There's nowhere quite like Ingolstadt, where culture and history stretching back over 1,000 years are set against the backdrop of the Danube. Bavaria's fifth-largest city can be easily reached by train and explored in a day.
Almost everyone in Germany has actually been to Ingolstadt once, or at least passed through it quickly on their way somewhere else. The university town is located almost right in the centre of Bavaria. Anyone travelling between, say, Nuremberg and Munich is halfway to their destination when they get to Ingolstadt. Next time, you should definitely get off your train and explore the place for yourself. Read on to find out why...
Head for the old town on foot or by bus
If you fancy starting your trip with a bit of activity, you can spend half an hour walking from the main station to the old town. Go north along Bahnhofstrasse and keep walking in the same direction when it joins Münchner Strasse. You'll pass two parks – Blumenpark on the right first, then Luitpoldpark on the left. The road called Brückenkopf takes you over the Danube, then walk along Donaustrasse for a few minutes – this brings you to Rathausplatz, the square outside the town hall. A bus can also take you into town. Lines 10, 11 and 14 will get you from the main station to Rathausplatz in 5 minutes, while lines 16, 20 and 30 connect Nordbahnhof station to the centre. Your Bayern-Ticket is valid on these bus services.
Ingolstadt: a lot of sights in a compact area
Dating back well over 1,000 years, the historic old town is well preserved. Charlemagne first mentioned Ingolstadt in 806, and the town became the capital of an independent duchy at the end of the 14th century. In 1472, duke Ludwig the Rich founded Bavaria's very first university here. Now it's time to go see history in real life. Helpfully, you only need two hours to stroll around Ingolstadt and take in all its main sights.
The best place to start is the old town hall, dating back to the 14th century and rebuilt in 1882 in a neorenaissance style. Right next door is St Moritz , the oldest church in Ingolstadt. Its Pfeifturm tower is one of the town's iconic monuments, and it offers a fantastic view of its surroundings. The next stop is the Liebfrauenmünster church, built in the late Gothic era and one of the town's most imposing buildings. People say that almost 4,000 trees were needed to construct the gigantic frame of rafters and struts that holds the roof up.
A well-earned snack before round two
You can lunch on a quintessential Bavarian dish, roast pork, if you go to Gasthaus Daniel, the oldest tavern in Ingolstadt. With its old-world charm, this restaurant is a 3-4 minute walk from centrally located Moritzsstrasse. Just look for Dollstrasse and walk to the end of it. When you've finished your meal, continue straight down Hohe-Schul-Strasse and Griesmühlstrasse, then go left at Kreuzstrasse to visit the Kreuztor gate, the symbol of the town. Though it largely lacks decoration, it is a striking construction, with its six smaller turrets.
Things are much more opulent at the church of Maria de Victoria, designed by the famous late Baroque architects, the Asam brothers. Inside, visitors are spellbound by the sight of the magnificent fresco on the flat ceiling, measuring 30 x 15 metres. You can linger over it for ages, discovering one detail after another.
If you want to relax and think back over your day, Donaustrand is the perfect place for it. Open during fine weather between May and September, it offers a great atmosphere in the evening as well as a view of the new castle. This building was completed in 1500 and now houses Bavaria's army museum. If you visit Ingolstadt in autumn or winter, you can't leave without having one for the road at Bar Centrale, in Donaustrasse. It has long had a cult status for the town's inhabitants.
You need about 30 minutes on foot to get back to the station from Donaustrand. Walk along the path named Donaulände, go left at Brückenkopf and follow the road back to where you started your daytrip. If you want to visit a historic jewel of a town, look no further than Ingolstadt in the heart of Bavaria. We bet you'll see the town in a very different light after this trip!
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.