Passau: A host of delights on three rivers
Known as the ‘City on Three Rivers’, Passau will be bringing its exclusive culinary specialities to the fore. As part of the ‘Beer in Bavaria’ concept at the Bavarian State Exhibition 2016 in nearby Aldersbach, Passau is taking steps to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Bavarian State Purity Law.
With its four breweries and their centuries-old heritage, what better way is there to show diversity that garners admiration from locals and tourists alike than with beer. However, it may come as a surprise to many that Passau also has intricate ties to wine production, which go back as far as 1358. Still going strong today, Passau’s own wine is known as the Stiftswein, exclusive to the historical wine tavern, the Heilig-Geist-Stiftschenke. But, of course, as food and drink are nothing without one another, local cuisine will be celebrated in abundance this year, with everything from ‘Weißwurst to go’ via catfish from the Donau to Passau’s special gold-capped pralines.
Passau. Photo © Passau Tourismus
Nestled on the border of Austria and Germany, Passau has a wealth of sights as well as a spectacular natural wonder. This is where the three rivers conjoin, having entered the city from the west, south and north to create a river triangle of the Danube, Inn and Ilz, before flowing eastwards as the Danube towards the Black Sea. As a consequence of two major city fires in the 17th century, the city oozes southern flair as the Italian baroque style dominated its renovation. As the mother church of St. Stephen’s Church in Vienna, Passau’s impressive St. Stephan’s Cathedral is home to the world’s largest cathedral organ, comprised of 17,974 pipes, 233 stops and five separate parts. Its awe-inspiring notes can regularly be enjoyed at the Cathedral’s many organ concerts.
© Passau Tourismus
Perched high above the River Inn, the baroque abbey complex, the Mariahilf, as well as one of Europe’s largest-preserved fortresses, the Veste Oberhaus, overlook the rivers and the old town. The fortress, now home to the Oberhaus Museum, contains a wealth of exhibitions on the city’s history and culture. Even more insight into the city’s history and art can be discovered at the Roman Museum Kastell Boiotro, which exhibits fascinating archaeological finds from the area. There is also the Museum of the Treasure of the Cathedral and the Diocese with its precious displays hailing from the days when Passau was the capital of the largest diocese of the Holy Roman Empire. For a taste of even more culture, the Glass Museum Passau displays invaluable European glass objects from the baroque period right through to contemporary glass works, while the Museum of Modern Art has popular temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st century artworks. A visit to the so-called ‘Artists’ Alley’ on Höllgasse will reveal many more galleries and ateliers, where visitors can frequently see artists at work.
Passau’s ‘Residenzplatz’. © Tourismusverband Ostbayern e.V.
Passau is an ideal city to explore on boat, be it on the local boat company’s ‘Three Rivers’ Sightseeing Boat Tour, or a gala tour through the Bavarian and Upper Austrian Danube valley. Passau is also an important landing and departure point for many cruise ships, heading via Vienna towards Budapest.
With so much to offer active holidaymakers too, Passau is at the intersection of many national and international long-distance cycling routes, including the border-crossing Danube Cycle Route, the Inn Cycle Path to Switzerland’s Maloja as well as the Tauern Cycle Path to Krimml in Austria’s Salzburg region, making it a real paradise for riders. For hikers, the options are just as vast, with many paths directly in the city as well as those offering immediate access to the long-distance hiking routes like the Goldsteig, Donausteig and the Danube Panorama Path.
Passau’s Cathedral. Photo © Passau Tourismus
Passau also boasts a packed calendar of events, with countless festivals, fairs, markets and many other types of events. From 17 June to 28 July, it will host the European Weeks Culture Festival and the Night of Arts on 15 July. For shopping, there are large malls as well as delightful pedestrian areas lined with speciality shops and boutiques offering intricately handcrafted products. Providing refreshment from the culture and shopping, there are innumerable restaurants, taverns and cafés serving seasonal cuisine. Come summer, the terraces, beer and wine gardens are thriving with guests. In terms of accommodation, the city offers the full spectrum from campsites to four-star hotels.
Easily reached by motorway or international rail connections, Passau is also within driving distance of the following airports: Munich, Nürnberg, Salzburg and Linz.
TEXT: PASSAU TOURISMUS E.V., TRANSLATION: EMMIE COLLINGE
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