Nuremberg and Bamberg make for a wonderful twin-centre Germany weekend break. Located in Bavaria, in the south of the country, the two cities are worth a visit any time of year – home to fascinating history, beautiful architecture and great food.
In December, tourists flock from across Europe and the world to visit Nuremberg’s Christmas Markets. The city is home to one of Europe’s most spectacular Christmas Markets and despite the frigid temperatures during the festive period, this makes for a wonderful time to visit! However, nearby Bamburg also offers up an even quieter authentic Christmas Market experience – absolutely not to be missed.
Read on for my guide to Nuremberg and Bamberg, including where to stay, where to visit, what to eat and how to get around. Get ready to start planning a wonderful weekend in Germany!
A bit of background: Nuremberg’s History
Before sharing my suggested itinerary for the ideal weekend in Nuremberg and Bamberg, it’s important to consider the history and background Nuremberg.
Whilst Nuremberg is home to its world-famous Christkindlesmarket, the city has a dark past. Did you know it was Adolf Hitler’s favourite city?
Adolf Hitler viewed Nuremberg as the ‘most German of German cities’ and viewed Nuremberg as the ideal representation of a true Germanic city, steeped in imperial history. Because of this, Nuremberg hosted many Nazi Party Rallies and following this, the Nuremberg trials.
Sadly, the residents of Nuremberg suffered for Hitler’s love of the city and for it being the heart of Nazi Germany. The entire city was bombed heavily during World War 2, and much of its stunning medieval city has had to be re-built and restored. Walking around Nuremberg today is a symbolic reminder of human strength and resilience, that places can be torn down, but will stand up strong and shake the remnants of their Nazi past.
That being said, Nuremberg has never received the sheer number of tourists that other cities in Germany receive. This makes it a bit of a hidden gem, and between the stunning architecture, the lively bars and great restaurant, and of course, its incredible medieval city – Nuremberg is certainly worth a visit.
Here’s my guide on visiting Nuremberg and as well as all the must see attractions to visit in a weekend:
How to get to Nuremberg
Located in Bavaria in Southern Germany, Nuremberg is fairly easy to get to with international flights arriving from across Europe. If you’re coming from the US or further afield, it’s likely you’d connect in a larger city such as Munich or Frankfurt. You can fly daily to Nuremberg from London Stansted on Ryanair.
Landing at Nuremberg’s airport, it couldn’t be more simple to arrive in the city centre. Head towards the U-Bahn commuter train and board the U-Bahn line U2. This line connects the Nürnberg Flughafen (Nurembeg Airport) with the Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof (Nuremberg’s Main Station). The journey takes 12 minutes, no less and the train runs regularly several times an hour. It runs up until midnight and starts again at about 4am! The cost a one-way ticket is a mere €2.50!
For onwards travel from the Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof, chances are you’ll be able to walk to your accommodation as the city is so compact. If not, the bus station is conveniently located outside.
Where to stay in Nuremberg
Fortunately, Nuremberg is a very affordable city to visit in Germany. There are plenty of well-priced hotels located centrally in Nuremberg. Several hotels, such as Hotel Victoria and Hotel Elch are located in the heart of the medieval town centre and offer the experience to live in the midst of Nuremberg’s history.
Here are my pick of some of the best luxury hotels in Nuremberg:
These are some of the value for money budget hotels in Nuremberg:
Where to eat in Nuremberg
There are a surprising number of lovely cafes dotted around Nuremberg. The wonderful Cafe Meinheim was recommended to us by a local for breakfast. We’re so glad we listened! Their platters were incredible and a great first taste of German food for myself. There are several platters to pick from and each comes out so fantastically presented. I loved the variety in each one. I opted for the ‘Schwedisches Frühstück, which actually means Swedish Breakfast, but I liked the look of what was included!
Another brilliant cafe in Nuremberg is the fun Brezen Kolb. Home to the city’s best pretzels, this place is great for a quicker breakfast or a delicious snack on the go.
