One of the most charming little towns in Bavaria, Germany is Regensburg. Picture narrow alleys surrounded by historic, pastel coloured houses, grand churches and a beautiful medieval stone bridge over a bubbling river.
If that doesn’t fulfill your real life fairy tale site wishes, then I don’t know what will. In either case, here are the best things to do in Regensburg, Germany, should you come over and want to see for yourself.
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How to get to Regensburg, Germany
The city is well connected by public transport and has its own train station. There are regular trains and for instance from Munich. This way, it takes less than two hours and depending on what time you leave, you don’t even need to change trains.
In case you want some company and only have a day trip planned but want to see as much as possible, join a guided tour. There are some picking you up in Munich.
In this tour I’ve found for you, the guided speaks English and Spanish and takes you to the main attractions in Regensburg, including the Town Hall, Cathedral, Stone Bridge and Historic Sausage Kitchen. Check availability here.*
When wondering what to do in Regensburg, don’t miss Haidplatz. This square in the centre of the old town was once the bustling home of jousting matches in the middle ages. Picture fancy knights on noble steeds trying to throw the other one down with a long pole. That’s a jousting match.
Those times are long gone, of course. Today, It’s most known for the Goldenes Kreuz (transl. “golden cross”), a patrician castle/house that dates back to the 13th century. It’s not a museum but a hotel you can stay in. Check out the rooms here.*
The square is also home to the Justitiabrunnen, a beautiful fountain from 1656. In short, the Haidplatz is the perfect place to set the mood for your explorations of Regensburg’s attractions.
Address: Haidplatz, 93047 Regensburg
St Emmeram’s Basilica
Fun fact: This 11th century Romanesque-church is based off of a building that dates back to the 700s. It’s one of the most beautiful religious sites in Regensburg and used to be considered the national sanctuary of Bavaria.
With its Romanesque architecture and Renaissance and Baroque updates it’s seriously an eyecatcher and should totally be on your list of must sees in Regensburg.
Another highlight of the basilica is the wooden ceiling painted with the story of Benedict of Nursia. Entrance is free and it’s open daily. If you’re curious about live music and concerts in Regensburg’s basilica, check this page. (It’s in German. Scroll to “Veranstaltungen und Konzerte“.)
Address: Emmeramspl. 3, 93047 Regensburg
Old Stone Bridge
The medieval stone bridge of Regensburg is 300 meters long and crosses over the Danube River. Until the 1930s, this bridge was the city’s only crossing point and thankfully has been well preserved.
At the mid-point of the bridge is a statue of a half naked man shielding his eyes. The inscription translates to “how hot!” It’s believed that this statue is a reference to the scorchingly hot summer of 1135, when the bridge was built.
There are restaurants (and a sausage hut) near the bridge. So if you’re hungry or in need of refreshment, do take a chair and relax by the river while grabbing a bite.
Address: Steinerne Brücke, 93059 Regensburg
Regensburg Museum of History
The Regensburg Museum of History is an absolute gem for all history lovers. The museum is part of a medieval monastery and traces the cultural history of Regensburg from the Stone Age all the way to the 1800s.
The multi-floor building is brimming with artifacts from prehistory, Roman times, the Bronze Age, and beyond. There is no shortage of things to see here, and you will leave an expert on all things historical Regensburg.
Its opening year, that of 2018, was a very special one. 200 years pior the Kingdom of Bavaria’s constitution was written and the Bavarian Free State was declared 100 years ago as well.
The building itself is meant to keep record of history but also transport it into the modern age, which is reflected in its very modern architectural style.
Address: Dachaupl., 93047 Regensburg
Goliath House is an essential part of any Regensburg sightseeing, as it’s one of the most well known landmarks in town.
It was built in 1260 but it wasn’t until 1593 that it’s most notable painting of David and Goliath has been gracing the façade of the house tower. Not surprisingly, it’s the largest city mansion in Regensburg, making it nice and easy to spot.
If you’re looking for a culinary treat after exploring this historic building, check out Storstad, a Michelin starred restaurant on the top floor of the house. Not only does Storstad have incredible food, it also offers amazing views of the city from its rooftop terrace.
Address: Goliathstr. 4, 93047, Regensburg
St Peter’s Cathedral
This cathedral is considered the ultimate example of German Gothic art. The Regensburg attraction has been completely preserved and there’s enough to look at to keep you occupied for hours.
It’s home to one of the most complete sets of stained glass of any church in Germany. On top of that, it boasts an impressive silver altar by the Renaissance master sculptor Peter Vischer the Elder.
Address: Domplatz 1, 93047 Regensburg
Alte Kapelle is the oldest known catholic place of worship in the state of Bavaria. It was built by Charlemagne’s grandson Ludwig the German in the 800s.
As the centuries went on, the church was updated and renovated, so the majority of the building you can see today comes from the holy Roman emperor Henry II in the early 11th century.
Address: Schwarze-Bären-Straße 7, 93047 Regensburg
Thurn and Taxis Palace
If you like architecture, don’t miss this palace when looking for things to do in Regensburg. This old monastery building was converted into a palace for a noble family working in the postal business.
