A Visit to Vilshofen
Updated: Mar 20
One of the perks of river cruising in Europe is the ability to walk right off the ship into a delightful town and feel immediately part of the fabric of the region. Daily life is taking place around you, shops and cafes have their doors wide open, and neighbors are out walking, talking and shopping. It’s exactly how you wanted your travel to be: authentic, spontaneous and immersive.
I had such a delightful experience in Vilshofen, Germany, on my Danube River voyage. On the final afternoon of our cruise, I was able to partake in an exclusive Oktoberfest celebration, I also had time to take an unscheduled stroll around town, soaking up the lively goings-on and visiting a beautiful park (where, in fact, I saw a piece of the Berlin Wall).
Here’s what I loved about spending my afternoon and evening in Vilshofen, about 14 miles upriver from Passau.
Sharing a beer with Kristin Karst, EVP of AmaWaterways, and Cesario, our wonderful cruise manager
Home of the Pilsner
More than 1,200 years old, the small town of Vilshofen is located about four blocks from the edge of the southern Bavarian Forest. The village was a key player in the creation of the pilsner brewing style. The Father of the Pils, Josef Groll, was born here, before moving to the town of Pils in Bohemia (which is now the Czech Republic). It was there that he brewed the world’s first pale lager, the Pilner Urquell.
An Exclusive Oktoberfest Celebration
As a river-cruise guest sailing on AmaWaterways in Vilshofen, you’ll be treated to your own special area for celebration. Passengers are invited to a private tent, bustling with live music, soft pretzels and, of course, free-flowing beer. Typically, you’ll be drinking Wolfstetter, which is a crisp pilsner brewed right in town. There’s a lively beer-hall ambiance with trays of beer served by lederhosen- and dirndl-wearing hosts.
An evening walk took me through the streets of Vilshofen
What Else to See
Believe it or not, there’s more to Vilshofen than Oktoberfest celebrations and great beer. This quaint town is centered around a small main shopping street, with a few cozy eateries. Overlooking town, a Benedictine abbey is the biggest sightseeing attraction. Take some time away from the celebrations by the river and make your way to the 1909 Schweiklberg Abbey, which towers over the city like a medieval fortress. Created by Bavarian Forest architect Michael Kurz, the abbey is Art Nouveau in style, with a touch of new-Baroque. The abbey continues to do mission work in Africa, South American and Korea and has an outstanding Africa museum on site, as well as a humanities library with more than 40,000 volumes.
Seeing this piece of the Berlin Wall was totally unexpected during my walk through the park.
Come Back for Christmas
Consider a Danube River cruise around the winter holidays. The village is home to one of Germany’s most memorable Christmas markets - a floating one. The market is housed in a Wurm & Köck river cruiser, featuring a huge Christmas tree all lit up with bright lights and baubles. Shop for handicrafts, mulled wine, toasted almonds and more, soaking up the festive holiday atmosphere as the lights reflect off the placid Danube. Stick around for music concerts, Christmas readings and the nativity play.
I can’t recommend enough the opportunity for an exclusive Oktoberfest visit to Vilshofen. I’d love to share my own experience with you and get you excited about your own upcoming trip. Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page. I'd love to chat!