Speyer Cruise Port

Port of Speyer: An Overview

One of the oldest towns in Germany, the former Roman settlement on the Rhine is famous for its mighty landmark Speyer Cathedral, an UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the largest Romanesque church in Europe.

Speyer is also noted for its Jewish heritage and the mikveh, the traditional bathhouse, which was built in 1128; it's included in most guided walking tours. Other attractions include the Old City Gate dating to the 13th century, Sea Life center with more than 3,000 marine creatures housed in 40 displays and a wide pedestrian-only shopping street -- directly opposite the cathedral -- with restaurants, cafes and shops selling souvenirs and authentic German clothing.

From the docking point for river ships, it's a pleasant 10- to 15-minute walk through a leafy park to the cathedral and town center. The large Alter Hammer beer garden, overlooking the river, is a lovely spot to stop for a drink on the way back to the ship; just watch the time as stops in Speyer are generally only a few hours.

Don't Miss

Speyer Cathedral: Officially known as Imperial Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption and St. Stephen, the cathedral was intended to be the largest church in the Western world when construction started in 1030. With four symmetrical towers and two domes, the cathedral took 30 years to build and was remodelled at the end of the 11th century. The burial place of German emperors for almost 300 years, the crypt is the biggest Romanesque columned hall in Europe. You might want to enter through the Holy Door of Mercy, on the eastern side, which is said to grant absolution from sins to all those who pass through. Also noteworthy is the huge 'cathedral bowl' outside the main door, which can hold 412 gallons. Tradition has it that every new bishop has to fill it with wine, which locals can drink for free. (Nowadays the wine is still complimentary but they have to pay EUR2 for the glass!)

Speyer Technik Museum: Cathedrals not your thing? Consider a visit to this museum, which has jumbo jets, submarines and sea rescue cruisers that you can walk through, as well as vintage cars, fire engines, trains, an operating model railroad and the largest space flight exhibition in Europe. Most of the displays are in German but your resident engineer or transportation geek won't care. There's also an IMAX movie theater. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; it's within walking distance of where the docking area, or take a taxi (for those with mobility issues, keep in mind that some of the exhibits such as the outdoor aircraft displays have lots of stairs and no elevators).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The currency is the euro. For up-to-date exchange rates, visit www.xe.com. ATMs (geldautomats) can be found in the Maximilianstrasse shopping street, directly opposite the cathedral.

Language

German is spoken in Speyer.