The old town’s tangled cobblestone street takes guests to unexpected places in a dizzying twist of buildings, alleyways, and dead ends. The charming medieval trading town of Regensburg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. It is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Germany. Strolling the wide cobbled streets, getting lost wandering the narrow passages, and discovering gorgeous hidden courtyards is the best way to explore this beautiful Bavarian city along the Danube River.
Noted for its eclectic mix of architecture, including Roman, Baroque, and Gothic styles, Regensburg’s churches, fortifications, and homes reflect its long and rich trading history. If you love great food, beautiful buildings, romantic medieval streets, and eclectic shopping, you will love exploring the picture-perfect city of Regensburg.
The vibrant village streets are filled with busy locals attending to their daily business and tourists soaking up the cool medieval architecture. Regensburg is a lovely spot to while away a sunny afternoon.
Explore Altes Rathaus
Altes Rathaus, the old town hall, was built in the 13th century in the central market square. Beginning in the late 1500s, the emperor convened the imperial assemblies in the Altes Rathaus. From the mid-1600s to the early 1800s the Perpetual Reichstag, or governing body, met in this famous town hall. Many historians consider this to be the model for the German parliaments and the European Union.
This pretty, well-preserved building and clock tower are a well-known landmark in the old town. You can tour the old offices and meeting rooms. Be on the lookout for the medieval torture tools housed in the old vault.
Marvel At Porta Pretoria
Built approximately 2,000 years ago as the north entrance for Castra Regina fortress, the Porta Praetoria is one of the oldest structures in Regensburg. It stood as a famous fortification dissuading foreign marauders from attacking the city.
The gate was integrated into the bishop’s court building, saving it from construction raids where local lords dismantled abandoned ancient fortifications to build their own castles.
The graceful lines and the now decorative architectural walls stand at the ready for pretty photo opportunities and tour visits.
Pray At St. Peter’s Cathedral
St. Peter’s Cathedral or Dom St. Peter is the current day seat of the Catholic Diocese of Regensburg. The original church was built around A.D. 700 and like the fate of many medieval churches, burned down. The church was eventually rebuilt and relocated to the current spot at Domplatz 1.
The new church reflected a French Gothic architectural style. In the 17th century, the cathedral was renovated with a nod to the fashionable Baroque style. In the 1800s, King Ludwig I of Bavaria renovated the church again to a Neo-Gothic architectural style and finally completed the church’s spires which had languished uncompleted for many years.
The cathedral with its towering spires dominates the skyline of the old town. The beautiful interior where Catholic Mass has been said for centuries is home to ancient relics, resting and revered by the congregation. The gilded decor presents a feeling of grand opulence and power.
St. Peter’s is currently undergoing restorative repair and cleaning. Like many medieval buildings, the stone is affected by environmental elements and is in need of expensive care and refurbishment.
Walk The Old Stone Bridge
Spanning the Danube is the charming Stone Bridge. It is a marvel of medieval architecture and the first permanent bridge connecting towns on both sides of the Danube River. This important piece of German history increased trade traffic and solidified Regensburg’s place as a center of trade and commerce. Until 1935, it was the only permanent bridge that spanned the Danube River in the Regensburg area. The Stone Bridge served as the model for Prague’s historic Charles Bridge that spans the Vltava River.
Take a walk over the Stone Bridge and enjoy the view of the beautiful medieval old town of Regensburg. It is a wonderful spot for selfies and staged professional photographs.
Dine At The Best Medieval Sausage Stand
After you have gotten lost in the maze of streets in the old town. Meander down to the river and grab a picnic table at the historic Wurstkuchl sausage stand. For centuries, the residents of Regensburg and their guests have been dining on these classic homemade sausages. The sweet aroma of the pork sizzling on the charcoal grill permeates the air making your tummy rumble. Served up with a cold pint, homemade sauerkraut, and the stand’s famous mustard, you will have no choice but to dive right into this picnic tradition.
