Searching for history, culture and experience you arrive into Germany to embark on a journey along the Danube river. One of the longest rivers in Europe and many cities that access the river, the best place to start your travels is from memorable and medieval Germany.
The heartland of the river, the Danube in Germany offers you charming towns along the river that are filled with historic castles, beautiful cathedrals and culture that goes back thousands of years.
With many towns and villages to explore, there are three key German towns along the Danube river and the “The Route of Emperors and Kings of Bavaria”. A dedicated cycling path also runs along the Danube river for an active experience while traveling offering the opportunity for visiting multiple sites along the way.
German towns along the Danube river offer a unique travel experience, these are some of what you will find on our itinerary when visiting the Bavarian Danube:
The second largest city in Bavaria after Munich is where you will begin your Danube journey. Although technically located on the Pegnitz river, a tributary of the Main, Nuremberg is located at the Rhine – Main – Danube Canal making it a popular starting point for navigating the Danube river.
Nuremberg is best known for its role in World War II Germany, the Nazi Rally grounds and the Nuremberg Trials at the Justice Palace. There are many tours and underground experiences offered in Nuremberg for World War II enthusiasts.
Not just historic, a city of art and culture, there are many attractions to explore including the medieval fortified Nuremberg Castle complex in the altstadt (old town) and the twin towered St. Lorenz medieval/gothic church built in the 1400’s and it’s three organs.
Nuremberg is a walking city and exploring the area you can follow the old city walls finding medieval gates and towers throughout the city. Visiting the old town squares and the Hauptmarkt (open market) to interact with the locals shopping for fresh fruits, popular local pastries and a la carte dining options. The market is sitting in front of the Roman Catholic Frauenkirche church, another site you will want to step into and explore.
Foodies will enjoy the range of offerings available in Nuremberg with its many restaurants featuring traditional Franconian fare and popular local offerings like lebkuchen German cakes and Nuremberg sausages.
Recommendation: Plan time to relax at one of the many beer gardens scattered throughout the city of Nuremberg.
Visitor friendly, Nuremberg’s old town is a pedestrian only area where you will find many options for shopping and finding specialty items. This is also the location where many festivals occur throughout the year. Additional shopping options can also be found in the Handwerkerhof area of medieval village shops featuring independent businesses selling handcrafted goods.
Departing Nuremberg you will travel up river to Regensburg. Located where the Danube river meets the Regen and Naab rivers in the eastern part of lower Germany, Regensburg is not as populated as Nuremberg, yet it is still ranked the 4th largest city in the Bavarian region of Germany. A cultural center, the city played an important role during rule of Germany by the Holy Roman Empire.
A UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the largest “old towns” in Germany, Regensburg attracts visitors to its mostly medieval town filled with many well known sites, historic buildings, gardens and parks. One of these that is highly recommended is the Dom Cathedral. Built starting in 1275 and finished in 1869 the complex is primarily made up of Gothic architecture however you will also find adjoining chapels still in existence that predate the Dom dating back to the 8th century among newer styles of architecture and notable art works.
As you walk the town, you will find many medieval churches each offering its own stories that are visit worthy among other architectural treats like the Porta Praetoria fortress walls built by the Romans. Other recommended visits is the medieval stone bridge which dates back to the 11th century that was used during the crusades to cross the Danube.
A not to be missed dining experience is the Sausage Kitchen. A popular destination for both visitors and locals, it is the oldest public restaurant in the world actively serving guests since the 11th century.
As you journey along the Danube following the famed Route of Emperors and Bavarian Kings, you will pass historic castles and beautiful landscapes along the way as you travel to Passau.
Referred to as the “City of Three Rivers” because the Danube joins the Inn river from the south and the Ilz river from the north. Passau is a smaller city then the other two but is also well known for its gothic and baroque architecture.
You will first notice when walking the cobble-stoned streets of Passau’s Old City (die alstadt) the Veste Oberhaus Fortress which can be seen high on a mountain top facing the city. Today the museum of Passau, it is home to an art gallery, historic collections from the Bavarian region, collections symbolic to Passau’s past and an observatory.
Tip: A highlight of visiting the fortress is the 18th Century viewing platform with fabulous views of historic Passau and the rivers below.
Visiting the Gothic town you will find there are many hospitable and site worthy churches within Passau to visit however, a not to be missed site is the Italian Baroque Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral). Notable as having one of the largest pipe organs in the world with over 17,000 pipes. Concerts are held daily during the warmer summer months and worth scheduling your visit around to experience the organ in action for yourself.
Passau has a large University that populates almost a ⅓ of the town with students who bring a bustling excitement to the city’s taverns, restaurants and beer gardens scattered throughout.
Your journey as you are transported along the Danube’s Route of Emperors and Bavarian Kings will continue from Passau on into some of the beautiful river towns of Slovakia, Austria, including Vienna and Hungary until you reach your final destination in Budapest.
There are so many reasons to visit Germany, an enjoyable and unique experience is to travel the inland waterways exploring the towns and villages of Germany and other neighboring countries from your boutique floating hotel. For more information on a Danube river cruise, head to our website.