Festive fun in Bavaria, Germany
Nuremberg’s ancient Christmas market is magical, enchanting, and joyous, everything you wish a German Christmas Market to be.
The glistening festive cabins snuggle together in Nuremberg’s main square, and the sound of harmonious Christmas carols lifts your spirits as you peruse the yuletide stalls.
Nuremberg is located in the beautifully lush region of Bavaria in southern Germany. With Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt tracing its origins back to 1628, it has become a world-famous festive treat.
Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany. As you meander along the cobblestone streets, you feel a warming sense of tradition and history.
Those things to do...
Nuremberg’s magical Christkindlesmarkt is a feast for the senses. As soon as you stroll into the Old Town, the ancient city is alive with a festive atmosphere, laughter and the tempting smell of roasting chestnuts.
The Christmas fun all starts in and around the cobblestone lanes of the Haupmarkt. The twinkling wooden cabins are overflowing with festive cheer, and their red and white candy-striped roofs are a sight to savour.
The towering Frauenkirche stands proudly overlooking the Christkindlesmarkt. As the winter sunsets, the striking façade illuminates across the merry revellers below.
In Nuremberg’s grand square alone, there are 162 Christmas stalls tempting you with their traditional German gifts, sweet treats, and savoury favourites.
As you slowly amble amongst the sparkly huts, you’ll be astounded at the range of imaginative decorations and unique presents you’ll find.
There are irresistible wooden soldiers, shimmering glass baubles and hypnotising candles for you to buy as a lasting memory of your visit to Nuremberg.
Gary and I would wander around the Christmas markets during the day searching out those perfect gifts; then, during the evening, when dusk descended, we’d soak up the magical atmosphere and, of course, enjoy a glühwein or two.
There are more Christmas markets to explore around Nuremberg’s Altstadt. Just adjacent to the bustling Christkindlesmarkt is Markt der Partnerstadte in Rathausplatz. This Christmas Village is the ‘Christmas Market of the Sister Cities’, an international market.
Within this charming square are 24 cabins from around the world. Each of the welcoming huts offers delicacies and crafts from their region. Tempting shortbread and Whisky from Glasgow and local treats from Prague, Nice and Antalya.
A short stroll from the Christkindlesmarkt is Nuremberg’s children’s Christmas market, “Kinderweihnacht” in Hans-Sachs-Platz.
This sparkling Children’s market is full of magical fun with twinkling lights, a two-tiered carousel and other enchanting kiddie rides and stalls.
There are “hands-on” booths for children to bake sweet treats and truly indulge in all things Christmassy.
As you stroll from market to market, Christmas cheer flows all through the historic lanes of the Old Town.
We now venture southeast of Nuremberg’s Altstadt and arrive at Nuremberg’s historic Frauentor, one of its many ancient towers along its great city walls. Here we find the Medieval village Handwerkhof.
All along the cobblestone lanes and amongst the timber-framed buildings are quaint shops and stalls selling unique and quirky gifts made by local craftsmen and women. The little village is open all year round; however, the twinkling Christmas trees and quirky gifts take on a festive theme at Christmas.
Where is Nuremberg?
How to get to Nuremberg
- By Air
The nearest airport is Nuremberg International Airport, about 20 minutes (5mls/8km) from the centre of Nuremberg by taxi. Take a browse through ebookers.com for departures from your local airport. There are also public transport connections which take around 20 minutes.
- By Car
If you’re venturing from the UK, jump on Le Shuttle and tour Germany under your own steam.
Alternatively, if you're arriving into an airport it’s so easy to explore on a road trip. Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the best deals that suit you.
One of the things we love about visiting Christmas Markets in Germany is the food. Every town or city we’ve visited always has something different, and there are no excuses; you must try all the other specialities.
It’s such a delightful experience grazing your way through the festive lanes enjoying a wurst from one stall, a potato cake from another and then a sweet treat from another; Nuremberg certainly didn’t disappoint with their selection.
Here’s a bit of knowledge for you, the sausage speciality in Nuremberg is the delicious Rostbratwurst. However, the unusual twist here is that when you order it, you are in for a surprise as you get three little sausages in one roll.
We’ve visited several Christmas markets in Germany, and we’ve never had sausages served this way before. What a treat, three wursts in one bun.
Gary loves sausages, so he tries all the different types. My go-to favourite is usually currywurst, although I must say, I did enjoy the “Drei im Weggla”.
