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Regensburg: Mediterranean flair in the south

Sitting outside a café in the Altstadt on a balmy summer evening, barbecuing with friends on the banks of the river Danube or spending the day at an outdoor swimming pool – Regensburg is definitely at its best in the summer. In the winter, visitors are enchanted by the town's many Christmas markets.

by Bettina Ruhland

Walhalla © Mijozi/wikicommons
Walhalla . © Mijozi/wikicommons

Facts & Figures

Inhabitants:
135,403
Students:
31,307
Universities:
3
Monthly rent:
320 €
Tip:
Enjoy watching the stunning sunset from the historic site of Walhalla!
Website:
www.regensburg.de

Welcome to Regensburg

Regensburg is one of Germany's oldest cities, and many buildings in the medieval Altstadt are still very well preserved. A prime example is the Gothic Cathedral of St. Peter. Historical squares and architecture can be found all over town.

You'll also discover traces of the Romans and Middle Ages in Regensburg. Behind the historical facades are modern stores and some of the old vaulted buildings are now home to bars and restaurants. Regensburg is a town that successfully preserves its heritage but also keeps up with the times.

Neupfarrplatz © Skanko Productions
Neupfarrplatz . © Skanko Productions

The town's most famous square is Neupfarrplatz in the city centre. This is the site of the Neupfarrkirche, a tiny church with an interesting background. In the 16th century, a Jewish synagogue existed here before the Neupfarr church was built. Market stands around the church regularly sell regional products such as strawberries and asparagus. Many of the squares in the old part of town, like Neupfarrplatz, are connected by a network of small alleys. You might get lost when you first arrive in town. But it's these little streets and squares that give the town its appealing and distinctive character.

Steinerne Brücke © Stadt Regensburg, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Steinerne Brücke . © Stadt Regensburg, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Close to the town centre is Steinerne Brücke. The bridge is the town's most famous landmark, and something the people of Regensburg are especially proud of. It has been a permanent fixture in Regensburg since the Middle Ages, and links downtown Regensburg with the Stadtamhof district. Both districts were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2006 and are visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Stadtamhof is separated from the old part of town by the river Danube and for many locals is the most beautiful part of town. The mix of shops, restaurants and cafés in the many colourful little houses gives the district an especially attractive character: you sometimes feel like you're on holiday in the Mediterranean.

Stadtamhof © Stadt Regensburg, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Stadtamhof . © Stadt Regensburg, Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

On your way over the bridge, watch out for the "Bruckmandl" (bridge people). The statue has become a city emblem, hence Bruckmandl guesthouses, Bruckmandl schnitzel (served with mustard and horseradish) and Bruckmandl beer.

Not far from Regensburg is another important landmark, the Walhalla hall of fame. The hall houses busts of 130 distinguished people from German and European history, most notably writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and reformer Martin Luther. From the Walhalla, you have a magnificent view of the city, the surrounding area and the river Danube. 

Living in Regensburg

Numerous special events and festivals (all dates are listed in Regensburg's calendar of events) define leisure time and everyday life in Regensburg throughout the year. Students traditionally like to spend the afternoons or evenings in local cafés or bars. One of the most popular meeting places is the "Neue Filmbühne" right on Bismarckplatz. One special thing about this bar: you're allowed to take drinks outside and sit on the square in front of the "Neue Filmbühne".

Walhalla © Regensburg Tourismus GmbH
Walhalla . © Regensburg Tourismus GmbH

The Jahninsel is a popular place for barbecues. The island is in the middle of the Danube between Altstadt and Stadtamhof and attracts both students and locals who like to hang out, relax and enjoy barbecues with friends. The island also becomes music venue for one weekend in the summer. All kinds of bands perform at the Jahninselfest, and you can attend concerts for only about 20 euros– festival atmosphere right in the middle of Regensburg.

My tip

It's most beautiful at the Walhalla late in the evening. The sunset from there is stunning!

In terms of food, too, Regensburg offers a mix of traditional and modern. The old part of town is full of cafés and restaurants where you can start the day with breakfast and finish it with a cocktail. The Hemingway's on the Obere Bachgasse with outdoor tables right on the square is ideal for both. Two authentic Regensburg venues are the Wurstkuchl, right next to Steinerne Brücke, and Kneitinger, a typical Bavarian tavern which has several branches in town. Orkan (Holzländestrasse on the banks of the Danube) is particularly popular among students. The food here is slightly more extravagant but none of the dishes costs more than 10 euros.

The highlight of every winter are the Christmas markets. The Romantic Christmas Market in the courtyard of the Thurn and Taxis palace is especially atmospheric. Sipping a glass of "Feuerzangenbowle", a kind of rum punch which is prepared on an open fire, you really start to get in the Christmas spirit.

Interview with Lorenzo from Italy

Lorenzo Manera from Italy is 24 years old and studying education in Regensburg.

Picture of Lorenzo from Italy © Lorenzo Manera
Lorenzo from Italy . © Lorenzo Manera

How did you prepare for your studies in Germany? Did you find it difficult to leave Italy?

I'm a very musical person so I listened to a lot of German songs before I came to Germany. Classical music such as Tristan and Isolde or Franz Schubert's Lieder. I didn't find it hard leaving Italy. The people from the region of Emilia-Romagna where I come from are simple people: a good beer, a few friends and we're happy.

Where did you live while you were in Germany? Was it expensive for you living here?

I lived in student accommodation with German and foreign students. There were four of us: two French students, a really nice Bavarian and myself. Compared to Italy, the accommodation and cost of living in Germany were really cheap. But I do find good food in Germany to be very expensive.

Historische Wurstküche © Skanko Productions
Historische Wurstküche . © Skanko Productions

Was it easy making friends with Germans?

The Bavarians are very friendly people. But most of the people I got to know during my time in Regensburg were other Erasmus students. Maybe being in the same situation makes it easier to connect to other foreign students.

Is there a place in Regensburg that you particularly like?

Yes, there is. I really like the Alte Linde on the Danube. This is a traditional beer garden, where you can get good Bavarian beer and food. It's a really beautiful spot.

Please complete this sentence: For me, studying in Germany means...

… a great opportunity.

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