Today in Regensburg you have four (!) options for experiencing this medieval gem of a city—select one for the morning and another for the afternoon. You can travel through time, get a crash course on making craft beer, watch high-tech robots assemble the Ultimate Driving Machine or enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the town.Regensburg is a friendly town with quaint cobblestone streets, historic Roman ruins and a UNESCO World Heritage–designated medieval city center. This unspoiled gem was the capital of Bavaria for about 700 years, from the 6th to the 13th centuries. The remnants of Regensburg’s golden age are still on display, particularly in the Stone Bridge, the first bridge to span the Danube, built in the 12th century. This bridge, which is 1,014 feet (309 meters) long, was an architectural wonder in its day. But don’t let Regensburg’s illustrious history fool you into thinking the town’s best days are all in the past. Modern Regensburg is a popular center of higher learning, with more than 30,000 students attending its various colleges and universities. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI was a professor of theology at the University of Regensburg until 1977. Regensburg also frequently appears on lists ranking the world’s best places to live, thanks to its outdoor spaces, historic city center, lively cultural and nightlife scenes, and great shopping.
“From Hops Field to Beer Stein” farm visit
Hops vines growing up their strings in a field tower almost twice a man’s height. They’re grown for their flowers, which add a distinctive flavor to beer—but the fields they grow in add a distinctive flavor to the hops. You could call it terroir for beer, and you can delve into hops cultivation and hops brewing today. Travel through Bavaria’s Holledau region, the largest hops-growing district in the world, and meet an enthusiastic ambassador of hops growing and beer making. She will give you a quick and lively history of hops in Germany—including Bavaria’s law governing the making of beer, which has specified since 1560 that the only ingredients permitted in beer are water, barley and hops—and lead you on a tour through the growing fields her family owns, followed by a craft beer tasting in the cozy barn turned beer hall. It’s a delicious way to get to know a fascinating aspect of the international farm-to-table movement.
“2,000 Years in One Hour” Regensburg walking discovery tour
People have been describing Regensburg as “old and new” for a thousand years. A single structure perfectly illustrates this: Porta Praetoria, the gate built by the Romans during Marcus Aurelius’s reign. The gate and adjacent watchtower have been incorporated into a much newer building, but the plaster has been removed to reveal the ancient stones laid so long ago. As you walk through the cobbled lanes of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, the city’s 2,000-year history is similarly revealed: the Stone Bridge that made Regensburg a 12th-century trading powerhouse, the Gothic town hall where the Imperial Diet met for three centuries, the 13th-century fortified patrician houses, and the spectacular Cathedral of St. Peter, whose magni cent 14th-century stained-glass windows alone are worth your walk. You’ll have free time to explore on your own; it’s very hard to get lost in Regensburg because the spires of the cathedral are visible all over town, so don’t hesitate to roam. The historic quarter not only boasts almost a thousand beautiful old buildings but also many cozy pubs and some great shopping—and the ship is docked conveniently close, so it’s easy to drop your treasures off and go back for more.
BMW factory visit
Here is your opportunity to see German engineering, famous the world over, in operation as you tour the state-of-the-art BMW factory on the outskirts of Regensburg. About a thousand cars a day roll off the assembly line here, many of them in the BMW 3 series. You’ll see various stages of the process, from rolls of sheet metal being stamped out into body parts to watching elements of the car being robotically assembled. Follow an already assembled car into the finishing department to see it painted, polished and have the final touch applied—the BMW roundel. Note: For safety reasons, BMW does not allow those with pacemakers or insulin pumps to participate in factory tours. The plant is closed on Sundays and holidays, so no visit is possible if the tour lands on those days.NOTE: If the tour lands on a day when the BMW factory is closed, we will visit the Audi factory instead. The Audi production line is closed on weekends, so if your visit is scheduled for a weekend, you will see the Audi museum instead.
Exclusive guided “Let's Go” bird’s-eye view of Regensburg
Did you know that Regensburg residents raised silkworms at one time? It’s just one of the unusual aspects of the city that you’ll discover on a hike that begins at the ship’s dock. Meet up with your guide and head out along the eastern gate road (that eastern gate was part of the old Roman walls), crossing the river to the narrow streets of Stadtamhof, an island in the Danube that is part of Regensburg’s UNESCO-honored medieval complex. Pause atop another bridge to take a look at boats cruising through the lock and then begin your ascent of Holy Trinity Hill; you’ll have a great view of old Regensburg from Windsor Heights, and you’ll pass some of the beautiful mansions that overlook the city—including the buildings that housed the silk plantation begun by Ludwig I in the early 19th century. Your route continues along the heights, offering views of the entire region: fields, woods, even the Bavarian forest in the far distance. After a brief rest, you’ll head back down to the town and the ship.