How to spend a day in Germany’s best-preserved medieval town


The tangled cobblestone street of the Old Town takes guests to unexpected places in a dizzying twist of buildings, alleys, and dead ends. The charming medieval shopping town of Regensburg was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. It is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany. Walking through the wide cobbled streets, getting lost in the narrow passages and discovering magnificent hidden courtyards is the best way to explore this beautiful Bavarian town along the Danube.

Noted for its eclectic mix of architecture, including Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles, the churches, fortifications and houses of Regensburg reflect its long and rich commercial history. If you love great food, beautiful buildings, romantic medieval streets, and eclectic shops, you’ll love exploring the perfect city of Regensburg.

The bustling streets of the village are filled with busy locals going about their daily business and tourists soaking up the freshness of medieval architecture. Regensburg is a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon.

Sandi Barrett

Explore Altes Rathaus

Altes Rathaus, the old town hall, was built in the 13th century on the central market square. From the late 1500s, the emperor called imperial assemblies in the Altes Rathaus. From the mid-1600s to the early 1800s, the Perpetual Reichstag, or governing body, met in this famous town hall. Many historians consider this to be the model of German parliaments and the European Union.

This pretty, well-preserved building and its clock tower are a well-known landmark of the old town. You can visit the old offices and meeting rooms. Be on the lookout for medieval torture tools housed in the ancient vault.

Porta Pretoria in Regensburg, Germany.
Sandi Barrett

Marvel at Porta Pretoria

Built around 2,000 years ago as the northern entrance to the fortress of Castra Regina, the Porta Praetoria is one of the oldest structures in Regensburg. It was a famous fortification deterring foreign marauders from attacking the city.

The gate was incorporated into the bishop’s court building, saving it from construction raids where local lords dismantled old abandoned fortifications to build their own castles.

The graceful lines and now decorative architectural walls are ready for pretty photos and guided tours.

St. Peter's Cathedral or Dom St. Peter in Regensburg, Germany.
Sandi Barrett

Praying at St. Peter’s Cathedral

St. Peter’s Cathedral where Dom St. Peter is the current seat of the Catholic Diocese of Regensburg. The original church was built around 700 AD and, like the fate of many medieval churches, was burnt down. The church was eventually rebuilt and moved to the current location at Domplatz 1.

The new church reflects a French Gothic architectural style. In the 17th century, the cathedral was renovated with a nod to the trendy Baroque style. In the 1800s, King Ludwig I of Bavaria again renovated the church in a Gothic Revival architectural style and eventually completed the spiers of the church which had remained unfinished for many years.

The cathedral with its imposing spiers dominates the skyline of the old town. The beautiful interior where Catholic Mass has been said for centuries houses ancient relics, resting and venerated by the congregation. The golden decor presents a feeling of great opulence and power.

St. Peter’s is currently undergoing restoration and cleanup. Like many medieval buildings, stone is affected by environmental elements and requires expensive care and renovation.

Sandi Barrett

Walk on the old stone bridge

Spanning the Danube is the charming Stone bridge. It is a marvel of medieval architecture and the first permanent bridge connecting cities on both sides of the Danube. This important piece of German history increased commercial traffic and consolidated Regensburg’s place as a center of trade and commerce. Until 1935, it was the only permanent bridge that spanned the Danube in the Regensburg region. The stone bridge served as a model for the historic Prague Charles Bridge which spans the Vltava river.

Stroll over the stone bridge and enjoy the view of the beautiful medieval old town of Regensburg. It is a wonderful place for selfies and professional staged photographs.

Wurstkuchl sausages in Regensburg, Germany at the base of the stone bridge.
Wurstkuchl sausages (Photo credit: Sandi Barrett)

Dine at the best medieval sausage stall

After getting lost in the maze of streets of the old town. Walk down to the river and grab a picnic table at the historic Wurstkuchl sausage stand. For centuries, the people of Regensburg and their guests have tasted these classic homemade sausages. The sweet aroma of sizzling pork on the charcoal grill permeates the air and makes your stomach growl. Accompanied by a cold pint, homemade sauerkraut and the famous mustard from the stand, you will have no other choice but to dive into this picnic tradition.

