Visiting Nuremberg's Christmas Markets, Germany
A hidden festive treat in Bavaria
Christmas 2016 was to be an adventure around 5 German Christmas market towns. I know what you are thinking, how much wurst can one person eat?
This trip for us was always going to be a road trip, we love the freedom it brings and also we are not restricted on the memorable gifts we return with, there is always room for some gingerbread.
As we live in the southeast of the UK we choose to catch Le Shuttle, as the crossing only takes 35 minutes. Then from Calais where the shuttle disembarks, Europe is your oyster.
A reference guide
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 beating heart of the Nuremberg Christmas markets has to be in Hauptmarkt, this wonderful square is gazed down upon by the beautiful Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady).
This Christkindlesmarkt has 162 red and white striped cabins which are full of such a delightful mixture of gifts, decorations, food and drink.
The amazing aroma of gingerbread and freshly roasting nuts as you weave between the bustling lanes is too tempting to resist.
Something for everyone
The atmosphere is extremely friendly amongst the market dwellers; Christmas just brings out a smile in everyone.
There is so much to feast your eyes upon, wooden toys, baubles, snow globes, candles, ornaments and also the obligatory German stall which sells all types of brushes.
2 horse power
If you are flagging a little and need to take the weight off your feet, there is a very attractive stage coach tour you can hop onto.
This old stage coach from the Communications Museum, is pulled by 2 horses and takes you on a trip around the market for 20 minutes at a cost of €4. (2019)
Food glorious food, ohh and Gluhwein
Well I think the most popular savoury snack in Nuremberg has to be the Rostbratwurst, when you order it you get three little sausage in one roll.
Which is a complete contrast to the bratwurst we have seen at other markets.
Apparently, the Franconian way of ordering it is, “Drei im Weggla” – “Three in a bun”.
I must admit I broke with tradition as I was getting a little bored of sausages and went for a pork steak, sorry.
For the sweet tooth
It has to be gingerbread (lebkuchen).
I really love this even as a cookie or a loaf I don’t mind. Traditionally I believe it needs to be produced within the city limits to be classified as Nuremberg gingerbread.
Now in Nuremberg they have a few additions to the glühwein menu.
Firstly you have the Nuremberg Glühwein which is made from blueberries and slightly spicier than the norm and a little pinker.
Then there is the Winter Warmer which is produced by Hausbrauerei Altstadthof and contains malt, hops and a special mix of nine spices. All of which are very good.
Now apparently, Nuremberg is also famed for the largest punch bowl in the world, where it serves up feuerzangenbowle. This big bubbling pot is next to Fleischbrucke on the River Pegnitz.
Not to be eaten
What appears to be unique to Nuremberg are the ‘Zwetschgenmannle’ Prune Men to you and me.
These are handmade decorations made of prunes, figs and nuts, which are crafted into little figures.
They have been sold at the Christkindlemarkt for decades.
More than just the Hauptmarkt
There are various markets dotted around Nuremberg’s Altstadt (Old town), all are within easy walking distance of each other.
Just next to Christkindlesmarkt is Markt der Partnerstadte which is the international market or the Sister Cities market.
It is a lovely market and it is interesting to see the local tradition around other parts of the world at this time of year.
A short walk from the Christkindlesmarkt is Nuremberg’s Children’s Christmas market, it is full of magical fun with carousels and other children’s rides and stalls.
The Christmas cheer is spread through the whole city and as you wander between the main markets the streets are lined with festive stalls and cabins.
Just inside the city wall in the southeast of the city by the New Museum, is a Christmas market dedicated to local craftsmen.
Housed within the half-timbered buildings
We ate on the markets for the couple of nights we were here but there are some great looking bratwurst restaurants.
Although for a night cap we popped into the Hausbrauerei Altstadthof, which as well as the local speciality, Rotbier, or red beer, has a selection of other brews - Gary was impressed.
So much more to this lovely city
Nuremberg is a wonderful medieval town which is just waiting to be explored further, we wandered through other parts of the walled city, but it is a place we would love to go back to.
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Settled in the corner of Hauptmarkt is the stunning Schoner Brunnen (beautiful fountain), upon the fountain sits an amazing ornate Gothic spire.
All around the 19 meter high spire are 40 intricate figures.
This fountain was originally erected in 14th century, but has since been replaced with a replica.
The original stands in Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
The ancient Nuremberg castle sits proud on a sandstone rock, with its impressive views overlooking the city.
The castle consists of three main parts the Kaiserburg, Burggrafenburg and the Imperial City buildings.
What makes this castle and its surrounding so impressive is the amazing city walls and towers that encompass the city.
Human rights towers
Where we stayed
For our 2 nights in Nuremberg we chose the SORAT Hotel Saxx, this hotel was perfect for us.
We couldn’t believe how central it was, it actually overlooked the Haupmarkt. Included in the price of the room was access to the ‘breakfast to go’ lounge which provided hot and drinks and pastries.
If you wanted to the full breakfast this was and additional charge.
Another big tick for us was the underground car park, for a daily charge.
Just a few points to note;
If you wish to fly, it takes about 1 hour 40 minutes from London.
Dress warm and comfortable, this is essential it was cold in December.
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.
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…..
Inspired to visit Nuremberg at Christmas?
This historic city has so much to offer, and is a treat during the holiday season
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