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Things To Do In Passau, Germany: An Unexpected Surprise


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Peggie Bone



Welcome to Passau, Germany’s hidden gem nestled in the heart of Bavaria. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and picturesque location at the confluence of three rivers – the Danube, Inn, and Ilz – Passau offers a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers.


Known as the “City of Three Rivers,” Passau is a small yet vibrant town that effortlessly combines the charm of a traditional Bavarian village with the cultural richness of a city. Its cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and enchanting atmosphere make it the perfect destination for history buffs, culture enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike.


As you explore Passau, you’ll be enthralled by its fascinating history. The town dates back to Roman times and was a prominent trade hub during the Middle Ages. Today, remnants of its past can be seen in the marvelous architecture of its historical sites, such as the imposing Passau Cathedral, the Veste Oberhaus fortress, and the Town Hall.


But Passau isn’t just a city frozen in time; it’s a thriving cultural hub. The town is home to the renowned University of Passau, which brings a youthful energy and a diverse range of performances, concerts, and exhibitions to the city. Immerse yourself in the local arts scene by visiting the Modern Art Museum or catching a show at the Passau Municipal Theater.


For those seeking adventure in the great outdoors, Passau offers plenty of opportunities. Take a stroll along the banks of the Danube and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Or, rent a bike and explore the scenic cycling paths that wind their way through the picturesque landscapes of the Bavarian forests and meadows.


No trip to Passau is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. Sample traditional Bavarian dishes at one of the cozy beer gardens or treat yourself to some delicious regional specialties at the local restaurants. And don’t forget to try a pint of the world-famous Passauer Wolf beer, brewed right in the heart of the city.


When the sun sets, Passau’s vibrant nightlife comes to life. From cozy pubs serving craft beers to trendy clubs playing the latest hits, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Join the locals in a traditional Bavarian dance or sip on a cocktail overlooking the shimmering rivers.


If you’re looking to explore beyond Passau, the town serves as an ideal base for day trips to nearby attractions. Visit the charming town of Schärding in Austria or take a boat ride along the Danube to the enchanting town of Engelhartszell with its stunning baroque monastery.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique and captivating experience, Passau has something to offer. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the wonders of Passau, where history and culture seamlessly blend, and nature reigns supreme.


Historical Sites in Passau

Passau is a city steeped in history, and there are numerous historical sites that showcase its rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply intrigued by the past, these sites will transport you back in time.


One of the most iconic landmarks in Passau is the Passau Cathedral, also known as St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This magnificent Baroque-style masterpiece dominates the city’s skyline with its distinctive green domed roofs. Step inside the cathedral and be mesmerized by its awe-inspiring interior, adorned with intricate frescoes, statues, and a renowned organ with over 17,000 pipes.


Another must-visit historical site is the Veste Oberhaus, a medieval fortress that overlooks the city from atop the hill. Explore the castle’s fascinating exhibitions and learn about the turbulent history of the region. From the castle grounds, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Passau, the rivers, and the surrounding countryside.


Continue your historical journey by visiting the Old Town Hall, a charming building that dates back to the 14th century. Marvel at its striking frescoes and admire the stunning architecture as you stroll through the adjacent square. Don’t miss the chance to witness the famous Glockenspiel, which chimes melodically as it depicts scenes from Passau’s history.


Step back even further in time by exploring the Roman Museum Kastell Boiotro, located just outside the city center. This archaeological site offers a glimpse into Passau’s Roman past, with well-preserved remains of an ancient Roman fort and an intriguing collection of artifacts that tell the story of the town’s early days.


For a unique historical experience, take a stroll along the Stadtamhof, the historic district of Passau situated on a small island between the Danube and Inn rivers. This area is home to beautifully preserved medieval buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, and quaint squares. Explore the picturesque alleys and imagine what life was like in Passau centuries ago.


As you explore these historical sites, be sure to take advantage of guided tours and audio guides, which provide in-depth information and captivating stories about the city’s history. You can also participate in themed tours that focus on specific aspects such as the Baroque era or the Roman period, allowing you to delve deeper into your areas of interest.


Passau’s historical sites are not just museums frozen in time; they are living testimonies to the city’s fascinating past. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Passau and let these historical sites transport you to a bygone era.


Cultural Activities in Passau

Passau is not only known for its historical charm but also for its vibrant cultural scene. From art exhibitions to music festivals, there’s no shortage of cultural activities to enjoy during your visit to this enchanting city.


