Vilshofen: Danube River Destination

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.

Vilshofen flower display
vilshofen street

Vilshofen’s Stadtplatz

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.

Vilshofen Joseph Groll

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.

ritter alain knight sculpture vilshofen

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.

Vilshofen bridge

AmaWaterways’ Oktoberfest

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.

AmaWaterways Oktoberfest Vilshofen

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.

amawaterways oktoberfest pretzel vilshofen

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.

amawaterways oktoberfest vilshofen
amawaterways oktoberfest vilshofen

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.



  1. June 22, 2020 / 5:50 am

    I love visiting little towns like this, quaint and charming and not too touristy. The flood levels that they’ve experienced there are astounding, judging by the charts. I would definitely enjoy the Oktoberfest celebrations in Vilshofen, with the beer and pretzels.

    • cruiselifestyle
      June 22, 2020 / 8:44 am

      The flood levels were quite astonishing! Yes it was lovely without being touristy.

  2. June 22, 2020 / 8:49 pm

    We have always wanted to visit Germany along the Danube. Vilshofen looks like a great stop! I would love to explore the quiet cobblestone streets. But it might be a toss up over pastries or gelato. Octoberfest sounds like the perfect time to visit.

    • cruiselifestyle
      June 26, 2020 / 8:21 am

      The good thing is that AmaWaterways holds the Oktoberfest event for guests regardless of the time of year so you can still enjoy it in the summer months.

  3. Smita
    June 24, 2020 / 6:53 am

    Vilshofen sounds like such a charming place! I love quaint little European towns where you can just wander the cobble stoned streets. I’d love to visit Vilshofen during Christmas though – the festive cheer and holiday decorations in Germany are usually wonderful!

    • cruiselifestyle
      June 26, 2020 / 8:20 am

      Definitely a charming town that’s very pretty in the summer. A German Christmas market will get you in the Christmas mood.

  4. Travel with Mei and Kerstin
    June 25, 2020 / 10:35 pm

    We have never heard of Vilshofen although we’re from Luxembourg! Thanks to your map and description we understood why: it’s located east of Munich, so far far away from the Luxembourgish-German borders. Haha… It seems to be a lovely town. When we visit Munich next time we’ll make sure to head over there for a nice stroll!

    • cruiselifestyle
      June 26, 2020 / 8:18 am

      It’s a small quiet town and about 2 hours from Munich. I’d recommend combining it with a visit to Passau not far away.

  5. Umiko
    June 26, 2020 / 1:23 am

    We always like visiting towns that are not seeing too many tourists like Vilshofen. I like how the city decorated themselves with window boxes during the summer. It’s so pretty. But you really intrigued me with floating Christmas market.

    • cruiselifestyle
      June 26, 2020 / 8:19 am

      Yes the floating Christmas market is quite unique isn’t it?

  6. June 26, 2020 / 1:26 pm

    I’ve loved other cities and towns we’ve visited along the Danube on our travels and have fallen in love with their character and charm. I just know we would love Vilshofen and honestly, after spending so much time over the last few years in Asia, which we love but still, I am ready for some quaint little European towns!

    • cruiselifestyle
      June 30, 2020 / 3:46 pm

      To be honest, I’d never heard about this place before I visited so it was a pleasant surprise!

  7. Debra Weitl
    August 14, 2021 / 12:51 am

    I would love to visit this town some day as it is where my paternal ancestors are from.

    • Laura
      August 14, 2021 / 1:33 pm

      It’s a lovely town, you should definitely plan to visit

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