Passau – so close and yet so underestimated. Many only know Passau from driving past, but we believe that it is definitely worth paying a longer visit to the city.
In Baroque-style Passau there are some impressive sights, above all the St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the medieval castle complex Veste Oberhaus. In general, the historic old town of Passau surprised us with its picturesque cobbled streets.
Perhaps you are considering taking a day trip to Passau or you might even want to stay a few nights? Wonderful! In this article you will find all the important tips for your trip. Of course, this not only includes the most important sights, but also our insider tips for really great cafes and hotels.
1. Passau: First travel tips & information at a glance Exciting facts and interesting facts about Passau Passau is nicknamed Three Rivers City. The Danube, Inn and Ilz flow into one another at the so-called Drei-Flüsse-Eck. Under the right conditions, this natural spectacle is really fascinating to watch. The large amount of water in Passau gives the city an unbelievable charm, but unfortunately also causes dramatic flooding. Throughout the city you will find numerous markings on houses that illustrate the magnitude of past disasters. Passau is in Germany (more precisely in Bavaria), but right on the border to Austria – so close that you can theoretically walk across. The two most important sights are the Veste Oberhaus (the mighty castle complex above the old town of Passau) and the Cathedral of St. Stephen. Of course, we present both highlights and many other sights in more detail in this travel guide. How many days should I plan for Passau? With good 17.0000 inhabitants, Passau is a comparatively manageable city. The old town (where most of the important sights are located) is generally rather small and can be explored relatively quickly.
Therefore it is quite possible to explore Passau in one day stress-free. Many actually only come to Passau for a day trip or explore the city as a stopover on a river cruise or bike tour. (The Danube Cycle Path passes here and the route from Passau to Vienna is extremely popular.)
But if you stay the night, you can of course enjoy the beautiful morning or evening sun To experience evening hours in Passau. We would recommend two nights for a leisurely city trip, but one is enough if you don’t have time.
How do I get to Passau? If you come from Austria or the south of Germany, you will probably by car arrive. You can drive pretty far in towards the old town and then park your car in one of the parking lots or multi-storey car parks. We parked at the parking lot at the Schanzlbrücke. Just a few minutes’ walk from there you are already in the heart of the old town.
The train station in Passau is conveniently also very close to the center. You’re just round 01 minutes on foot before you are already in the middle of the cathedral square. There is no airport in Passau – the closest ones are in the Austrian city of Linz or in Munich.
2. Sights in Passau: Tips & Recommendations Old Town of Passau Although most of the important sights, which we will present to you in a moment, are in the old town of Passau, we would like to devote a few general lines to the sympathetic historic town center in advance.
The location of the old town of Passau alone is something special: it is located to a large extent on a narrow peninsula between the Danube and the Inn. Once arrived, the baroque architectural style that runs like a red thread through the entire city is immediately noticeable. The reason: Passau burned in 15. Century to a large extent and was then rebuilt.
It is the mix of narrow, cobbled streets and imposing squares that make Passau so special power. Most important sights are usually passed automatically, so just let yourself be carried away and let the charming old town take its toll on you.
If you want to head for a special alley, then it should definitely be this Höllgasse. It is nicknamed “Künstlergasse” because some studios and galleries are located here. With its listed houses, an extremely charming corner of Passau awaits you here.
Cathedral of St Stephan The most important church in Passau and one of the landmarks of the city is the Cathedral of St. Stephen. Even if you’re not necessarily a big fan of sacred buildings: You simply have to see this church. It is enthroned directly in the heart of the old town.
With its magnificent baroque façade, the St. Stephen’s Cathedral is quite a gem from the outside. You should not miss a (at least short) visit to the interior of the church. This can be visited free of charge.
Inside you can expect pomp and baroque splendor. And (believe it or not): The largest cathedral organ in the world – a technical marvel that inspires music fans in particular. There are regular organ concerts in the cathedral.
Overview of information on visiting St. Stephen’s Cathedral Entrance:
Visit free of charge, cathedral organ concerts from 5 euros
Info: Cathedral organ concerts (official website of the Cathedral of St. Stephen)
Castle complex Veste Oberhaus The second important sight in Passau is the mighty historic castle called Veste Oberhaus. Visible from afar, it sits enthroned on a hill on the left bank of the Danube, the Georgsberg. In our opinion, a walk up to the Veste Oberhaus is a must on a Passau city break.
Don’t worry – the path looks a bit far , but from the old town in Passau (e.g. from the St. Stephan Cathedral) you can reach the Veste quite comfortably in 20 minutes walk. Alternatively, you can also take the shuttle bus (a minibus) that leaves every half hour from Rathausplatz.
The area around the rather extensive Veste Oberhaus is freely accessible. This also includes the viewing platform, from which you can enjoy a great view down towards Passau. There is only an entrance fee for the lookout tower and the museum.
Overview of information on visiting Veste Oberhaus Admission: Fortress area free of charge, Museum including observation tower 5 euros
More info: Veste Oberhaus (official website)
Innpromenade & Schaiblingsturm The Inn flows on the south side of Passau’s old town. We can only warmly recommend a walk along the banks of the Inn, the so-called Inn Promenade.
The striking Schaiblingsturm is also located here, making it one of the most popular photo motifs in Passau. This snow-whitewashed round tower was once part of the medieval city fortifications. Today it belongs to the Leopoldinum Gymnasium and is not open to the public.
