A Medieval Capital on the Danube
Capital of Bavaria before Munich and one of the most beautiful medieval cities in Germany, Regensburg and much of eastern Bavaria has remained an insider’s secret even to Germans. During the years of Communist control, this area near the Czech border was considered a dead end.
Much of the surviving architecture dating to its glory days between the 13th and 16th centuries (which moved Emperor Maximilian to say in 1517 that “Regensburg surpasses every German city with its outstanding and vast buildings”) remains unchanged. Everything here is original, unlike many reconstructed German towns damaged by WW II air raids.
Tourism authorities exaggerate little in listing no fewer than 1,300 buildings as being of historical interest, and Regensburg is known as “the city of churches” for good reason. The Dom St. Peter is held by many to be Germany’s crowning Gothic example (housing what is likely to be the only extant statue of the Devil’s grandmother) and is famous for both its 14th-century stained-glass windows and its internationally renowned boys’ choir, the Domspatzen (Cathedral Sparrows).
Situated at the northernmost navigable point of the Danube River, Regensburg was already an important river town when the Romans arrived in the 7th century. The Danube can best be observed at sunset from the 12th-century Steineme Brucke (Old Stone Bridge), built with sixteen graceful arches.
Call it a day at the nearby Historische Wurstkuche, the town’s oldest restaurant, where outdoor trestle tables on the Danube provide communal seating-with-a-view for a simple alfresco meal of Regensburg’s famous grilled sausages and locally brewed beer.