Passau, Germany, is a gem in the heart of Europe that tourists often overlook. A trip to Passau is a must for any traveler who enjoys culture, history, and architecture. This charming city is a part of the Romantic Road, one of the most scenic drives that can be taken via a road trip. But did you know that you could cruise along the Danube River to reach Passau? In this blog post, we will provide a complete guide to cruising to Passau, Germany, and what to see or do in the city, as I did with Viking River Cruises.
Where is Passau?
Passau is a city in the southeastern part of Germany where the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers meet, hence its nickname, “The City of Three Rivers.” The city is known for its baroque architecture, cathedrals, museums, and shopping.
The Danube River currently has a dozen or more cruise ships and three river cruise lines that depart from Passau: UniWorld, Viking River Cruises, and CroisiEurope. River cruises typically dock in the city’s center, and passengers can easily explore the city on foot. Several other cruise lines stop in Passau as one of their ports of call.
St. Stephan’s Cathedral, also known as Dom Sankt Stephan and Stadt Passau, is a must-see attraction in Passau. This stunning white Baroque cathedral with green domes is in the heart of Old Town. Inside, you will find impressive 17th-century decor and hand-painted frescoes. Notably, the cathedral houses the world’s largest organ, boasting 17,000 pipes. Its architectural splendor and the allure of the grand organ draw organ enthusiasts from around the world.
The Veste Oberhaus Fortress is another tourist attraction that offers breathtaking views of the city and the Danube River. My friend and I took a taxi there for the ultimate pictures of the whole city. The Bavarian kings used the fortress, which later served as a prison and is now a museum that showcases Passau’s history.
For those interested in history, visiting the Passau Glass Museum is a must. This museum showcases glasswork from the 18th to 21st centuries and offers visitors a unique opportunity to observe the art of glassblowing.
Passau also has several markets where travelers can purchase souvenirs and locally-produced goods. I found Passau to have the best souvenirs of my whole Danube River Cruise (with Viking River Cruises) and definitely the best prices.
The Passau Christmas market, held annually, is worth a visit. This popular event showcases Christmas decor, handmade gifts, and traditional delicacies.
My Favorite Things to See and Do in Passau
My cruise partner and lifelong friend, Angie, and I had a blast checking out Passau on foot. We explored Old Town (Altstadt) on our own and with the Viking-guided tour. On our own, we strolled the streets, soaking in the enchanting scenery, and shopped some local boutiques. Colorful flowering plants adorn the town and riverbanks, adding to its charm.
We even visited the local shopping mall, purchasing strawberry wine and chocolates for a tasty cruise stateroom treat.
Angie and I couldn’t resist capturing the town’s picturesque Italian Baroque architecture and stunning scenery with the zoom option on our cameras. Notably, Passau’s 14th-century Rathaus (City Hall), adorned with captivating painted frescoes, is located in this area.
The beauty of Passau’s scenery is simply breathtaking.
Tasty Dishes to Try in Passau
Passau is also a foodie’s paradise, with many restaurants serving traditional Bavarian cuisine. The city is known for its white asparagus, typically served with potatoes and hollandaise sauce.
Take advantage of the opportunity to try Passau’s exceptional beer, as the city is home to numerous breweries. The Löwenbräubeer factory offers a variety of beer styles, and my friend Angie and I recognized that beer from the States. We had the pleasure of enjoying a cold draft beer at a cafe table by the Danube River.
It was a truly memorable moment: the delicious Löwenbräu beer, perfect weather, exploring a new city, and people-watching.
For those with a sweet tooth, the Bavarian cream, a dessert made with rich custard and whipped cream, is a must-try. You may also want to Simon Cafe, a shop renowned for its delectable gingerbread treats, known as lebkuchen in Germany. It is sinfully delicious!
What a Way to Start Your River Cruise
Cruising to Passau, Germany, provides travelers with a unique way to discover this amazing city in the heart of Europe. Passau offers a range of attractions that cater to travelers with different interests, from history to culture to shopping. We hope our guide will provide enough information to include Passau on your next European trip.
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