Featuring great examples of architecture from the 9th to the 13th century (and from the Roman era), Regensburg’s Old Town is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Walking around this peaceful city, you are transported back to a time when Regensburg was a thriving trade centre with bustling markets on the streets and ships bringing in industry from the river Danube. Wealthy merchants would build their houses as high as possible to show their stature and the townspeople proudly displayed their religious beliefs in a city that was once at the centre of the Holy Roman Empire.
The well-preserved Old Town is not the only reason to visit this part of Bavaria but it does contain many of the city’s most popular sights. Here are some key spots to visit, whether you choose a multi-centre trip or a dedicated Regensburg city break.
St Peter’s Cathedral
Beautiful inside and out, St Peter’s Cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Southern Germany. Many other periods have influenced the building, though, from the original Romanesque church constructed on this spot in 700 to the Baroque features added in the 17th century and the Neo-Gothic restorations conducted by King Ludwig I.
St Peter’s is still an important place of worship today and is home to the Domspatzen Boys Choir. With a name meaning the ‘Cathedral Sparrows’, the choir can trace its roots back to 975 and has become an integral part of each service. Visitors can also see some delicate treasures from the Middle Ages in the Domschatzmuseum, located next door to the magnificent main building. Cathedral opening times are April, May & October: 6:30am – 6pm; June - September: 6.30am - 7pm; November - March: 6.30am - 5pm. Entrance to the public is not permitted during services.
Thurn and Taxis Palace
The Thurn and Taxis family are German nobility, making their fame and fortune through the creation a postal service in the 16th century. Originally from Italy, they later moved to Frankfurt and then Regensburg, adopting the German form of their name – which mean ‘tower and badger’ in English.
The family home is now open to the public, allowing visitors the chance to tour the rooms and see various different museum exhibitions. From the family’s collection of carriages to the treasury and chapel, you can see how they lived their extravagant lives and learn about the modern day ancestors of Franz von Taxis. The palace is open all year round but opening times do vary. You can only visit as part of a guided tour, which costs either €13.50 or €10 depending on whether you choose the compact or premium option.
An important piece of medieval architecture, the Stone Bridge was considered the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ when it was built in the 12th century. Not only that, it was also the longest bridge of its kind, an inspiration for other structures like the Charles Bridge in Prague and, until the 1930s, it was the only way of crossing the Danube in Regensburg.
Visitors today can get a great view of the Old Town from the bridge or from the district of Stadtamhof on the other side. This area is protected by UNESCO along with the Old Town and sits in the middle of the Danube.
To the unsuspecting tourist, this could be just another archway on one of the many narrow streets of the Old Town. But armed with the knowledge that it’s one of the original entrances inside the city walls, you may wish to take a closer look.
Porta Praetoria was the name given to the city gate closest to the River Danube. During renovation work to a nearby brewery in 1887, the partial tower and archway were discovered and have since been restored and given pride of place. Although something you could easily walk past without really noticing, this is one of only two Roman gates that still exists north of the Alps and yet another example of the rich history found within Regensburg’s Old Town.
If you like the idea of strolling through this UNESCO World Heritage Site, we can plan a tailor-made break to suit you. Don’t forget, you tell us when you would like to go and what you would like to do and we’ll do the hard work for you. You can even visit Regensburg as part of a holiday that takes in other destinations in the area – just ask. Call us on 0800 988 3369 today.