Weekend trip Bavaria: Day 1 - Nuremberg (Pt1)

As an Erasmus student in Milano I wanted to travel as much as possible around Italy, mainly to the places where I had not been before on my 2014 big Italian journey. Nevertheless, I wanted to include one trip abroad as well.

As several of my friends from back home were also doing their Master Dissertation in foreign countries, specifically in Central Europe to where one can easily get access from Milano, we coordinated together for a little meeting to happen in May 2018, based in Freising (Munich), Germany, where one of them was staying.

In my case, I arranged for this exciting Bavarian weekend plan to involve three parts, so tag along the articles to read all about my experience!

From Milano to…?

The direct connection from Milano to Munich was costing too much for my pocket at that time, whether by plane or bus, so I thought that there might be a cheaper way to get there by going somewhere else in Germany first… And indeed, there was, via Nuremberg!

Connecting a morning flight from Orio Al Serio airport (Bergamo) to Nuremberg was super affordable – only 17€ with Ryanair - and fast, being the only reason for me to bank happily on this option. Later, I would be able to easily take a FlixBus to Munich, which is always ridiculously cheap in these European regions, nonetheless providing a comfortable ride. Even greater are the ESN discounts that encompass both transport companies, precisely to facilitate travelling during Erasmus!

This conjugation fit perfect because the hosting friend could only receive us in Munich around dinner time on Friday and our two friends coming from Vienna, Austria would only arrive there late at night. Note: Vienna was not an option for this meeting as I had already been there and our friend in Germany would have the opportunity to visit the city until August…

Unlike them, I had taken the day off from work… This meant I could enjoy all day getting to know another German city, especially one that seemed extremely interesting and charming from all I had read about it prior!

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“Nothing like travelling” - in Nuremberg's Old Town.

Arriving in Nuremberg

From the airport, the metro line (U-bahn) U2 following the direction Flughafen – Röthenbach takes you directly to the city center (Mitte) in less than 20 minutes, paying a reasonable ticket price of 2.75€ (considering it includes the airport fare). There are different stops that comply with such request, from which you can choose according to your idea for exploring the city.

For instances, I would suggest exiting at Hauptbahnhof (the central railway station) and then taking Königstraße, which is one of the main streets. Since everything is fairly close, walking is the best way to get around.

Anyway, for more information on the public transport network in Nuremberg you can check VGN website, namely routes, timetables and fares.

What to do?

Nuremberg is the second biggest city of Bavaria and, in my accounts, one of the loveliest in Germany. The best description for it is that it is highly picturesque, mainly due to its characteristic style of architecture, always very recognizable in any picture.

Geographically, nothing special surrounds the city; the main highlight is actually the river Pegnitz, that sort of separates two areas in the city.

However, historically, Nuremberg has been of quite important remarks since the Middle Ages. Firstly, by its association to the prosperity of the Holy Roman Empire; then, it was the center of the German Renaissance and the Reformation movement, elevating arts, science and humanism; and later in the 19th century, it became the most valuable industrial city of the Kingdom of Bavaria, having been where the first German railway was implemented (connecting the now contiguous city of Fürth) and where major manufacturing companies established their base. In the last century, it held a quintessential role in Nazi Germany, hosting the (in)famous Nuremberg rallies that inforced major Nazi propaganda, but eventually being as well where the WWII crimes against humanity were brought before court, in the so-called Nuremberg trials.

As a consequence of the war, unfortunately, the city was subjected to massive destruction and a great portion of its historic heritage as an old Imperial Free City disappeared. Despite some modern building having been erected more recently, the city is not particularly avant-garde, maintaining most of its reconstructed half-timbered pre-war appearance, which is precisely what makes it so iconic. Even if the style is a bit overly spread around southern Germany – at one point, in my opinion, it looks all the same – it is always mesmerizing when you see it for the first time.

Therefore, the best to do in Nuremberg is to walk around and discover its most relevant features!

Follow my lead...

Coming from Hbf, the first attraction on my designated circuit was the town’s historic defense fort, called Frauentorturm (“Our Lady’s Gate Tower”), which is one of the last remains of the medieval walls. Back in the day, the main city gate Königstor (“King’s Gate”) was here located in conjunction, thus giving name to the long commercial street that leads towards the river and across the historic center. Even if the gate no longer exists, this is still one of the main city entrances.

