When it’s vacation time, one can never run short of things to do in Regensburg. If the city has been on your radar, here is what you should know before you visit.
To the East of Bavaria lies the cosmopolitan city of Regensburg. As the 4th largest city in the State of Bavaria, it thrives on tourism.
Each year, it welcomes thousands of visitors from across the world. The reason being, there are more historical sights and other stunning attractions than anyone can exhaust in several visits.
The fact is that the city isn’t young. Its first accounts of human settlement date back to the Stone Age. Once the Romans started conquering Europe, they built a mighty river fort in the area. Over the centuries, it remained an influential city in the region.
At one time, Regensburg was even an imperial city until 1803. The city’s rich history even includes some of the worst moments in human existence – the Nazi reign.
However, it’s been growing since 1945 and now boasts as a major economy. In 2006, the UNESCO World Heritage included Old Town in its exclusive list.
Agreeably, there are lots of things to do in Regensburg, than one can imagine.
Top Things to do in Regensburg and Surrounding Areas
Did you know there was a Scottish monastery in Regensburg? Well, be sure to check it out as you checklist things to do in Regensburg.
The Scots Monastery goes as far back as the 11th century. Missionaries from Ireland built it and later handed it over to Scottish monks. The Irish missionaries built a small abbey at first but had to expand it, as the number of missionaries from Ireland to the area skyrocketed at that time.
Ownership of the monastery from the Irish to Scottish monks was through a papal public decree. This took place in 1577 and remained under Scottish leadership until 1820. The monastery lost its status and became a priory given the few monks residing in it.
Today, its doors remain open, and it functions as a seminary for the Roman Catholic Church in Regensburg. Inside, visitors can marvel at the architecture and check out the library. The library contains lots of manuscripts from the first time it opened its doors.
2. St Peter’s Cathedral (Regensburg Cathedral)
A tour of any European city must always include catching a glimpse of the fantastic churches. And, among the stunning things to see in Regensburg is the St. Peter’s Cathedral. If you are interested in the Gothic style, this is the place to see it in its entire splendor.
Before the construction of the cathedral, a smaller structure stood to the west, in the year 700. In 1273, it burned down, paving the way for the construction of the phenomenal Gothic cathedral. Today, the Regensburg Cathedral borders the Stone Bridge at the cathedral square.
You can spend some time checking out the two tall spires that are still intact. Then head over to its western side, which dates back to 1395.
After a tour of the exterior, be ready to behold an impressive Gothic interior. There’s stained glass from the 13th century and St. Stephen’s chapel from 800AD. Today, you can attend mass, listen to the hanging organ, and the boys’ choir also makes fantastic music.
3. The Stone Bridge
In the 12th century, there was a need to cross the mighty Danube River by Regensburg residents. It led to the construction of the now historic Stone Bridge. The bridge still stands strong and had served the city for more than nine centuries.
Truthfully, there’s no other bridge of its kind in Europe, and it features quality medieval mastery. Though there have been many activities in the past, today, the bridge only allows foot traffic. Taking a walk across it is part of things to do in Regensburg that you wouldn’t want to miss.
From the 310m bridge, you can see the whole city and the numerous crafts floating underneath it. On one end, you can enter one of its standing towers. It hosts the Bridge Tower Museum that’s full of historical documents and artifacts.
Finally, you can view the oldest clock in the city at the tower. It dates back to 1652 and still tells the time to date. It’s an impressive work of art that you can see at the top of the tower.
4. Altes Rathaus
As you contemplate on what to do in Regensburg, be sure to pass by the Altes Rathaus. It’s the oldest town hall in the city. Construction of the yellow structure started in the 11th century.
The building forms part of the new town hall but it’s one of Regensburg attractions, all on its own. It’s rich in history after hosting the Roman assemblies from 1594 to 1806. You can understand more about this once you step inside the multiple rooms.
The Roman historical Diet met in one of the chambers. It’s been preserved and forms part of the top Regensburg tourist attractions. The wall decorations and throne for the emperor are well-reserved.
The upper part of the building has some unique rooms. And, below are dungeons where prisoners were locked away.
5. The Museum of History
Do you need more stuff to do in Regensburg? How about heading over to the Regensburg Museum of History? Here you’ll come face to face with the fantastic tales of how this great city came into existence from the Stone Age.
An old monastery houses the museum today and forms part of its allure for visitors. Inside are artifacts, artworks, and many more items spanning centuries. Not to mention there’s plenty of Gothic architecture and influence of the monastery structure.
Enjoy learning about all the people who’ve resided in this region. There’s even a skull of a woman from the year 200! The museum’s structure includes two floors. The 1st floor is all about the Stone Age to the time of the Romans.
Above this is the 2nd floor that houses arts and other items from the Renaissance and modern eras.
6. The Goliathhaus
Picture this: a historic building in Regensburg with a giant mural of David and Goliath. That’s what awaits you when you tour the patrician house! The building is quite old, going as far back as 1260. Back then, the area had a significant Roman camp that provided shelter to hundreds of Roman soldiers.