Start your cultural journey by visiting the Modern Art Museum. Located in the heart of Passau, this museum showcases contemporary artwork from local and international artists. Explore thought-provoking exhibitions across a variety of mediums, from paintings and sculptures to installations and multimedia displays.


If you’re a fan of classical music, you’re in for a treat. Passau is home to the renowned Passau University of Music, which attracts talented musicians from all over the world. Check the university’s event calendar and catch a concert featuring symphonies, chamber music, or opera performances. The exceptional acoustics of Passau Cathedral often serve as the venue for these musical events, providing a truly unforgettable experience.


Another cultural highlight in Passau is the annual European Weeks Festival. This highly anticipated event takes place during the summer months and features a diverse range of performances, including theater, dance, music, and film. Be captivated by world-class artists and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural atmosphere as Passau comes alive with creativity and entertainment.


For those interested in experiencing traditional Bavarian culture, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a Volkstanz (folk dance) performance. Watch as locals dressed in traditional attire perform intricate dance routines accompanied by lively folk music. Join in the fun and learn a few dance steps yourself, as the locals gladly welcome visitors to partake in their traditional celebrations.


Aside from visual and performing arts, Passau also offers cultural experiences through its local cuisine and traditional festivals. Visit the weekly farmers’ market and sample local products such as cheeses, sausages, and freshly baked bread. Indulge in Bavarian delicacies, including pretzels, sauerkraut, and hearty stews, as you taste the flavors of the region.


Throughout the year, Passau hosts a variety of festivals that showcase local traditions and culture. From the colorful Fasching carnival celebrations to the atmospheric Christmas markets, these events provide a glimpse into the vibrant cultural fabric of the city. Join the festivities, savor traditional treats, and witness the community coming together to celebrate their heritage.


Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of Passau and embrace the opportunity to engage with its artistic offerings and traditional festivities. From art museums and classical music performances to folk dances and local cuisine, Passau offers a treasure trove of cultural activities that are sure to leave a lasting impression.


Outdoor Adventures in Passau

Nestled amidst the stunning Bavarian countryside and surrounded by three rivers, Passau is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. From leisurely strolls along the riverbanks to thrilling biking trails, there are plenty of outdoor adventures awaiting you in this charming city.


Start your outdoor exploration by taking a leisurely walk or bike ride along the banks of the Danube. Absorb the breathtaking views of the rivers and the lush landscapes that surround Passau. The well-maintained paths along the river offer a perfect opportunity for a peaceful and scenic stroll. You can also rent a bike and venture further along the Danube Cycle Path, which stretches for hundreds of kilometers, allowing you to explore the picturesque Bavarian countryside at your own pace.


If you’re a nature lover, a visit to the Passau City Park is a must. This expansive green space offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city center. Take a leisurely stroll through the park’s manicured gardens, picnic under the shade of towering trees, or simply relax by the serene ponds. The park also features playgrounds for children, making it a perfect spot for a family outing.


For more adventurous souls, the nearby Bavarian Forest beckons. This sprawling national park offers a multitude of hiking trails with varying difficulty levels. Lace up your hiking boots and venture into picturesque forests, discover hidden waterfalls, and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Be sure to check out the iconic Rachel Tower for panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness.


Water enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Passau as well. Embark on a scenic boat trip along the Danube and Inn rivers, taking in the stunning landscapes from a different perspective. For the more adventurous, kayaking or paddleboarding on the rivers provide a thrilling way to explore the region’s waterways.


If you’re seeking a unique outdoor experience, visit the Baumkronenweg (Tree Top Walk) in the nearby Bavarian Forest National Park. Walk among the treetops on a series of elevated walkways, gaining a new perspective on the forest canopy. Enjoy panoramic views and learn about the fascinating ecological diversity of the region.


During winter, Passau transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts. Hit the slopes at the nearby Hochficht Ski Resort and enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or tubing down the slopes. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails are also available for those looking to explore the winter landscape at a slower pace.


Whether you prefer leisurely walks along the river, thrilling bike rides, challenging hikes, or thrilling watersports, Passau has it all. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural beauty of the region and embrace the outdoor adventures that await you in this picturesque city.


Shopping and Dining in Passau

Passau not only captivates with its historical charm and natural beauty but also offers a delightful shopping and dining experience. From quaint boutiques and specialty shops to an array of culinary delights, Passau is a paradise for shoppers and food enthusiasts alike.


