With a history of about 1,000 years, Nuremberg was a busy trade center in Medieval Europe. The city was once most famous for its artisans, but today the image it brings to the mind is that of Nazi party rallies and later the Nuremberg war crime trials.
There is a lot to be charmed by in Nuremberg: the Kaiserburg Castle, Gothic churches, cobblestone streets and squares. It was the hometown of artist Albrecht Dürer and composer Johann Pachelbel.
The Main Market (Hauptmarkt) is a good place to start the tour of the city - a tour that's best done on foot because many streets are pedestrian-only. This is the city's farmer's market with fresh produce all year long. The market is great place to come for lunch time picnic supplies, or to grab a snack.
Next in line is the "Our Lady" church, built in what was once the Jewish quarter and sits on the foundations of a medieval synagogue. Visitors come here to watch the "Männleinlaufen" figures of the enormous clock that faces the square. The 400 year old clock's moving figures show the seven Electors of the city doing homage to Kaiser Karl IV, every day at noon.
At the "Schöner Brunnen" fountain, beautifully ornate you will find the "lucky ring" - turn it for good luck. You can also check out the Ehekarussel fountain that illustrates the poet Hans Sachs verses on married life.
After the fountains, come to the Kaiserburg Castle. The castle has all the stark simplicity of the medieval era. The exhibits are all about the 12th-16th centuries, Nuremberg's "golden age". The Doppelkapelle (Double Chapel) is a reminder of times when the status in the society meant everything - royalty sat above and the commoners below. From the castle you'll have one of the best views of the city all the way to the Emperor's Forest.
Near the castle you'll find the Albrecht Dürer House where Dürer lived and worked from 1509 until 1528. Kids really love his beautifully drawn optical illusions. In addition to seeing both originals and copies of his work, the house itself furnished completely with period pieces is great viewing.
Not to be missed is a stroll along the Pegnitz. The river meanders through the city in a magical way. There are nine bridges and you can criss-cross the river when ever you feel like. By the "Hangman's Bridge" you'll find a cluster of weeping willows and a nice place to stretch out and watch the water roll by.
From May to September there are over 200 festivals and concerts here, celebrating music, dance, art and crafts. If you're here in December, the square hosts the most famous Christmas market in Germany all month long - you'll find crafts, toys, ornaments, and seasonal treats.