Nuremberg – Short break

Whenever I’m travelling in Bavaria I make a point of stopping off in its second largest city, Nuremberg (or Nürnberg as it is known in Germany). What I like about Nuremberg is the way that the medieval and modern co-exist, particularly in the Old Town (Altstadt), which was faithfully rebuilt after the Second World War.

Bridge over Pegnitz
Bridge over Pegnitz

Overlooking the Old Town is the Kaiserburg where the Imperial Palace is situated. This gives great views over the Old Town allowing you to get your bearings. Within the Old Town there are many fine buildings along the streets leading down to the river Pegnitz. Take time to admire the views as you pass over the many bridges and visit some of the elegant shops and first-rate restaurants.

How to get there? Well I travelled to Rotterdam by PO Ferries (see Review) and then drove to Nuremberg. This took about seven hours along the Dutch and German motorways. You can fly to Nuremberg airport from London by Air Berlin or Luftansa for about £90-150 return – if you are a retired Senior then you are probably able to choose the low fare days. The underground takes you from the airport into the Old Town.

Old Town from Kaiserburg
Old Town from Kaiserberg

There are many hotels in Nuremberg, but on my most recent visit in June 2012 I opted for the Holiday Inn (IHG hotels) situated within the Old Town. I booked a Senior Discount rate at this smart, well-managed four star hotel, obtaining about 45% discount off the normal flexible rate for two persons. I paid less than £50 per night – excellent value. There are two budget priced Ibis hotels (Accorhotels) close to the old town. See Hotel Deals for booking these hotels.

Hexenhausle beer garden
Hexenhausle beer garden

The Old Town is compact enough to see by foot, but large enough to have plenty to see in a short break, hence my top 5 places to visit in Nuremberg are all within this part of the city:

1. The Kaiserburg, with the Imperial Palace and associated buildings and museum.
2. Before leaving the Kaiserburg, go through the tunnel under the walls and visit the historic Hexenhäusle (little witches house) beer-garden and sample tasty Bavarian food and drink.
3. The house of Albrecht Dürer (the 16th century artist and engraver) and museum of his life, including guided tours by an actress playing Dürer’s wife Agnes. The area around includes a section of roofed town walls.
4. The area around the river Pegnitz, with fine buildings including Gothic churches, large squares and stylish shops.
5. For some of the best South Asian food in Europe (in my opinion), visit the Mount Lavinia Ceylonese/Ayurvedic restaurant in Jakobsplatz. Maybe a strange choice for a Bavarian city, but I’ve never been disappointed and there is always a warm welcome from the host, Shane Samson.

If you can stay longer, then there is much to see outside of the Old Town including the Reichsparteigelande (former Nazi Party parade ground), Nuremberg zoo, the Baroque Gardens and, on the outskirts of the city, the attractive little town of Schwabach – well worth a visit.

Nuremberg has a lot to offer and, being off the usual tourist tracks, it is not inundated with tour parties in the summer months unlike many similar destinations.

Nuremberg is included in our list of Top Ten German Cities for senior travellers. The nine other cities in the list are: Cologne, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hanover, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Leipzig, Munich and Passau.