Who goes on city breaks in January? Those who impulse book flights on zero research, that’s who. Those who turn up and have a good time in a quiet city. Who wrap up in 28 extra layers. Who have a camera permanently in hand and put together a giant photo diary afterwards.
So me, basically! And/or people exactly like me. At the end of January I headed to Nuremberg for a few days of exploring, meandering, and dumpling eating all by myself, and the city was every bit as lovely as I expected. I fancied a chilled out break – somewhere I could just wander at a relaxed pace, without rushing around like a headless chicken trying to tick off as many sights as possible in 2 days. Nuremberg delivered! Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of fun on those jam packed trips, but I also come back absolutely exhausted, and since clever me had booked flights for the week before my uni deadlines I wanted to have some gas left in the tank by the time I came home. No rushing out of the hotel at 6am to get photos before the crowds descended and people were packed like sardines on this one!
Full photo diary/ramble about the city to come, but in short – would I recommend Nuremberg? 100%. In January if you’re looking for somewhere quiet (although everywhere’s gonna be quiet in January, let’s face it) and I’d absolutely love to go back at Christmas time because we all know Germans do Christmas markets best. I saw where the Christmas markets would be and can just imagine it looking soooo pretty decked out all festive and with everyone sipping Gluhwein and eating Bratwurst. I bet the riverside is beaut in Spring with the trees in bloom… and lovely in Summer in the sunshine… so yeah, would defo recommend.
What I did
Splitting this into ~activities~ is a tad difficult because I basically meandered around at a leisurely pace with no game plan. I started out with Nuremberg Castle (well, I actually started out with the supermarket because what kind of genius actually remembers to pack their toothbrush? Not me), taking in the views over the city, and scampered up the stairs to the top of the tower as soon as it opened. Entrance was free with my Nürnberg Card, but you can get pretty good views from the free access areas too.
Just me who feels dizzy looking straight up like this?
Bearing in mind I’d been told to take the warmest coat I owned, temperatures were surprisingly mild and the coat totally unnecessary. Well, the coat was fine, but I certainly didn’t need the wooly hat and blanket scarf and fleecy gloves I packed too. Oh well, rather that way that overestimate the warmth and shiver every time I stepped outside! Was just a nice January cool.
What would I do without a gorillapod eh?
I think Nuremberg deserves an award for possessing the Most Instagrammable Street. Weissgerbergasse was just around the corner from my hotel and was your quintessential old-y world-y cobbled street. Quite a few of the shops seemed to be closed (quiet January and that) but the area still had plenty of charm.
Quick shoutout to the Nurnberg Card – I honestly can’t recommend city cards enough. I always use them and always find them so handy. So much easier when you don’t have to think about buying public transport tickets or anything and can just focus on getting the right tram from A to B. I’m more likely to check out museums and art galleries too if I know they’re included in my card and I don’t feel like I *have* to spend hours there to get my money’s worth.
One place I definitely wanted to put my Nurnberg card to use was at the Nazi rally grounds. Nuremberg might be a pretty town now, but its past isn’t so uplifting and I felt it was important to learn about that side of things too. So off to the Nazi Rally grounds exhibition I went. It’s a huge stadium based on the Colosseum, but it makes you feel in a totally different way to the actual Colosseum. Not gonna lie, I didn’t spend much time in the actual stadium and retreated to the exhibition instead, mainly because despite being OK with heights in general, this gal does not like being suspended with a big drop beneath me. So a viewing platform that is essentially a giant diving board is not for me. Worthwhile seeing the scale of it though.
Now for some not-so-heavy-going stuff like cute bridges. Of which there were many.
When you can’t fit love locks, you write love notes. How cute. I hope Sayed and Walau are doing good!
The Old Town was equally charming when I headed out exploring at night; by ‘at night’ I mean ‘at 7pm’, but it was dark and the twinkly lights were on so I’m calling it nighttime. Heading out for food time, basically.
I can’t for the life of me remember the name of this monument, but I recognised it from photos and remembered reading about a hidden gold ring that brings good luck if you spin it 3 times. Took me bloody ages to find that ring! After circling the monument several times I spotted it and am now waiting for my package of good luck to arrive. Will keep you posted.
In case you hadn’t gathered, I walked rather a lot. I don’t know exactly how far because the phone I’m using atm doesn’t track steps, so I’m gonna quantify it as Lots And Lots. Shoutout to my boots for being super comfy for walking up and down hilly cobbled streets all day without rubbing one bit. The biker boots and duvet coat served me well.
What I ate
German cuisine is stereotypically known for being quite meat heavy, but I saw lots of places with veggie and vegan options too so decided to try out both. Lunchtimes I ate vegan/veggie, and in the evenings I had the traditional hearty meaty affairs. Gotta try it all out for research purposes! Here are the places I ate:
Zeit & Raum
I speak a little German (5 years in school and a half German ex-boyfriend to credit for that) and food vocabulary is one of those things I remember pretty well. Can usually manage without an English menu or asking for translations… or so I thought. Evidently I was a little overconfident in my abilities as I managed to order what I thought was a tart and turned out to be a flatbread. Either way, it tasted good! Apparently Flammkuchen is usually made with a thin covering of cheese or yoghurt but I had a vegan version so I’m not sure what gave it the creamy texture, but I enjoyed it.
I’m still a bit confused because I looked through the window and saw the restaurant, saw the sign saying ‘entrance round the side’, went through said entrance, followed the signs, and ended up downstairs in a cellar restaurant that was definitely not the one I saw through the window. Equally nice and with a traditional cosy vibe though. I chose the pork with dumplings and sauerkraut which turned out to be one GIANT dumpling (good job I love dumplings eh) and enjoyed every bite.
PS. If the tall, dark haired, smiley German guy who helped a clueless English girl figure out where she was going in this restaurant on the 25th January at approximately 7pm is reading this (y’know, maybe), the clueless English girl thinks you’re hot. Just throwing that out there.
On my second day I fancied somewhere a bit more lively, and read that Cafe Katz was the current place to be. Cool cafe, fun vibe, good food!
Lebkuchen – Not a place, but worthy of mention anyway. I took every opportunity to try samples of lebkuchen. Just to triple and quadruple check that I definitely like it, you know? (I friggin love the stuff)
Where I stayed
I stayed right in the Old Town in Hotel Elch, which literally couldn’t have been more convenient for popping out in the evening for food or nipping back during the day to charge my phone. Friendly and helpful staff, lovely room and massive bed, yummy breakfast, super clean and all that jazz. My only gripe would be the lack of kettle in the room because this gal likes a brew or 6. So if that’s my only complaint… I can’t really complain.
Bis bald, Deutschland!
Lily Kate x
My stay in Nurember was complimentary thanks to Nuernberg Tourismus however all opinions are (of course) my own