By no means am I an expert on Christmas Markets, with my experience being the quaint Exeter pop-up affair that I barely think counts, and Nuremberg, as mentioned in the title. However, I adored the whole atmosphere of this city at Christmas time and, although they are not going ahead this year due to COVID-19, I would love to share that experience with you, given it’s that time of the year… (yes, I am absolutely listening to Christmas songs writing this!)
I would honestly recommend Nuremberg to anyone for a Christmas trip. It is possibly Germany’s most famous Christmas market, and for good reason. The market itself is huge, spanning across a wide area of the city, and has been taking place for over 700 years. With music, food, shopping, rides and more, you are really spoilt for ways to enjoy the beautiful Christkindlesmarkt, but below I’m going to talk you through what we managed to get done!
Once we arrived at Nuremberg airport we took the Ubahn to the stop nearest our hotel, as we were only there for a few days we only had very small luggage and the journey was completely painless. We stayed in the Maratim Hotel, a very short walk from the Opernhaus stop.
The hotel itself was perfect for us: walking distance away from everything we wanted to see and the rooms were simple but comfy (given we were only going to be sleeping there and spending most of our time exploring it really didn’t matter that much to us).
After dumping our stuff at the hotel, we ventured out for our first walk to the market. We opted to walk through the Handwerkerhod Nürnberg gardens, which is a medieval village with craft shops, well worth a walk around (which we did a few days later). This was a lovely scenic walk and it didn’t take long to get us in a Christmassy mood with all the beautiful decorations and the chilly weather.
By this time, we had worked up quite the appetite with all the travelling! We were spoilt for choice, as there are street food stalls virtually EVERYWHERE. We ended up choosing one of the street stalls famous for it sausages, with pretty much every variety you could ask for. I went for Currywurst, one of my all time favourite meals I associate with Germany, and obviously this had to be accompanied by my first (but nowhere near my last) cup of Glühwein, aka mulled wine to us English folks.
At the Nuremberg Christmas Market they do a great thing for the environment. With every cup of Glühwein you get a nice ceramic/glass mug that you pay a deposit for. When you return the mug, you receive the money back. However, if you’re like me and can’t resist a souvenir, you can choose to not get the money back and take the mugs home as a memory. This is a great environmental choice, but also a lovely reminder of your trip!
After lunch, we went for our first walk round the stalls to do some Christmas shopping! I don’t know about anyone else, but I wanted to buy absolutely everything, and this first walk for me was really to assess the options. Lots of the stalls sell similar items, so it’s important to have a proper look around and decide which one you want the most, and which stall has the best deals. We walked around for a long time without buying anything on the first day, just to make sure we didn’t miss anything.
After walking for a while, we found a stall selling hot roasted chestnuts and couldn’t resist a little snack. They were absolutely delicious, and a great way to warm up your hands. Definitely take gloves, a hat, and a scarf, as it is very cold in Nuremberg this time of year, with lows of minus two degrees!
Then, of course, it was time for more Glühwein, and we took another walk around the market at night. The decorations are absolutely beautiful, especially when they’re all lit up. We found a gorgeous church with a street band outside, consisting of brass instruments playing traditional Christmas songs, which was a lovely way to relax in the cold and have a break from walking around.
Again, we went for street food for dinner, as the options are so varied. This time I got Kartoffelpuffer, which are German potato pancakes, and are so tasty (or lecker, as I’ve learnt in German!) They are traditionally served with apple sauce, which I can only recommend. Then we headed to one of the pop up bars scattered around the city; these bars are literally everywhere and all serve hot Glühwein, so are lovely place to warm your hands, with really great atmospheres.
After a day of travelling we were pretty tired, so hit the hay early ready for another full day of exploring the next day!
We had a very leisurely morning in the hotel and wandering around the city, as this was our only full day in Nuremberg, and we’d already got quite a good idea of the market itself. We therefore decided to head to the department store, Galeria, to do some general shopping and see what German department stores had to offer. After browsing to our hearts content (but opting to save our money for the quaint Christmas market stalls) we decided to stop their for lunch. I had a delicious Wiener Schnitzel, which I know is technically Austrian, but I couldn’t resist. Definitely a delicious meal, and for a good price given we were actually sitting down to eat for once.
I’ll be honest, as with the day before, most of our stay in Nuremberg revolved around stuffing ourselves with yummy German food and wandering around taking in the gorgeous stalls of the street markets… So lo and behold that’s also what we did for the rest of the day.
We managed to find some gluten free Lebkuchen from another street market stall, which are delicious small cookies/cakes, so I was very content with my afternoon snack. We also feasted on grilled corn on the cob, waffles, roasted nuts, soft pretzels and potato wedges that day, so went to bed very full and very happy. The soft pretzels were definitely a highlight for me, which we found in the Kinderweihnacht, or the children’s section of the Christmas market, located right next to the main Christkindlesmarkt, and full of fun rides for kids and beautiful toy stalls.
Our last day in the wonderful city, which had certainly succeeded in putting us in the Christmas spirit. This was our last day here, and we could definitely have spent a lot longer wandering around the Christmas market, but we also felt like we had done enough and achieved the things we wanted to in our short time here.
We treated ourselves to some German fast food for lunch this day, as it was something the person I was travelling with used to have a lot when they came to Germany, and is also a British classic. We headed to Nordsee, the German fish and chip chain, where I had delicious fish, potatoes and salad. We opted to sit in as it was still pretty cold outside, and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip.
We then went for a walk around the regional and partnership market, as this was a section we hadn’t explored so far. This was a great way to learn more about different areas, and the products produce there, and there was plenty to look about and read about to keep us busy for a while.
Most of the rest of the day was wondering the market and the surrounding shops/department stores, and, of course, eating. We stopped for a traditional Kaffee und Kuchen at a cafe we were passing, which warmed us right up and can be found pretty much anywhere, and then we returned to the Kinderweihnacht for some more German food before we returned. I opted for Currywurst, because as I mentioned I adore that stuff, and I couldn’t leave Germany without having another.
Then we decided to say goodbye to the Christmas markets of Nuremberg the way we knew we knew best, with another mug of Glühwein. I ended up coming home with 3 of the pretty little mugs, in all different shapes and colours and designs, which I now love bringing out at Christmas with my friends.
We collected our stuff from the hotel, headed to the airport on the Ubahn and said goodbye to Nuremberg.
I had the most magical three days in Nuremberg, and couldn’t think of a better holiday for just before Christmas. The journey there was particularly easy, and the city was super easy to get around.
I was love to return to Germany not only to experience the different Christmas markets round the country, but to experience all the other wonderful cities I haven’t made it to yet. (And hopefully use the German I’ve been learning!)
I hope you enjoyed reading about my short stay in Nuremberg, and my experience of the Christmas market (which I now realise was virtually completely food based… oops!) and I also hope it’s got you in the Christmassy spirit, I know it definitely has me feeling full of festive joy writing this!
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More content coming soon!
Amy @thisgingertravels x