nuremberg city walls walk and city

Nuremberg is a picturesque city in the south of Germany. During the Fall, brightly colored leaves mingle with lights as Christmas markets start to appear throughout the Old Town (Altstadt) although it’s quite charming year round. We spent a long weekend in Nuremberg, and one of my favourite activities was walking along the medieval city walls.

looking at Nuremberg city walls


As the second largest city in Bavaria, Nuremberg is located in the region of Franconia. Approximately 170 km north of Munich, it is home to over 500,000 residents, and a popular destination for visitors who are interested in German history.

nuremburg city walls tower

The city was first mentioned in documents dating to the mid-11th century but museums such as the Germanisches National Museum show the country’s history beginning with the Stone Age. Nuremberg was a significant location during and after World War II. During the war it was a site of Nazi Party Rallies for propaganda events and it was frequently the target of Allied air raids.

Social Wellness Walks

After the war, the city was the site of Nuremberg Trials between November 1945 and April 1949. It is possible now to visit both the former rally grounds and the courthouse.

bridge of old town nuremberg

Much of the medieval Old Town was destroyed during World War II and in 1949 reconstruction began. Many buildings of Nuremberg, including sections of the city walls, were rebuilt closely following historic development plans.

Today, the restored medieval Old Town is a popular destination for a long weekend trip. Just an hour away by train, Nuremberg also makes a great day trip from Munich although there is certainly more than enough to do here for a long weekend. 

autumn colors in nuremberg


Of course, Nuremberg is also famous for its iconic Christmas market called the Christkindlesmarkt. While many Christmas markets start on the last Monday of November, even at the beginning of the month we spotted a few festive stands selling Glühwein and Elisenlebkuchen.

Glühwein is a mulled wine while Elisenlebkuchen is a type of gingerbread that is finer and softer than the standard kind of Lebkuchen. There is a 600 year tradition of baking this type of gingerbread which uses only the best ingredients.

footpath in the rain

City Walls

Surrounding the main market square (site of the Christkindlesmarkt and also worth a visit all year), are the medieval city walls and 11th century Imperial castle. Together they functioned as the city’s defense while today the walking paths are used recreationally.

nuremberg walls tower

The city wall surrounding the Old Town can be circumnavigated during an easy 5km walk (or bike ride). In the 15th century, a 12m deep moat was built but not filled with water. Today it is more like a park with grass and benches.

After World War II, sections of the walls were rebuilt and preservation is ongoing. Access is easy with numerous points through former city gates to start or exit the circular walk. You could start as soon as you exit the train station or spontaneously later while exploring the Old Town.

old gateway to nuremberg

Within the walls, the Steuben Bridge crosses both arms of the Pegnitz river and it is also possible to walk along the water here. The footpath is well-paved and generally level, although there are a few low stairs to cross the Kettensteg (a pedestrian chain bridge) over the Pegnitz river.

At times where the walk is closer to the street, the contrast between the medieval castle on one side of your walk and modern roads on the other is quite strong and gives the feeling of walking between two historical periods.

autumn german footpath in Nuremberg

How to Get There 

Located in the Franconia region of Bavaria, Nuremberg is well connected by public transportation including frequent train service to Munich and Berlin. The ICE trains connect Nuremberg with Munich in just over 1 hour, and with Berlin in about 3 hours.

The central station in Nuremberg is located directly across the street from the Old Town, which you can cross above or below the road. Once across, access to the city wall is immediate but you can also explore the Old Town first and make your way onto the wall from other points such as the castle. For other specific access points, please check your favourite hiking app.

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