Saturday 14 September 2013

Nuremberg Old-Town Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 5.8 km (3.6 miles), terrain: one light hill

For more running routes, see Route List.

Nuremberg (Nürnberg in German) is one of those unique places with a real character of its own. It was one of Europe's biggest towns during the middle ages, and the city-wall ring still testifies to the gigantic proportions of the town back then. Most of the old town was bombed flat in World War II, but enough remnants remain standing to astound you at every turn when touring the town.

And that's what this route does: provides a tour of a lot of the best scenery that Nuremberg has to offer. It loops through the old town, starting and ending near the train station.
Tower at Königstor
We'll start at the square in front of the central train station, at Bahnhofsplatz. We're just south of the old town, with the massive city walls rising up to either side of Königstraße, that leads directly into town. The gigantic round tower here at Königstor still looms over the coming and going in the street below. 
Follow Königstraße north into the old town. You immediately pass a walled compound on the left, the Handwerkerhof, which holds a collection of stands that sell hand-made crafts. You'll also pass a pair of gothic chapels to either side of the street, and an old Benedictine monastery.

Run straight to the big two-towered church, St. Lorenz. Across the street you'll see a tower-like Gothic house, the last of Nuremberg's patrician homes built in this strange tower style.
Medieval luxury home
Turn left here onto Karolinenstraße, Nuremberg's main shopping street. Most buildings here are post-war, but there are a few squares with fountains and older buildings. You'll run past a wild-looking fountain at the White Tower, then run between two churches. 

You'll then run straight towards another round defensive tower at Ludwigstor, in the southwest corner of the old town. At the Castle Irish Pub, we'll turn right and run just inside the city walls along a narrow lane. Keep running with the wall to your left side, running past various smaller towers and ramparts until you get to Westtor, the western gate.
Along the town walls
Here, we need to turn to the left to run out the gate and immediately turn right and run down the paved path through the greenbelt along the outside of the wall. This is a nice green contrast to the town life inside, and makes for another good route: a loop around the old town walls.
Outside of the town walls: a green oasis
But the path ends just a minute later when your way is blocked by the Pegnitz River. The walls continue over the river above a huge archway.

Turn right and run through the wall and along the riverside. You'll pass one of the world's oldest suspension bridges, for foot traffic. We could take that bridge, but we'd miss some of the best sights nearby. So we'll run eastwards to that next bridge that you see ahead. There is a great view there.
View from the bridge
Run to the stone bridge, the Maxbrücke and look off the east side of the bridge: there is a covered bridge, a stone tower and an impressive half-timbered building on the riverside. Now cross the Maxbrücke to the north end and turn left to run back along the river, westwards, to the suspension bridge again.

Now turn right and cross the Maxplatz into the side street, Weissgerberstraße. This street has a collection of half-timbered houses that really give you a feeling how every street here once must have looked.
The cobble-stoned street merges into the asphalted Weinmarkt, where you run past one more house, then turn left to run up the steps and continue uphill along Dürerstraße. This street heads right to another city wall gate, Tiergärtnertor, at the northwest corner of the old town. The last house on the left was Albrecht Dürer's house, who was one of Europe's greatest medieval painters.
Albrecht Dürer house
This spot is one of my favorite places in town, with walls, towers, an old well and beautiful houses surrounding the square. Now continue heading uphill, between the houses towards the castle just above them. The house on the left has a knight in armor slaying a dragon on the wall: an armor-maker once lived there.

At the castle, turn right and run along its base on Am Ölberg lane. The castle belonged to the Kaisers, who would stay here part of each year on their non-stop wanderings between castles during the medieval times.
The castle
After the last house on the left (a little pub), run up the steps and continue uphill with the big castle square to your right.

At the top, you'll come to a big stone building with lots of teenagers hanging around: the youth hostel. Turn left and run into the first walled terrace of the castle, and run to the lookout spot. Now head back to the front door of the youth hostel, formerly the kaiser's stables.

Now turn right to run straight downhill along Burgstraße. You'll pass come to the renaissance-style town hall on the left, across from the gothic Sebald Church, with its extensive statuary along the walls. Make a loop around the church before you continue downhill along Burgstraße. The Bratwürsthäusle, next to the church is a great place to try out Nuremberg's sausage specialty. Come back later!
The town hall
You'll now come to a big market square, home in December to Germany's most famous Christmas market, the Christkindlmarkt. If you're in town then, you'll see the square packed with stands selling more Nuremberg specialties: toys, gingerbread and, of course, more bratwürst.

There's a gothic fountain right along the street, and a beautiful chapel, the Frauenkirche, along the east side of the market. From the chapel, run south to the river, and cross the bridge.
Details of the market fountain
Right on the far side of the river, turn left and follow the path eastwards along the south side of the river. There are beautiful buildings from the old infirmary across the water.

The path merges into a street, but stay running along the river, with O'Shea's pub to the right. After going up some steps, you'll come to a modern glass riverside complex, the Cinecitta cinema. Run along the water, with the cinema to your right. You'll then come to the east side of the old town, where the river flows under the eastern wall, with more walled archways over the river.
The last part of the river
Now turn right and run past the classical building housing the Nürnberger Akademie, and continue along the inside of the city walls. Just follow the lane along the wall until you get back to Königstraße.

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