This walking tour around Nördlingen includes the perfectly preserved city walls, the medieval centre, Ries Crater museum and more.
This walk starts from Nördlingen Train Station on the eastern edge of the town centre. It’s roughly 2-3 hours on the train from Munich, Nuremberg or Stuttgart. There’s also a parking garage called Parkhaus am Bahnhof right next to the train station where day tickets cost only €1. It’s a convenient place to park to walk around Nördlingen city centre.
Nördlingen Walking Tour Map
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Tips for Nördlingen Walking Tour
- Several hotels in Nördlingen close in the winter months, and attractions have shorter opening hours.
- If you’re also interested in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, you can go on a great guided day trip to both Rothenburg and Nördlinger Crater from Munich.
- For a nice hike nearby, walk from Donauwörth to Harburg and the castle.
- Check out other walks on our Germany Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Nördlingen
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll see the main sights and attractions of Nördlingen. Half a day is the perfect amount of time to spend in Nördlingen, though if you want to explore the Ries Meteorite Crater further you could spend an additional couple of days.
- Medieval Walls
- St George’s Church
- The Marktplatz
- Rieskrater Museum
- The Stadtmuseum
Introduction to Nördlingen
The Nördlinger Ries is the name given to the meteorite crater in which Nordlingen Town is located. The crater was formed roughly 15 million years ago when a rock from space crashed into the earth, creating a crater 25 km in diameter. It’s one of the best-preserved craters on earth and is now a famous geopark.
The town itself is very relaxed, and much less touristy than similar towns such as Rothenburg ob der Tauber further north. As you walk around Nördlingen, you might spot several pig statues. These celebrate the legendary pig who warned the inhabitants that the town gates were left unlocked by rubbing himself against one of the doors. Apparently, the town guards had been bribed to leave the gates open by Count Hans van Oettingen, who had planned to storm the town.
Nördlingen Walking Tour Route
This walking tour starts from Nördlingen Train Station.
Directions: From the train station head left to the roundabout, then right at the roundabout to the city walls. You can climb up to the walls just to the east of the big city gate and head anticlockwise.
1. Medieval Walls
Nördlingen’s Medieval Walls* are almost perfectly preserved. The entire loop is 2.6 km and it’s well worth it for the views of the town inside and countryside without, along with the several well-preserved towers along the way.
On your walk around Nördlingen city walls, you’ll pass several historical towers. The tower where you get on the walls is Reimlinger Tor and the oldest of Nördlingen’s Five Gates. Parts of it remain from the 14th century and it leads towards Augsburg on the Romantic Road and further to the Alps and Italy.
Next up is the Reisturm, a gunnery tower just in front of the walls, then the Deininger Tor, damaged in the 1634 battle near Nördlingen during the Thirty Year’s War.
City Wall Museum
The Stadtmauer Museum, or City Wall Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*), is on the northern stretch of the wall in the Löpsinger Tower, a tower from the 14th century. It contains exhibits from the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) including the famous Battle of Nördlingen. The museum is open Apr-Nov, Tue-Sun, 10am-4:30pm and tickets are €2. Unfortunately, the captions are only in German.
Inside the town, by the Unterer Wasserturm (Lower Water Tower) guarding a weak point in the walls, you can see the New Water Mill, a wooden water wheel in the river. The next tower is a distinctive pointy tower, the Spitzturm, originally from 1327 and rebuilt in 1592. Baldinger Gate on the northwest side collapsed in 1703 as a result of damage during the siege of the town in 1634 during the Thirty Years War.
The next few towers are the Backofentürme (Oven Towers), named because their shape is a little like an oven, several defensive towers from the 16th century. The Neue Bastei (New Bastion) section of the wall was demolished in the early 19th century and has since been rebuilt, which is why it looks modern. The Alte Bastei (Old Bastion) is from 1554 and protected the weakest side of town. It’s now an open-air theatre.
Directions: Just after the Alte Bastei Theater you’ll be back at Reimlinger Tor. Descend from the walls here and walk through the gate into the centre of Nördlingen.
2. St George’s Church
Key Information: Church and tower are open daily 10am-6pm Apr-Oct and 10am-4pm Nov-Mar. The church is free to enter, while tickets to the tower are €4/3 (pay at the top of the tower).
St George’s Church (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is the main church in Nördlingen. Construction of the church started in 1427 and took roughly 80 years to complete. It’s particularly beautiful inside and surprisingly large for such a small town. The high roof soars above on elegant columns and the whole building seems infused with light.
