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Passau city trip: visiting the “City of Three Rivers”

Smaller, yet the more elegant: Passau is a European city, festival city, baroque city, Roman city, Nibelungs city, university city, and has a lot to offer on all those levels. Everything remains though atmospheric and manageable thanks to not more than 50,000 inhabitants. The border town to Austria is coined by its unique situation: Passau is located right at the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn, and Ilz and therefore also known as the “City of Three Rivers.”

Italian architecture in Germany

In Passau, it could happen that you forget for some moments in which country you are. With its partly steep narrow lanes, the cityscape of the historic center exudes in fact a large portion of Mediterranean flair. And not without reason: after the large city fire in the 17th century, Passau was reconstructed by Italian architects. Crooked passageways, romantic patios, decorated bays, carved gates, and hidden entrances invite to a stroll. On every corner, there is something new to discover: St. Stephen’s Cathedral, for instance, towering above the historic center, can be reached after a short ascent. Behind it, you’ll find Residenzplatz, one of the most beautiful baroque squares north of the Alps. Other highlights are the Venetian style town hall with the monumental paintings in its halls or the Romanesque Niedernburg church. There you’ll find the tomb of Blessed Gisela immortalized as Kriemhild in the Nibelungenlied allegedly written in Passau or the late 12th century frescos of the former St. Mary’s Church. Numerous other churches, generous palaces, and splendid patrician houses testify the outstanding importance of the city as seat of the once largest bishop’s see of the German Empire.

Three rivers – blessing and curse of an idyllic situation

The city’s fate is determined by the three rivers, which is both documented by the first settlement findings of the Celtic period and apparent from the innumerous flood marks in the lanes of the historic center. Regular inundations of the densely populated area are caused by the Inn’s and the Danube’s torrents of water coming directly or indirectly from the Alps and raising the river levels by several meters within a few hours. One cannot imagine these phenomena during a stroll to the conjunction point or the diverting „three-rivers-cruise” by ship. Instead of that, people enjoy the magnificent views of this city uniquely situated between the rivers.

History and art

Georgsberg, situated on the opposite bank of the Danube, is towered by Veste Oberhaus, one of the largest completely preserved medieval fortresses, through which Passau’s prince-archbishop strengthened his power acquired through salt trade. From there one enjoys a marvelous view over the crooked lanes of the old town lying at one’s feet. The castle itself accommodates one of the most beautiful museums of medieval history. On the Inn’s bank, there is the Roman Museum, built on the foundations of a former Roman castle; many exhibits testify Passau’s early settlement. And for friends of contemporary art, there is the MMK (Museum of Modern Art) with its changing exhibitions, accommodated in a lovingly renovated building complex of the 12th century, or the numerous small art galleries at picturesque Höllgasse.

PrivateCityHotels. in Passau

Are you now in the mood for a vacation in Passau? Discover the multi-faceted “City of Three Rivers” and its marvelous surroundings and book your vacation in one of the PrivateCityHotels. in Passau or select one of our hotels in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. It’s a good choice when it is about a gift, too: choose a vacation gift voucher, redeemable in over 15 European cities and in more than 55 hotels, as a present or a thank-you – you can easily use our online voucher shop.