Being totally crazy about Christmas markets I went little berserk this year and visited a lot of them. Therefore, when I heard about possibility to go to Nuremberg, the first thing I did was to Google Christmas markets 🙂 I found out that Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany and one of the most famous in the world!
The city of Nuremberg
The whole city is a really charming place. The old Holy Roman Emperor Castle is surrounded by a defensive walls with ~80 towers all around it. There are also many nice churches all around the city, though I was little disappointed by how they looked inside. There was no splendor or overflow of statues that I would expect in one. They were really simple but nice however looked more impressive from outside 🙂 All the buildings and houses had this German vibe and looked just lovely.
However, the old town “Altstadt” is not really an old city due to the fact that it has been severely destroyed during the II WW. Most of the old buildings that we can see nowadays is, in reality, a reconstruction from the time before the war. To understand the scale of destruction, one need to be aware that the city itself was the favourite city of Adolf Hitler and Nazis. He called it the “most German of German cities”. It was a place where Nazi rallies, Nazi propaganda events, were taking place. Because of all that, the city suffered many losses and was severely damaged during the war. But Nuremberg is not only know from that. After the war it became the place where Nazis were on trial for theirs crimes.
As you can see, the city history is really rich and colorful, starting from Roman Empire, going through dark times of the war. There are many museums where, if you are interested, you can learn much more about the history of the city. If you are not into museums, just wander around. Don’t forget to visit the Nuremberg Castle, a place of power during Middle Ages, from where you can see the panorama of the city.
Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt has almost 400 years of tradition! It was first mentioned in documents in 1628. Impressive, right?! The name of the market can be translated as “Christ Child Market”. It is located on Hauptmarkt square (Main square) in the old quarter in front of Frauenkirche church (“Church of Our Lady”). Every year around 200 different stalls present their wares to the public. You can find there everything that reminds you of Christmas! It is the feast for the eyes and bellies 🙂 But the best part of it is that the Christmas Market Council has forbidden selling cheap Chinese toys and decorations and they make sure the items sold there are up to standard.
3 things you need to try:
1. Nuremberg Rostbratwurst
It is a sausage that is as big as a finger and it has almost 700 years of tradition! Those tiny sausages are grilled on an open beech wood fire and sold three in a bun. I am a picky girl, but dang, those sausages were amazing!
Some of them are bearing a seal of “protected geographical indication” from EU, meaning they are traditional, high-quality specialities, inseparably connected to this region. Therefore, only those that are produced within the city limits, weight exactly 23 grams, and have the thickness of a little finger can be called “Original Nuremberger”. And they are in other words: “Must eat” treat!
If you are interested, you can find more stories, myths and interesting facts about the Nuremberg Bratwurst on this website.
2. Nuremberg Lebkuchen
Staying with the food theme, you must also go and try Lebkuchen – gingerbread cookies. They, similarly to sausages, have really long tradition, going back 600 years! They are sweet and spicy and no German market can go without those! Some of them are decorated with almonds or are chocolate- , sugar- coated. I am sure you will be able to find one that will send your taste buds to heaven 🙂
3. Glühwein – Mulled Wine
No Christmas Market can be fully experienced without a cup of hot mulled wine in your hand! When it is dark and cold you just have to go and order a hot beverage for yourself. It is just perfect!If you are not into the mulled wines, try Eierpunsch – warm, sweetened alcoholic, egg-based drink similar to egg nog. I love it a lot. My friends hate it a lot. But whatever your taste is, try it and find out 🙂
PS. You pay a small fee (2-3 Euros) and get a cup that you can walk with all around the market. You can than keep it as a souvenir or return it and get the money back .
4 things you need to check out:
1. Take a ride in yellow stagecoach
A different way to experience the magic of Christmas and the spirits of Christmas markets is to hop on to the stagecoach and enjoy the ride through the market 🙂 The coach will take you for a ride through the market and part of old city. The trip lasts 10 minutes and costs 4 Euros for an adult.
If you don’t want to ride it, you can just take photos:D
For more information go to this website.
2. See Nuremberg Christkind
Christkind is representative of Nuremberg Christmas market. She opens the Nuremberg Christmas Market from high up on the balcony of the Frauenkirche with the prologue and afterwards visits the market everyday. Except that, she also visits many charity organisations and welcomes the guests. The chosen girl has to be between 16 and 19 years of age and at least 1.60 metres tall. So if you spot a gold haired girl with a gold dress around the market, it is her!
From what I have read, because of reformation of the Luther, St.Nicolaus stopped being believed as the one bringing presents. Instead, baby Jesus and the Angles were the one responsible for bringing them during Christmas. This is why, nowadays it is the Angel girl who is opening the market.
She makes appearances every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 3pm throughout the Christkindlesmarkt. And every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 2:30 pm on Children’s Christmas market.
3. Check out the stands with the Prune Man
Zwetschgenmännle (Prune Man) are the little statues of man and woman made out of prunes and wires. There are many different kinds of Prune man and they have been sold during Christmas for decades. So when you go around, remember to check them out. The statue is unfortunately not eatable ;( but it still looks cute!
And if you decide to buy one for yourself, remember this saying:
Hosd an Zwetschga im Haus, gäid dir es Geld und Gligg ned aus
With a prune man in your house, money and happiness stay, too
4. Go around the market
Just go around and enjoy! The colors, smells and tastes! Feel the spirit of Christmas 🙂
Children’s Christmas market is a market located next to Christkindlesmarkt on Hans-Sachs-Platz. It is perfect place for kids. There is little ferris wheel, merry-go-round and many stalls where kids can discover interesting things. The program of this market has been made so that it en\gages the kids in different activities. Kids can learn and do different thing like: baking a cake, making candles or doing sand pictures and many others (If you want to know what other activities there are, check out this site). They can also meet with Nuremberg Christkind, talk to her and give her wishing lists.
Sister city market
Nuremberg’s Christmas Market of Sister Cities is located next to Christkindlesmarkt. It is a market where around 20 partner cities, from Shenzhen – China to Glasgow – Scotland, are displaying their wares. So, if you are interested in a Christmas trip around the world, this is a place to go!
Where to eat
Of course you will be totally full after a day on the market, I am sure 🙂 However, there are couple restaurants that are really interesting places to go. So try to leave some space in your belly and visit them.
Why they are so special? Those restaurants are the bratwurst kitchens where you can experience the true bratwurst culture. You are served a meal on old-fashioned tin plate surrounded by a charming Nuremberg’s atmosphere 🙂 It is something you will not regret doing.
Anyway, those restaurants are: “Bratwursthäusle”, “Bratwurströslein”, “Bratwurstglöcklein”, “Bratwurstherzle”, “Zum Gulden Stern” and “Goldenes Posthorn”.
I have visited “Zum Gulden Stern” and it was awesome!!! I loved the place! Just lake a look at the pictures and you will understand why:D
How to get there
You can fly to Nuremberg Airport, it is quite big and from there you just need to hop to a metro and you are in the center 20 minutes later. If you can’t find a flight to Nuremberg directly, there is Munich Airport (1h away with a train) or Frankfurt Airport (2h away with a train).