Passau is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Its old town is located on a narrow peninsula with the Inn River on one side and the Danube River on the other. At the head of the peninsula the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers meet up in a spectacular three river confluence. At each side of the peninsula there are hills. The hill on the Danube side is home to an upper and lower fortress. The upper fortress is located high up on George’s Mountain; the lower fortress on the banks of both the Danube and Ilz Rivers. On the Inn side of the peninsula high on a hill and reached by 321 steps stands the baroque pilgrim Church of Mariahilf. The old town of Passau has a beautiful cathedral, churches, a town hall, scenic squares and riverside promenades. It is mainly Baroque in style. Most of the old town dates from the seventeenth century when it was rebuilt following terrible fires. As it is on the confluence of three rivers, Passau is also subject to frequent flooding. We stayed overnight in Passau for two nights, but I would like to have had longer there as we did not arrive until around 3pm on one day, went to Regensburg on the next day and left early on the final day. Therefore we only really saw Passau from 3pm on the one day. In that time we saw most of the sights on the peninsula and went to the upper and lower fortresses. We also had an excellent meal in Passau. We stayed in the Hotel in Bahnhof.
Hotel in Bahnhof: "Friendly Hotel"
We stayed in this hotel for two nights in July 2014. The hotel is located in the station so is great for those arriving by train. To get to the entrance of the hotel we exited the station and turned left. We walked past the hotel at first as its sign was not that noticeable. It is next to a casino. You can also enter the hotel restaurant from the supermarket in the station. Check in takes place in the hotel restaurant. All the hotel staff were extremely friendly and pleasant. Our room was clean but fairly basic. It was fine for us as it was just a place to sleep and wash. Breakfast was very good at this hotel. It was not a buffet. It was brought to our table each morning. It included plenty of coffee, muesli with fruit and yoghurt, lots of fresh bread rolls, cheeses, eggs and cold meats. The hotel's location is excellent for getting anywhere by train. We visited Regensburg from here and also travelled onwards to Vienna at the end of our stay. It is also very close to a Yorma and a Norma supermarket. It is not far from a Woolworths. It is an easy walk from here into the historical centre of Passau. Passau is an absolutely beautiful place with churches, a cathedral, fortresses, three rivers, excellent scenery, lots of restaurants. This hotels big pluses are its location, its friendly staff and its breakfast. We also slept really well here. It was silent each night. Address: In Passau Station.
The Pilgrimage Church Of Mariahilf
The Pilgrimage Church of Mariahilf is located across the Inn River from the old town. It is high on a hill and I’m sure there would be wonderful views from here. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit. Pilgrims used to get here by climbing up the 321 covered steps that lead up to the church. The church was built in 1627 by Francesco Garbanio. The Pilgrimage staircase was built by Cathedral Dean, Marquardt von Schwendt in 1628. Pilgrims would ascend to the church via its 321 stairs on their knees. On each stair they would stop and pray before continuing their ascent. This church was built to house a copy of a miraculous painting of the Madonna by Lucas Cranach, the Elder. This painting is believed to have helped the German people get through the Thirty Years War and help protect them against invasion by the Turks.
There are beautiful walks along the edges of the Danube River and along the edges of the Inn River. These walks are very scenic and enjoyable. The walk along the Inn side had statues and information boards about planets along its route.
The Parish Church Of St Paul.
The Parish Church of St Paul is a beautiful pink coloured building which dates from the early Middle Ages. A statue of St Paul stands outside. The church has two entrances one on the Rindermarkt and one on Steinweg. These two are connected by a tunnel. The church is interesting and peaceful inside.
Passau Town Hall: Stadt Passau, Altes Rathaus.
Passau’s Town Hall is situated near the banks of the Danube River. It faces towards the upper and lower fortresses. The outside of the town hall is covered with paintings. There was also a little courtyard with a statue within the town hall complex. Like much of Passau the old town hall was rebuilt in the 17th century by Italian baroque masters after a devastating town fire.
Emerenz Meier Statue.
