Vilshofen is a charming little town in Germany situated on the banks of the Danube. It’s less known than some of the other big stops along the Danube (Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava) but its idyllic streets and quaint buildings left me pleasantly surprised. Vilshofen is visited by Crystal, AmaWaterways and Uniworld river cruises. In this post, I will be highlighting some things to do in Vilshofen if this town is on your river cruise itinerary.
Disclaimer: I was invited to cruise onboard AmaMagna as part of a VIP Fam Trip organised by AmaWaterways. This blog post features my own, honest opinions of the cruise.
Where is Vilshofen?
Vilshofen (Vilshofen an der Donau) is situated on the edge of the Southern Bavarian Forest in the Passau district. The nearest airport is Munich. River cruise companies generally offer inclusive transfers between Munich Airport and Vilshofen or there is the option to travel by train.
See the flood levels in Vilshofen
Whilst Vilshofen benefits from its scenic setting on the Danube, unfortunately this also brings the risk of flooding and over the years has suffered multiple floods. Near the river cruise dock there are records of the flood levels dating back to 1826. Standing next to it, really puts the river levels into perspective (I’m 4ft 11″).
See the Maypole and Statues by the Danube
On the bank where the river cruise ships dock, you will see some statues and an AmaWaterways maypole. The maypole has the names of all of the river cruise ships that visit Vilshofen.
The statues make up a sculpture by Wolfgang Auer entitled ‘Zeitbogen’, which features a raftman, saltseamer and pilot.
Take a walk through Vilshofen’s quiet streets
I decided to go for a wander around the nearby streets on my own and I felt very safe. The little streets in Vilshofen are pretty and surprisingly quiet. It was late afternoon and the streets were deserted. You are unlikely to find much activity in Vilshofen unless you visit during the festive period where you will find a floating Christmas market.
The main street in Vilshofen is called the Stadtplatz and has a sprinkling of local shops to browse. The Baroque town tower is situated at one end and dominates the street.
In the summer, the Stadtplatz is decorated with window boxes on the buildings and this restaurant opens a beer garden on the street.
There is a bakery selling a tempting selection of fresh pastries and a gelato/pizzeria that is also worth visiting, but could easily be missed if you’re not looking for it. There is a general shop that sells essentials so if there’s anything you’ve forgotten for your trip, you can find it here.
Part way down the Stadtplatz is a statue to honour Joseph Groll. Joseph (or Josef) was originally from Vilshofen and went on to become the first brewer of Pilsner Beer.
In front of the town hall is the ‘Knight Alain’ sculpture on top of a small fountain. This knight was one of the wealthiest noblemen of his time in Vilshofen and Passau during the 13th Century.
At the end of the Stadtplaz is a bridge that is worth walking for the view. From here you can retrace your steps back to the river cruise ship.
If you are cruising with AmaWaterways, Vilshofen is where you will enjoy the special Oktoberfest event. This is a great way to experience a taste of the German celebration whatever time of year you visit.
Traditional German musicians play tunes, whilst the hosts provide dance instructions so you can join in with the festivities. Beer and pretzels are handed out and seating is arranged in long tables.
It was a fun and lighthearted evening, helped along by the jolly music and the beer! You can read more about why I think AmaMagna is great for first time river cruisers.
Best Things to do in Vilshofen
In all honesty, Vilshofen is likely to be the quietest stop on your Danube river cruise. A stroll around the town will allow you to take in the historical landmarks such as the statues and the town tower. It is a charming little town that reflects local life.
If you’re cruising with AmaWaterways, the Oktoberfest event is a real highlight. The music, beer and pretzels are a great way start or finish to your Danube river cruise.