NUREMBERG, GERMANY: First two things that came to my mind when I thought of Nuremberg were Hitler and his Nazi Party. It was, in fact, considered the ceremonial birthplace of Nazi Party. Reich Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg hosted annual rallies with German soldiers, which is now known as Documentation Center by the locals. In addition to that, Nuremberg Trials also took place in this Bavarian city of Germany. Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals to prosecute the members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Party, which took place right after WWII ended.
Other than these usual impressions of Nuremberg, the city has a lot to offer for its guests. The old town with gothic churches, old/typical German-styled houses, old castle, and small squares give a lively atmosphere in the city. You will find medieval look, recent history, and modern touch co-existing in the same place.
TIME OF TRAVELING: We took a long road trip during the Easter break 2012, which was in the 1st week of April. Nuremberg was our 1st destination among seven in total. It took us about 6 hours by car to reach Nuremberg from Tervuren, Belgium. The weather was a bit on the colder side, had to wear jackets and hats. We spent a night there and had the next half a day to explore the city before another 6 hour drive to Vienna, Austria.
OUR HOTEL: We didn’t get a hotel in the old town this time. Our hotel was “Fuerther Hotel Mercure Nuremberg West”, which was about 15 minutes of drive from the castle in old town. They didn’t have free breakfast but had free Wi-Fi and parking space (not free though)
WHAT TO BUY AND EAT IN NUREMBERG: There are some nice small cafes near St. Sebuld church and other part of the old town. I’ve heard that gingerbread in Nuremberg is quiet famous, although we didn’t have the chance to try one. Unlike other old towns in Europe, I didn’t see souvenir shops at every corner here, but there were some which were selling key rings, postcards, and t-shirts along with other gift items.
PLACES WE VISITED: We literally spent half a day…just few hours in Nuremberg. We had the chance to visit only two places in the old town leaving out the Documentation Center (Nazi Rally Grounds).
1) OLD TOWN: Any old town in Germany is beautiful, especially with the ones with red colored, typical old German style houses. Nuremberg is also like that. Its cobbled street and old buildings give a nice medieval look. It is beautiful and cozy. There are some shops and boutique stores, but not too many. You will see some cafes and restaurants every corner of the town. St. Sebuld Church and Nuremberg Castle are also located in the old town. A big advantage of this particular old town is that, you don’t have to look for street parking here. There is a nice big garage right beside St. Sebuld.
2) ST. SEBULD CHURCH (SEBALDUSKIRCHE): The church is standing there since the 13th century. It is one of the oldest and most important church of the city. There are some posters inside the church that show how it was heavily destroyed during WWII and later reconstructed to its present look. It is located in Albrecht-Durer-Platz in front of the old city hall in old town, about 600 m away from the castle.
3) KAISERBURG IMPERIAL CASTLE: This huge castle and its towers dominates Nuremberg’s old town. It is believed that the castle was built here somewhere around the 11th century. You can enjoy an impressive view of the old town and its surroundings from the castle. Inner courtyard of the castle has some typical old-style German buildings (I have only seen these in Germany, nowhere else), the long tower, and the deep well (Tiefer Brunnen), which is now closed for the public.
The castle is huge in size, but unlike many other castles you won’t be able to see it from a far distance, except its towers may be. There is a convenient parking garage in old town right beside St. Sebuld Church. It is free to enter the castle and roam around in its terrace and courtyard, but you have to take guided tour to go inside the buildings. The tour is ONLY in German, takes about 1 ½ hours, and costs around 7 euros. If you don’t understand German, at least you get to view the interior of the castle.