Exploring Passau, Germany

One of the cities that really surprised me during my winter travels was Passau, Germany. Known as the Dreiflüssestadt, or the city of three rivers, this Bavarian town was walkably charming and the departure city for a cruise down the Danube with Viking River Cruises.

Passau reminded me a lot of Sighisoara, Romania with its pastel-colored rococo buildings and cobblestone alley ways. The peninsula of the town meets not only the Danube, but also the Ilz and the Inn. 

Lukas, an Austrian who is also a lecturer at the renowned university of the city, told us the city’s history, peppered in with anecdotes about city life and statues of patron saints floating down the river (really! That tricky Saint Nicholas). Having lived in cities with rivers all of my life, I found it irrisistably charming and picturesque, from the cobblestone alleyways to the dimly-lit beer gardens and antiques shops.


Before our official embarkation and welcome cocktail, my family and I stretched our legs by taking a taxi to the Oberhaus and taking in the view from above. Bavaria has famously good weather, and we were treated to a memorable sunset above St. Stephen’s Cathedral and nearby Austria to the south.

Have you been to Bavaria or Passau?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Looks stunning! I love it how Germany just seems to have so many places to visit, with each one prettier than the last. Some of your pictures remind me of Bacharach, a tiny town on the Rhine that was just so picturesque and COSY! (Plus, I loved saying its name.)
    Caitlyn recently posted..I just can’t get them out of my headMy Profile

  2. I haven’t been to Passau yet…I’ll have to get there…It looks cute.
    Corinne recently posted..Göbekli Tepe – The World’s First Cathedral?My Profile

  3. Nice! Never been there, but I love a good, small German town. Too bad it wasn’t more sunny when you were there. Alas, Germany in winter.
    Ryan from Jets Like Taxis recently posted..Day Trip: A Visit to Valladolid, MexicoMy Profile

  4. We grew up in cities with rivers. And it’s not something we miss not having in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Although the beaches do compensate somewhat.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..La CocotteMy Profile

  5. Beautiful photos as always. I’m curious to see more of Germany after my brief stint in Berlin this summer!
    Lauren @Roamingtheworld recently posted..Road trippin: Hitting the road without a planMy Profile

    • I feel that Germany, like Spain, is a country I’d never be sick of. Berlin is incredible, but I’m partial to Munich and Cologne, too.

  6. I’ve heard great things about it, particularly how fun it is to be a student there! I’d love to make it there someday.
    Alex @ ifs ands & butts recently posted..10 tips for traveling cheap and authentic in germany.My Profile

    • We didn’t get much student vibe since they were on holidays, but the beer was cheap and the city quite walkable and compact. Go!

  7. I love Bavaria and am always sad that I miss Passau (there is never enough time)! It continues to stay on the list, so hopefully I will make it there one day!
    Bridget @ A Traveling B recently posted..An Annual Tradition: The Mother-Daughter TripMy Profile

  8. I visited the Passau covered in snow under blue skies … and a -15C (close to 0F) windchill. That was interesting, but what a beautiful town. Thanks, Cat, for reminding me about Passau!
    Henry | @fotoeins recently posted..Berlin Gleisdreieck: winter vs. summerMy Profile

  9. I was just in Passau in October visiting a friend who is studying there, and I was really impressed with the town as well! I went in with absolutely no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite things was the view from the hill with the fortress as well, just breathtaking. I don’t know why this town isn’t more of a tourist destination!

  10. Beautiful! I love the charm of Germany and all of the rich colors!
    Annie recently posted..Birthdays are for spa daysMy Profile

  11. That is one colorful city. I love the fact that they even painted the cobblestones.
    jill recently posted..Too Much Wine and Vodka (Is There Such a Thing?) in KakhetiMy Profile

    • The artists neighborhood, where you see the painted tiles, suffered greatly with the floods, but continues to be beautiful. Nice to hear from you guys!

  12. Summer vacation in Bavaria is my dream! I feel like I´ve had my share of beaches, at least for now.. And I would love to just get on a bicycle and see all the beautiful bavarian castles, King Ludwig´s in particular. Passau seems lovely, it would be another stop on my Tour de Bavaria!:)
    Julie K. recently posted..February Krazy KontestMy Profile

    • It’s certainly worth it! It took us two hours driving from Munich on a tour bus. As for that castle…I gave a Michaela Maroney “Not impressed” look.

  13. I’m proud my home town and I made such a favourable impression with our visitor(s)!
    — Lukas, the tour guide who is also a lecturer ;o)


  1. […] few months later, I picked my parents up at Franz Joseph Strauβ and set off for Passau, the City on Three Rivers. It was Christmas Eve and we’d missed the markets, several shops and bars were still open so […]

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