Discover Nuremberg with Emerald Waterways

Nuremberg is a step back in time. It’s a place where medieval Europe comes alive, and local people maintain traditions and customs that would otherwise have been lost.

The heritage here belies the size and status of the present-day city, giving visitors a glimpse into some of the most formative moments in the continent’s history.

Former capital of the Holy Roman Empire, Nuremberg offers a treasure trove of history to explore and discover. Whether scaling the ramparts of the 13th-century Imperial Castle or taking a sobering tour around the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, you’ll always be aware of Nuremberg’s significant place in history as you explore its medieval streets and WWII heritage sites.

Of course, there’s more to this great Bavarian city than what’s written in the history books. The city is beloved for its local delicacies, which include the Bavarian Bratwurst and Nürnberg Lebkuchen, as well as its beer-making heritage. It’s also one of the best places in Germany to enjoy a traditional Christkindlmarkt – so it’s the ideal place to enjoy a festive break.

Intrigued by Nuremberg? Then join us as we explore the highlights of the city, from its evocative history to its wonderful food and drink.

Architectural highlights

From timber-framed houses synonymous with medieval Europe to imposing utilitarian monuments left behind by the National Socialists; Nuremberg is home to many outstanding structures.

Craftsmen's Courtyard

Old Town Nuremberg
Capturing the beauty of Nuremberg as it may have looked in the Middle Ages, the charming enclave of Craftsmen’s Courtyard features everything you’d associate with medieval Germany – think timber-framed houses, narrow, cobbled lanes and the charming presence of a stone defensive tower. Since it was established in the 16th century, this enchanting corner of the city has been associated with craftsmen and artisans, and this is a tradition which continues today. Expect to see glass painters, tinsmiths, goldsmiths and leather tanners hard at work in this unique corner of the city, where you’ll also find some of the best bratwurst and gingerbread Nuremberg has to offer.

Imperial Castle

Imperial Castle Nuremberg

The impressive keep of the Imperial Castle lies at the heart of Nuremberg, with the city branching out away from it towards the Pegnitz River. Known as the Kaiserberg, this was the principal palace of the Holy Roman Empire throughout the Middle Ages, and remained popular with the rulers of this powerful empire until the 30 Years’ War. One of the highlights of the castle is Sinwell Tower, a fortified round keep built in the 13th century. In more recent times, a viewing platform has been erected at the top of Sinwell Tower, offering wonderful views across the city. The Imperial Castle Museum is the place to learn more about the history of this great fortress, including fascinating archaeological discoveries.

St Lawrence Church

Nuremberg St Lawrence Church

Next on your tour of Nuremberg’s impressive monuments should be Lorenzkirche, or St Lawrence Church. Alongside the churches of St Sebald and the Church of Our Lady, this is one of the most important religious sites in Bavaria, with building commencing in 1250. Constructed in the High Gothic style, the church features a magnificent and richly-ornate west façade, complete with an exquisite rose window dating from the mid-14th century. Several changes were made to the church throughout the medieval period, including the addition of two 80-metre towers in the 16th century. Today, St Lawrence stands as one of the best-preserved Gothic churches in Germany.

Cultural features

From timber-framed houses synonymous with medieval Europe to imposing utilitarian monuments left behind by the National Socialists; Nuremberg is home to many outstanding structures.

Former Nazi Party Rally Grounds

Germanisches Nationalmuseum

Albrecht Dürer's House

Nuremberg's Christkindlmarkt

Nuremberg Markets

Nuremberg is famous throughout the world for its annual Christkindlmarkt. This enchanting festive fair has attracted visitors from far and wide since the 16th century, and is today considered one of Europe’s biggest and best Christmas markets.

History of the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt

It’s thought that the Nuremberg Christmas market has been around since at least 1530, with evidence to show that town council members were involved with organising an event for the children of the city. In 1616, a local parish minister penned a note complaining that he had to cancel the afternoon sermon on Christmas Eve, because “no one was present, as they were all shopping for Christmas gifts” – presumably at the Christkindlmarkt.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, Nuremberg’s Christmas market grew and grew, with over 140 stall holders registered to take part in the market in 1737. It was described as a “little town of wooden stalls”, and was made up of local craftsmen, carpenters and confectioners selling small trinkets and gifts in the run up to Christmas.

Highlights of the Christkindlmarkt

While today there is a huge selection of food and gifts to choose from at the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt, some craft items, food and drink are as famous as the market itself. Here, we take a look at some of the traditional gifts and treats you’ll find at the Nuremberg Christmas market.

Zwetschgenmännle

Zwetschgenmännle
The Zwetschgenmännle are an iconic feature of the Nuremberg Christmas market. Known as the ‘prune men’, these playful figurines have been sold at the market for centuries, and depict different aspects of traditional life in Bavaria. Today, there are over 300 different versions of Zwetschgenmännle, so you could start quite the collection.

Wooden Decorations and Gifts

Wooden Christmas decorations
The Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt began with wooden crafts, and this handmade legacy remains alive and well today. From toys and souvenirs to beautiful hand-carved Christmas decorations, you’ll find all manner of delightful wood carvings throughout the market. For the most authentic products, look for the Original Christkindlmarkt Logo, which is a stamp of authenticity.

Mulled wine

Mulled wine
There are few things more likely to get you in the spirit of the season than a steaming glass of mulled wine. The smell of this delicious Christmas punch in ever-present in the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt, and a cupful makes the perfect accompaniment to a piece of lebkuchen gingerbread. What’s more, you’re welcome to take the porcelain mug home with you – for the perfect keepsake to remember your trip.

Experience Nuremberg with Emerald Waterways

Join us for our Splendours of Europe river cruise, and you can look forward to an immersive guided tour of Nuremberg in the company of a local expert. You’ll see the Rally Grounds and learn about the Nazi propaganda machine, before enjoying free time to explore the city at your leisure.

For more information on our unforgettable Splendours of Europe river cruise, download our latest 2020 River Cruise brochure or call our team today on 0808 271 7330.