Vohburg lies about 15km downriver from Ingolstadt on the northern border of the Upper Bavarian district of Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm and has a population of about 7,500. The old quarter is bordered by the Danube, Little Danube and Paar rivers.
The Danube flows through Vohburg not once, but twice. The 'real' Danube flows past the centre of town to the north, while the 'Little Danube' runs south of the old quarter and through the middle of the town. The two wonderful town gates, the Donautor and the Kleines Donautor, once guarded bridges over the Danube and Little Danube. A third gate, the Auertor, protected the town to the west. All three of these entrances are situated around the castle, a former stronghold of the area. Parts of the castle walls and – this being Vohburg – the castle gate can still be seen today. Here you can also see the oldest coat of arms in Bavaria carved into a flagstone. The nearby town 'square' (actually more of a semi-circle) is dominated by the town hall, which used to be a church. The late-Gothic Andreaskirche church had some fine stuccowork added in 1788 and from 1880 was used as a grain store and then as a fire station. Following heavy damage in the war, it was rebuilt as a town hall in 1954/55. The Catholic filial church of St. Antonius, on the other hand, still serves its original purpose. Built as an abbey in 1727 by the Franciscans, it was used for secular purposes following the deconsecration of the abbey, serving as a storage building, theatre and stables. After several further reincarnations, it was eventually equipped with a new organ and rededicated as a church. In this way, yet another outstanding architectural monument was preserved for the town of Vohburg.
You can't leave Vohburg without learning about the legend of the Betläuter ('bedtime ringer'), which for countless generations has been part of the town's identity. The Betläuter is actually a carving of an old man's head affixed to the south side of the Andreas church tower where the town hall now stands. Until the tower was renovated in the 1960s, the 400-year-old wooden head, with its pointed beard, cap and bell, was sounded to tell children when it was bedtime. Then, in 1964, the severely weathered head was taken down. In the 1990s it was replaced with a metal replica. Keeping the custom going, the bell is now sounded three times a day, its distinctive light tone serving as a call to prayer. It's a fine old tradition enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
The town's two Danube gates are among Vohburg's most distinctive architectural features. The Grosses Donautor was built in around 1470, a three-storey tower gate with a soaring saddleback roof. The north-south extension is about nine metres long. Over the centuries the gate, and in particular its interior, has undergone many changes. The Kleines Donautor was built at the same time, but is small (klein) only in name. The town's most recognisable landmark, it is far grander than the Grosses Donautor, with superb late-Gothic elements such as the turrets protruding above the gable and the angular oriels. A short hop from here, on the eastern slope of the castle hill, is the Pflegschloss residence, built in 1721 and renovated in 1785/1786. Napoleon spent the night here during his campaign against Austria. In the 20th century it was used as a hospital and nursing home. Also worth a look is the former Zwicksches Haus. From 1726 it was used as a Franciscan monastery and from 1880 to 1970 as a girls' school. Following extensive internal and external renovation in 1995/96, it has been the home of the local Sparkasse bank. On the town square, St. Mary's column, which is topped with a cast iron statue, dates from the 19th century and was extensively restored during the remodelling of the square in 1992/1993. Another focal point on the town square is the monolithic fountain whose triangular form provides a visual link with the surrounding houses and gables. The water symbolises constant change and chiselled in the stone itself are symbols and pictures telling of the town's long history.
Accommodation and restaurants in Vohburg
Long used to catering for visitors, Vohburg boasts a comprehensive range of accommodation, restaurants and inns. A local favourite is the Stöttner Bräu, which specialises in traditional regional cuisine. Whether serving up a roast on Sundays and public holidays, game and mushrooms from the local forests, freshly caught fish from nearby rivers, or the new season's asparagus, the Stöttner Bräu never disappoints.
Around the pretty town square, cafés and restaurants with outdoor seating make for a charming atmosphere.
Activities in Vohburg
Numerous cycle routes pass through Vohburg. The most popular of these is the Danube Cycle Route, while the Via Raetica follows the trail of the Romans from Donauwörth to Regensburg. For shorter bike rides, try the Paar Valley and Ilm Valley tours. The Paar Valley ride begins in Schrobenhausen and leads via Hohenwart and Manching to Vohburg. At Höhe Grossmehring the route joins the Danube Cycle Route. The Ilm Valley ride starts in Petershausen, crosses the district of Pfaffenhofen from south to north and ends in Vohburg.
The Danube is largely free of major shipping until Kelheim, so in and around Vohburg there is ample opportunity for getting out onto the river, whether for sport or leisure. Firmly in the former category is a canoe trip from Vohburg to Kelheim, where the current may be strong but the canoeing is first class. On the initial stretch, canoeists have the river more or less to themselves. After Weltenburg Abbey, they share the water with riverboats and other pleasure craft. The Danube can also be enjoyed from a raft, and there's even one where you are served tasty bratwurst, juicy steaks and cold draft beer. Whether on a single raft or as part of a flotilla, the trip to Kelheim past magnificent baroque buildings, past the Danube Gorge with its bizarre and wildly romantic beauty, and past Mount Michelsberg with its Hall of Liberation, is an unforgettable trip. Available from May to October. Early booking recommended.
Vohburg Tourist Information
Tel.: +49 (0)8457 936 9700
Tuesday - Saturday 10am-1pm
Outside of these opening times information can be obtained from the town hall.