In this destination guide we will travel to Landshut, a cute town in Bavaria off the beaten tourist paths.
Into the old town
Having checked into my Landshut hotel, it was time to explore the town a bit. As it was already past 9pm, my first priority was to find somewhere to eat, knowing that I always had the following morning to wander around as well.
I crossed the bridge over the River Isar and found myself at the old entrance gate of the old town of Landshut. Called the ‘Ländtor’, it is the only remaining gate of the old Medieval fortifications.
When setting foot onto the central street of the old town, I was surprised by the sheer beauty of the houses, all beautifully lit at night.
Sure, I knew from pictures that the city was pretty, but I had selected Landshut as my last destination in Bavaria mainly due to its proximity to Munich Airport. That it would be this beautiful was something I didn’t expect.
The old town with its pastel-coloured houses just oozed Central European charm and sophistication. Thanks to a wee bit of rain, all the lights gorgeously reflected on the cobblestoned streets. Apart from some locals going for a drink in one of the city’s pubs, there was hardly anyone on the streets, let alone other tourists.
It felt like I just stumbled upon an undiscovered gem.
For dinner, I opted for Gasthaus zum Freischütz as it looked like the quintessential Bavarian restaurant with authentic German food.
It certainly did not disappoint. While the town streets were rather empty, this place was absolutely packed with people enjoying hearty meals and pints of beer. I was lucky that there was one last table available near the door.
At the restaurant, I ordered a weizenbier (wheat beer) of Landshuter Brauhaus, which went well with the delicious Wiener Schnitzel.
As a beer-lover it is always a pleasure to travel in Bavaria given that every town of size has several breweries, making it a great place to sample some brews. In Landshut, Brauerei Wittmann and Landshuter Brauhaus are the two largest breweries.
After dinner, I walked back to my hotel to relax for the rest of the evening by taking a warm bath while drinking a cold take-away beer I had bought at the restaurant. So far, Landshut certainly did not disappoint!
Old and modern
The following day I was up early in order to explore more of the city. Landshut has a population of around 70,000 inhabitants and definitely has the peaceful vibe of a mid-sized market town.
It is an important regional hub and industrial centre home to some important factories and businesses, making it one of Bavaria’s most affluent towns.
In the past, Landshut was home to the mighty Wittelsbach dynasty and once even the capital of Lower Bavaria when the duchy was split in two. The old hilltop residence of the dukes, Trausnitz Castle, still towers high above town.
The city was also home to a major battle in the Napoleonic wars, as in 1809 Napoleon and his Bavarian and Swabian allies defeated the Austrian Habsburgs here in one of the battles of the Fifth Coalition.
Given its rich history and regional importance, it however surprisingly lacks in the number of visiting tourists compared to other Bavarian cities such as Munich, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Augsburg and Füssen.
I started off the morning with a leisurely walk along the River Isar, which runs right through the city centre. It’s the same river which runs through Munich if you would head upstream. Going downstream, the river eventually flows into the Danube near the town of Deggendorf.
There is a pleasant path along the river with fine views over the stately riverside houses.
Although most of the modern-day town of Landshut is located on the northern bank of the River Isar, the old town is located on the hilly southern bank.
The old town doubles as the commercial city centre having most of the town’s shops and pubs. Like the night before, it was a pleasure to wander through the old town with its lovely pastel-coloured buildings.
St. Martin’s Church
One of Landshut’s most impressive sights is the massive Church of Saint Martin. At a height of 130.6 metres (428 ft), Saint Martin is not only Bavaria’s tallest church but even the second-tallest brick building in the world.
The Gothic church was completed in the year 1500 after a construction period which lasted for 110 years. It is certainly an impressive structure, whether you admire it from the outside or look up standing in the church choir or altar.
From the old town centre, it’s a short 10 to 15 minute uphill climb to Trausnitz Castle. The castle was the former home of the mighty Wittelsbach Dynasty. One of the most famous Wittelsbach family members in history is without doubt King Ludwig II of Bavaria – the one who ordered the construction of the fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle.
Even though it may not be Neuschwanstein, Trausnitz Castle is still a beautiful sight and most of all a pretty formidable bulwark with its fortifications and hilltop location.
Unfortunately, the castle was closed for some reason when I visited in the late morning, which meant I could only have a peek inside the freely accessible main courtyard.
There are reportedly some great views over the old town of Landshut if you do manage to enter the castle itself.
After a pleasant morning exploring Landshut it was time to head back to the railway station to take a train to nearby Munich Airport. Although I would have loved to have more time to look around Landshut than just one evening and a morning, I would say it is definitely sufficient to get a grasp of the city.
As a mid-sized market town, you can easily explore Landshut in half a day, although a full day will definitely allow you to take in everything at a more leisurely pace with some coffee or beer stops added in.
From Trausnitz Castle, I simply walked back all the way to the train station, which was a fairly long but straightforward 40-minute walk. Landshut was definitely a beautiful surprise and made for a nice end to my little Bavaria trip.
Although Landshut might not be high on most people’s list of Bavarian travel destinations, I can highly recommend the city if you plan to visit the state of Bayern.
Landshut has a gorgeous, cute old town full of pastel-coloured houses which surely ranks as one of Germany’s most picturesque city centres. There are several appealing cafes, bars and restaurants as well in town, which doesn’t come as a surprise when you realise that thriving little Landshut is one of Bavaria’s wealthiest towns.
With the huge brick tower of Saint Martin’s Church and Trausnitz Castle, Landshut also has two major historical sights of interest which are well-worth a detour.
Located halfway between Munich and Regensburg, it should be easy to plan in a stop on any Bavarian itinerary. Given that Munich Airport is only half an hour or so away by direct train, it even makes for an appealing overnight halt before catching a flight out the next day – which was exactly what I did on my trip and which was a decision I didn’t regret at all.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘An Adriatic Adventure: Off-Season Travel to Dubrovnik, Montenegro and a Bit of Bavaria‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: MasterCard Business Lounge Bucharest Otopeni Airport
2. Review: Aegean Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
3. Review: Aegean Business Lounge Athens Airport Hall A (Non-Schengen)
4. Review: Olympic Air Economy Class Athens to Dubrovnik (Bombardier Dash 8-400)
5. Review: Apartments Festa, Old Town of Dubrovnik
6. A Dubrovnik Winter Trip: Off-Season Travel Away from the Tourist Crowds
7. Review: Dubrovnik (Croatia) to Kotor (Montenegro) by Bus
8. Review: Palazzo Drusko Deluxe Rooms, Kotor, Montenegro
9. Kotor, Montenegro: Old Town Charm in Europe’s Most Spectacular Scenery
10. Cetinje – The Old Royal Capital of Montenegro
11. Review: Ramada by Wyndham Podgorica, Montenegro
12. Podgorica: Is the Capital of Montenegro Worth a Visit?
13. Review: Wizz Air (Airbus A320) Podgorica to Memmingen
14. Memmingen: More Than Just a Low-Cost Airport Close to Munich
15. The Bavaria Ticket: Unlimited Train Travel Across the German State of Bayern
16. Review: Michel Hotel Landshut, Bavaria, Germany
17. Landshut: Bavaria Off The Beaten Track (current chapter)
18. Review: Air France/KLM Lounge Munich Airport
** rest of the chapters to follow soon **