What to see and do in Nuremberg
The beautiful medieval city of Nuremberg has plenty to offer and 48 hours is the perfect length of time to get to know the city.
Nuremberg is definitely one of those places best explored on foot. In fact, public transport doesn’t even run through the medieval town centre. Nuremberg is very easy destination to walk around on foot and all the sites and attractions are located in a fairly compact area.
Stay within the town’s castle walls and you can’t really get lost. Wander slowly and explore every little alleyway and shop.
If you climb up into the castle to higher ground, you can see the four medieval towers marking each corner of the square. This vantage point is a wonderful place to gaze over Nuremberg and get a sense for its size and history.
Many of Nuremberg’s streets are connected by pretty bridges.We visited in late November and all of the foliage and trees was just at the end of the Autumnal season, leading to the gorgeous colours you see above.
Top things to do in Nuremberg
Nuremberg’s city stretches back more than 950 years. It’s been tumultuous and fascinating, not least with Nazi Germany’s obsession with the city.
- Visiting the Kaiserburg Castle is a must-see attraction in Nuremberg. Incredibly this imperial castle was once the home of one of the most important palaces of the Old Roman Empire. It is estimated to have been originally constructed (in its current form) in the 13th century and is located at the heart of Nuremberg’s medieval town centre.
- The Nazi Party Rally Grounds, located at the Documentation Centre is another key site within Nuremberg. An ugly structure, to say the least, it was one of the forefront of Nazi Germany’s Nationalist Socialist regime. Many of Hitler’s horrendous ideological ideas would have been started here. The Congress Hall, which was never finished, was expected to be able to hold 50,000 spectators at any one time.
- Exploring the fascinating underground Town Hall Chambers ‘Historiche Felsengänge‘ is another must see attraction in Nuremberg. These subterranean chambers are a real labyrinth and were one used as a jail for prisoners who had been sentenced to capital punishment. You can peer into tunnels used as old torture rooms too. Sinister, but fascinating.
- The Hospital of the Holy Spirit, located on Spitalgasse 16, is thought to be one of the largest hospitals from the Middle Ages that is still standing, It was established in the 14th century and was one of the largest institutions belonging to the Holy Roman Empire.
GetYourGuide have several tours around Nuremberg which I highly recommend, take a look below:
Nuremberg’s Christmas Market
If you’re visiting in late November or through December, you’ll find the city awash with festive activity. Christmas is a brilliant time to visit Nuremberg and its Christkindlmarket is one of the best I have ever been to. An excellent activity for families, couples or groups of friends, the Christmas market has plenty to offer everyone. A must-see attraction in Nuremberg if visiting at the right time!
We visited the famous Nuremberg Christmas market in its first weekend, which was ideal – this is normally the last weekend in November.
The whole city comes to life with Christmas excitement. The Christmas market is actually spread across several central locations, meaning there’s plenty to explore. There are hundreds of stalls selling traditional toys and gifts, and you may struggle to not take home hundreds of souvenirs.
Glühwein, the traditional warming alcoholic drink is served up out of huge cauldrons, and as the night draws on, the market gets more and more lively. The atmosphere is as festive as you can imagine, with locals and tourists getting stuck in together!
Dinner in Nuremberg
At dusk, the beautiful medieval town city of Nuremberg becomes wonderfully twinkly and pretty!
There are a brilliant array of restaurants in Nuremberg to pick from for dinner. My top tip would be to ALWAYS make a reservation in advance. Unfortunately, we wandered round for almost an hour to find a space and that was quite challenging in the cold!
Here are some of the best restaurants in Nuremberg:
- Hutt’n Essen & Trinken is tucked away on one of the quaint cobbled streets. Inside, it is a vast labyrinth of cosy corners and a real hodge podge of old hanging musical instruments hanging from the ceiling, and other Germanic artefacts across all of the walls. It is quite dark with huge wooden beams and lots of candles – great for both romantic dinners or groups of friends and family! The portions here are absolutely huge too!
