, modernised rooms with Wi-Fi typically cost €138 with breakfast – though weekend deals are often available.

The InterCity Hotel (9), almost next door to the main station at Eilgutstrasse 8 (00 49 911 24780; intercityhotel.com) is the modern alternative, with smart rooms typically at €120. The price includes unlimited use of local public transport; just ask for your free ticket at the front desk.


Day One

Take a view

The Castle (6) dominates the city, a symbol of the Imperial power of Nuremburg. It is undergoing a major renovation, but you can still wander through much of its grounds and take in the dramatic views from its walls.


Take a hike

To immerse yourself in the art and architecture of the Old Town, start just below the castle, at the cheerfully haphazard square at Beim Tiergärtnertor (10) – site for the spectacular half-timbered Albrecht Dürer House, the only surviving Renaissance artist's house outside Italy (00 49 911 231 2568; bit.ly/NurnArt; 10am-6pm weekends, to 5pm Tue-Fri, to 8pm Thu; €5). Exhibits include a powerful self-portrait.

Walk down the street named after Dürer; cross Weinmarkt (11), location for some eclectic shops, into Karlstrasse, then go right along Augustinerstrasse and left over the covered bridge, Maxbrucke (12). This leads to Unschlittplatz (13), home to an ornate fountain – one of several in the city. Go left to parallel the river, then head left again over Fleischbrücke (4) to the Hauptmarkt – location for the Schöner Brunnen (14) fountain), decorated by a pyramid of 40 figures. Arrive at noon to witness the theatrical chimes from the tower of Our Lady church (15).


Lunch on the run

The produce market in front of Our Lady church (15) sells delicious bread, spreads, veg and fruit, with which you can put together a fine picnic. Or you could lunch al fresco on the terrace of Bratwursthäusle (16), adjacent to St Sebald's church (00 49 911 22 76 95; bit.ly/NurnYum). The sausages here, served with sauerkraut and washed down with a beer, are so tasty you may want to take some home, vacuum packed.


Window shopping

Weisserturm (17), site of another fountain, marks the west end of the main shopping street, Breite Gasse. Just off the main drag, British Empire (18) at Krebsgasse 9 (00 49 911 240 3040; britishempire-shop.de) reveals how the UK look transfers to Germany.


Cultural afternoon

Called "the most German of cities" by a Nazi-era mayor, Nuremberg was the scene of much fascist triumphalism. That grim recent past is confronted in the shape of the Way of Human Rights, a sequence of stone pillars engraved with the 30 articles of the UN declaration. It leads to the German National Museum (19) (00 49 911 13310; gnm.de; 10am-6pm daily except Mon, Wed to 9pm; €6) – a fascinating mix of anthropology, art and science (including the world's oldest surviving globe) involving the Germanic people.

Close by, the Neues Museum (20) (00 49 911 240 2069; nmn.de; 10am-6pm daily except Mon, Thu to 8pm; €4) is a startling modern art museum. The concave glass façade makes the visitor part of the show for an audience outside. Inside, the collection runs from typewriters to tapestries.


An aperitif

The Barfüsser Kleines Brauhaus (21) at Hallplatz 2 (00 49 911 20 42 42; barfuesser-nuernberg.de) is a big Bavarian cavern that houses its own microbrewery and is decorated with UK pub signs from the 1960s, such as The Claremont from West Byfleet. Half a litre of Barfüsser Blonde costs €3.30.


Dining with the locals

Across the Altstadt, the cosy Nürnberger Alm (22) at Burgstrasse 19 (00 49 911 50 71 69 42; nuernberger-alm.de) feels like a Bavarian Alpine chalet transplanted to the old city. Share a table, tuck into a pork and potato dish, and sip a Lindenbräu amber beer.


Day Two

Sunday morning: Go to church

Nuremberg's claim to be a cultural heartland goes beyond Albrecht Dürer. Johann Pachelbel was born here 360 years ago, and became organist at St Sebaldus (23) and one of the strongest influences on J S Bach. The organ at St Sebaldus is not the original on which Pachelbel played his Canon in D, but the church is the city's oldest and most handsome with extravagant art, and the elaborate tomb of the hermit saint Sebaldus. The Catholic church of Our Lady (15) on Hauptmarkt is also worth a peek, but the Lorenzkirche (24) is more impressive; the Krell altar has the oldest known depiction of Nuremberg, from 1483.


Out to brunch

On a sunny day, head for the Café Wanderer (25), where the walls meet the castle. The tables spill out over the square (00 49 178 366 6334; cafe-wanderer.de; Sun from noon, from 10am in April onwards). During inclement weather, the Café am Trödelmarkt (26) on Liebesinsel (the island at the heart of the Altstadt) is ideal for coffee and cakes.Sunday hours are 10am-6pm.


Take a ride

Take S-Bahn line 2 from Hauptbahnhof (1) to Dutzendteich, close to the Reichsparteitagsgelände (27), the former Nazi Party rally grounds. Out of the station, follow the signs to reach Doku-Zentrum (00 49 911 231 5666; bit.ly/NurnDZ; 10am-6pm weekends, 9am-5pm weekdays; €5). A shard of glass and steel has been driven through the north wing of the former Nazi Congress Hall – and the interior filled with an unemotional account of the role the city played in Adolf Hitler's rise.


A walk in the park

Albert Speer, Hitler's architect-in-chief, designed grounds so monumental that the main avenue was later used as a runway by the Americans. The former rally grounds, chilling but fascinating, extend south across the parkland. Follow the information points from 1 to 9, and you will walk through history. The culmination is the opportunity to stand where the Führer addressed the crowds – where you may get an insight into collective madness.


The icing on the cake

The Deutsche Bahn Museum (28), just south of the walls at Lessingstrasse 6 (00 49 1804 44 22 33; bit.ly/NurnMus; 10am-6pm at weekends, from 9am Tue-Fri; €5), was born in 1899 as the Royal Bavarian Railway Museum. It explains the geopolitical strangeness of the Cold War. The premises are shared with the Communications Museum, which shows the progress of human contact from the Stone Age to the iPhone 5.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: International Project Coordinator / Account Coordinator

    Circa £26,500 DOE: Guru Careers: An International Project Coordinator / Accoun...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

    Recruitment Genius: Network Executive - Adrenalin Sports - OTE £21,000

    £19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for an exciting...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks