24 hours in Speyer: Precious moments in one of the loveliest cities in Germany


You start with its scenic location amidst seemingly endless vineyards, move on to one of the prettiest city centres in Rhineland-Palatinate and end with varied cultural activities and top-class museums. This is Speyer, the imperial cathedral city on the Rhine.

It is amazing to think what you can do in Speyer, especially when you realise that the whole city covers less than 50 square kilometres. By comparison, all the other Romantic Cities are more than twice as big. Perhaps this is why Speyer is so popular with visitors from all over the world, and one thing they cannot miss during their visit is the cathedral. But the city is not just worth a visit for its most famous landmark, it is just a short hop from one attraction to the next.

Sweet Speyer

La dolce vita in Rhineland-Palatinate? No problem, Speyer has a Mediterranean charm all its own. On Maximilianstrasse, the main shopping street, you can sit under palm trees and oleander bushes and even enjoy a range of regional produce from the weekly market. The charming side streets are perfect for a mooch, and there are plenty of little cafés where you can enjoy a cappuccino and watch the world go by. It makes a great start to the day.

Take all the time you need. As chance would have it, two of the city’s highlights can be found at the end of Maximilianstrasse. One of them is the Altpörtel. The western city gate formed part of the medieval fortifications consisting of 68 walled and gated towers. It forms a contrast to the cathedral at the other end of Maximilianstrasse. On the northern side of the route through the Altpörtel is an iron bracket, which was used as the Speyer standard. The 28-cm-tall ‘standard shoe’ was the measure of all things for all those plying a trade in Speyer.

A couple strolls through the old town in Speyer - the cathedral in the background, Palatinate

A couple strolls through the old town in Speyer - the cathedral in the background, Palatinate

World Heritage in Speyer

Speyer Cathedral towers at the end of Maximilianstrasse. The largest Romanesque church in the world, the Imperial Cathedral has extraordinary significance as a cultural heritage site. In 1981, it was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as the primary piece of Romanesque architecture in Germany. While grand from the outside, the interior of the cathedral is remarkably simple. The crypt of the Imperial Cathedral is home to the graves of eight emperors and empresses, four queens and a few bishops.

And that is not all. Between 1084 and 1349, a rich Jewish community grew up in Speyer, which became one of the most significant Jewish centres to the north of the Alps. You can visit the Jewish quarter and the Jewish SchPIRA Museum on Kleine Pfafffengasse. There are stone testaments to the past, including the ruins of the synagogue and the women’s college, plus the almost perfectly preserved ritual baths, known as the mikveh in Hebrew.

The city boasts guided tours both of Speyer Cathedral and of the Jewish world cultural heritage which can also be combined with a guided trail around the city.

The nave of the Speyer Cathedral, Palatinate

The impressive nave of the Speyer Cathedral, Palatinate

Guided tour of the Jewish quarter in Speyer, Palatinate

The Jewish quarter in Speyer is one of the SchUM sites declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Palatinate

The Technik Museum Speyer with its collection of sensational exhibits brings you back to present-day Speyer. You can learn about everything that is driven by intelligent technology, from the world under the oceans to outer space. The absolute highlight is the Boeing 747 jumbo jet. You can see it from a long way off, and you can even walk all the way through this giant of the air. As a unique feature anywhere in the world, you can even access the cargo hold of the jumbo jet and the left wing at a height of 20 metres.

Your day in Speyer is coming to an end. What is the best way to finish it off? With a glass of wine and a piece of Palatinate cake, of course, maybe in one of the cosy wine bars. And Speyer has plenty of those!


At a glance: 24 hours in Speyer

  • Maximilianstrasse
  • Altpörtel
  • Speyer Cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • ShUM Cities, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Technik Museum Speyer
  • Historical Museum of the Palatinate
  • SEA LIFE Speyer aquarium
  • SchPIRA Museum
Friends toasting in a restaurant on the banks of the Rhine, Speyer

Rounding off the day in a restaurant on the banks of the Rhine, Speyer

More recommended excursions for culture lovers in Speyer:


More information about holidays in Speyer

Find out everything about events, sights and more destinations in Speyer at Tourist-Information Speyer.

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