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 make sure that 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 was able to explore the city on my own and with a group during the time we had 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.
Getting the Best Views in Passau
My roommate, Angie, and I hired a cab to take us to the top of the mountainside to Innstadt (across the river from our cruise ship) to photograph the confluence of the rivers. Here, we captured amazing images of the spot where the Ilz (the darkest in color), Inn (lighter green in color), and Danube (dark green/blue in color and in the middle) meet. The spot is almost exactly on the border between Germany and Austria.
Passau’s scenery is spectacular. Incredible 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 made our way to the local shopping mall. There, we purchased some strawberry wine and chocolates to enjoy in our room. Another stop took us into 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. Stephen’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 located in Passau. 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. We lazily took photos of the town’s Italian Baroque architecture and photogenic scenery by using the zoom option on our cameras. Passau’s 14th-century Rathaus (City Hall) is in this area as well. 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.
Passau Photo Gallery
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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