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Berlin or Nurnberg

I am just starting to plan our trip to Germany. Unfortunately I cant find a tour that meets all our needs. The GAS tour seems like the best except my husband is a history/ WW2 buff. If we spent a few extra days at the end of the tour, which place would be better. I am leaning towards Nurnberg because it just seems easier to navigate than Berlin, especially at the end of a tour when we will probably be tired. We would then take a train to Frankfurt which would be a round trip for us and a little less expensive than flying back home from Berlin. Or should we just do both??.... Thanks everyone....I have been reading this forum for a while...and am impressed with the willingness of seasoned travelers to offer input.

Posted by
12040 posts

What are you looking for, tell us that? Berlin and Nürnberg are both relatively large cities (although Berlin completely dwarfs Nürnberg). Both were heavily damaged in WWII, but whereas the Altstadt of Nürnberg is relatively restored, Berlin is largely a modern city. You'll get tiny portions of Third Reich history in both... but just realize. The legacy of WWII in Germany is more in what's missing than what remains.

Posted by
5 posts

Is Nurnberg worth the time and miss Berlin if one only has a couple days and will probably only go to Germany once? The Germanic National Museum looks very interesting but then again Berlin has Museum Island.. Nurnberg seems to be more of a "touristy" place, is that true?
The more I research the more confused I get....just looking for opinions. Thanks

Posted by
16169 posts

I wouldn't refer to the capital of Germany as "touristy". It's a big city and does have lots of touristy things to do, but it is also a political and cultural capital. In the same vein, does that make London, Paris, Madrid, and Rome "touristy"?

Posted by
1312 posts

I have not been to Berlin for a few decades. I can not compare.

We were stationed in Nürnberg in the 1980's and have returned several times in recent years. It is certainly worth a couple days and you can get to know it in that time. There are tourist sights in Nürnberg but it also has a thriving trade fair business, so much so that rooms can sometimes be quite expensive. The city center is rebuilt so you can get a feel for its history. We were last there in April and will hopefully be returning in 2015 as we have friends in the area.

Good luck with your decision; you can not really go wrong. Regards, Gary

Posted by
4700 posts

Just one opinion: I visited both Berlin and Nuremberg on a visit to Germany in April. I too am a history buff, though for me the Cold War is equally as interesting as World War II. That said, there was little comparison in the history appeal: Berlin "won" by a mile. Even though most of the actual Nazi-era buildings were destroyed during/after the war, there is still much more to see (or at least experience) in Berlin. I saw the "Nazi sites" in Nuremberg in an afternoon and was satisfied, whereas it took several days in Berlin (and perhaps I could have used more time, though I was seeing Cold War stuff too).

One rewarding experience for me in Berlin was a day trip to Potsdam, to see the Cecilienhof Palace where Truman, Stalin, and Churchill (and then Attlee) met to finalize the fate of Europe and post-WWII borders. It doesn't take long to see, but you can see the table (smaller than one would imagine) where the Big Three sat and decided these issues. It's really cool for a history buff. Nothing in Nubermberg, not even the Nazi Rally Grounds, really compared with that.

Posted by
49 posts

I visited both in 2012. Nuremburg was interesting. Walking thru the Nazi rally grounds and the museum there was informative and historic. One of the few Nazi things not destroyed after WWII. The beer halls were fun and boisterous. Berlin was not as exiting as it was more modern bustling city. The Brandenburg gate was historic and the interesting Jewish memorial was surreal, but outside of that....

Posted by
12400 posts

Hi,

Given that choice I recommend Berlin with a doubt. If you're looking for war sites, museums, cemeteries, all dealing with the war history of WW 2, there is alot to keep you busy. It all depends on much time you're willing to devote in tracking down these sites.

In the eastern part of the city in Berlin-Karlshorst (accessible by S-Bahn 3) is the museum showing the Eastern Front, the Russo-German war and the site where the Germans surrendered to the Soviets. Take the regional train to Frankfurt an der Oder, transfer to Seelow, you 'll see the battlefield memorial (Gedenkstätte) and museum on the battle.

The ack ack towers (Flaktürmen) are very close to Berlin-Gesundbrunnen station, accessible from there. The Bendlerblock houses the Resistance Museum on Stauffenbergstraße.. On Unter den Linden is the German History Museum with its section on the war. The 88mm gun is one of the displays.

Since most likely you are coming in to Berlin at Berlin Hbf, ca half an hour from there is the Invalidenfriedhof, basically one of the oldest Prussian-German military cemeteries in Berlin. As such there is a section on memorials to Allied bombing victims and the victims of the failed Resistance attempt of 20 July....(.in the back against the wall.)

The Russian military cemeteries and memorials are located in both western and eastern parts of the city...Pankow, Treptow, and Tiergarten. The last two I've seen....conveys the point.

Posted by
12040 posts

"Nurnberg seems to be more of a "touristy" place, is that true?" Neither are really "touristy", as in when it seems the hospitality industry is the main employer in town (like Rothenburg od der Tauber). Rather, they're both large, thriving cities that happen to receive plenty of tourists. Even at the old parade grounds in Nürnberg, you'll probably see more people using the area for it's current function (a large park) than visitors curious about the Third Reich past.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for all the opinions.....you all have given me a lot to think about!

Posted by
671 posts

Since your focus is WW2 history, allocate 24 hours for Nuremberg and then definitely head on to Berlin for the remainder of your time in Germany. I say 24 hours because (last May) we arrived in Nuremberg by train in the early afternoon of one day and left Nuremberg by train (for Berlin) during the early afternoon of the next day. On the arrival day, we checked into our hotel (Hotel Victoria, just inside the Frauentor across from main train station) and took the metro to the Palace of Justice, where we spent several hours. On the next morning, we took a tram to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds Documentation Center, arriving when it opened. We toured the Center, and then walked to the Zeppelin Field and back. Staying at a hotel near the main train station really makes this easy, since the metro stop and the tram stop are very close by. The train ride to Berlin was about 5 hours, and we spent a few days there before flying home. You can buy your train tickets (from Nuremberg to Berlin) on-line from Deutsche Bahn and can save a lot of Euros if you purchase them well in advance (i.e., 90 days; see their 'saver fare' [Sparpreis] under 'offers'). However, you must commit to a specific train; if you miss it, there is no refund or exchange. In Berlin and environs, there are of course lots of WW2 sites to visit (Topography of Terror, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Bebelplatz [book burning site], Hitler bunker site [now a parking lot], Reichstag [reserve a free guided tour on-line], Wannsee Conference site, Sachsenhausen concentration camp, etc.) and you can do it yourself of take guided walking tours. Plus, Berlin is gearing up for the 25th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Wall.