On the banks of the River Danube stands a statue of the writer and poet Emerenz Meier. She was born in 1874, and lived and worked in Passau for some time. In 1906 she emigrated to the USA. She died in 1928. Some of her famous lines explain why women are too busy in general to devote time to writing due to all their household tasks. These words appear next to her statue.
"If Goethe had had to prepare supper,
salt the dumplings,
If Schiller had had to wash the dishes,
If Heine had had to mend what he had torn,
to clean the rooms, kill the bugs
Oh, the menfolk,
none of them would have become great poets."
The Veste Oberhaus.
The Veste Oberhaus is a large fortress located high up on St George’s Mountain. It was a fairly steep climb to get there, but the views over Passau and the three rivers confluence from there are spectacular. Part of the fortress is now a museum of History. This was closed when I got there. Part of it is now a youth hostel. The Veste Oberhaus dates from 1219. It was built by by Ulrich II, the first prince bishop of Passau. Several rebuildings were carried out under Leonhard von Laiming, Christoph von Schachner, Urban von Trennbach, and Johann Philipp von Lamberg. Throughout an eventful history the fortress was attacked five times between 1250 and 1482. Two of these attacks were uprisings by the citizens of Passau against their bishop. Between 1535 and 1540 the castle dungeon was used to imprison many Protestant Anabaptists whose beliefs were different from the bishop's beliefs. In 1932 the City of Passau was given control of Veste Oberhaus and decided to open it as a museum. To get there I crossed the Prinz Luitpold Brucke and the main road on the far side of it and went up the steep steps there. These lead to a path which twists and turns on its way up to the fortress and has some lovely viewpoints on its way up.
Views From Veste Oberhaus.
There are wonderful views from George Mountain and the Veste Oberhaus. These look out over the lovely old town of Passau and the three rivers that Passau is so well known for. I would recommend climbing up here.
The Neider Oberhaus.
The Neider Oberhaus is a lovely fortress which is located at the confluence of the Danube and Ilz Rivers. I’m not sure if you can go inside. We walked past in order to walk to the three rivers confluence point.
The Cathedral Of St Stephan.
The original cathedral on this site was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1662. The current baroque cathedral dates from 1688 and is dedicated to St Stephen. It is the seat of the Catholic Bishop of Passau. The cathedral was designed by Carlo Lurago and its interior decoration was the work of Giovanni Battista Carlone. The cathedral has wonderful frescoes by Carpoforo Tencalla. It also has the biggest cathedral organ in the world with 17,974 pipes. The cathedral has an interesting and pretty courtyard lined with interesting and ornate tombstones.
Outside the cathedral there is a giant head covered in foliage. In German it is called Der Passuer Tölpel which apparently means something like the clumsy person of Passau. Apparently it was part of the cathedral façade. When the cathedral went on fire this piece of masonry fell to the ground and was later saved and made into a monument. I think it is rather cute. It is one of the symbols of Passau.
Passau By Night.
Passau is also beautiful at night. Some of the buildings are lit up, the day visitors have left and the streets are quiet and peaceful. At this time it is lovely to take a stroll through the old town.
Some of the houses are joined together by overhanging walls. This makes it quite atmospheric to walk around the narrow streets of the old town. It is an extremely picturesque place with very photogenic views.
Passau has some really beautiful shop signs. I always love looking at these. Some are extremely clever and creative, others can be quite humorous. All of them provide great photographic opportunities.
We had a very pleasant and tasty meal in the restaurant below.
Welcome Restaurant, Passau: "Great Food, Great Service"
We just happened to stumble upon this restaurant when we were hungry after a long day of sightseeing in Passau. It did not look all that inviting from the front, but we went in and found our way to the biergarden at the back. The waiter/barman was very friendly and pleasant. The beer was great. I had Wiener Schnitzel and my husband had Leberkase. The food was excellent and the portions were extremely filling. Prices were excellent, too. If we had had more time in Passau, we would definitely have eaten here again. A great find. Address: Schustergasse 11, 94032 Passau