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Cruises to Passau

Passau (Photo:PeterVrabel/Shutterstock)
Passau (Photo:PeterVrabel/Shutterstock)

About Passau

Arriving in Passau for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking you'd landed in Italy instead of Germany. The city has a very Italian atmosphere that's led to its nickname, Venice on the Danube. And indeed, Passau was part of the Roman Empire for more than 400 years. When most of the city was destroyed by fire in 1662, it was rebuilt in Italian Baroque style, reflected in the vast cathedral, churches, squares and former homes of wealthy merchants. Today, as you stroll through the pretty streets, you'll notice a plethora of pizza and pasta restaurants rubbing shoulders with eateries that serve up hearty German fare.

While Passau has an undeniably touristy feel, it's a very attractive destination boasting a legacy of wealth built on the salt trade and, during Renaissance times, the crafting of knives and sword blades. The city occupies a unique location on the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz in southeastern Germany, close to the Austrian border, and so it's also known as the City of Three Rivers. But the rivers haven't always been the city's friends: Passau has repeatedly been flooded by Alpine water swept along the Inn. High water marks on the side of the town hall bear witness to the flooding; the highest date back to 1501, 1595 and 1954, the latter marked at more than 10m (32 feet).

Packed on a thin strip of land, Passau is easy to get around -- a major plus for visitors -- thanks to its small size. Beyond the long riverside promenade walk, lined with lookalike souvenir shops and some decent eateries, lies the picture postcard old town, with traffic-free narrow streets made for meandering and many of the main sights. The sightseeing high spot, in more ways than one, is St. Stephen's cathedral, high up in the Old Town, home to the world's largest cathedral organ. Dominating the Danube side, opposite the dock, is the Veste Oberhaus fortress, which is now a multiple-choice castle containing a museum, youth hostel and restaurant.

Typically, riverboats dock in Passau after breakfast for a morning sightseeing tour, and passengers can opt to return for lunch back onboard or stay in town and have a meal independently in one of the many restaurants. River cruisers are then allowed free time to explore on their own before sailing in the late afternoon.

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DAY 1: Budapest

7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
Visiting:
Bratislava, Vienna ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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DAY 1: Budapest

14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
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Vienna, Emmersdorf ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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DAY 1: Budapest

14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
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Vienna, Emmersdorf ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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DAY 1: Budapest

7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
Visiting:
Vienna, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

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Budapest
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Vienna, Emmersdorf ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
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Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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14 Night
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Amsterdam
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Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
Visiting:
Bratislava, Vienna ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
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Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
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Bratislava, Vienna ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
Visiting:
Vienna, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Crystal River Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
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Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Passau
Visiting:
Linz, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
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Vienna, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

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Budapest
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Vienna, Emmersdorf ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
Visiting:
Bratislava, Vienna ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
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Kinderdijk, Cologne ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

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Budapest
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Vienna, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

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Passau
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Linz, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking River Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

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Budapest
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Bratislava, Vienna ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Vilshofen an der Donau
Visiting:
Passau, Linz ...
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Cruise Line:
AmaWaterways
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14 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Amsterdam
Visiting:
Cologne, Rudesheim ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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7 Night
Cruise to Passau

Leaving:
Budapest
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Vienna, Durnstein ...
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Cruise Line:
Avalon Waterways
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Why go to Passau?

Pros:

This beautiful, ancient town with its maze of narrow car-free streets is a delightfully walkable place

Cons:

During high season, Passau often fills up with tourists

Bottom Line:

Known as the "Venice on the Danube," Passau is a vibrant and historical village to explore

Passau Cruise Port Facilities?

There is a tourist information center and four public toilets on the dockside. For visitors who don't want to venture too far afield, there are plenty of shops and a wide choice of restaurants across the street, plus attractions that include the Glass Museum, with dazzling exhibits of European glass including Baroque, Rococo, Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces; and the 17th-century St. Paul's Church.

Good to Know?

Some steep, cobbled streets and flights of uneven steps lead down to the Inn River, a popular stop on many guided walking tours, so anyone with disabilities or walking difficulties should check first before setting out. For wheelchair users, the tourist office has produced a map of accessible streets.

Getting Around?

On Foot: The old town, the main tourist hub, is directly opposite the waterfront and easily walkable.

By Bus: The City Bus service is cheap, and the Central Bus Station, on the western side of the Old Town, serves outlying districts. From March to November, a shuttle bus runs from the town hall to the Veste Oberhaus every half hour from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Passau Card, available at the tourist information center on the dock, provides free public transport and entry to museums within a 24-hour period.

By Taxi: There are taxi stands around the town, and you can call Taxizentrale Passau at 0851-5 73 73.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Germany's currency is the euro. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. The nearest ATM's are a five- to 10-minute walk from the point, in the pedestrian street Ludwigstrasse and at the corner of Heuwinkel and Rosstranke. All major credit cards are accepted in shops, restaurants and cafes.

Language?

German is the official language. English is widely spoken at shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.

Where You're Docked?

River cruise vessels dock at the 14 moorings on Donau Lande, the main waterfront area that is within easy walking distance of the Old Town and main shopping streets.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2015 Top-Rated European River Destinations

Passau Cruise Reviews

kck2685
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We saw Passau at night and it was beautiful. We took a day trip to Salzburg, Austria and missed the walking tours in Passau... Read More
Avalon Illumination
canoe03
Sail Date: Dec 2018
Excellent tour with a local guide. We learned an amazing amount about Passau in just 2 hours!... Read More
Jeff Adrian
Sail Date: Jun 2018
Passau was my favorite port of call. Just the right size "porridge", not too big and not too small. Spent the entire day there exploring the various neighborhoods. Talked with the citizens, and the many artists in... Read More
Emerald Dawn
Dougie777
Sail Date: Sep 2018
We loved Passau. Had a city tour with a well-informed guide. Went to an organ recital at the main cathedral that was very impressive. Bought an authentic Black Forest cuckoo clock. Had a second day of walking... Read More
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