Passau’s Old City Center is surround by three rivers that converge into one large river. There’s the Donau (Danube), Inn and Ilz rivers. Therefore, Passau is also known as “The City of Three Rivers“. Passau is also a very popular tourist destination for those traveling by boat down the Danube River.
Passau straddles the border between Germany and Austria and has a long history, dating back to the time of the Romans. Large parts of the town were destroyed by a massive fire in 1662 and reconstruction began in Baroque, Rococo and Neo-Classical features throughout the entire town.
Passau has charming small allies throughout the entire town, reminiscent of Regensburg. Be sure to take the time and stroll through the allies. Don’t worry, it’s not possible to get lost on this little peninsula town situated between the Danube and the Inn.
So my friend Erin came to Germany in her attempt to also teach English in Germany. While she stayed with Hans and me, we took a day trip on one of our many public holidays Bavaria has to offer! The best thing about living in Germany, is how cheap you can divide a ticket between a group of people, good for all day, any train and anywhere you want to go within that state!
Upon deciding to go to Passau, I was a little bit worried about how it would be considering just a few short months prior to this day trip, Passau was one of the hardest hit towns to be affected by the Great Flood of 2013. The flood of 2013 was the worst flood in 500 years for many cities throughout Europe which sit along the Danube. However, for Passau, it was by far the most devastating flood, breaking all previous records. (Pictures of flood are from Google)
The Old Town Hall is where the flood records are kept, along the side of the building. On the picture to the right, you can see how high the water got on the red line I drew. Many cities near rivers in Germany are prone to high flooding and they keep records like this on one building. I was shocked to see just how much water had flooded the town and there were still several companies out of business which you could tell had been badly affected. It was unimaginable to think that where we were standing, the water was that high.
When we first got to Passau, it was still early in the morning on a public holiday so the streets were eerily empty. We had the whole town pretty much to ourselves. It isn’t very far to walk from the train station into the main town. The first port of call was the main cathedral is Dom St. Stephan which is absolutely breathtaking inside. The outside looked very similar to the Salzburger Dom in Austria! We had to wait outside for a bit though because there was a church service in procession. Once allowed inside, you could see the stunning Rococo and Baroque styles mixed in the ceiling. I even had to sit down just to enjoy the views. It was so beautiful!
St. Stephan Cathedral’s organ held the first place for a long time for the world’s largest organs until in 1994, the First Congressional Church in Los Angeles expanded their organs.
Just like many towns in Germany, Passau has its fair share of churches to check out as you are walking through the Old Town. It is a little hilly though so beware! You can also catch a glimpse of the beautiful Neues Residenz with its beautiful fountain in front of it. Apparently, I forgot to take a picture!
The Old Town of Passau is mainly on the tiny strip of island in the middle of the two main rivers. So we walked around the whole island, all the way to the tip and around. Along the Inn River, there you can find the Schaiblingsturm (tower) which is some of the remains of the old Gothic town wall. Here you could really see how high the water had gotten during the floods.
After we had lunch at a cute, small café, we made our way up to the Veste Oberhaus which is the former castle of the prince-bishops. Down along the Donau River in front of the Old Town Hall, you can buy a cheap transportation ticket to take you to the Veste Oberhaus. There is a small white shuttle van/bus that will take you across the river and up to the Vester Oberhaus and drop you off directly in front of the entrance to buy tickets. The van/bus makes several trips a day and will pick you up in the same spot to take you back down the hill.
We decided to go into the museum (for me only because the ticket-lady said it was the only way you would get the best views of Passau). The more museums I visit, the faster I walk through them. Unless I know there is something interesting I want to see, I don’t do well with museums. So to pass the time, I found windows to take pictures through.
After patiently waiting until the good part, I finally got some amazing shots of Passau at the end of the museum. You can see that the Dom St. Stephan dominated the skyline of Passau and how colorful the town really is!
Be sure to check out other posts near Passau!
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