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Vilshofen an der Donau (Photo:Roberta Patat/Shutterstock)
Vilshofen an der Donau (Photo:Roberta Patat/Shutterstock)
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Cruise Critic
Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Vilshofen an der Donau

A popular embarkation port for Danube River cruises, the German town of Vilshofen provides a friendly introduction to the charming small towns that you'll encounter throughout your trip. The river is so important to the town that it's part of the official name: Vilshofen an der Donau, which translates to "on the Danube." (The river Vils, which meets the Danube here along with the Wolfach, is responsible for the first part of the name.)

A Bavarian burg that dates back to 776, Vilshofen has a famous local son in Josef Groll, a brewer who is known as the "Father of the Pils." His beer, Pilsner Urquell, might have become famous in Bohemia, but it was Groll and his father who invented bottom fermentation. The resultant brew is considered the inspiration for two-thirds of the beer produced today. Often, river cruise lines feature the beer with pretzels and Bavarian music in a mini "Oktoberfest" celebration.

The closest airport to Vilshofen is Munich, about 90 minutes to two hours away. Many river cruises offer transfers, either included in the fare or for purchase (if you go on your own, expect to pay at least 75 euros per person). Popular pre-trips for river cruises that begin in Vilshofen include Munich and surrounding Bavaria, or Prague, which is about three-and-a-half hours away. While Vilshofen is pleasant and worth a stroll, it's not a place where you need to stay overnight; you can arrive the same day your ship leaves and still see the highlights.

Shore Excursions

About Vilshofen an der Donau


You can easily walk to the historic town square where you can sample pilsner-style beer where it originated


There's nothing particularly unique here compared with other towns in the region

Bottom Line

This charming town exemplifies the small-town vibe you can expect along the Danube River in Germany

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Where You're Docked

The river cruise ship dock is within easy walking distance of the town's main square.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Vilshofen is in Germany and uses the euro. There are a few banks with ATMs in the historical center.


German, although most people in the tourist industry speak English.