Why go to Speyer, Germany? Wandering between the UNESCO world heritage sites, including the world’s largest remaining Romanesque Cathedral, would make a fine day. Add the Technic Museum for the kids and motorheads in your life and Speyer will delight you.
As if that wasn't enough, you can also see the best preserved Jewish ritual bath in Europe. It was established before 1128.
And when you get a bit hungry or thirsty, you can seek out one of Speyer's many Weinstuben – wine taverns found all over the Old Town that offer not only excellent food but also some award-winning wines from the along the German Wine Route which lies to the west.
Here's how the city of Speyer is laid out.
Must-See Attractions in Speyer
The oldest of three remaining Romanesque cathedrals in Germany and the largets in Europe. Construction began under Conrad II in the 11th century.
Pope Pius XI awarded the Cathedral the honorary title of Basilica minor in 1925 and in 1981, UNESCO made it a World Heritage Site.
The courtyard contains the ruins of a synagogue and a ritual bath dating back to the 1100s.
In the Middle Ages, you see, Speyer was home to one of Germany’s most important Jewish communities.
Jewish Baths, Mikveh
Constructed in the early 1100s, the Jewish ritual baths are surprisingly intact. The baths are 10 meters underground and you can visit.
This is an extraordinary room with window onto the waters of the ritual bath, built by the craftsmen of the cathedral stonemason's lodge, according to professor Gunter Stein.
Museums in Speyer
Technik Museum Speyer is a very interesting place for those interested in the technologies of transportation.
what does the inside of a submarine look like? What does a sea cruiser need on board? How huge is the Jumbo Jet? What does the world's largest organ sound like? How did a Chinese steam locomotive end up in Speyer, and was the Space Shuttle Buran in space? Alongside Europe's largest aerospace and amazing naval exhibition, discover a variety of aircraft, classic vintage cars, racing- and classic motorcycles, historic fire engines, massive steam locomotives, mechanical instruments, rarities and fashions. Every year in May, the museum comes to life: At the BRAZZELTAG®, you can see vehicles with tremendous cylinder capacity, horsepower giants and curiosities that can be experienced live – for fans, by fans. -- Technik Museum Speyer
Kids? Bring 'em if you've got them.
The Historical Museum of the Palatinate guides you throught the cultural history of Speyer and its surroundings--from the Romans in 12 bc through the Germanic looting, ecclesial treasures, Martin Luther and the Protestant revolution, the region’s 2,000-year long history of winemaking and a lot more.
And about the historic building:
The Munich architect, Gabriel von Seidl planned the four-wing castle which was dedicated in 1910. In order to bring the museum up to current standards, it was completely renovated in the late 1980’s and a new building was constructed for temporary exhibitions. -- Historical Museum of the Palatinate
Head for one of Speyer's many Weinstuben or wine bars, as we've mentioned. We had a surprisingly good meal right in front of the Cathedral at the Gasthaus zum Domnapf.
More Attractions in Speyer
The three biggest shopping streets in Speyer are Maximilian street, Horse market street, Gilgen street, and Corn Alley.
The Old Gate
The west city gate of Speyer was once part of 68 towers built into the encirling town walls. It is one of the largest in Germany.
It was built upon the ruins of a previous tower.
Built in 1701 in the Baroque and ecclesiastical style, trinity church is the city’s oldest Protestant church. The interior contains some mighty fine woodwork as well as a biblical dome fresco and an altar built in 1716.
Speyer Lodging Map
How to get to Speyer
Speyer's rail station is located to the northwest of the old town, a 10-15 minute walk to the center. The tourist office is located on Speyer's main pedestrian street, the Maximilianstrabe. The telephone number is 0 62 32-14 23 92. To fully understand the symbolism in the cathedral, be sure to pick up a copy of the free brochure "The Imperial Cathedral of Speyer."
Speyer is about 3 1/2 hours from Munich by train and a little over two hours from Cologne.