If you fancy enjoying your sausage in calmer surroundings, head to the Bratwursthaule, a charming traditional sausage kitchen.
One of my weaknesses while strolling amongst the Christmas Markets is the sweet aroma of sticky chocolate-coated nuts; I can’t resist them, and they are delicious.
Oh, and then there’s the mouth-watering gingerbread; another of my sweet treats is lebkuchen.
Nuremberg has its own twist on gingerbread too.
Where to stay in Nuremberg
Our accommodation for the two nights in Nuremberg was in the SORAT Hotel Saxx; this hotel was in a perfect location.
We couldn’t believe how central it was; it overlooked the main Christkindlesmarkt, just a short hop and the festive fun begins.
Included in the room’s price was access to the ‘breakfast to go’ lounge which provided hot drinks and pastries. If you required the full breakfast, this was an additional charge.
Another plus point for us was the underground car park, a daily charge applied.
Alternatively, pop your dates in the Booking.com search box and discover further options for all budgets.
When I think of a festive drink at a German Christmas market, my first thoughts will always be a heart-warming mug of glühwein.
In my opinion, nothing can beat it, the subtle aromas of Christmas spices and the pleasing taste as you take your first sip. My favourite is a red glühwein although I am partial to a white glühwein too.
In Nuremberg, they have a few delicate twists to their glühwein selection.
Firstly, you have the Nuremberg Glühwein; this delicious, mulled wine is created using plump blueberries. It is slightly spicier with a pleasing hint of cinnamon and cloves, and the blueberries give this tipple a delightful pink finish.
There is also an alcohol-free version of the Nuremberg Glühwein, which children and non-drinkers can enjoy.
Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is also celebrated for having the largest gurgling punch bowl in the world, where a fiery Feuerzangenbowle is served up.
The renowned Feuerzangenbowle (which isn’t easy to say) is a red wine and rum punch. The Feuerzangenbowle has a unique way in which the warm punch is served. A rum-soaked sugar cone is placed over the drink and ignited. The sugar gradually melts from the flame, and as it caramelises, it drips into your delicious tipple below.
You must give it a try.
This huge bubbling punch bowl which contains up to 9,000 litres of Feuerzangenbowle, is located below Fleischbrücke on the banks of the River Pegnitz.
Now, if you’re not into your warm alcoholic beverages but enjoy a cold beer, why not pop into Hausbrauerei Altstadthof. Here they serve the local speciality, Rotbier, or red beer, their own Black Beer, and a Red Buck.
It would be rude not to.
There genuinely are some delightful gifts and decorations to be found at Nuremberg’s Christmas markets, from delicate glass baubles to proud colourful wooden soldiers.
I love the subtle differences you find when visiting the Christmas markets around Germany. In every region, you’ll find something fun and quirky from the north, south, east and west.
The ‘Zwetschgenmannle’ are unique to Nuremberg and so extraordinary. They have been sold at the Christkindlemarkt for decades.
The prune men are handmade decorations created from prunes, dates, and nuts and are crafted into little men and women. There are over 350 styles of figures, all dressed in different outfits with a distinctive themes.
Legend has it that they were invented in the 18th-century by a man who wanted to give a gift to his children, but all he had was wire and a plum tree at the front of his house.
Another quirky festive cabin we spotted was a stall selling weird and wonderful ‘Schutzengel’ translated in English to ‘Guardian Angel’.
These fun little Christmas angels came in all different sizes and designs; we couldn’t resist buying one. The cheeky little fluffy-haired angel which caught our eye hangs pride of place on our Christmas tree, and we know he is keeping an eye on us.
If you visited a German Christmas market before you may have noticed that most towns and cities have their own style of glühwein mug. Each year a new design is created, which makes them very collectable.
We have so many from our travels; they bring back such wonderful festive memories.
And of course, Nuremberg is no different, they have been creating a new ceramic mug every year, and since 1989 they have been environmentally friendly. So, ensure you cherish your Christmas mug and take it home with you.
If you’d like to enjoy a leisurely tour around the festive streets and the Old Town of Nuremberg, you have plenty of choices.
Your first option is to hop aboard the City Tour Mini-Train, or I like to call it the Dotto-Train. This 40-minute trip will wind its way around Nuremberg’s historic streets, visiting many of the city’s captivating sites.
