Spielwarenmesse: Nuremberg in summertime

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Stadtaufnahme von Nürnberg


Nuremberg in summertime

from Steve Reece

Like most people who have been in the toy business for a while, I have made the annual pilgrimage to Nuremberg for Spielwarenmesse so many times. I have lost count of exactly how many toy fairs I have attended - I’m fairly sure 2019 was my 20th visit to Spielwarenmesse. One frosty, snowbound visit in late January tends to merge into the next in my memory at this stage!

Nuremberg during toy fair time

tower of Nuremberg with Spielwarenmesse flags

I have always felt at home in Nuremberg. Over time there have been changes of course – the ever-growing show ground, new developments in the toy business and new building developments in Nuremberg. I have stayed in hotels, hostels, Airbnb rooms (from the very best and most expensive in the city through to the very cheapest and very worst!), and also of course occasionally in other cities nearby due to the high demand on accommodation during the toy fair.

My first dining experience as a vegetarian in a traditional Bavarian restaurant was quite confusing for both myself and the waiter 20 years ago. I tried to make him understand I didn’t want any of Nuremberg sausages, pork knuckle or any of the other traditional dishes! Today of course you can pick from a huge variety of restaurants in Nuremberg serving dishes of all kinds and tastes with even the most traditional of Bavarian restaurants having some kind of vegetarian option alongside the local specialties normally.

Memorably, I have also been to many after show parties at many different venues during toy fair season, at which I have agreed €-multi-million deals in principle, found new customers, new friends and of course sampled far more than my fair share of the local beer selection! The most memorable party venue I visited in Nuremberg must be a party I attended for a leading Games company held at the stunningly beautiful Faber-Castell castle – you can visit the castle as a tourist, it is well worth a visit.

Nuremberg in summertime

roads of Nuremberg
©CTZ/Uwe Niklas

In the last couple of years I had chance to visit Nuremberg a few times in the middle of summer for business and also for leisure. Visiting Nuremberg in summer is a very different experience to the Nuremberg visits in the end of January

While the shops, cafes and especially the bars are obviously open in the winter (I can testify to this from personal experience!), in the summer these places spill out onto the pavement with tables and chairs outside and a true European café culture in effect! In summer shorts and a vest are more fitting as temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius or higher are normal, with perfect sunshine on offer regularly.

Such was the summer experience I enjoyed in Nuremberg when I visited for meetings in July one year that I persuaded my family to come back with me the following year to start a European holiday tour from Nuremberg itself.

Holiday in Nuremberg

My family were eventually delighted to have visited Nuremberg and sorry to leave when it came time to move on. They loved meandering around the Altstadt watching the water flow along, admiring and enjoying the amazing churches, promenades and squares. They loved stopping for food at one of many places to eat. One of their favourites was a small window kiosk which looked like nothing at all from the outside but was serving the most amazing falafel rolls which we ate lazily in the sunshine. 

Kaiserburg Nuremberg
©CTZ/Uwe Niklas

The fairly steep but mercifully short walk up to Nuremberg Castle is rewarding after toy fair finishes each day with an evening view of the lights and illuminated buildings of Nuremberg, but a walk up there on a clear summer’s day offers the reward of an even more spectacular view. One year during Spielwarenmesse I stayed in accommodation which was on the other side of the castle, which meant I had to make a short but tough walk up the hill and through the castle every night on my own, which was quite a ‘spooky’ experience. The same walk during the summer months is much less daunting as the castle is a popular destination late into the evening.

Nuremberg is also of course famous for various museums – the toy museum of course which we should all have visited at least once; Albrecht Dürer’s house (Mr. Dürer is one of Nuremberg’s most famous sons and a leading light in Germany’s Renaissance); Nuremberg Transport Museum and many more. My family and I could not visit all the museums and attractions we wanted to see in the time we had, and so boarded the train onwards vowing to come back for longer next time.

Of course I will be back in Nuremberg every January and February for the foreseeable future, but even my children genuinely want to revisit this historic city which has played such a big role in the working life of their father, not because of his stories and experiences which are endlessly retold to them whether they are interested or not, but because of their own happy experience visiting Nuremberg on holiday!

Discover Nuremberg in the summer

Take a walk through the city and discover the harmonious interplay of historic buildings and modern architecture. Prominent and hidden highlights await you. Find our Walking Tours & Round Trips, Hidden places and Culinary Tips. The perfect companion for planning your Nuremberg visit is the Tourist Information service.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

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