Quiet and romantic, Speyer, Germany is situated along the banks of the Rhine River. Nestled within the Rhineland-Palatinate region, the town dates to 1030, when it was founded by Conrad II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire until his death nine years later. Today, Speyer retains much of its quaint charm and historic buildings, many of which managed to survive World War II relatively intact. It’s not a huge town or a major shopping destination, but it is a wonderful river cruise port in which to relax with a coffee, or enjoy a beer (as the locals do) on a patio in the main square.
What We Love
It's Walkable and Bike-Friendly: The best way to see Speyer is by wandering its narrow streets on foot. If your ship has bicycles on board, you may want to head off for a ride through town and into the countryside; reaching the city limits by bike takes mere minutes.
Trinity Church: Built between 1701 and 1717, this must-see Baroque church features an ornate, three-story interior constructed almost entirely of wood. It was never raided or altered during the intervening centuries, in part because wood was never a scarce building material.
Best Known For
Speyer Cathedral: Construction began with the formation of the town in 1030, and continued until 1061. In 1981, the Catholic cathedral was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for being one of the most culturally significant Romanesque structures in Germany. A full restoration was just completed in 2015, and visitors should not miss the chance to view the cathedral’s imposing interior.
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Who It's Best For
History Mavens: Old-World charm aplenty and significant historic sites make a day spent in Speyer feel like a step back in time.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It Can Feel Crowded: Although Speyer is a more off-the-beaten-path port on Rhine itineraries, it doesn’t take too many ships docking at once to overwhelm the popular attractions.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.