Three Rivers Corner If you always If you continue to the east, you will reach the tip of the Passau peninsula, the so-called Ortspitz. At this point is the three-river-corner. Three rivers from three directions flow into each other here:
the Inn from the souththe Danube from the westas well as the Ilz from the north. Depending on the weather conditions the whole thing is quite a natural spectacle – especially when the green Inn and the blue Danube flow together. We had quite heavy rain the days before, so that the different water colors were only visible on closer inspection.
The whole thing is from a bird’s eye view. By the way, quite impressive – from there you can see the three completely different shades of color of the water best. You can admire the whole thing from afar from the Veste Oberhaus, for example. Or alternatively a little tip: You can actually see the color gradient very well via GoogleMaps.
Residenzplatz One of the central squares in the old town of Passau (and certainly the prettiest) is the Residenzplatz, which is located at the back of the cathedral. With its splendid baroque building ensemble, the Residenzplatz is one of the most beautiful baroque squares north of the Alps.
The square is named after the prince-bishop’s residence in Passau (Alte und Neue Residenz), which is located here. A tip for all those interested in art: the Cathedral Treasury and Diocesan Museum Passau is also housed here. In the center of Residenzplatz is ausse rdem the Wittelsbach fountain.
Old Town Hall One of the most striking buildings in Passau is the Old Town Hall, in which, by the way, also houses the Tourist Info . The town hall immediately catches the eye with its striking bell tower and decorative façade.
Most people only visit the old town hall from the outside. (Conveniently, there is a shipping pier directly in front of it.) Inside are the town hall halls, whose murals are probably most exciting for art connoisseurs.
Unfortunately, the tower cannot be climbed. For this, three times a day (at : 17, 14 : 00 and 15 : 30 clock) the historical Glockenspiel at the town hall tower. We also found the high water mark on the tower incredibly impressive. It is really unimaginable how high the water level was here.
Sanctuary Mariahilf If you have enough time, we definitely recommend a detour to the pilgrimage church Mariahilf during your trip to Passau. It sits enthroned on a hill together with the adjoining monastery in the south of the old town and is considered one of the best viewpoints in Passau.
From the Viewing terrace you can enjoy a magnificent (albeit somewhat overgrown) bird’s-eye view of all the important sights in Passau, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Veste Oberhaus.
If you are already here, then you should not miss a walk through the well-kept monastery complex and a visit to the pilgrimage church. Overall, we were amazed at how quiet it was here compared to many other attractions in Passau.
The Mariahilf pilgrimage church can be reached either very easily by car (free car park approx. 5 minutes’ walk away) or – if you like it sporty – on foot via the pilgrimage stairs. via 88 Steps take you from the center of Passau up to the monastery.
3. Culinary tips: Restaurants and cafés in Passau Café & Day Bar Minoo This young, hip café now has two locations in Passau – the regular bar (Große Messergasse 2) and the newer café just five minutes away (Heuwinkel 3). Both locations are a feast for the eyes in terms of design.
In the Minoo you can have a delicious and extensive breakfast, but also for lunch or just stop by for coffee and cake. In any case, the cuisine is a fusion of European and Persian dishes – the owner is originally from Iran.
We were guests in the new location. We were lucky to get a table outside. Here you sit really nice in the middle of the pedestrian zone. Our conclusion: Very relaxed ambience and excellent coffee.
The Hornsteiner Pension und Café am Dom A stone’s throw from the cathedral is the very charming Hornsteiner Café. The building, which consists of 17. Dating back to the 19th century, it was completely renovated a few years ago and, in addition to the café, also houses a small bed & breakfast.
The mix of old and new is really successful. Sitting inside is incredibly comfortable. The ambience reminded us a little of our beloved old Viennese coffee house flair – with a hip touch, however. There are also a few tables outside on the sidewalk. It’s right on the (narrow) street, but that doesn’t bother you at all.
The coffee was good (but not our favorite in Passau) and the poppy seed cake was unfortunately a bit dry – but that can be can of course only be an outlier. Overall we would stop by again in a heartbeat.
Second home Incredibly good burgers and bowls are available at Restaurant Zweite Heimat, which is also located directly in the old town of Passau. The restaurant is very popular, so you should definitely make a reservation!
There really is something for every taste – whether meat, vegetarian or vegan. The burger was not only very juicy, but also tasted great and the fries were excellent. The bowls are delicious too.
All in all really a great value for money. When the weather is nice, you can sit outside. (The restaurant can be found in the pedestrian zone.) Inside, the ambience is reminiscent of an American bar or diner – not necessarily the first choice for romantic evenings, but definitely worth a visit!
4. Hotel tips for Passau You might want to are you spending a night or two in Passau and are still looking for suitable accommodation? We’ll tell you our tips.
Residenz PassauThe 4-star Hotel Residenz Passau is one of the top dogs in the city. You stay here directly on the Danube in the middle of the old town – perfect for sightseeing. Everything you would expect from a great city hotel is fulfilled here: comfortable rooms, a very good breakfast and a wellness area on top of that. The Hornsteiner
Pension Hornsteiner is a different kind of accommodation. A historic house from the 17. Century was renovated with great attention to detail and houses beautiful, modern rooms. Due to the circumstances, the house may be a little more sensitive, but the great flair and the wooden floors make up for a lot. Passau Suites
If you are looking for accommodation in the direction of an apartment, we heartily recommend the Passau Suites. These wonderfully designed, generously proportioned apartments are also located in the old town of Passau, with great attention to detail. Simply great! Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
And now we’re curious: Have you ever been to Passau? How did you like it? Are there any other sights you would add? We look forward to your additional tips.