Located at the foot of the stone bridge, the picturesque river with the bridge spanning its circumference provides a wonderful backdrop for munching on your sausages and people-watching. Wurstkuchl is the best open air riverside restaurant for traditional German sausage and sauerkraut.

Bischofshof Braustaben biergarten in Regensburg, Germany.
Sandi Barrett

Take a break at Bischofshof Braustuben

When you want to experience classic German cuisine, stop for a freshly prepared meal at Bischofshof Braustuben. Located in the center of the old town, the outdoor tables are the perfect place to enjoy excellent Schnitzel, good conversations with friends and soak up the atmosphere of one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. .

Alternatively, the Bischofshof beer garden is a fun place to enjoy a local beer and rest your tired feet from a long day of sightseeing and shopping. Sometimes a pint and a short break are all it takes to get back into the tourist game.

Shop in Regensburg, Germany.
Sandi Barrett

The streets of the old town are full of upscale stores, specialty shops and bakeries. You’ll find the latest Birkenstocks, beer mugs, cuckoo clocks and beautiful Christmas decorations for sale as you stroll through the winding cobblestone streets.

Be sure to investigate the entrances to the arched lanes, they can house everything from restaurants to fabulous shops.

Danube Gorge in Germany.
Sandi Barrett

Navigate the Danube Gorge

Walking down the Danube Gorge to Weltenburg is a scenic way to spend the morning. As the fog clears, the gorge offers stunning views of the landscape with 300-foot cliffs and winding waterways. This Barvarian nature reserve, the Weltenburg Narrows, offers stunning views of the Liberation Hall in Kelheim.

You can board a tour boat at Kelheim and relax with a good German beer as you cruise through the gorges to Weltenburg Abbey. You will need to have your camera ready for this trip, it is a wonderful ride. You will not be able to stop taking pictures.

Walk to Weltenbourg Abbey

Weltenbourg Abbey is the oldest monastery in Bavaria; it was founded around the year 600 by the monks of Saint-Colomban. Construction of the beautiful Baroque church began in 1716 and was completed in 1751. Perched on the banks of the Danube, with acres of unspoiled countryside, the abbey is a quiet refuge for monks. That’s until visitors arrive to taste their award-winning lager, attend mass in the magnificent church, or simply enjoy the beautiful gardens along the river.

Make sure to stop when you walk through the lobby. You will find an interesting representation of the last four things: death, judgment, heaven and hell.

The dark beer from Weltenburg Abbey.
Sandi Barrett

Sip Weltenburg Abbey Dark Lager Beer

Arguably the oldest brewery in Germany, if not the world, with archives dating back to medieval times, the Weltenburg Abbey Brewery is famous for its Weltenburger Barock Dunkel dark beer. A full-bodied beer, it’s perfect when served with a classic German pretzel.

With a brewing recipe that hasn’t changed for centuries, and having a perfect source of delicious spring water, the monks made the heady brew with the same ingredients that have been used since its inception. It is aged on site in the cellar of the abbey brewery then piped directly to the tap. You will be hard pressed to find a fresher beer anywhere in Germany.

The brewery won gold at the World Beer Cup in 2004 in the European Style Dark category. Since then, the beer has won the award several times.

If you are visiting at noon, you can have a meal at the Abbey’s Klosterschenke Restaurant where many dishes are prepared by the monks and the Abbey staff.

Pro tip: Discover our history on the good dishes to taste in Bavaria; you might find your new favorite midweek.

Visit cities in Germany

The history of small towns and fortifications dot the German landscape. One of the most charming and popular ways to visit these well-preserved towns is by taking a river cruise. With your floating hotel, you can enjoy luxury accommodation, great sightseeing tours, and no one has to drive or navigate – a total win / win. However you plan your route along the Danube, consider this list of other beautiful places to visit in Bavaria as you put your plans in motion.

It doesn’t matter when you visit or how you get there, the next time you’re in Bavaria, spend a day in Regensburg, Germany’s best-preserved medieval town. You’ll love the simple but tasty food, the friendly people, the picturesque history and the relaxed atmosphere of Regensburg Old Town.

Other German destinations to explore include:

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