Now, we are by no means budget travellers, however, we are budget conscious travellers. Therefore, we always, where possible try to stretch our money as far as it will go and try to incorporate as many free things into our itinerary as possible. Therefore, when we visited Nuremberg recently, we tracked down a number of free things to see in the Old Town. All of which are beautiful and unique and certainly worth visiting for yourself if you are planning a trip to this amazing city.
Here are our top 8 places you should visit, for free, in Nuremberg:
The Handwerkerhof is located in the heart of the city sheltered by Nuremberg’s old city walls. It is a tiny little shopping area with shops offering locally crafted items such as wooden toys, leather goods, glassware and Christmas decorations, even though we visited in June, together with traditional restaurants. The Handwerkerhof was opened in 1971 as a tribute to the Nuremberg’s history of craftsmen making handcrafted products which were then shipped and sold all over Europe. With narrow cobbled streets and half-timber buildings, it is a lovely area of the city to stroll around and maybe pick up a gift for someone or a souvenir for yourself.
2. St. Lorenz Church
This Medieval church which is dedicated to Saint Lawrence was built between 1439 and 1477. It was very badly damaged during World War II however it has since been restored and is really a sight to behold in Nuremberg’s Old Town. We visit religious sites throughout the world as they are often examples of the finest architecture in the city. St Lorenz did not disappoint, the exterior is stunning, as is the interior. We spent 20 minutes or so wandering around admiring the church and I, of course, lit a candle for my mum, something I do in every church I ever visit. The church is free to enter, however, we did make a donation.
3. Nürnberg Hauptmarkt
The Hauptmarkt is a busy square in the heart of Nuremberg’s Old Town. It is a large square with a number of beautiful buildings and cafes, restaurants and bars surrounding it. Together with the Tourist Information Centre where you can take a walking tour of the city from (payable) and the Gothic Frauenkirche church and if you are in the square at noon do not miss the Mannleinlaufen (Little Men Dancing) on the clock. The square is home to Nuremberg’s daily market where we picked up pretzels to snack on whilst we wandered the streets of the city. It is also the site of the famous Christkindlmarkt, Nuremberg’s Christmas market which I can image is truly magical.
4. Schöner Brunnen
The Schöner Brunner which translated into English is the beautiful fountain, is a 14th-century fountain located in Hauptmarkt. It was built between 1385 and 1396, it stands at 19 meters high and looks like a Gothic church spire, therefore you cannot miss it once you are in the square. It features 40 sculptured figures which reflect the world-view of the Holy Roman Empire together with a golden ring which, according to legend, if you turn three times whilst making a wish – it will come true. However, we are still waiting to win the lottery!
5. Nürnberger Burg
Nuremberg Castle dominates the Old Town of Nuremberg and is a place you must visit when in the city. The castle is made up of 3 sections: the Imperial Castle, the former Burgraves’ castle (Burggrafenburg), and the buildings erected by the Imperial City at the eastern site. Walking through the courtyard and the gardens are free and the perfect thing to do when the weather is on your side. If you want to explore the castle further including Palas with Imperial Chapel, Kaiserburg Museum, Deep Well and the Sinwell Tower, then admission charges apply. There is a slightly steep hill up to the castle so if you have any mobility issues you will need to bear that in mind.
The Town Hall was originally built by Jakob Wolff the Younger between 1616–22. However, as with many buildings in Nuremberg, the Rathaus was badly damaged during World War II and had to be extensively rebuilt during the 1950s. We visited the Rathaus during our guided walking tour of Nuremberg and learned all about it, from when it was built all the way up to the modern-day including further descriptions of what the sculptures above the doors symbolise. Located under the Rathaus are the Medieval dungeons. Tours are available although I believe only offered in German. However, if you fancy a wander around nevertheless, entrance is free if you have a Nürnberg Card and €3.50 without.
If the hustle and bustle of the old town is too much or you just simply love cute buildings, then Weißgerbergasse (Tanner’s Lane) is the place to head. It is a street in Nuremberg lined with around twenty medieval half-timbered houses of various colour and what I consider to be the prettiest place in town. It survived the heavy air raids on Nuremberg during World War II meaning the buildings were not damaged and stand today in their original glory. It is home to bars, restaurants, and galleries and well worth the wander just to marvel at the delightful architecture. If you are lucky you may have the street to yourself like we did.
We love people watching, not in a creepy way of course! And if you do too then Tiergärtnertorplatz is the place to hang out in Nuremberg. With a number of bars and restaurants, including Café Wanderer, all in the shadow of the Imperial Castle it is the perfect place to watch the world go by from. This area does get very busy, especially during the weekend, so be sure to get there early if you want to bag yourself a table outside.
Have you been to Nuremberg, do you have any further free hot spots in the city to add to our list? If so, please feel free to leave your recommendations/links in the comments section below. Germany is a great place to save money where you can, it then means you have more cash to spend on beer! PROST!!!
- Thank you to Tourismus Nürnberg for hosting our stay in Nuremberg and giving us the opportunity to explore the city and find these great hot spots.