Start your shopping adventure by exploring the charming streets of Passau’s Old Town. The narrow cobblestone alleys are lined with a variety of shops offering unique products, from handmade crafts and traditional Bavarian clothing to local souvenirs and gourmet delicacies. Browse through the boutiques and galleries, and you’ll find the perfect memento to take home.


Don’t miss the Passau Farmers’ Market, held weekly in the city center. Here, you’ll find a vibrant assortment of fresh produce, cheeses, meats, and baked goods. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you sample local flavors and interact with friendly vendors. It’s the perfect place to stock up on picnic supplies or gather ingredients for a delicious meal.


As you explore the streets, you’ll inevitably stumble upon delightful specialty shops. From chocolatiers and gourmet food stores to traditional craft shops, these establishments offer a wide range of unique and high-quality products. Indulge your sweet tooth with a box of handmade chocolates or pick up a bottle of locally produced wine or beer to savor later.


After a satisfying shopping spree, treat yourself to an unforgettable dining experience in Passau. The city boasts a diverse culinary scene, from traditional Bavarian cuisine to international flavors. Sample hearty Bavarian dishes like schnitzel, sausages, and pretzels at one of the many cozy beer gardens or taverns.


If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, there are several restaurants in Passau that offer gourmet cuisine. Taste innovative creations made with local ingredients and complement your meal with a fine selection of Bavarian wines. And of course, be sure to try the famous Passauer Wolf beer, brewed right in the city.


Passau also caters to those with dietary restrictions or specific preferences. Vegetarian and vegan options are readily available in many restaurants, as the city embraces a diverse range of culinary choices. You’ll also find international cuisines, such as Italian, Asian, and Mediterranean, adding a global touch to Passau’s dining scene.


After your meal, take a leisurely stroll along the Danube riverbanks as the sun sets, enjoying the picturesque views and savoring the rich flavors of Passau. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, indulge in a slice of traditional Bavarian cake or a scoop of homemade ice cream from one of the charming cafés and pastry shops that dot the city.


Whether you’re in search of unique souvenirs, gourmet delights, or unforgettable dining experiences, Passau offers a delightful mix of shopping and dining options. Immerse yourself in the local culture, savor the flavors of the region, and take home lasting memories of your time in this enchanting city.


Nightlife in Passau

When the sun sets in Passau, the city comes alive with an energetic and vibrant nightlife scene. Whether you’re looking for a cozy pub to relax and enjoy a drink or a lively club where you can dance the night away, Passau offers a range of options to suit every taste.


The heart of Passau’s nightlife can be found in the lively pedestrian zone, where you’ll find a variety of bars, pubs, and beer gardens. Grab a seat at one of the traditional Bavarian beer gardens and enjoy a pint of locally brewed Passauer Wolf beer. Engage in friendly conversations with locals and travelers alike as you soak up the laid-back atmosphere.


If you’re in the mood for craft beers and a more contemporary ambiance, head to one of the trendy bars in the city center. These establishments often feature a wide selection of local and international beers, creative cocktails, and live music. Enjoy the eclectic vibe, mingle with locals, and experience the friendly hospitality that Passau is known for.


For those who want to dance the night away, Passau has a handful of clubs that cater to different music preferences. From techno and electronic beats to mainstream hits, you’ll find a spot to dance to your favorite tunes. Get lost in the music, meet fellow party-goers, and create unforgettable memories on the dance floor.


If you’re more inclined towards a laid-back evening, many bars in Passau offer regular live music performances. Enjoy intimate acoustic sessions, jazz bands, or local musicians playing traditional Bavarian tunes. Sit back, relax, and let the soothing melodies enhance your night out in Passau.


Passau’s nightlife scene is not limited to just bars and clubs – the city also hosts a range of cultural events and festivals in the evening. Check out the events calendar during your visit, and you may be lucky enough to catch a theater performance, a concert, or even an open-air film screening. Embrace the vibrant cultural atmosphere and let the city’s artistic talents entertain you.


The atmosphere in Passau’s nightlife venues is often warm and welcoming, making it easy to strike up conversations with locals and fellow travelers. Engage in friendly banter, exchange travel stories, and immerse yourself in the social fabric of the city. Passau’s nightlife offers not only a chance to have fun but also an opportunity to connect with the local community.


