The city of Nuremburg offers three different underground tours: one of the cellars and brewery, one of the art bunker used to protect artwork during the Second World War, and one of the castle casemates and water conduits. When our planned trip to the castle was postponed by its being closed, we yielded to the power of advertising and booked ourselves into this last tour, which starts at the castle cafe.
Tickets cost €6, but it was covered by our Nuremberg Cards, which we had to show the guide before the tour started. The tours take place three times a day, at 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm, and are unfortunately only conducted in German. Speakers of other languages (like us) are given folders containing a simplified version of the guide’s explanation at each stop; apparently audioguides are in the planning stage.
Our group consisted of six people: three Germans and three English speakers. Our guide Hannes did a great job of trying to include us non-German-speakers by giving us instructions in English and also by explaining some things that weren’t covered by our notes. He may have sometimes gone too far when he gave some instructions in English only — I hope the German speakers didn’t feel neglected! Luckily they all seemed to speak pretty good English.
The tour itself was an interesting look into the military fortifications of the city. We started above ground in the castle gardens, looking at the old walls and the newer fortifications, which were built in 1545. I enjoyed the story of how the townspeople were drafted in to help build the casemates, but weaselled out of the work one way or another.Hannes then took us underground, where we got to see an inner view of the fortifications and poke our heads out one of the gun holes. Further on, we saw the water conduits which provided part of Nuremberg’s water supply in the Middle Ages; it has an interesting history too.
After about 80 minutes of tour, we emerged in the courtyard of the Altstadthof brewery, where we said goodbye to Hannes and the tour ended. We’d learned a lot about a side of the city people don’t usually see, and Hannes had really tried to look after us.
Although this tour isn’t suitable for young kids or anyone who suffers from claustrophobia, it’s certainly a worthwhile choice, particularly if you’re interested in castles, fortifications, or water routes. And it’s a great option on a hot day if you want to get out of the sun for a while — the temperature underground is always around 10º!