Recently I had the chance to visit Regensburg for the first time. I heard it called the most northern city of Italy and was curious to find out why. When my long-standing friend Anja suggested taking a trip there, I was giddy with excitement. We packed our bags and off we were to discover the beautiful sides of Regensburg in a short 3-day stay. We weren’t disappointed. The sun was shining, people we met were friendly, and the narrow alleys with colorful houses and wide plazas in the historical old town indeed brought up memories of Italian Dolce Vita.
We made great discoveries and fell in love with the ambiance of this city on the Danube river. Yet our biggest discovery was not a touristy attraction, not a special spot to check out. It was Nina, a pleasant and knowledgeable local who runs her own cafe, the Music Café, and also has a cute little apartment that she used to rent out via Airbnb. How lucky we were to get a bag full of insider tips about the city from Nina. What’s more, she inspired me to start a new article series: „Insider Tips From a Local“. I realized that no matter how much and how well you prepare, how many guides for tourists you flip through, the locals are yet the experts and will point you to the lesser-known gems, those places that only natives know.
And what better way to start the new series than with all the tips and recommendations from Nina, this charming lady who knows so much about „her“ city. A big „Thank you!“ goes out to Nina for sharing her inside information with all of us.
How long have you been living in Regensburg?
I was born here. In the heart of the old town.
What’s so special about the city?
It‘s so vibrant. In the summer everyone’s out on the alleys and plazas. The Danube river. The middle of the old town. Everything is so green…The size…people know each other…the innumerable cafes.
Which 3 words best describe the city?
Old, green, vibrant
If Regensburg was a person, what would be its main characteristic?
How do people react when you tell them you’re from Regensburg?
Always in a positive way!
What is your insider tip, what shouldn’t people miss?
Bathing in the Danube, drifting along. The view from the Church of the Holy Trinity, Stadtamhof, the Danube islands, a glass of wine at the bar at Orphee, espresso at the Cafebar, in the summer the open-air cinema Cinema Paradiso, on Saturdays the farmer’s market at the Alter Kornmarkt, the local beer at Kneitinger.
What’s the most common prejudice about the city? (And is there some truth to it?)
Regensburg is crowded during the summer month. Definitely true!
The cruise liners with their bulk of tourists.
What pitfalls to avoid when interacting with the locals?
Four persons walking side by side in the narrow alleys! There are actually people living and working in this city.
What’s your favorite spot in Regensburg? Why?
Stadtamhof. Because it’s more quite there even during the summer months. Because of the gorgeous view over the old town, and because you can take a dip in the Danube right after having enjoyed a glass of wine (at the Vinosus).
Do you have a recommendation for a vegan spot to eat?
I think the kAffé dAdA….
What’s the best place to enjoy a sundowner?
Again in the Stadtamhof area. That’s where the sun shines the longest in the evenings. Best with a bottle of wine right on the bank of the Danube.
What’s not worth doing or visiting?
Saturday mornings in the alleys of the old town can be crowded. And the monastery Weltenburg. Actually very beautiful, but too touristy.
The St. Emmeram Castle. You can go have a visit, but the castle has nothing to do with us locals. Nobody likes princess Gloria. And neither her completely overcharged Christmas market. Only for hardcore tourists…
What’s the best way to find out more about the city?
Guided tours with performances provided by the Stadtmaus are great and also out of the ordinary. Other than that just soak in the vibes of the city…
Is there anything underrated about the city?
Not really. In fact, everything is appreciated a bit too much.
What’s the best season for a visit?
All seasons. Every season holds something special…but surely the warmer months are when Regensburg is the most vibrant.
If you had a magic wand what would you change about the city?
The rental prices must become more reasonable again. There should be more room for individualism. In the aftermath of Regensburg becoming a world’s heritage site, the tourism has grown massively, and many parts have become too neat, too uniform.
Any other suggestions for visitors?
Just try to drift along with the locals. To listen to them. Then you’ll find the perfect spots automatically.
What are the places where it’s most likely to meet you?
Usually at my cafe. Except for the vacation period. It’s not seated directly in the historical center, but close to the main station, right at the tracks, in the old locomotive shed. And as it’s part of the Music College, I’m always surrounded by many great musicians and a lot of live music. Wonderful.
Many, many thanks also to my travel partner and dear friend Anja who took the gorgeous picture from the Iron Bridge in Regensburg, the one you can see at the beginning of the article.