If you were to take a snapshot of most people’s idea of visiting Germany on holiday, it would probably look something like a Brandenburg Gate-beer-bratwurst-lederhosen-brass band-pretzel-mountains salad! Let’s face it, when people from outside Germany consider a visit, for better or for worse, they really are thinking of Bavaria. As most will find their way to Munich, here are the top 6 reasons to not miss the beautiful Eastern Bavarian capital - Regensburg.
#1 THE SECOND BEST CATHEDRAL IN GERMANY
Of course, you have to admire the impressive Gothic silhouette of St. Peter’s Cathedral that dominates the skyline. As you enter, you will immediately marvel at the intricately designed and coloured stained glass windows. If you are lucky, you can listen to the the largest hanging organ in the world with its astounding sound which will surely fill your whole body with a an extraordinary sensation. During the summer there are regular organ concerts in the evening – don’t miss them!
#2 - THE FAMOUS STONE BRIDGE OVER THE DANUBE
- The second “must” is the 12th century Stone Bridge which will finally reappear soon after its renovation facelift, is now reserved for pedestrians. From here you can get a fantastic view of both the Regensburg medieval skyline and the newly painted facades of Stadtamhof with its specialty boutiques and quaint restaurants.
#3 - THE MODERN ROYAL CASTLE
The third “have-to-see” place is the immense palace of Thurn & Taxis which has – if you believe it or not - even more rooms than Buckingham Palace. A guided tour is worth doing because you’ll learn a lot about the origins of the family and and their role in creating a European postal service, the so-called Post-Regal, during the Middle Ages. Due to these exclusive rights to transport mail and goods they managed to build up immense riches which they invested into beer and real estate all over the world. The current Duchess opens her castle up to visitors for special events, namely during the renowned Schloss-Festival, which now attracts many international music stars. Plus, if your visit is in winter, you will be mesmerized by the cozy, romantic Christmas market which is neatly strewn about the royal grounds.
#4 - STROLLING THROUGH THE OLD TOWN
is definitely worth the effort because only then can you discover and explore the narrow lanes with richly painted thick walls that seem to curl over, leaving you to ask yourself: how do they stay upright? And you will find lots of modern shops with cross-vaulted ceilings giving them an old world charm.
As well as many historic courtyards, cozy lanes and corners with benches to rest and people watch. The few old Patrician towers remind us of rich families striving to show off their wealth by building higher than their rivals. And you will certainly uncover several old churches along the way.
#5 - TAKE A BREAK IN A BEER GARDEN OR TYPICAL BAVARIAN KNEIPE
because Regensburg is famous for its great number of restaurants, pubs, bars and very “urige” Kneipen. Therefore, after your long walk through the OId City you should taste a refreshing Bavarian beer in the Spitalgarten or Alte Linde and something hearty to eat – like 6 Bratwürste mit Kraut or Schweinebraten mit Knödel. And don’t be frustrated if you don’t understand the quintessential Bavarian waiters or “regulars” sitting there all day – they speak real “Bavarian” and are mostly friendly.
#6 - CRUISING ON THE DANUBE
This river is the main artery of Regensburg and has had many roles: in the distant past its shores invited Romans to settle down, to use it as a source of water, a border, a means of transport and later for sports. As the water quality has clearly improved in the past 20 years, you will now find people swimming, lounging on the grassy banks or continuing their bike trip along the well prepared biking trails and paths along this scenic river.
You can also book a variety of river cruises to nearby Kelheim to visit the Donau-Durchbruch and Kloster Weltenburg, one of the oldest monastic breweries in the world. In the opposite direction along the Danube you can approach Walhalla, an odd and impressive ancient Greek temple replica built by the eccentric King Ludwig of Bavaria. Take the time to climb up the imposing steps of the site which hosts the busts of the most important German male & even female historical celebrities of their time. Take along a picnic and enjoy the fantastic view over the surrounding vast green valley which visually leads up to the beginnings of the Bavarian Forest off in the distance.