Regensburg, on the Danube River in Germany’s Bavaria region, boasts a colorful history that spans two millennia. Romans raised a fort here around 90 A.D., and the town grew into a prosperous trading center as early as the 9th century. Regensburg's heady mix of culture, art, philosophy, scholarship, and architecture has fueled its residents as well as stimulated travelers passing through. The Old Town (along with nearby Stadtamhof) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and often referred to as Germany’s Medieval Miracle.
What We Love
Palace of St. Emmeram: Regensburg is known as the Town of Emperors and Kings. Marvel at the Palace of St. Emmeram, a magnificent complex of buildings, where the Thurn und Taxis royal family has lived for more than 200 years. Tour the glamorous, grand rooms, as well as its stable museum complete with carriages, sleighs, and saddles.
Culture: Concerts, theater shows, dances, festivals, and art exhibitions of every genre — from traditional styles to cutting-edge contemporary — bolster Regensburg’s reputation as a thriving arts city.
Food Scene: Try the sweet-tasting Luise Händlmaier's mustard, a local favorite, on hot sausage, fresh-cut sauerkraut, or a soft, salted pretzel. You can also sip Riesling and savor strudel at cafés near the pedestrian-friendly square.
Best Known For
Stone Bridge: The iconic, 12th-century structure has inspired bridge-builders throughout Europe (notably Prague's Charles Bridge and France's Pont d'Avignon). Soldiers from the Crusades walked crossed it.
Old Town: The historic quarter holds a bottomless trove of treasures, from the medieval patrician towers, which once guarded the city, to the French-Gothic St. Peter's Cathedral, with its spires and gargoyles. Don't miss Alte Kapelle (the collegiate church of Our Lady of the Old Chapel) — it’s an absolutely jaw-dropping example of Bavarian rococo, with gold-leaf adorned interiors and massive paintings.
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Who It's Best For
History Lovers: Regensburg was a major hot spot for movers and shakers from the Holy Roman Empire, High Middles Ages, and beyond. It was also the residence of Oskar Schindler, whose story of saving more than 1,000 Jewish lives during World War II was depicted in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning movie.
The Young at Heart: Despite an old-school historic legacy, Regensburg is also home to a university, which gives the town a youthful vibe as evidenced by its edgy art galleries and music clubs.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Carry Cash: Many pubs, beer gardens, and restaurants don’t take credit cards. Be sure to exchange money before you board so you won't be scrambling in port for an ATM or change bureau.
Laura Manske is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Redbook, InStyle, and Cosmopolitan.