It may have been a last-minute addition to the itinerary, thrown into the mix purely because it broke up the drive from Heidelberg to the Czech Republic, but there are many reasons to visit Regensburg.
To think it only appeared on the radar thanks to a blog post I read about an amazing building called Walhalla, located not far outside the city (apologies to the author of that blog but I can not remember where I saw it, I will give credit if I find your identity). More on this monument later.
We arrived early in the afternoon but took a while to find our accommodation. Just outside town, over a dodgy casino, and with a well-disguised entrance this place was certainly no Ritz but it did the job for a night and was the right price.
Regensburg was a revelation. Beautiful buildings, impressive city gates at all major roads, some nice Christmas Markets, and some wonderful old restaurants and beer halls combine to make it another small city that should be added to your list of places to visit. Even the rain could not dampen our enthusiasm as we wandered the narrow streets, trying to catch each other’s attention to point out another wonderful sight.
We spent some time in and around the Cathedral, sure every European city seems to have a mind-blowing church or two, but this one can proudly hold its own against any competition. I am amazed every time I enter one of these Cathedrals, at how they could possibly have built such a marvel. How did they move these enormous stones into place, some at ridiculous heights? How did they complete the marvelous ceilings, arched in perfect symmetry? And how did they do all this in a way that has stood for centuries?
With the sun setting at a disturbingly early hour we decided on an early dinner. Our body clocks were still far from adjusted but my stomach was in no mood to have any sort of discussion about it with my brain.
We found a great little place called the Ratskeller Restaurant and escaped the rain, climbing down the stairs to this basement establishment. Giant beers, massive schnitzels, and assorted meats on a stick, what more could you want in Germany?
We missed out on the best views of the river due to the weather, which was a shame. If you are wondering why I say this then just Google some images of Regensburg and you will completely understand. What we did manage to see was worthwhile but on a nicer day, we would have explored further.
The rest of the night we spent wandering the beautiful streets and exploring the Christmas Markets. Another Gluhwein, some more sweet treats, I was getting used to this and Germany was now two for two in my books.
The most enjoyable part of wandering through the Regensburg markets was that, although they were quite small compared to many others we would see, there were far fewer people which meant we could explore without having to wait for a break in the human traffic jams and you could walk around with your warm Gluhwein without losing half of it as a casualty of hit and run accidents.
Overall I rate Regensburg as one of my hidden gems. I never expected to be there in the first place, and had no idea what to expect while I was there, but loved every rain-soaked minute of our visit. Off to bed and tomorrow we would have our first taste of the Czech Republic. But not before we made a slight detour on the way out of town.
Walhalla looks so out of place like it was somehow transported through space and ended up in the wrong country. Modeled on the Parthenon in Greece, Walhalla stands high on the hills outside Regensburg and is used as a German Hall of Fame.
It is spectacular to see from a distance but even more so as you get closer. A nice bonus to your visit is the incredible view across the river below, toward Regensburg. A view worth searching out even without the accompanying architectural masterpiece.
Have you been to Regensburg? Did you get to Walhalla? If not then you should be kicking yourself about now.