One point to note about the mural is it’s not a recent addition. Melchior Bocksberger did it in 1573. He was an artist from Salzburg.
The building was home to the Goliards clergy. They are responsible for the satirical poetry popular during that era.
The patrician house was built on the south part of the camp and is now a top tourist attraction. Apart from the mural, you can get something to eat at the restaurant on its top floor. Dining at the restaurant, enjoying some of German’s top delicacies, is among the best things to do in Regensburg.
7. The Herzogspark
Quaint parks tops up your list of things to do in Regensburg. When you need some time away from the tourist-filled streets, step into Herzogspark. It’s a small park offering visitors a moment of peace and tranquility.
Here, you marvel at the beautiful nature around you, having some of the most serene moments. As a botanical garden, Herzogspark is among the best places to take kids. Children and the whole family get to learn about different flora that grows here.
The good news, though it’s a municipal park, it’s rife with history. It was set up in 1293 and has continued to thrive over the centuries in Regensburg. Briefly, in 1804, it fell into private ownership but reverted to the city in 1935.
From then on, millions of tourists from across the world have spent time here on their tour of this marvelous Bavarian city.
8. Theatre Regensburg
Not all activities must fall during the day. There are plenty of things to do in Regensburg at night, including attending Theatre Regensburg. Be ready for an enchanting night once you step into the historic building.
Theatre Regensburg first opened its doors in 1804 and continues to put on shows to date. Here concerts, ballets, opera, plays, and shows, are just a part of what will make you might so entertaining.
It’s worth noting that the current theater isn’t the original one set up in 1804. The first one burnt down, and another was completed in 1852. However, the only difference between them was the building. The theatre kept the same themes.
The history of Germany is rife with distinguished people who’ve played crucial roles in shaping the country. A memorial hall (Walhalla) stands in Regensburg where tourists can learn about their most outstanding achievements.
At Walhalla, you get to learn about these great politicians, scientists, leaders, and artists. Interestingly, all of them are from a region far broader than what is today Germany. Some came from as far as the United Kingdom.
The story goes that Walhalla was built as a reminder of how great Germany was and can be. By 1806, Napoleon had conquered much of the Greater Germany territories. It led to Prince Ludwig commissioning artists to create busts of great people in German history in 1807.
By his coronation, the artists had a collection of 60 busts and needed a place to display them. It led to the construction of the hall of fame in 1826 at a spot that overlooked the Danube River. Visiting this historic site helps you figure out what to see in Regensburg.
You can walk through and view the busts of different people plus plaques of people who didn’t have any portraits. The original busts are still intact, plus more, commissioned over the years of notable Germans. The most recent bust added to the collection is Kathe Kollwitz in 2018, a notable German artist.
See related: 4 Best Things to Do in Leverkusen | Top Attractions
10. Museum of Danube Shipping
At some point in history, the mighty Danube River was a beehive of activity. Boats would sail up and down, transporting goods and people. It was one of the fastest means of transport back in the day. One way to understand how crucial this type of transport was is to tour the Danube shipping museum.
The good news is, this isn’t any ordinary museum. Two tugboats form the perfect setting to learn all you need about this industry. Besides, you won’t need to convince the kids to tag along this time. A tour of these tag boats is a must among things to do in Regensburg on your trip.
The setup of the museum dates back to 1923, but it didn’t open until 1942. You can learn all about Danube shipping history, from small boats to the complex steam engines of the industrial revolution. Also, there are plenty of well-preserved parts of these boats to see.
11. Schloss St. Emmeram
Bavaria stands out due to the numerous monasteries that dot its expansive landscape. One worth noting is the Schloss St. Emmeram or St. Emmeram Basilica, an ancient abbey dating back to 739.
Today, it’s a church that locals frequent after receiving Basilica minor status from the Roman Catholic Church in 1964. The fantastic structure also attracts visitors who want to take in the architecture and learn about its history.
Apart from the architecture, you can also view the tombs of notable people associated with its history. For instance, view the crypt of the East Franks Queen Emma, who died in 876. Another is that of St. Emmeram, a Christian bishop who died in 652.
12. Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg
Of course, your visit to Regensburg attractions isn’t complete without sampling the local cuisine. Being in Germany, you know sausage must be on the menu. So, head over to the Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg to sample some.
The good news is you won’t only be eating but also marveling at the historic sight. The restaurant has existed here since 1135. It was opened to serve food for the construction workers who built the Stone Bridge.
After the bridge was complete, the café never closed its doors. Construction of the St. Peter Cathedral began, which meant more workers needed food.
The original building doesn’t exist, but the current one is just as historic. It was built in the 17th century and carries traces of the initial one.
The restaurant has been specializing in German sausage since 1806. Pass by for a meal every day during your visit between 8 in the morning and 7 in the evening. Don’t miss out on eating some authentic regional sausage delicacies in Regensburg.