Weltenburg Abbey
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Photo Credit: iStock / zwawol | Weltenburg Abbey

Kelheim, Germany

Situated at the confluence of the Altmühl and Danube rivers, Kelheim — a Bavarian town with narrow lanes and medieval buildings — is famed for a Benedictine monastery founded in 650 and the elegantly neoclassical Befreiungshalle (Hall of Liberation) perched atop a mound overlooking the 15,000-inhabitant town. Most river-cruise ships don’t sail directly to Kelheim but offer day trips to the region from Regensburg.

What We Love

The Danube Gorge: Take a small boat cruise through this narrow section of the Danube flanked by 400-foot cliff walls that rise nearly vertically up to the skies. Regarded for its natural beauty, the gorge and its surrounding banks are popular grounds for picnicking and swimming — especially for locals on holiday.

Weltenburg Abbey: It’s one of the oldest and prettiest monasteries in Bavaria, and the monks know how to make one heck of a good beer at the on-site Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei. Try the superb dunkel, a dark, full-bodied brew that's slightly creamy and bitter. And don’t forget to go into the abbey; its Baroque interiors are well preserved and elaborate.

Best Known For

The Befreiungshalle: Created to commemorate victory over Napoleon in 1815, this iconic circular structure — commissioned by King Ludwig I — sits atop a hill not far from the Danube Gorge. Construction on the neoclassical landmark began in 1842 and was completed 21 years later, in 1863.

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Who It's Best For

History Buffs and Beer Lovers: It’s worth a trip to Kelheim just to try the monastic beer at Weltenburg Abbey. Couple that with a cruise past the scenic Danube Gorge and a tour of the 19th-century Befreiungshalle, and you've got a strong alternative for those who have already "been there, done that" in Regensburg.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Summers Get Crowded: Mid-July is far from relaxing at Weltenburg Abbey and other area attractions. Expect throngs of tourists and long lines that may cut into your time at port. 

Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.

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