Regensburg is a mid-size town in Bavaria, in about 1 hour train ride from Munich.The French call this city Ratisbonne, while in Italian and Spanish it is Ratisbona. Its recorded history goes back to the 2nd century CE when it was part of the Roman Empire. In the middle ages it played an important role in the Holy Roman Empire as early as at the time of Charlemagne. It was granted the status of free imperial city in the 13th century. From late 17th century until the dissolution of the Empire in 1806 it was the permanent seat of the Imperial Diet.
Regensburg was lucky to avoid significant damage during World War II, and its historic part preserved its medieval and Renaissance looks and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Regensburg is one of the prettiest German towns. It is situated on the banks of Danube river (Donau in German). There is an island on the river right in front of the historic downtown, with which it is connected by the Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brücke) built in the first half of the 12th century. The participants of 2nd and 3rd crusade crossed the Danube by this bridge on they way to the Holy Land.
The island provides some of the best views of the old town. The spires in the picture below are the belltowers of St. Peter’s Catherdral, also called the Dom. On the left one can see the Stone Bridge, ending at the red Bridge Tower (Brückturm).
The embankment in the old town was almost empty in the morning, maybe with the exception of an occasional jogger:
However at the sunset there were quite a few people relaxing, biking, walking, boating and having a good time:
At night it got darker but didn’t get quieter, but rather the opposite – folks just went on having a good time, drinking, singing songs and making all kind of noise way into the night, maybe because the moon was full:
The next day was a market, day and the merchants started setting up their stands early in the morning:
And many locals just enjoyed their breakfast and coffee:
We went on exploring the town and found it pretty, welcoming and cozy. The tallest structure in the old town is the Dom or St. Peter’s Cathedral:
One of the main attractions in Regensburg is Emmeram Castle, or Schloss Thurn und Taxis, belonging to the famous Thurn und Taxis family (they pioneered regular postal service in Europe back in late middle ages, and also gave their name to the word taxi). The castle is located within a few minutes walk from St. Peters. It is the largest castle in Europe still inhabited by its original owners. A large part of the castle is open for guided tours, with audio guides available in multiple languages. The tour is worth it – there’s a lot of interesting history around the castle and the family.
The Old Town itself is all medieval buildings and tempting restaurants. This is the Old Town Hall (believe it or not, German for Town Hall is Rathaus):
Walk a few hundred yards from the Town Hall and you get to the historic square Haidplatz, dominated by the old courthouse building:
Haidplatz is home to at least dozen of restaurants of all kinds, and they all smell good and are difficult to resist. We ended up at Pizzeria Da Tino in the same building as Altstadthotel Arch, and it was a good choice.
People were eating everywhere and enjoying it – in the restaurants, cafes, beer-houses, on the benches, on their bicycles while riding, and on the steps of centuries-old buildings:
The town is just fun to walk around, with its narrow streets, ancient doors and gateways.
Whenever possible I like to conclude my travel posts with culinary recommendations, so here it is. If there is one place in Regensburg where one must stop by and eat – it is Die Historische Wurstkuchl (the Historic Sausagery) right on the bank of the Danube next to the Stone Bridge. See that large yellowish building in the picture bwlow, with huge brown roof immediately to the left from the bridge, and the small one-story building next to it – this is the Wurstkuchl, and their bratwurst rocks. And their interior is also interesting.