During our one day stop in Passau Germany on the Viking Grand European Tour, we explored this quaint town, learning about its history, culture, architecture, and people. One of the great things about Passau Germany is that its Old World charm is fairly contained, so it is easy to navigate through various attractions on foot. You can plan your day in Passau, Germany to encapsulate all of the venues listed below, and if you find yourself too weary from traveling, you can easily stop in a local cafe or park and take in the scenery. But please note, this charming town is going to steal your heart with its colorful facades and lush greenery.
Passau, Germany – Exploring Options During Your Cruise
Passau Walking Tour
One of the greatest things about visiting Passau Germany is that you can experience so much of what the town has to offer on foot. During the Walk Tour, we had the opportunity to visit so many venues and also experience the sights and sounds of the town, interact with locals, and see more than we might if visiting by car or tour bus. This unique experience is highly recommended, and fortunately you can experience so much of Passau Germany by walking along the city’s streets. Once you’ve had a chance to take in the charm of the town of three rivers, you’ll be glad you did so on this wonderful walking tour with Viking.
Veste Oberhaus (Old Bishop’s Residence)
Visit Veste Oberhaus for some of the most magnificent panoramic views of Passau Germany. Royalty ensues at this venue that was previously the residence of the former Archbishop of Passau Germany. The structure is delightfully majestic and globally imposing in stature. You’ll find the architectural pieces, rich colors, attention to detail, and shear size of the residence astonishing.
There is a special museum now housed within the Veste Oberhaus. You’ll also find a restaurant inside as well, serving local traditional cuisine with a palatial terrace that offers more noteworthy views. You can select from the lunch or dinner menus, or enjoy a coffee and snack while you take in the extraordinary views, especially of the three rivers converging at Dreiflusseeck.
Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)
This government building is situated against the Danube River, and you’ll find it by its distinctive Gothic clock tower at the front. This is one of the more notable landmarks in Passau Germany. The building is constructed in a classical Venetian style, dating back to the 15th Century. On the facade of the building, you’ll find depictions of historical figures from Passau Germany. There are even water levels recorded for Passau Germany, with data logged from many years past.
Inside the Town Hall, you’ll find various noteworthy murals, each hand painted with immense attention to detail. An information center provides data, local attractions, and more history. There is a well-kept area in front of the Old Town Hall for people-watching, reading, or enjoying a refreshing beverage.
St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Organ Concert
One of the most visited sights in all of Passau Germany is St. Stephan’s Cathedral. When you observe the grand nature of this castle style cathedral with its prominent Baroque style architecture, you’ll soon know why it garners such popularity. History even states that there were various churches built on the site where the present day cathedral stands as early as the year 730. Still a very historical building, the present day St. Stephan’s Cathedral was completed in 1688. There is incredible craftsmanship and pride in detail throughout the Cathedral, and the gold accents evoke an enchanting, magical style.
You’ll hear a grand pipe organ within the Cathedral, echoing traditional sentiments found throughout the Cathedral of Old World Europe. It is actually the largest pipe organ in Europe, and the sound is incomparable. Remarkably enough, the sound comes from the concentration of five organs performed by one organist. Concerts take place for roughly an hour, and seats tend to fill up quickly. The concert is not one to be missed during your visit to Passau Germany! This is a seasonal concert, but should not be missed if you are in town while it is operating.
Glass Museum Passau
While many venues in Passau Germany possess unique character and immense charm, this museum falls no short on either one. The Glass Museum offers such variety of exhibitions scattered among several floors, including art noveau and contemporary, with various colors and more types of glasses than you could ever imagine. It may be considered more of an exhibition or featured collections rather than a museum. Czech, Sisi, Art Deco, Nouveau, and other styles are all found here.
The architectural design of the Glass Museum is especially curious. There are many winding corridors, large doors, stairs that lead to nowhere, and compressed windows. It is truly one-of-a-kind, and for those interested in niche museums or glass, you will find it especially noteworthy.
Roman Museum Castle Boiotro
In Passau Germany, you’ll find a resounding history regarding the Roman settlement in this region of Europe. While this museum may be small in size, what it lacks in magnitude it more than makes up for through informative exhibits and visual demonstrations. Throughout the museum you’ll understand how the Romans assembled and lived in Passau, as well as how they interacted with other social groups during the time period.
The museum is well-kept and overall beautiful. It even features a notable children’s play area and greenery out front, very suitable for relaxing before or after your museum visit.
MMK Passau – Museum of Modern Art
For those familiar with Modern Art, you’ll find many lesser known local artists with their works prominently on display in the small town of Passau Germany. The historical building is well preserved, with an eclectic format and flow to the collections featured here. There is also an excellent cafe housed within the museum.
