It’s funny how you end up places sometimes. I’d never heard of Regensburg until several friends sent me pictures of a restaurant called Dombrowski. It was located in a charming square in Regensburg, Germany. I knew nothing else beyond that some town in Germany had a restaurant with the same name as my last name, ironically a Polish last name. I had to go. Sadly, the restaurant has since been sold and renamed but what I found was an incredibly cute town that felt like I’d been dropped right into one of those ceramic German villages you find stalls selling at Christkindlmarkts. Here’s what to do with 36 hours in Regensburg:
Weltenburger am Dom | 7pm
There is no better way to begin a visit to Regensburg than with dinner at the historic Weltenburger am Dom. I promise you that they serve the best schnitzel (yes, I know weiner schnitzel is technically an Austrian dish) you will ever have the pleasure of putting in your mouth. Seriously, it was so good that I went back and had it twice.
Weltenburger am Dom’s own creation, it’s called the Weltenburger Bockbierschnitzel. It’s a pork schnitzel with a pretzel breading that is mixed with the famous Händlmaier sweet mustard from Regensburg, topped with fried onions and served with a sauce made with their famous Bockbiersoße (a dark beer) that you pour all over it.
Aside from the food coma inducing Weltenburger Bockbierschnitzel, this restaurant is famed for their Weltenburg Asam Bockbier and even I had to give it a try. It’s brewed at the Weltenburger Kloster, which is the oldest monastery-brewery in Bavaria.
Welternburger am Dom is open daily from 11am – 11pm; kitchen is open until 10pm.
Regensburg is one of the best preserved historical centers in Germany. It (thankfully) was mostly spared from World War II and its buildings have mostly remained unchanged since the 14th century, earning the charming town a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Yes, the entire old town and that means that just about every building has a story.
Though relatively compact, Regensburg’s prime location on the Danube made the Medieval town an important trading post and in turn its residents were very wealthy. Today, it’s a largest university town and still quite wealthy with virtually no unemployment. Though I don’t think that anyone will be competing to build the highest tower on their home to show off their wealth, as residents from the 13th – 15th centuries did.
The most obvious sign of wealth is the palace that sits right in the heart of the city. Schloss St. Emmeram, a converted Benedictine monastery, is home even today to the princes of Thurn and Taxis. Franz von Taxis had established the very first postal system in Europe in the 15th century and moved their royal residence to Regensburg in the 17th century.
At the time the palace was one of the most modern palaces in Europe complete with central heating. I don’t even have central heating in my Italian home in 2015, so this was quite the big deal in the 17th century. Luxuries like the central heating aren’t the only thing I would swoon over; the beautifully decorated rooms that can be visited on the guided tour will make you want to live as a prince or princess.
Regensburg is a town of churches – 42 of them to be exact! None tower so high into the sky as Dom St. Peter though. It was built in the 1300s on the site of other cathedrals and is the finest Gothic building in Bavaria. When we took a look close up, we noted that it is built of different types of stones, most notably the green sandstone.
I continued to weave my way along the narrow, curving cobbled lanes while hearing stories of the merchant houses, the 42 churches and the Old Town Hall with my guide. Without her, I would have missed the quirky little details that are hidden in plain sight, which is why a guided city tour is a must.
Regular guided city walking tours are available from the Tourist Office and are €8 per person or €16 for a family ticket and last about 1.5 hours.
Historische Wurstkuchl | 1pm
Famished from traversing Regensburg end to end, the Historische Wurstkuchl is another must-try and perfect for lunch. A building was originally built in this spot as the construction office in 1135 while the Old Stone Bridge was being constructed. When the bridge was finished in 1146, it became a kitchen and would serve locals for many centuries.
The building at the end of the Old Stone Bridge isn’t the original building, but historical records show that the 17th century building is just about the same dimensions. And it continues to serve locals and tourists alike to this day. The Historische Wurstkuchl is most famous for their sausages, which are handmade daily and served in portions of six, eight or ten with sauerkraut and sweet mustard.
