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100km (62 miles) SE of Nürnberg, 122km (76 miles) NE of Munich

You have some compelling reasons to get off the beaten track and come to Regensburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities and the only one to remain completely unscathed by World War II bombings. Some 1,400 medieval buildings have survived and create a jumble of steep, red-tiled roofs above narrow lanes and lively squares. Strategically poised on the northernmost reaches of the Danube River, Regensburg was a Celtic settlement, then a Roman outpost known as Castra Regina, and the center from which, beginning in the 7th century, Christianity spread throughout Germany and even into central Europe via the river. Regensburg was also a major hub for trade, and by the 12th century the town was pouring its wealth into churches, towers, and some genuinely lovely houses and public buildings. Some of Regensburg’s more famous contemporary residents have been Oskar Schindler, Pope Benedict, and the princely Thom und Taxis family, whose palace you can visit.