Regensburg: Exploring the First Capital of Bavaria

Being on the northern tip of the Danube and meeting the Regen River, the city of Regensburg has always seen a lot of activity. As far back as the Stone Age, people have found the location to be a convenient place to settle and conduct trade. The city was home to several important Roman forts, was the first capital of Bavaria from the 6th to 13th centuries, and became the capital of the Upper Palatinate region of Bavaria in 1838. Today, the city offers a wealth of activities for the fun-loving traveler.

Medieval Old Town and Schloss Thurn und Taxis

One of the few German towns that survived World War II largely undamaged, Regensburg’s medieval Old Town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stroll down its narrow lanes, lined with small shops that tout cheerful and unique wares, and inviting small cafés. The city offers beautiful old churches and many other wonderful monuments, such as Old Town Hall, with its elaborate façade, and the beautifully decorated rooms of Schloss Thurn und Taxis (Thurn and Taxis Palace). The palace, which became a residence of the princes of Thurn and Taxis in 1812, was formerly a Benedictine monastery dedicated to St. Emmeram. Many visitors enjoy the palace’s cloister, which dates back to the 11th century. In winter, its lovely courtyard is the setting for the famous Regensburg Christmas Market.

Museums and Historic Parks

There are also several museums in Regensburg, including the Museum of History, and a Navigation museum. After wandering the galleries, if you work up an appetite you can try the historic Sausage Kitchen “Wurstkuchl” on the southern bank of the Danube. It claims to be the oldest fast food joint in the world, having begun serving stonemasons working on the nearby Old Stone Bridge 500 years ago!

For a green interlude, visit one or more of the city’s parks or gardens. Villa Park, named for the neo-gothic villa built by King Maximilian II of Bavaria, runs along the right bank of the Danube. The villa itself is a backdrop to the park and its many activities. Duke’s Park, which surrounded the city in the Middle Ages, hints at Regensburg’s age. Its four-level Prebrunnturm (Prebrunn Tower) watchtower, still standing today, helped to protect the city. Duke’s Park also has monuments and a Renaissance garden in the middle — inviting a nice, long walk.

On Vantage Travel’s Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals, & Fairytales cruise, you can visit warm, welcoming Regensburg and enjoy its many cultural and architectural wonders. Journey to this beautifully preserved town and stroll the streets of history.

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