I’ve been in Europe for two months and I have one month left on this crazy, exciting journey! Time is really flying. I’ve been lucky to travel around a bit during my time here and have fallen even more in love with Germany (and Europe)… if thats possible!
Munich is a wonderful city for so many reasons, one being, it’s close proximity to really great places. I made it my mission to do short day-trips to maximize my ability to see more. I thought it would be fun to do a mini-series of how to spend “six hours in…” each city. Consider these “mini-guides” for quick adventures near Munich. First up, Regensburg!
Regensburg is a medieval city in Germany’s Bavarian region. It sits on the Danube River and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s origins date back to the Stone Age, with the earliest settlers believed to be from 9 A.D. During World War 2 it was home to an oil refinery and aircraft factory. It was bombed on a few occasions, but luckily little damage was done overall. Today, the city is a thriving tourist spot, often frequented by river cruisers. And, it’s an easy destination from both Nuremberg and Munich.
Distance from Munich
- 1.5 hour drive
- 2 hour train
Everything in the old city is close together, making it easy to see a lot in a short amount of time. For these “mini-guides”, I recommend having six hours to see everything listed. Of course, it’s up to you how long you spend at each spot. While most of these spots can be seen rather quickly, I recommend planning at least 1.5 hours for the last spot on this list, St. Emmerman – Thurn & Taxis Palace. I’ve also listed the sites in the order in which I recommend you visit them, based on the city layout.
Is a European town even European if they don’t have a stunning Gothic-style church towering over the city? The Regensburg Cathedral, also referred to as Dom St. Peter, opened in 1520. The twin spires are noticeable from all over the city, making a great backdrop in photos. The church is full of sculptures, stained glass windows dating back to medieval times, and around 100 images of St. Peter.
Old Stone Bridge
The Old Stone Bridge is the pride and joy of Regensburg. It dates back to the 12th century opening in 1136. Until the 1930’s it was the only bridge in the city. Originally, it had three towers but only one still stands today, at the entrance to the Altstadt. It’s currently being restored (and has been since 2010). While it’s not the most visually stunning, the history and importance of the bridge make it a must-see spot.
Regensburg wasn’t always the charming medieval city it is today. It was once home to a Roman Settlement. The Porta Praetoria is the remaining wall of the former military camp, and is Germany’s oldest stone building, dating from 179 A.D. What’s even more interesting, is it wasn’t re-discovered until 1885 during renovations to a connecting brewery!
The Goliath House was built in 1260 and is famous for it’s 1573 painting of David and Goliath. The painting is a couple of stories high, on the side of the building. Make sure to look up, as not to miss this giant.
Haidplatz is one of Regensburg’s oldest town squares. It’s home to the Golden Cross, a former castle, which is currently a hotel. Haidplatz is also home to the smaller Lucrezia Christmas market. While it doesn’t seem to be as popular with tourists, it’s cozy and inviting. A small stage is set up in the center for live performances. Many stands offer wooden goods, ceramics, and drinks & food; they offer plenty of vegetarian options.
Neufarrplatz is the central town square in Regensburg’s Altstadt. It tends to be much louder and busier than Haidplatz. The Neufarrkirche, an Evangelical church, sits in the center of the square. The traditional architecture and pastel buildings make for a lovely backdrop.
During Advent (Christmas time), the square is home to the city’s main Christmas Market. This market is quite large, offering a variety options for everyone; it’s very easy to find vegetarian items… I’ll take a spaetzle and a gluhwein, bitte!
St. Emmerman – Thurn & Taxis Palace
What exactly is Thurn & Taxis? It’s the family name for a Noble German family. Their history is quite fascinating. They’re known for organizing the first imperial postal system in Italy in the 16th century; leading to the development of an international postal service. Back when it began, a letter could travel from Brussels, Belgium to Innsbruck, Austria in just 5 days! Considering I still wait over a week for standard Nordstroms shipping, I’m pretty impressed! The family has resided at the Palace St. Emmerman in Regensburg for over 250 years.
During Advent, a beautiful market is set up on the grounds of the palace, known as the Romantic Christmas Market. It’s truly special. Princess Gloria von Thurn and Taxis is rumored to wander the market and mingle with the guests. Due to her extensive efforts to conserve the cultural heritage of the Thurn & Taxis family, many community events, such as the market, have come to life, adding to the tourism in Regensburg.
Like Regensburg, the other cities I plan to share would ideally garner at least an over-night stay to fully explore; but for the purpose of these posts, I’m giving the must-see list for those short on time. One of the best things about Europe is the ability to explore so much in so little time. I know some people prefer to spend many long, leisurely days, but for others thats just not possible. So I say, get out there and see what you can, you only live once!
Do you prefer to spend many days exploring one place or hopping around to see more in a short time?