- Zum Guldenen Stern is said to be the oldest bratwurst restaurant in the world! So this alone makes a meal at this restaurant essential whilst in Nuremberg. The meals are served up right out of the Middle Ages, prepared according to centuries-old recipes.
What to do in the evening in Nuremberg
After dinner, there are plenty of bars in Nuremberg to pick from. One of the most fun bars in Nuremberg is one we decided to nickname the ‘Hammer Bar’ for the awesome game that they had in there. The bar’s real name is Bierwerk, and I’d highly recommend an evening here.
Known as ‘Hammerschlagen’, it is a very simple came but incredibly fun. It really draws an audience and lots of cheering. It needs to come to the UK as soon as possible!
Bamberg is a very easy day trip from Nuremberg and so worth the one hour journey. Even with just a weekend in Nuremberg, 48 hours is still enough time to take a trip to this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Town.
Regarding its history, Bamberg was once the home of great prosperity, which can be seen in its exceptional architecture. Bamberg, in the late 18th century was the centre of Enlightenment, meaning some highly important and well-respected philosophers and writers came from Bamberg. Incredibly, a large part of the town centre of Bamberg has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Unlike Nuremberg, somehow much of Bamberg escaped unscathed following World War 2, meaning far fewer of its beautiful buildings had to rebuilt. Looking further back, Bamberg was once the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
Today, it’s picture-perfect Old Town has one of the best-preserved collections of medieval half-timber structures in the whole of Europe which line its beautiful cobblestone streets.
To get to Bamberg, you need to take a train from Nuremberg’s main train station. The journey to Bamberg is only about one hour and the cost is around 9 euros return for an adult ticket.
What to do in Bamberg
As with Nuremberg, the town centre is very walkable and compact. Both these places are the kind that are best explored on foot.
The heart of the historic town centre is a square called Domplatz and is flanked on all four sides by the Bamberg Cathedral, a medieval complex called Alte Hofhaltung and the ‘New Residence’ – the former bishop’s palace.
- Wander around the historic town centre, including the colourful Fisherman’s Village, often referred to as Little Venice, as well as the cottages lining the old canals
- Visit a Bamberg brewery. Did you know Bamberg is famous for the beer it brews? Taste some at the famous Schlenkerla, which has been brewing beer since 1405!
- Shopping in Bamberg is focused on small boutiques selling antiques or other interior goods, and hours can be spent perusing their windows or browsing their items inside
- Stop outside the Altes Rathaus. Also known as the Old Town Hall, it was built in 1462 on an artificial island in the middle of the Regnitz River. It’s an unusual and beautiful building and is one of the most photographed sites in Bamberg – it’s easy to see why.
- Drop into the Bamberg Cathedral to see the tomb of Pope Clemens II, the only pope to have been buried outside of Italy!
GetYourGuide has several brilliant walking tours around Bamberg, take a look below:
The Christmas Market in Bamberg
Again, if you visit in the festive months, you’ll find that Bamberg has its own Christmas market. It feels even more authentic as there are far fewer tourists than even Nuremberg’s and the market has a really friendly low-key atmosphere.
2 Day Itinerary for Nuremberg and Bamberg
So there’s my guide to a weekend in Nuremberg and Bamberg. Not only is 2 days suitably long enough explore these two Bavarian towns, but you can find plenty to do and see in Nuremberg and Bamberg, and not even feel rushed exploring them.
Both towns have beautiful and authentic Christmas markets, so whilst Nuremberg and Bamberg are brilliant to visit year-round, the festive season is particularly special!
Are you planning to go to Nuremberg or Bamberg soon, or have you already been? Let me know in the comments if you have any more top tips or any feedback! I’d love to hear from you!
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Disclaimer: My time at Benicassim was entirely paid for by myself and there was no involvement from the local tourism board or festival organisers
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