Updated: Nov 2, 2019
Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria (Germany), the hometown of Toni Riethmaier and, during the Middle Ages it was one of the most important cities in the Holy Roman Empire. Today, the city counts more than half a million of inhabitants.
Toni Riethmaier picked me up early morning from my hotel next to the train station and we crossed the streets. Toni explains that the city walls mark the historic past of Nuremberg. Surrounding the old city, it is one of the very few remaining of the medieval city walls in Europe that are entirely intact. Along the walls there are several big towers and they were used as lookout posts in the past. Construction started in the 12th Century and ended officially in the 16th Century, and they run for 5 kilometers (today about 4 kilometers are still there) around the old town. The Nuremberg Castle together with the city walls is considered to be one of Europe’s most considerable medieval fortification systems. It represented the power and importance of the Holy Roman Empire and the outstanding role of the Imperial City of Nuremberg.
We walked straight in the city and are heading towards a new Restaurant called “Fränk’ness”. The restaurant opened only recently by Celebrity Chef Alexander Hermann. This is the restaurant where you can have a regional inspired, healthy and fresh breakfast. We decided to try their homemade bagels, one with roast beef and the other with prawns. Paired with a cup of hot chocolate and cappuccino. The waiter was welcoming and quick, our drinks were served prompt and tasted really great. After a while we received our bagels. Each came in a small iron skillet and was generously topped with roast beef and the other with wasabi prawns. With the fresh toppings like eggs, veggies and salads, the bagels were delicious, we could taste that everything was made on premises and only the freshest ingredients were used.
With our batteries recharged we walk towards the city center. Once we entered the pedestrian area, the city showed us its real beauty. Everything is so well kept and beautifully restored, a very ancient and medieval feel.
We reached the Hauptmarkt (main market square). The farmer’s market is running daily and people of Nuremberg buy their fresh products. You can also find vendors that sell flowers, spices or herbs and of course the world famous Lebkuchen (gingerbread). One of the gingerbread stalls is run by a nice lady called Ines. She lets us sample the different types of gingerbread and explained us the difference between the Elisen and Oblaten gingerbreads. Turns out that less flour there is in one of those sweet cookies, the better its quality and taste. The best ones have no flour and are made entirely with honey, nuts, spices and dried fruits, covered in either sugar icing or chocolate. At Lebkuchen Gollmann you can get handcrafted and authentic Nürnberger Lebkuchen all year round. We made our choice and bought a couple of different assorted Lebkuchen and some single packed ones for our upcoming city tour. The Hauptmarkt is not only the most central place in Nuremberg, this is also where everyone meets. Visitors from all over the world start their tours here. Maybe also because this is where the world famous Christkindle Markt (Christmas Market) is held every year.
Also, it has two additional major landmarks: The Schöner Brunnen and the Frauenkirche.
Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain) a hi rising, tower like monument that serves as a fountain. It has a very long history, created at times when there was no clean drinking water available to public and hence the city council erected the fountain to provide clean water to their citizens. Also, with every historic monument there comes a saga or tale, it is also for the fountain. A seamlessly golden ring was welded into the steel enclosure surrounding the fountain. Turning the ring three times clockwise, a wish will be granted, but you are not supposed to tell anyone else what you wished for.
Daily at high noon the chimes ring at the Frauenkirche (women church) in combination with an ancient performance of a traditional Glockenspiel. Right below the clock of the church, figurines will start to move and spin around a residing Emperor. That to honor the ruling emperor from the past, don’t miss this as its only once a day.
We were right on time to climb aboard our 40 minutes train ride. The train departures every hour quarterly from the main market square. We booked our tickets online, hassle free and with guaranteed seats. The city tour tends to sell out quickly, so we heard from the bystanders, especially during noon time. We took our seats in one of the carriages. The train offers audio-guides in several languages by using headphones. Glass windows all around and a panorama glass roof ensure that you get to see everything while on the move. The train was almost full when we left the square. The tour took us to many beautiful buildings, churches and monuments. We learned lot of interesting facts about the city and its history. The train goes very slow, allowing people to take pictures and see all the beautiful sights. The tour ended again there where it started: at the Hauptmarkt.