The tour is offered in various languages and will give you a fascinating insight into Nuremberg’s intriguing past.
Another option is to enjoy a more personal tour and let horsepower take the strain as you sit within a beautiful and plush old Stagecoach.
The bright yellow horse-drawn carriage is a 1939 reproduction of a nine-seater Berlin Stagecoach. This stunning old carriage, usually found at Nuremberg’s Museum of Communication, will take you on a 20-minute trip around the festivities.
Enjoy the clip-clopping of hooves and the jingling of Christmas bells as the historic stagecoach is pulled by two friendly horses and takes you on a tour of Christkindlesmarkt and the Old Town.
A third tour option is a walking tour, and there are various alternatives to choose from. There’s a Culinary Walking Tour which will guide you amongst the Christmas market stalls to the traditional food sellers.
Also, you can join a Historic Walking Tour, which meanders through Nuremberg’s ancient Old Town and gives you an insight into life in Nuremberg as an imperial-free city.
Visit to Käthe Wohlfahrt
Nuremberg is a breath-taking medieval town which is just waiting to be explored.
The magnificent city is surrounded by looming ancient city walls striking stone towers in various shapes and sizes, and vibrant timber-framed architecture.
This Bavarian gem is perfect for visiting all year round. There is so much to discover amongst its meandering waterways and charming town squares.
During our Christmas Market visit, we wandered through various parts of the walled city. We found so many captivating sights and stunning pieces of architecture that had been so lovingly preserved.
It such a lovely feeling discovering a new location; just grab some comfy shoes and go with the flow; you’ll never know what you will find. It’s beautiful all around Heilig-Geist-Spital, which was a former hospital when Nuremberg was a Free Imperial City of Nuremberg.
In Nuremberg, you’ll be crisscrossing ancient bridges, stumbling across hidden courtyards,
and popping into some of its many magnificent churches.
The imposing church in Hauptmarkt, which overlooks the candy-striped festive Christmas cabins, is Frauenkirche. The church just south of River Pegnitz across Museumsbrücke (the Museum Bridge) is Lorenzkirche.
Whilst ambling around Hauptmarkt head to the stunning Schöner Brunnen, the ‘Beautiful Fountain’. All around the 19-metre-high Gothic spire are 40 intricate, colourful figures.
The Schöner Brunnen was originally erected in the 14th-century, but this treasured fountain has since been replaced with a replica. The original now stands in Nuremberg’s Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
The Imperial Castle of Nuremberg sits high above the rooftops of the Bavarian city, and the incredible fortress was erected during the 11th-century.
The imposing fortification was built on a prominent sandstone rock ridge. Along with its historic city walls and many extraordinary towers surrounding the city, it strikes quite a commanding presence.
The medieval Bavarian defence consists of three main structures the Imperial Castle, Burgraves’ Castle, and the Imperial City buildings.
The castle is protected by a Bailey; within these castle walls are stunning timber-framed buildings, a charming galleried courtyard, ancient chapels and a Deep Well. The “Deep Well” is believed to pre-date the 14th-century.
It is a particularly poignant and moving museum, and once you’ve toured the exhibition, take a wander around the lake. You’ll see The Zeppelin Field and Grandstand.
This vast arena is where the Nazi Propaganda rallies took place, the first rally was in 1923, and the last was in 1938. A rally was due to be held on 2nd September 1939; however, it was cancelled due to Germany invading Poland.
Another museum to visit which is located in central Nuremberg, is the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, which was founded in 1852. This fascinating museum is not only Germany’s largest museum of cultural history, but also where you will find ‘The Way of Human Rights’.
The Way of Human Rights is a very touching commemoration and is extremely important to Nuremberg; the memorial was opened in October 1993.
As you stroll through the monumental north gate, 27 towering white stone pillars stretch out before you. There are three additional pillars, one is oak, and two others are buried in the ground with just a circular plate showing above.
Just a few points to note;
If you wish to fly, it only takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from London.
You really need to book early as these markets are very popular.
Although all these markets are fantastic to visit during the day, they really come alive in the evenings, don’t miss it.
Be warned these markets become extremely busy at the weekends, particularly in the evenings. Children may feel a bit swamped with the crowds.
Dress warm and comfortable; this is essential because it was cold in December.
Germany’s Christmas markets are for all ages, don’t be put off that it is all for children; it really isn’t. We are all big kids at heart…..
More German Christmas Markets
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