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Top activities for kids in Nuremberg, Germany, from castles to theme parks, museums to festivals

Many people have only heard of Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg) in connection with its history.

It was of course the setting for the Nuremberg Trials held by the Allies against Nazi German leaders.

But it’s not only popular with history buffs. This city, located in the German state of Bavaria, has a lot of appeal for families too with plenty of things for children to do.

The Imperial Castle

A great starting point for any visit to Nuremberg is the Imperial Castle. It has been standing on a hill above the city since the 13th century.

In the past, it stood firm to repel visiting armies, now, it’s a peaceful spot. There’s a lovely garden around the edge, with benches and views over the city.

You can reach the castle by going through tunnels and gates which guarded the fortress in years gone by.

Inside there are tours of the castle or you can wander freely.

The cobbled streets around it are traffic-free and are a beautiful area to explore and imagine.

If your youngsters are interested in art, below the castle is Albrecht Durer’s House, where perhaps Germany’s most famous painter lived. The house is open to visitors.

Imperial Castle
Imperial Castle

City centre

Nuremberg’s historic centre is one of Germany’s most traditional. The area from the castle down to the main market square has some wonderful buildings, restaurants and is like stepping back in time.

There’s a market on most days in the main market square with stalls selling food, drinks, local produce and gifts.

It really comes alive for the famous Christmas Market, which is the city’s busiest time of year.

Nuremberg city centre river

Tiergarten Zoo

On the edge of the city is Nuremberg Zoo. You can reach it by tram numbers 5 or 11 from the city centre.

It’s one of the best zoos we’ve ever visited as it’s set in a forest so it’s a beautiful walk even without animals around every corner.

There’s lots of space so it doesn’t feel crowded. Among the highlights for us was seeing polar bears playing together in their enclosure.

We also watched a dolphin and sea lion show in front of a packed crowd in the sunshine which we enjoyed despite not understanding a word the presenters were saying (we don’t speak much German).

Another high point, literally for our daughter, was the bungee trampoline area. This costs extra but she was thrilled to bounce above the trees and have fun.

It’s quite a hilly site and there’s a lot of walking involved but being in the forest means it’s quite shaded even though it was 25 degrees when we visited.

There’s a cafe in the far corner of the zoo or you can bring a picnic.

A gorilla statue at Nuremberg Zoo

Playmobil FunPark

On the outskirts of the city is this large theme park, designed for children aged between four and nine.

There are different themed ‘worlds’ around the park with both indoor and outdoor areas to explore.

There’s a pirate ship to play on, knights castle to enjoy and other attractions based around the popular toys.

The park is open daily between 9am and 7pm.

Nuremberg’s Historical Past

If you’ve got older children studying World War Two then Nuremberg is home to two famous sites.

The first is the huge arena and area where Adolf Hitler and the Nazis held massive rallies for up to 700,000 people in the 1930s.

The arena is still on the site and there’s also a museum about the events which was being renovated when we visited.

You can also learn more about the Nuremberg Trials, where leading Nazis were prosecuted in 1945. You can step inside the exact court room, court 600, which is still being used for criminal trials today.

There’s a small exhibition about the trials on the floor above the court room. You’re given an audioguide to take round as the display boards are only in German.

Nuremberg Trials court room
Nuremberg Trials court room

Museums

Nuremberg is home to a host of museums – there’s a few which may suit children.

The Railway Museum is the oldest in the country.

Nuremberg has quite a history with rail travel as this was where the first steam train in Germany ran.

 You can see that train – the Nordgau – in the museum.

The Museum of the Future looks at how the world could be in 2050 with interactive exhibits for children.

Another museum instead looks back in time. Nuremberg has a tradition of toy making dating back 600 years. The Toy Museum features some of those toys from years gone by.

City Tour

A miniature train takes visitors around the old city from the Market to the Imperial Castle. It’s a walkable distance but the train is fun for younger children or to rest tired legs.

Festivals

We were lucky to visit when one of Nuremberg’s two annual festivals were on.

The Volksfest is a giant funfair with dozens of rides, a ferris wheel, large beer garden and stalls selling food and drink. It was a great insight into German culture and we loved wandering around and trying some of the rides.

The festivals are on for two weeks around Easter and also another two weeks in late August and September. Try and coincide your visit with them if you can.

Swinging on a ride at Volkfest
Volkfest

Nuremberg Cards

We used the great Nürnberg card designed for tourists.

The card offers free public transport and free access to most attractions for a set period of time.

Ours was €33 for an adult for 48 hours, and just €11 for children aged six to 11. Younger children are free.

It really made it easy to get around without worrying about individual tickets for different types of transport.

Nuremberg has underground trains, buses, trams and overground trains to choose from.

Just a visit to the zoo would cover more than half the cost of the card so if you’re going there it definitely makes sense to get one.

We got full value from our cards and found them easy to use and accepted everywhere we visited around the city, which doesn’t always happen with cards like this.

For more ideas of things to do in Nuremberg visit Tourismus-Zentrale Nürnberg

We visited as part of an Interrail trip and so arrived by train which works well as the station is in the city centre.

We stayed in an apartment hotel: Living Hotel Nuremberg, Germany: Review and tips

Living Hotel Nuremberg Germany GV Outside
Living Hotel Nuremberg

*We were given Nuremberg cards to try for the purpose of this review, all views are our own.

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