It’s less like a German castle and more like a massive city mansion. When touring the palace, you’ll see an elegant Throne Room, a Neo-Rococo Ballroom, an old library from the original monastery and a stunning 18th century ceiling fresco.
Address: Emmeramspl. 5, 93047 Regensburg
This monastery was built in the 1000s by Irish missionaries. The art work in Scots Monastery is very unique.
It features beautiful renditions of the traditional images of Christ and other important figures in Christianity. But it also is full of images of crocodiles, eagles, sirens and a dragon eating a lion.
Address: Jakobstraße 3, 93047 Regensburg
Back in Medieval times, in Regensburg, Germany, the best way for noble families to display their wealth was to own a tower. Many well off families in the city competed to have the highest tower, which led to the cityscape brimming with towers we see today.
The tallest tower of the lot at 50 meters is the Goldener Turm. It dates back to 1260 and is now used as housing for university students.
Address: Wahlenstraße 14, 93047 Regensburg
Germany’s Regensburg was one of the first cities in the country to have a Jewish community in the 1100s. In 1519, the Jewish population was expelled from the city and the former Jewish quarter was demolished and replaced with this square that remains today.
Due to excavations in the 1990s, a lot of the city’s forgotten Jewish history has been brought back to light, and it’s a great place to learn something new on your Regensburg sightseeing trip.
Address: Neupfarrplatz, 93047 Regensburg
The historic town hall of Regensburg is a must see too. You will spot its clock tower from afar.
The building dates back to the 13th century and was erected right by the market, which is a typical feature of European city planning. It has been changed time and again over the centuries and nowadays it is a complex made consisting of three parts.
The main hall follows Gothic style principles while the main town hall building is Baroque. If you book a guided tour at the tourist information on the ground floor, you can get to see the extravagant imprerial hall, where the Kaiser hosted the kingdom’s assembly, as well as the cellar.
Address: Rathauspl. 1, 93047 Regensburg
Legionary Camp Wall
Do you want to learn more about the city’s Roman heritage? Stop by the Legionary Camp Wall in Regensburg. It’s a little bit hidden and not one of the typical tourist sights in Regensburg but well worth a visit.
You can see the remains of the former Roman fort, which belonged to the third Italian legion under Marcus Aurelius. It was built in 179 AD and spanned an area of 540 square metres and was surrounded by walls, towers and a moat.
It had space for up to 6000 soldiers and there was a separate settlement for civilians around the fort. While the remains of the former settlement have long been buried, archeologists were able to secure parts of the fort. The Northern gate, Porta Praetoria, is the largest existing construct of Roman times within Bavaria.
Address: Dachaupaltz, 93047, Regensburg
St Kassians Church
It’s a pretty church from outside but within, it will leave you in awe. So do step inside if you can. Luxurious frescoes, golden ornaments and an intricate altar piece make the second oldest church in town an absolute highlight of Regensburg.
In particular you should look out for the beautiful stuccos, which were applied in 1754. In total, there are 12 frescoes on the church’s walls and roofs, the largest being along the middle aisle. So do look up when you visit.
The overall architectural style is that of rococo (a heightened Baroque exgtravaganza), which can be seen especially inside and at the North façade. Inside, it is made up of three aisles and mostly has a flat roof.
Over the past years it has been carefully renovated and now shines as brightly as ever. It’s open to the public and located super centrally, so there’s no reason not to have a peek.
Address: St. Kassiansplatz 1, 93047, Regensburg
Another relict from medieval times, when the city was much smaller, is the Ostentor (East Gate). It belonged to the old city walls of the eastern suburb and opens to the eastern banks of the river. Therefore, you can make it part of a little stroll along the river and into the small park.
Back when it was built in 1284, it was meant to protect the trade road leading all the way to Vienna. It was built in the Gothic style and is one of the best preserved Gothic city gates of Germany.
Last century, a tram was led through the gate but nowadays, it’s a regular road for cars. Pedestrians cross through a smaller gate next to it.
You can hardly miss it and should definitely include it in your Regensburg tour.
Address: Adolf-Schmetzer-Straße 5, 93055, Regensburg
Bonus: Mad Hatter’s hat
Did you know that the iconic hat that Johnny Depp wore in Alice in Wonderland was created in Regensburg, Germany? (Rewatch the movie here.*) To see it on display behind the till, head to the Hutkönig Manufaktur.
In store, there are hats for various budgets but all of them are very high end and come with the respective price tag. If you want to treat yourself and you’re crazy about hats, this is the perfect place for shopaholics sightseeing Regensburg.
There are fancy wide brimmed hats for 50s style ladies as well as modern interpretations of the classic Bavarian Hunter’s hat, too. And I had such a hard time leaving the store without buying one. They are expensive! But sooo gorgeous.
But if you do want to splurge, then ask the staff for recommendations. They have excellent customer service and you can try on a lot of hats and get excellent recommendations. Plus, a pretty and classic hat box to not damage your hat during transportation (even if you decide it wear it rightaway).
Adress: Hutkönig, Domplatz, Krauterermarkt 1, 93047 Regensburg
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