The Daniel is the name of the church tower (after a verse in the Bible), and it’s very tall for a church tower, at 90 metres. If you walk up, you’re rewarded with superb views over the circular city and the countryside of Nördlinger Ries (the crater) beyond. The entrance to the tower is around the front of the church – you can’t access it from within.
Directions: The Marktplatz is just outside the church.
3. The Marktplatz
On Marktplatz square, there are several historic buildings of interest. Citizens used the impressive Tanzhaus*, from the 15th century, as both a trading hall and a dance hall. The Rathaus (town hall) is 200 years older, from the 13th century and has been continuously in use as a town hall since 1382, making it one of the oldest in Germany. The imposing stone stairs on the outside are from 1618 -don’t forget to check out the door into a little house under the stairs with a carving of its occupant just outside.
The Leihhaus, opposite the town hall, is from 1522 and now contains the tourist information (open 9am-6pm Mon-Thu, 9am-4:30pm Fri, 10am-2pm Sat, closed Sun).
Directions: Leave the Marktplatz on the street at the far left side of the Rathaus. At the junction with traffic lights, turn right and then take the first left.
4. The Stadtmuseum
Key Information: Open Apr-mid Nov, Tue-Sun, 1:30-4:30pm. Tickets cost €4.50/2.50.
The Stadtmuseum (Tripadvisor Reviews*) now occupies part of the Heilig-Geist-Spital, a former hospital from Medieval times. There’s a bit of history about the settlement of the region, the Thirty Year’s War in the area and the history of Nördlingen town itself. Unfortunately, captions are only in German, and if you only want to see one museum in Nördlingen, pick the Rieskrater Museum.
Just behind the Stadtmuseum you can see a bit into the Heilig-Geist-Spital, now with a church and care centre. It was built in the 13th century and back then was also used as a care centre for the sick, old and poor.
Directions: To the right of the Spital are the Infozentrum Geopark Ries and the Rieskrater Museum.
The Infozentrum Geopark Ries is a small, free exhibit about the Nördlingen Ries and Geopark. Some of the exhibits partly overlap with the Rieskrater Museum next door but it’s mainly more focused on the local area, including flora and fauna and local walks you can do. There are information leaflets in English about each exhibit.
5. Rieskrater Museum
Key Information: Open Easter to October, Tue-Sun, 10am-4:30pm. In the winter there’s a lunch break from noon to 1:30-pm. Tickets are €5/2 for adults/children. English audioguide available.
The Rieskrater Museum (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is located in the Holzhof, a 16th-century barn. Here you can learn all about the formation of the Ries crater by a meteorite impact 15 million years ago. You’ll also find out about suevite, a type of mixed breccia rock formed by the impact. It’s quite uncommon, but many of the buildings in Nördlinger, including the church, are mainly built of this special material. The exhibits show rocks, meteorites and fossils, and it’s a great museum for kids and adults alike.
Walking back to Nördlingen train station
Directions: Return back to the main street and head left along Vordere Gerbergasse.
Vordere Gerbergasse is a street within the old Geberviertel, or tanners’ district. The tanners used to be some of the richest craftsmen in town and you can still see some of their nice houses along the road.
Directions: After the road starts to bend, head right down Manggasse. At the open street turn slightly left and right by the side of a nice pale yellow building.
After the yellow building, you’ll see a reddy-brown building, the Alte Schranne. This is a former grain warehouse, built around 1601. The grain trade stopped in 1937 and renovation took place in 1996. There’s now a restaurant and shops on the ground floor, along with a concert hall above.
Directions: In the square after the Alte Schranne, turn left and walk out of Nördlingen city walls through Deininger Tor. Turn right at the roundabout and you’ll soon be back at Nördlingen train station and the end of this walking tour.
Best Places to stay in Nördlingen
Bear in mind that several places to stay in Nördlingen have a minimum of two or more nights’ stay, while other hotels are closed in winter.
NH Klösterle Nördlingen* – a pleasant hotel in a historic building with lots of character in its restaurant and rooms. It’s in a great location within the city walls and has easy parking in an underground car park beneath the hotel. It’s a surprisingly posh hotel given its relatively low price.
Cafe Hotel Altreuter* – a lovely hotel right in the city centre in a nice old building with a great breakfast (closed in winter).
Hotels with a Minimum Nights Stay
Kasarme Auszeit* (min. 2 nights) – a cute apartment in an old house by the city walls with a modern, equipped kitchen and free parking nearby, for up to four people.
Storchenblick am Daniel Ferienwohnung* (min. 4 nights) – a very centrally located apartment with an equipped kitchen and two bedrooms, for up to six people.
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