Located at the base of the Stone Bridge, the scenic river with the bridge spanning its girth sets a beautiful backdrop munching your sausage and people watching. Wurstkuchl is the best alfresco dining on the riverfront for traditional German sausage and sauerkraut.
Take A Break At Bischofshof Braustuben
When you want to experience classic German cuisine, stop for a freshly prepared repast at Bischofshof Braustuben. Located in the center of the old town, the outdoor tables are the perfect spot to enjoy excellent Schnitzel, some great conversation with friends, and soak up the atmosphere in one of Europe’s most beautiful towns.
Alternatively, the Bischofshof biergarten is a fun spot to enjoy a local brew and rest your weary feet from a long day of sightseeing and shopping. Sometimes a pint and a short rest are all you need to get back in the tourist game.
Shopping In The Medieval Town Of Regensburg
The streets of the old town are filled with high-end stores, specialty shops, and bakeries. You will find the latest Birkenstocks, beer steins, cuckoo clocks, and gorgeous Christmas ornaments for sale as you wander the twisting cobbled streets.
Be sure to investigate arched alley entries, they can house everything from restaurants to fabulous shops.
Sail The Danube Gorge
A sail down the Danube Gorge to Weltenburg is a picturesque way to spend the morning. As the fog lifts, the gorge offers stunning landscape views with 300-foot cliffs and twisting waterways. This Barvarian nature reserve, the Weltenburg Narrows, offers breathtaking views of the Liberation Hall in Kelheim.
You can hop on an excursion boat in Kelheim and relax with a proper German beer as you sail through the gorge to the Weltenburg Abbey. You will need to have your camera ready for this trip, it is a gorgeous ride. You won’t be able to stop snapping pictures.
Stroll Weltenburg Abbey
Weltenburg Abbey is Bavaria’s oldest monastery; it was founded around A.D. 600 by St. Columbanus monks. Construction on the beautiful baroque church was started in 1716 and completed in 1751. Perched on the edge of the Danube, with acres of pristine countryside, the abbey is a quiet refuge for the monks. That is until the visitors arrive to sample their award-winning dark lager, attend Mass in the stunning church, or simply enjoy the beautiful grounds along the river.
Be sure to stop as you pass through the entrance hall. You will find an interesting representation of the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell.
Sip Weltenburg Abbey’s Dark Lager
Arguably the oldest brewery in Germany, if not the world, with records dating back to medieval times, the Weltenburg Abbey Brewery is famous for its Weltenburger Barock Dunkel dark beer. A full-bodied beer, it is perfect when served with a classic German pretzel.
With a brewing recipe that has not changed in centuries, and having a perfect source of delicious spring water, the monks have made the heady brew with the same ingredients that have been used since its inception. It is aged onsite in the abbey’s brewery cave then fed through a pipeline directly to the tap. You will be hard-pressed to find a fresher beer in all of Germany.
The brewery was awarded gold at the World Beer Cup in 2004 in the European Style Dark category. Since then, the brew has captured the award additional times.
If you are visiting midday, you can enjoy a meal at the abbey’s Klosterschenke Restaurant where many of the menu items are made by the monks and staff at the abbey.
Pro Tip: Check out our story on great foods to enjoy in Bavaria; you may find your new go-to, mid-week dish.
Visit Towns In Germany
The history of small towns and fortifications dot the German landscape. One of the most charming and popular ways to visit these well-preserved towns is on a river cruise. With your floating hotel, you can enjoy luxury accommodations, great sightseeing excursions, and no one has to drive or navigate — a total win/win. No matter how you plan your itinerary along the Danube, consider this list of other beautiful spots to visit in Bavaria as you set your plans in motion.
No matter when you visit or how you get there, the next time you are in Bavaria, spend a day in Regensburg, the best-preserved medieval city in Germany. You will love the simple but tasty food, the friendly people, the scenic history, and the relaxed vibe of Regensburg’s old town.
Other German destinations to explore include: