Modern Nuremburg is a treasure trove of traditional German culture. In addition to the fine selection of five-star hotels, visitors may find themselves tempted by the local hostel; undoubtedly one of the most impressive hostels in Europe, the ‘Nuremburg Youth Hostel’ offers an unrivalled view overlooking the town from within the castle itself. With one of Europe’s largest pedestrianised shopping precincts you can find everything from international fashion boutiques to the more traditional treasures of the ‘Craftsman’s Courtyard’, where one-of-a-kind toymakers, silversmiths and glass blowers are at work.
To truly explore the magic of this city the festival of Blaue Nacht can not to be outdone. This annual event sees the museums, churches and centres of culture throw open their doors and invite visitors to enjoy the living history of the city while bathed in moonlight, all accompanied by a variety of dazzling light installations and musicals performances.
The glitziest accommodation in Nuremberg congregates around the Main Station, with five-star Méridien Grand Hotel Nürnberg (Bahnhofstrasse 1-3) and Sheraton Carlton Hotel Nürnberg (Eilgutstrasse 15) competing for the city’s ultimate-luxe crown. Nearby NH Nürnberg City (Bahnhofstrasse 17-19) is a comfortable modern pad with spacious rooms for mid-budget prices, while the achingly romantic Hotel Am Josephsplatz (Josephsplatz 30-32) is an oasis of traditional charm in the heart of the Old Town. Nuremberg also boasts what must be the most stunning hostel in Europe – the rooms at Nuremberg Youth Hostel (Burg 2) are set within the castle that overlooks the town, and the funky bistro offers excellent value for money.
The pedestrianised area that dominates inner Nuremberg is one of Europe’s largest shopping precincts. The parallel streets of Breite Gasse and Karolinenstrasse specialise in high-street stores and souvenirs, leaving the city’s small collection of designer boutiques to gather in nearby Kaiserstrasse. Wander up this exclusive shopping boulevard towards the main market square, where a farmer’s market sells everything from sausages to spring flowers. Handwerkerhof (Am Königstor), the ‘Craftsman’s Courtyard’, is a treasure trove of traditional shops housed in half-timbered workshops – glass engravers, potters, silversmiths, toymakers, gingerbread bakers, bag makers, pewterers and wax artists all display their skills here.
There’s more to the Nuremberg culinary scene than lebkuchen and roast sausages. Nowadays the city prides itself on its gastronomic diversity, and in the Old Town cosy little pubs rub shoulders with modern bistros and Michelin-star restaurants. Essigbrätlein (Weinmarkt 3) has created a new haute cuisine culture around traditional German fare and received two Michelin stars for its efforts. Tables are in high demand, so if you miss out on a booking then modern Würzhaus (Kirchenweg 3A) also puts a unique twist on regional specialities. Marientorzwinger (Lorenzer Strasse 33) is an atmospheric tavern that does a good line in Franconian staples, while Prison St Michel (Irrerstrasse 2-4) serves lighter dishes focused around fish and local meat.
Once every year in May, most of Nuremberg’s museums, churches and larger cultural institutions open their doors for a night of moonlit sightseeing. On the same evening, the city centre plays host to an array of musical performances and light installations.
Germany’s biggest singer songwriter festival attracts crowds of more than 200,000 to Nuremberg for the first three days of the Bavarian summer holidays. This free outdoor festival sprawls across seven stages and features a star-studded list of internationally acclaimed artists.
One of the largest funfairs in Germany, this autumn extravaganza takes over the Bayernstrasse area of the city with a colourful collection of fairground rides, amusement arcades and food stalls.
This annual celebration draws over a million visitors to Nuremberg’s Old Town for several days of concerts and events. Jazz music, plays by Hans Sachs and traditional fishermen’s jousts are all staples of the festival programme.
Nuremberg hosts one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world. The market is opened by the Christmas Angel, who speaks to the gathered crowds from the gallery of Our Lady’s Church. Over 180 stalls sell gingerbread, mulled wine, toys and other festive gifts.