Find out the most romantic things to do in Nuremberg – from delicious dinners and cute date ideas, to cooking classes and horse and carriage rides.
When I told a couple of friends I was off to Germany for a Valentine’s break this year, they looked at me with raised eyebrows.
“What?” I asked, “Germany has lots of beautiful places – wait until you see Nuremberg!”
A quick Google image search and they were looking longingly at pretty pictures of the city’s ancient castle, romantic bridges and famous Christmas market.
It’s funny there’s a bit of a preconception that for a romantic getaway you should travel to Paris, Brussels or Prague… but it’s time to shine a light on Nuremberg as a romantic destination.
For those of you who don’t know Nuremberg, it’s a small-ish city located in Bavaria, around an hour north of Munich by train. The River Pegnitz runs through it, dividing the land into some interesting shapes in the centre, with a series of islands and bridges to wander across.
If you wanted proof this is a great city to visit with your other half, one of the islands is known as Liebesinsel – Love Island! It’s a city made for wandering on foot, visiting a few attractions, and enjoying a vibrant culinary scene. Yes, it’s pretty traditional as a city, but it has an edge to it too.
I visited Nuremberg once before, a few years ago, but only for a day. I’ll happily admit that my first trip was a whirlwind of Christmas markets and chilly walks, all fuelled by a diet of gingerbread and gluhwein.
This trip was shaping up to be quite different. With three days, a long list of must-sees and a few cute ‘dates’ over the Valentine’s weekend, I couldn’t wait to see a new side to the city.
Why Spend A Weekend In Nuremberg?
If you’re wondering why you’d choose Nuremberg over another city, here are a few things that I think make it extra special.
1. It’s compact – Yes, it’s a city, but it’s also wonderfully compact. That makes it easy to explore on foot, with all the key landmarks within a short walk of each other.
2. It’s pretty – Nuremberg is one of the prettiest cities I’ve visited in Germany. It has charm and history by the barrel load!
3. It’s historic – With ancient churches bearing tombs of saints, a magical castle, tales of emperors and a crucial role in Nazi history, there’s plenty for a history buff to get stuck into.
4. It’s SOOOO lovely at Christmas – Nuremberg is famous for its Christkindlesmarkt – one of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany. An afternoon there is one of the best things to do in Nuremberg in winter, and a great place to pick up some gifts before the big day.
5. It’s COOL! – I knew the other four reasons to visit before this trip, but my first trip hadn’t shown me the cooler, edgier side to the city. While Goho (hipster neighbourhood) and the stylish bars, cafes and restaurants in the centre won’t quite give Berlin a run for its money, they’re a nice addition to a city that is quintessentially traditional.
Top Things To Do In Nuremberg
Explore the city on foot
When it comes to romantic things to do in Nuremberg for couples, my top tip would be to explore on foot, with your eyes and ears open. There are so many pretty spots to discover. Cross the historic bridges, walk the city walls and admire the beautiful architecture along Weissgerbergasse.
When your feet need a rest, you can refuel with a coffee at one of the city’s top cafes such as Bergbrand Rösterei and Caffe Bar Centrale Constantine.
Climb the towers at St. Sebaldus Church
One of the top things to do in Nuremberg is to climb the towers of this impressive church. The panoramic views of the city are impressive, with uninterrupted views to the Imperial Castle of Nuremberg, the city walls and a sea of the city’s famous orange roofs with little windows tucked into their tops.
To climb the 230 steps of the tower you’ll need to book onto a guided tour. Once you reach the outside terrace you’ll be met by a view you’ll never forget.
Vintage shopping and mural hopping in GoHo
On my first trip to Nuremberg, I didn’t venture beyond the Medieval city walls. This time I was excited to go further afield. We hopped on the metro for a few minutes and reached Gostenhof a.k.a. Goho. This is as hipster and alternative as Nuremberg gets, with a collection of quirky gift shops, vintage stores and cafes with distressed walls. There are plenty of colourful murals here too.
I enjoyed a mooch around Vinty’s – a vintage store with a huge range of items, from 60s miniskirts, to faux fur coats, 90s grunge outfits and even fancy dress. I picked up a cool trilby for under 5 EUR and had a good giggle dressing up as Snow White!
Fach Marie is a gift store, with something for everyone. Handmade jewellery = tick. Soft toys = tick. Chic homewares = tick. Quirky greetings cards = tick. It’s one of those stores I could spend hours in… and come away with a very random assortment of items, and a diminished bank account!
Learn how to make Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread
If you haven’t tried Nuremberg lebkuchen, then plan a trip to Wicklein – the city’s most famous gingerbread store. We visited for a special cookery workshop, to learn how to make the gingerbread, a few hints at the secret recipe, and of course to try our hand at decorating a few biscuits too.
Interestingly, the gingerbread from Nuremberg is much nuttier than any I’ve tried before. It’s also not overly gingery! It’s got an aromatic spice blend that includes coriander seeds, cinnamon, star anais and mace.
I think this is one of the most romantic things to do in Nuremberg. What could be better than decorating gingerbread, playing with the chocolate fountain and feasting on the creations we made for each other?
Sample Nuremberg’s famous bratwurst
You can’t visit Nuremberg without trying the city’s famous sausages. Germany is home to over 1500 varieties of sausage, but I’d say that the Nuremberg bratwurst is one of the best I’ve ever tasted.
The unique flavour comes from a blend of pork, salt, pepper and marjoram. I thought it had a nice level of spice, and charred well on the grill. These are not comedy-size hot dogs though – the sausages are short and thin.