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Entering Nuremberg: Frauentorturm and Königstor.

Its former armory section is now home of the Artisans’ Yard of Nuremberg – Handwerkerhof, where one can experience the traditional craftsmanship and typical products. A warming scent comes from inside the inns, calling for eating and drinking at the best Bavarian flair.

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A sight into the Artisans’ Yard of Nuremberg, home of the popular restaurant Bratwurstglöcklein.

Back to Königstraße, from store to store heading north, we arrive at Lorenzplatz, where the majestic Gothic church dedicated to St. Lawrence, Lorenzkirche, rises high in the sky, setting a sumptuous dark tone in the city. This Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in the medieval era, is one of the most important religious monuments of the city and an obvious tourist attraction.

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Crossing Königstraße spoting Lorenzkirche (left) and central façade of the church (right).

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In the middle of Lorenzplatz.

Coming from this square, one of the other main central arteries, Karolinenstraße, goes parallely to the river all the way to Weiße Turm. This long street is the shopping district of excellence, place of big fashion and sports labels, and leads to another focal point in town, that comprises an old tower of the city walls (“The White Tower”) and is now a popular area of bars and restaurants, spawning the nightlife scene.

At some point, I cut cross cut the street in order to go in the direction of the famous bridges... I had seen amazing pictures from this area in particular, since it is one of the classical references of Nuremberg, and it did not fail my expectations.

Weinstadel, an old wine storage from the 1400’s, which is now a student’s dorm, takes a lot of credit. It is such a beautiful setting!

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West side scene of the Pegnitz with Kettensteg (“Chain Bridge”).

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Maxbrücke (the oldest stone bridge in the city) and the unforgettable view over the Weinstadel.

Crossing the renowned Henkersteg (“Hangman’s Bridge”), specially built in wood, one gets access to a little isle situated in the middle of the river.

Despite being super trendy nowadays with a certain alternative vibe (you can find many stores selling the most unusual items), it actually used to be known as the pig’s market, hence its name of Trödelmarkt (“Flea market”), because it was where low-value commercial transactions, perhaps even dishonest, took place. The market, which extends itself to the east side, being crossed there by an ornamental stone bridge, the imperial Karlsbrücke, consequently separated two different halves of the city in the medieval period.

In fact, back to the hangman topic, he had to live in segregated accommodation within the city, and so was allocated in the fort tower next to Weinstadel. The Hangman’s Tower is remarkably linked over the river by a fortified walk, connecting its end with the old town wall point in the market area and the wooden bridge. In my opinion, this conjunction is precisely what makes this spot one of the coolest in Nuremberg.

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View from the isle, highlighting the Hangman’s tower and battlement walk.

Continuing alongside the river, now on the other side, I was able to appreciate this quiet and peaceful bit of nature Nuremberg has to offer. It was a nice touch because when I reached Fleischbrücke, a million people suddenly appeared… From here, the very hectic Hauptmarkt starts, introducing the crazy movement of citizens and tourists sharing the oldest of traditions: commerce.

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A busy crossing point in the city: Fleischbrücke.

The open-air market occupies the gigantic central square in Nuremberg’s old town, selling primarily fruits, vegetables and flowers, but you can also find delicacies, clothes and memorabilia (and probably anything else you can think of), and it is present all year round, which is something always to cool to have a look at if you have the time. For Christmas festivities, it becomes Christkindlesmarkt, one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany and very well-known around the world for its opening prologue speech, giving even more life to the city.

In addition, it brings people to two other major religious attractions of the city. One is the imponent Frauenkirche (“Our Lady’s Church”) built in style brick Gothic, which is the main catholic parish church.

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The grand Hauptmarkt, with Frauenkirche in the background.

The other tourist relic is the exquisite Schöner Brunnen (“Beautiful Fountain”), elevated 19 m by its Gothic spire and decorated with 40 little statues representative of the world vision of the Holy Roman Empire.

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A golden touch with Schöner Brunnen.

The fountain is protected with a wrought iron fence, said to bring good luck if you spin its two brass rings…

Because Nuremberg is a true gem, presenting such richness of historical attractions, I will continue writing about my city circuit (which is far from over) in Pt2 of this article!


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