Leaving the train and just opposite of us we discovered a little shop where you can buy dates! Odilia, a little shop with an assortment of dates and some fine food from the Orient owned by Saeda Abualhawa and her husband Saeed Al Tayeb. Saeda told us that she lived in Dubai before she came to Germany 5 years ago. The delicacies are made from pure, valuable raw materials that nature has to offer without added sugars and preservatives. Vegan, suitable for diabetics and just delicious! If you are in Nuremburg you should try their dates. Today, you can find Odilia products at well-known chocolate dealers throughout Germany. Cristina tried a date with hazelnuts. They have dates filled with almonds, hazelnuts, pecan nuts, cashew nuts, pistachios, walnuts, candied orange and lime-peel and so we left the shop with 8 dates!
We decided to walk along the river Pegnitz to pass by some of the attractions we saw during our ride. We had a closer look at the hangman’s house and the little covered wooden bridge. This is where the executor used to reside. Back in the old days, death sentence was still practiced and people were executed in public.
We crossed the river using the first steel hanging bridge in Germany called Kettensteg. It was impressive and you have a great view up to the other bridges. The Kettensteg dates back to 1824!
Everywhere we walked, nature was in a symbiosis with the city, a very enchanting and peaceful little excursion. Our next stop came recommended by one of the locals we met during the tour: Nurembergs secret gardens...
Hesperides Gardens Johannisstrasse 47 / Baroque Gardens Johannisstrasse 13
Already in the Middle Ages, around 300 gardens surrounded the city walls of Nuremberg, in which wealthy citizens sought recreation. At the beginning of modern times, the Nuremberg patrician families took the splendour that the nobility developed in their country estates and pleasure gardens as their model. And, so they laid out baroque gardens with formal lawns and flower beds, fountains, sculptures as well as lime, orange and bitter orange trees in Italian and Dutch style around their summer houses.
Entering into the Hesperides Gardens in Johannisstrasse 47, which is open to the public daily from April, 1st – October, 31st I got to know a piece of old Nuremberg garden culture and felt myself transported back centuries to the rich past of the imperial city.
The name "Hesperidengarten" refers to the once widespread citrus culture in these gardens. In ancient Greek mythology the Hesperid sisters guarded the legendary Golden Apples together with the dragon Ladon. Herkules had the task of stealing the apples, which according to legend he succeeded in doing by killing the dragon Ladon. From the 16th century onwards, those mythical Golden Apples were increasingly equated with citrus fruits. The southern plants entered the Nuremberg Gardens through the intensive trade contacts that had existed since the Middle Ages.
The beautiful Hesperides Gardens are a relaxing place where you can walk around or read a book on a bench. This is the right place if you want to enjoy time for yourself or with your dear ones. There is also a section of herbs and old trees of roses between lavender bushes. And fountains and an old coffeehouse where you can sit outside and enjoy the view while drinking or eating something. Taking the exit of the old coffeehouse we walked to Johannisstrasse 13 and were standing before a closed old baroque door.
Wondering about the closed door, as the sign says it is open daily till 8pm for the public, we rung the bell and suddenly the door opened automatically. A Lady who lives in the house opened the door for us. In the inner courtyard entering the beautiful wrought iron gate, which earns special attention from us, it was time to start enjoying the sandstone figures and green architecture.
Also, here you can find figures from the Greek mythology, a fountain in the middle of the baroque garden and a small baroque house surrounded with citrus trees.
After our excursion and discovering these hidden gems of Nuremberg it was time for dinner and we decided to have it in a traditional and historic restaurant.
The Doktorshof is around 20 min. away from the city center and offers Frankish cuisine with Frankish hospitality since the 17th Century. Every day they have a new menu and serve also fresh fish from the lake.
The owner of the small restaurant with cozy atmosphere cooks all meals by himself. This means that you only get freshly prepared meals and you also can choose from a wide range of new dishes every day!
Please note that the restaurant is opened daily from 11am – 2:30pm and 6pm – 11pm.
Also, they only take cash – no credit cards!
Address: Mägeldorfer Hauptstrasse 47, 90482 Nürnberg.
For a table reservation please call: +49 911 543 03 09.
And, for all those who love Sushi food, next to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum - the largest museum of cultural history in the German-speaking region, there is sushi glas. It is on the left side when you go out the North gate of the Way of Human Rights. When you are the first time in Nuremberg this is the Museum Cristina recommends to visit. For all lovers of antique toys there you will find the oldest surviving dollhouses in the world!
Collection Toys opening times: TUE - SUN 11am -6pm