If you want to try the in the classic way, order ‘drei im weggla’ – three sausages in a small crusty bun, usually slathered with some yellow mustard. Alternatively, sit in one of the many bratwursthäusles and enjoy a plate of six sausages accompanied by sauerkraut or potato salad. We went to Bratwursthäusle, next to St. Sebaldus Church and couldn’t believe a) how packed it was at lunchtime and b) how moreish the bratwurst were. Six didn’t seem like enough.
Explore Nuremberg’s Craftmen’s Courtyard
I think this is one of the most romantic things to do in Nuremberg. I remember visiting the Handwerkerhof Nuremberg (Craftsmen’s Courtyard) during the Christmas markets and loving how festive and charming it felt. Walking under Frauentor Tower is like turning back the clock to the Middle Ages, with two small streets in the ‘courtyard’ showcasing traditional craftwork.
After gazing into various shop windows, we stopped at Café in der 12 for a warming glass of gluhwein. It might not be Christmas, but it was still chilly enough to justify some afternoon drinking!
Get your culture fix at the Neues Museum
Nuremberg’s museum for modern and contemporary art and design is one of the city’s top attractions. There are special exhibitions throughout the year, but one of the big reasons to visit is for the building’s unique architecture. A glass façade, vast white entrance hall, and a photogenic spiral staircase will have photography lovers reaching for their cameras.
Plus, it’s a great wet weather option if you’re looking for things to do in Nuremberg in the rain. If you’re looking for other places to visit if the weather isn’t on your side, you could also check out the Toy Museum, Germanic National Museum or, if you want to delve deep into the darker history of the city, you could visit the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds.
Visit Nuremberg Castle
One of the most famous landmarks in Nuremberg is the city’s Imperial Castle. Get your strength up, and then wander the route up the hill to the north of the old city. It’s a bit of a calf workout, but the views from within the castle grounds are really impressive.
Once inside the castle you can delve deeper into its 800 years of history, exploring the stunning double chapel, the knight’s hall and the emperor’s rooms.
See the city by horse and carriage
What a sight! A horse and carriage ride around the alstadt (old town) is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Nuremberg. As we travelled around on Valentine’s Day, looking out from our cosy yellow carriage, we spotted kids watching with big grins on their faces, people stopping to take photos, and even the bus who got stuck behind us at 2 mph didn’t really seem to mind.
It’s a beautiful experience, with the serene, well-groomed creatures clip-clopping across the cobbles past various tourist attractions… a little reminder of the past.
The carriage isn’t just any carriage. It’s one of the city’s old mail coaches. There are tours throughout the summer, during the Christkindlesmarkt and a few other key times too.
Eat your way around the city
It’s fair to say I plan a lot of my trips around my stomach! What better reward after a busy day of sightseeing that with a delicious feast. If you’re wondering where to eat on your weekend in Nuremberg, here are a few of my favourites.
Where to eat in Nuremberg, Germany
The dream restaurant for a travel lover like me, with a world map on the wall, several globes dotted around the room and a vintage globe drinks trolley. I’d describe the restaurant’s style as experimental. You won’t find bland or classic combinations, so it’s a great place for adventurous eaters looking for something a little different.
They make a great beef tartare, and the pickled vegetable salad was tasty too.
This trendy spot is ideal for a drink or a light meal. With a cosy interior featuring flickery lanterns, colourful stools and a selection of top wines you can buy to take away (as well as drink in), it’s a great place to eat in Nuremberg’s old town.
We couldn’t resist trying their famous flammkuchen, a German style of pizza which is really thin and crispy. Zeit & Raum has a huge menu of options, with yummy toppings including hams, goats’ cheese, aubergine, truffle and more.
This stylish restaurant is in a great location, close to the shops but overlooking the water. There’s a simple but varied menu on offer, including salads, pastas and burgers.
I went for the beetroot, goat’s cheese and walnut salad, which I’d worried might be a little small and not filling enough – I couldn’t have been more wrong! It was huge, delicious and very satisfying.
The genius who decided to set up a restaurant especially for two of my favourite foods, ramen and avocado, deserves an award! I mentioned that Nuremberg’s food scene is pretty cool, and this is proof. This restaurant is located moments from the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Germanic National Museum) and is really popular at lunchtime.
Along with warming bowls of ramen, the menu features avocado fries, avocado curry (the aromatic sauce is made from avocado and coconut) and avocado smoothies! There’s also a budget-friendly menu of bento boxes, perfect for a lunch break.
Looking for a romantic place to eat in Nuremberg? Date night alert! This was where we booked for our Valentine’s night meal and we were not disappointed.
This small restaurant has a simple menu. It’s another place with a menu of flammkuchen, which looked and smelled absolutely delicious. But the main event is the menu of steaks. We had an amazing dinner, ordering an entrecote and fillet steak, plus a selection of sides to share. It’s a cosy spot, really close to the Imperial Castle and Albrecht Dürer’s house, but tucked away enough to feel like a secret spot.
After all that eating, no doubt you’re wondering about the best bars in Nuremberg too. Vintage Bar was my favourite find in the city. You ring a bell to go in, making it feel a bit like a speakeasy!
The menu featured a few classics and a handful of house specialities. With a soundtrack of Gershwin classics, it was my kind of place!
Where to stay in Nuremberg
We stayed at this chic apart-hotel, just five minutes from Nuremberg central train station, and within walking distance of all the key sights of the city. Our room was large, with a kitchenette, coffee machine and a huge table – perfect for setting up laptops on our trip.
We had breakfast included in our room rate, which was served next door in Mondo Café. There was a generous variety of options, from breads and cheeses, to pancakes, cereals and hot food.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my romantic trip to Nuremberg and it has given you lots of tips for your trip.
I was invited to Nuremberg by Germany Tourism, but as always, all words and opinions are my own.
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