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Cruising to Passau, Germany

Cruising to Passau, Germany

(UPDATED OCTOBER 2021) I went on my second Viking River Cruise along the Danube River through Europe this spring. The embarkation spot was the Passau cruise port in Germany. Typically, I travel a day ahead of time to ensure nothing goes wrong (delays, bad weather, lost luggage). For the first time, I was using Viking Air which I scored for a $100 price tag that had me arriving seamlessly a few hours before the cruise began.


Since we had an overnight in Passau, I could explore the city alone and with a group during our time there. As it turned out, Passau, nicknamed The City of Three Rivers, was a gorgeous destination to visit and had the best souvenirs and prices of the entire cruise.


The Best Views in Passau

My roommate, Angie, and I hired a cab to take us to the top of the mountainside, Innenstadt, across the river from our cruise ship. We went there for the photo-ops of the confluence of the rivers. Here, we captured incredible images of the spot where the Ilz (the darkest in color), Inn (lighter green), and Danube (dark green/blue and in the middle) meet. The spot is almost exactly on the border between Germany and Austria.


Passau’s scenery is spectacular. Great flowering plants are scattered throughout town and along the riverbanks. Angie and I walked the Old Town (Altstadt) once on our own and once on the Viking-guided tour, loving the fresh air and magical scenery. We stopped in a few shops and headed to the local shopping mall, where we purchased strawberry wine and chocolates to enjoy in our room.


Another stop took us to Simon Confiserie, a shop that produces amazing gingerbread treats, referred to as lebkuchen in Germany.


Favorite Sites and Moments in Passau

One of the more famous sights, St. Stephan’s Cathedral, or Dom Sankt Stephan, is stunning. It is the massive white Baroque cathedral with green domes in the heart of Old Town. Be sure to go inside and see the impressive 17th-century decor and hand-painted frescoes. Passau Cathedral is home to the world’s largest cathedral organ, circa 1928, with 17,000 pipes.


The Löwenbräu beer factory is in Passau, Germany. It was only fitting that we enjoy a cold draft beer in its mother country, so we bellied up to a cafe table beside the Danube River and indulged. The moment was memorable: a tasty Löwenbräu beer, perfect weather, exploring a new city, and people-watching. 

Angie and I lazily took photos of the town’s Italian Baroque architecture and photogenic scenery using the zoom option on our cameras. Passau’s 14th-century Rathaus (City Hall) is also in this area. Its painted frescoes between the windows and at the top of the tower are incredible!


Starting Off with Flying Colors

Our cruise ship left lovely Passau en route to Linz with a few hours of scenic cruising to enjoy along the way. This turned out to be the best scenic cruising of the entire trip. Make sure to have your camera ready as you wave goodbye to beautiful Passau, Germany.

The Veste Oberhaus Museum in Passau was originally a fortress, circa 1219.

Fun fact: The Danube is the second longest river in Europe while the Ilz is called the Black Pearl of the Bavarian Forest.

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Read more posts about cruises:

Viking Rhine River Cruise

Eastern Caribbean Cruise

The Cruise Ports of Germany: What to Expect

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Walter Wolf

Monday 5th of November 2018

We booked our cruise, starting in Passau. We plan to arrive in Passau at least two days early. We need to know where and what time one checks in for the cruise. We are looking for a hotel near the dock (walking distance) to where we join the cruise. We are leaving late June, 2019.

Your site is really great!


Wednesday 7th of November 2018

Hello Walter! Congrats and thank you so much for your kind words! You are going to love cruising with Viking and the wonderful places you will see on that itinerary! I've found three hotels that look like perfect locations and have good reviews that would work for you. They are: Hotel Wilder Mann, Hotel Residenz, and Das Hornsteiner Pension (Das Hornsteiner Pension und Café am Dom), with the last one being my pick. Passau is an easy walking city so you'll have plenty to do while you are there. If you can get a taxi to take you to Veste Oberhaus across the river for pictures and overlooks, it is well worth the $30 or so it will cost you. Typically you check in on the boat between 12-4 or so, but it will be listed in your cruise documents closer to time. Remember, Passau has great souvenirs and for better prices than most of the places you'll go so if you need something, consider picking it up there. Have fun!!

Lara Dunning

Wednesday 29th of November 2017

This German town wasn't on my radar until now. The hubs would love it because he loves Löwenbräu! How did I not know they brewed this the beer here? Guess I need to read more beer labels. Ha! I now have it on my small town bucket list. Thanks!


Tuesday 5th of December 2017

Yes, you would definitely love this city! ;)


Tuesday 28th of November 2017

I so want to do a Viking River Cruise. One of these days I'll make it happen. They look so fun.


Monday 27th of November 2017

Stunning scenery! Strawberry wine and chocolates sound like a proper way to start the adventure!

Erin | The Epicurean Traveler

Monday 27th of November 2017

I would love to take my mom on a Viking River Cruise someday. So, this post was great inspiration! It sounds like your cruise was fun and full of interesting activities and scenic sights.

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