Regensburg might be one of the best places to visit in Germany, but you should see and decide that for yourself. The first capital of Bavaria, included in UNESCO world heritage list it is famous for stunning Regensburg Cathedral, Thurn and Taxis Palace, patrician towers and stone bridge but there is much more to it than that. Regensburg, located at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers, is a seat of the Upper Palatinate (German: Oberpfalz), one of the seven administrative districts of Bavaria. Founded by the Romans more than 2000 years ago as Casta Regina (meaning Fortress by the River Regen), it is one of Germany's oldest towns.
Regensburg suffered little damage from bombing in World War two, and its well preserved medieval old town with almost 1000 listed buildings is on UNESCO World Heritage list since 2006. Colourful houses bring a touch of Mediterranean flair; it’s why Regensburg is also known as "Italy's northernmost town". Here are top things to do there for your travel inspiration.
Feel the heart of Regensburg at Old Cornmarket
The heart of Regensburg's wonderful Old Town can be found around the Alter Kornmarkt or Old Cornmarket. It's where you see the oldest part of the town. You can admire the three-section building complex dating from the 13th century. It consists of the Town Hall tower, the Gothic Imperial Chamber building and the baroque Town Hall, dating from the 14th - 18th centuries. Visit the tourist information centre located there to get some insights of the best places to visit.Address: Rathausplatz 4.
Look for patrician towers
Regensburg is famous for its medieval patrician towers – symbols of the prosperity and power of their inhabitants. In many cases, the towers were empty from the third floor up, so they were there to show off the owner’s wealth rather than serve a practical purpose. Many of these houses are still standing today. The pink tower at Watmarkt 4 that is pictured here also houses Dampfnudel Uli cafe, offering some of the best dampfnudels in Bavaria. Dampfnudel is a steamed, often sweet but sometimes savoury, tasty and filling dumpling.
Admire the painting of the Goliath House
Goliath house was built in the late 13th century, and its end of 16th century painting of the fight between David and Goliath is one of the landmarks of Regensburg. The Goliath House is located directly in the historic centre of the Old Town. When you walk from the Danube up to the Brückstrasse, the impressive painting on the facade of the house tower will be directly in front of you. The Michelin starred restaurant “Storstad” is located on the top floor where you can enjoy the highest quality dishes and stunning views of the Old Town.Address: Goliathstraße 10.
Walk the Stone Bridge
The view of the Danube from Regensburg's old town is dominated by the Stone Bridge. Built in the middle of the 12th century, the bridge was once considered the eighth wonder of the world and it was the largest of its kind. For more than 800 years, it was the only stone bridge over the Danube from Ulm to Vienna. Now the pedestrian bridge offers great views of the Danube for visitors.Check the Sausage Kitchen near the bridge, selling its excellent dishes there since the 12th century, therefore being oldest in the world.
Soak in the magnificence of St. Peter's Cathedral
If you come on foot from the railway station, as you get closer to the old town, the Regensburg Cathedral immediately catches your attention with its magnificence and size, with its two 105 meter high spires. It is one of southern Germany's finest examples of Gothic architecture. The current building was erected between the 13th and 16th century, and it is an extraordinary example of Bavarian Gothic architecture. Walking around the cathedral, you will see a number of exquisite treasures, including the five original Gothic altars and the stained glass windows dating from the 13th to 14th century.Address: Domplatz 1.
Admire the baroque richness of St. Emmeram basilica
St. Emmeram basilica was built in the 8th century and acquired baroque features by the Asam brothers in the 18th century. The former Benedictine abbey was one of the most important monasteries in Bavaria and today is one of the main churches in Regensburg. This Romanesque basilica is based on an original church building from the second half of the 8th century. The oldest existing part of the building is the ring crypt under the choir of the northern aisle. The altar dates from the second half of 17th century.Address: Emmeramsplatz 3.
Learn about the history of Thurn and Taxis dynasty visiting their Palace
The magnificent St. Emmeram palace was built enlarging the former Benedictine monastery of St. Emmeram at the beginning of the 19th century by one of the wealthiest German noble families Thurn and Taxis. With its more than 500 rooms, it is considered one of Germany's finest examples of historicist architecture.By the 16th century, Thurn and Taxis had a monopoly on postal services in many European countries. At the peak of their operations, they employed about 20,000 messengers. The family was raised to princely status by the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I at the end of the 17th century. Today, they are one of the wealthiest families in Europe. Albert von Thurn und Taxis, the 12th prince in his family line, has impressive assets including real estate, art and 36,000 hectares of woodland in Germany. You can only get into the palace as part of a guided tour. Find out the tour times at the palace ticket office or Tourist information centre. The Compact tour I joined was in German but I was provided with an English audio guide and the tour guide also made some brief comments in English.We had an opportunity to visit several magnificently furnished chambers and the cloisters in the oldest part of the monastery. Taking pictures inside is not allowed.
Regensburg is about 120 kilometres away from Munich and 110 kilometres from Nuremberg, easily accessible by train.So it makes that a great day trip from both of these cities. You can easily explore Regensburg on foot. If you want to visit the St. Emmeram palace, learn about the guided tours times first, and build your town visit around it.
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Want to explore more? Read about places to visit in Germany in Autumn. What did you think? Have you been to Regensburg? Or perhaps you’re thinking of visiting there in the near future? Either way, I’d love to hear from you so please add your comments below.
Author: Anita Sāne
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