Ensure a safe night out by familiarizing yourself with the city’s public transportation system or arranging for a taxi service. It’s always important to prioritize your safety while enjoying the lively nightlife that Passau has to offer.


Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxed evening at a cozy bar or an energetic night of dancing, Passau’s nightlife scene has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the city after dark and create unforgettable memories during your visit to Passau.


Day Trips from Passau

While Passau offers a myriad of attractions and activities to keep you busy, it’s also an excellent base for exploring the surrounding regions. Take advantage of its central location and embark on unforgettable day trips to nearby towns and natural wonders.


One popular day trip option is visiting the charming town of Schärding in Austria. Located just across the Inn River, Schärding is known for its beautifully preserved medieval architecture and colorful facades. Wander through the town’s narrow streets, visit the Schärdinger Gildhaus, and enjoy a stroll along the picturesque waterfront. Don’t forget to indulge in a sweet treat at one of the local pastry shops.


If you’re seeking natural beauty, head to the Königssee, one of Germany’s most enchanting lakes. Located in the Berchtesgaden National Park, the Königssee offers breathtaking vistas of crystal-clear turquoise waters surrounded by towering mountains. Take a boat ride across the lake, explore hidden coves, and marvel at the stunning St. Bartholomew’s Church. Be sure to hike to the nearby Obersee for a quieter and equally spectacular experience.


For history enthusiasts, a day trip to the city of Linz is a must. With its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene, Linz offers a fascinating blend of history and modernity. Explore the medieval Altstadt (Old Town), visit the impressive Linz Castle, and immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art at the Ars Electronica Center. Don’t forget to savor traditional Linzer Torte, a delectable regional pastry.


Another intriguing day trip option is a visit to the enchanting town of Engelhartszell. Located on the banks of the Danube, Engelhartszell is famous for its beautiful baroque Engelszell Abbey. Take a guided tour of the abbey, witness the stunning architecture and intricate detailing, and learn about the lives of the Trappist monks who reside there. Enjoy a serene boat ride on the Danube and soak in the tranquil atmosphere of this hidden gem.


If you’re a nature lover, consider exploring the Bavarian Forest National Park. Just a short drive from Passau, this expansive park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike through lush forests, discover hidden waterfalls, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, boars, and even lynx. Follow one of the well-marked trails or join a guided tour to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of this protected natural reserve.


Before embarking on your day trip, make sure to plan your route, check the public transportation options, and take into account the opening hours of attractions or any specific requirements such as advance ticket reservations. A day trip from Passau allows you to explore the beauty and diversity of the region, providing a well-rounded travel experience.


Take advantage of Passau’s central location and embark on exciting day trips to nearby towns, natural wonders, and historical sites. These enriching experiences will complement your visit to Passau and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.



Passau, Germany is a destination that truly has it all. From its rich history and captivating architecture to its vibrant cultural scene and breathtaking natural beauty, this small Bavarian town offers a wealth of experiences for all travelers.


Exploring Passau’s historical sites, such as the iconic Passau Cathedral and the picturesque Veste Oberhaus fortress, allows visitors to delve into the town’s fascinating past. The cobblestone streets and charming Old Town transport you to a bygone era, while the modern art museum and music festivals showcase Passau’s vibrant cultural heartbeat.


Nature lovers will be in their element in Passau, with opportunities to take leisurely walks along the banks of the Danube, venture into the nearby Bavarian Forest for thrilling hikes, or simply relax in the tranquil Passau City Park.


Passau offers more than just history and natural beauty – it invites you to indulge in its culinary delights and experience its vibrant nightlife. Whether you’re dining on traditional Bavarian cuisine at a cozy beer garden or exploring the bustling bars and clubs in the city center, Passau’s food and nightlife scene won’t disappoint.


Additionally, Passau’s central location makes it an ideal base for day trips to nearby attractions. From the charming town of Schärding in Austria to the picturesque Königssee and the cultural hub of Linz, there are plenty of opportunities to explore new places and expand your horizons.


As you bid farewell to Passau, you’ll carry with you memories of its historic landmarks, cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, and culinary delights. Passau has a magical way of capturing the hearts of its visitors, leaving them longing to return to its cobblestone streets, vibrant festivals, and beautiful landscapes.


So, pack your bags, embark on a journey to Passau, and get ready to be enchanted by this hidden gem in the heart of Bavaria. Embrace the blend of history and modernity, immerse yourself in the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Passau awaits, ready to surprise and delight you at every turn.