Located on the south side of Passau Germany Old Town, one could sit outside at Schaibling Tower for hours. Whether it is catching up with an old friend, enjoying a relaxing walk, reading a captivating book, or enjoying a meal, this popular landmark offers enchanting river views unlike any other.
The Schaibling Tower is likely named after the cone shape dome at the top. There is an exceptional closed passage to the house, a unique feature of this landmark. You have another prime spot to watch the water buses departing to various destinations, as well as take memorable photographs of your travels.
Passau Dachshund Museum
A small museum located within the city center of Passau Germany, for those who love the German Dachshund canines, you will fall in love with the displays at this quaint museum. Featuring notable collections of Dachshund art, there are all kinds of unique figurines on display in glass cases. The collection is fairly small, but truly a one-of-a-kind ode to a very loved breed of dogs by this country. The proprietors operate the museum as a gift shop as well.
When visiting Passau Germany on the water, you’ll descend upon Dreiflusseeck, a crossing where the Inn and Ilz Rivers meet the Danube. This picturesque sight is the confluence of the three, where you’ll find a beautiful outdoor park to lounge, read, enjoy a meal, or take memorable photographs. The boats traveling in the background, cascading along the water, makes for magnificent scenery. There’s even a variety of ducks frolicking in the river.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during springtime, the flowers blooming make for quite the natural backdrop. Even during the wintertime, people visit the park bundled up, watching boats go by and admiring the Christmas decorations. This is a beautiful landmark in Passau Germany visited by tourists, locals, couples, groups, and all enjoy Dreiflusseeck.
Hike Passau Hills
If you are looking for an active adventure, might I suggest hiking the Passau Hills? This activity will give you incredible views and a workout you won’t soon forget.
Interested in seeing the marvelous city from above? Then this excursion is for you! Enjoy a flight over Passau!
Alternative Excursions Outside of Passau
Bavarian Cruise and Baroque Town of Scharding – Optional Afternoon Tour in Austria
Scharding is a beautiful, enchanting town. You’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time once you begin walking along the cobblestone steps and view the ornate architecture and colorful buildings. With bright hues of blue, yellow, green, grey, and tinged orange roofs, the city’s design is remarkable and refreshing, making for the perfect photographs during an afternoon stroll. These are best captured in the city center of Oberer Stadtplatz, Silberzeile. This is a convenient plaza where you’ll find shopping, restaurants, parks, and more for people watching. The city is fairly small and not densely populated, but exploring this small town is a great way to spend a few hours or so during your trip to Passau Germany.
A notable landmark in Scharding is Schlosspark. A small park along the Inn River, it is a well-kept park and hidden gem in Scharding. Filled with lush greenery, this is a secret spot to relax along the river. It is a bit of a hike to make it up to the park, but well worth it for the clean air, extraordinary views, and serenity in store at Schlosspark.
Scharding is a quick drive from Passau and on this tour you will take a coach over to the city where you will get a walking tour and then hop on a boat for spectacular views from the river. Additionally, while on your boat tour of the city, beer and pretzels are passed while you take in the marvelous views of the architecture that lies along the river.
If the Sound of Music is more your thing, skip Passau and head out on this tour back to Austria to see famous filming locations from the movie.
Additional Information About Passau:
- Your stop in Passau Germany with Viking River Cruises will be for half a day. During our time in this gorgeous city, we took the included morning walking tour with a guide and then also did the afternoon trip to Scharding, Austria. There was plenty of time to accommodate both and to have lunch in between back on the ship. You can easily do two tours here (both a morning walking tour and an optional afternoon excursion).
- Alternatively, you can venture out on your own. I would recommend at a minimum taking the included walking tour just to get some knowledge of the city from your guide and to see a few places. I know for myself I learned a lot from the guides who have first hand knowledge of the areas. This is information you would not normally get if you are on your own.
- The Salzburg Highlights trip was just over 8 hours. If you do take this tour, you will not be seeing any of Passau Germany. You will have to make that decision. However I did speak to people who went on that tour and they raved about it. If you are a big fan of the Sound of Music, it sounds like that was the tour to do! Unfortunately I could not do everything so I had to make a decision. I did truly love the walking tour of Passau and visiting Scharding, Austria. Picking tours might be tough here, but you are going to have a wonderful time in this port with Viking.
- Passau was easy to navigate both on foot and to get a taxi. We needed to go to the mall to buy a camera lens and it was very easy. So that is one way you can get around if you are in a pinch for time.
- Viking will give you water and an umbrella on your way out if you want it. Additionally, there are printed maps of the city and points of interest at the front desk before leaving the ship.
- Also, do not forget to grab your tour card and passenger card before exiting the ship so the staff know you are not on board.
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Disclaimer: I was hosted by Viking River Cruises, but as always, opinions are entirely my own.