Outside at the historical tavern you can only order sausages. If sausages aren’t your thing, the indoor strudel room offers a menu of regional dishes.
Historische Wurstkuchl is open daily from 8am – 7pm.
Mustard Tasting | 2pm
That’s right. Mustard tasting. But Händlmaier isn’t just any mustard; the sweet mustard has famous all over Germany. A little over a century ago a master butcher opened a shop in Regensburg. The butcher’s wife, Johanna Händlmaier, created the recipe for the sweet mustard in 1914 and eventually the son and daughter-in-law, Louise, sold the butcher shop to focus solely on producing the mustard.
Louise founded the company Händlmaier in 1964 and the company began producing various types of mustard. You can visit the shop, which isn’t located far from the Old Town Hall and have a mustard tasting of the various mustard. They have quite a unique selection like mustard with honey and dill or mustard with orange and pepper. You can sample the various mustard with bread sticks to see which is your favorite. My favorite was the original Händlmaier’s sweet Hausmachersenf and I couldn’t resist bringing some home. My jar cost less than €2!
Händlmaier is located at Eschenbacher Str. 2.
The Old Town Hall is actually a three building complex, with the oldest part dating from the 13th century. It was here that the Imperial Diet, a type of general assembly, met from 1663 to 1806.
If, like me, you’re not up on your Germany history and have never heard of the Imperial Diet until setting foot in Regensburg, the approximately hour long guided tour of the Old Town Hall is a fascinating look in to what exactly the Imperial Diet was and how it played an important role in Regensburg’s history.
After visiting the secret chamber where the Imperial Diet met out of the “public eye” and the large Imperial Chamber, we made our way down to the dungeon. It was here that people charged with an offense were “questioned” and the very torture devices we see today are just as the chamber was left after its last use.
A Chocolate Pick-Me-Up | 4pm
After touring the Old Town Hall, head right across the square to Cafe Prinzess. The coffee house and chocolate shop is the oldest coffee house in Germany and has been making chocolate pralines for the international ambassadors to the Imperial Diet since 1676. You can still order the very recipes today.
I sampled a few more than I’d like to admit and they were all delicious! One of my favorites was the “Heavenly Whisper,” which is a homage to Pope Benedict, who is a Bavarian. It’s a macadamia nut in cherry marzipan, capped with Black Forest kirsch and coated in dark chocolate. It’s topped with 24 karat edible gold leaf.
Cafe Prinzess is located at Rathausplatz 2 and is open from 9am – 6:30pm.
Kneitinger Brewery | 7pm
Another Regensburg institution, Kneitinger Brewery serves traditional Bavarian specialties and, of course, the famous bock beer that has been brewed here for more than 150 years. The bock beer is a dark and chocolaty beer that the Regensburgers are particularly proud of. Even I, who rarely drinks beer, gave it a try as a local’s urging.
The tables are communal, so you’ll find a mix of locals, students and tourists alike drinking, eating and socializing until closing time.
Kneitinger Brewery is located at Arnulfsplatz 3.
Cruise on the Danube | 11am
Even on days when the sun doesn’t shine in Regensburg, the Crystal Ship sparkles. The ship is made exclusively from Swarovski crystals and Swarovski elements. From the glittering bejeweled bar to the sparkling staircase, the ship itself is enough to ooh and ahh over. But the one hour cruise down the Danube to Walhalla is a scenic feast for the eyes as you cruise through German nature and past postcard perfect villages set on the riverbank.
You can disembark at Walhalla and make the climb up to the Greek temple inspired memorial before cruising back to Regensburg, where you’ll have barely scratched the surface of all there is to do in this charming Medieval city.
Know Before You Go
My Regensburg trip was provided by the German National Tourist Office in order to bring you this story. However, Luxe Adventure Traveler maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely our own.