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Last summer we visited Landshut for the very first time and were fascinated by the city in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, which has so much beauty, culture and history to offer.
A very special event ran like a common thread through our visit last year and we encountered it on many corners and in all our conversations: the Landshut wedding. With so much passion, everyone told us about the historic festival that forever shaped the city’s history in 1475 and has been brought back to life every four years since 1904 in the form of a huge festival.
At the first edition of the festival in 1904 there were 145 participants, this year there are around 2,500 people who are performing the Landshut Wedding with great dedication until July 23rd. Another tradition is to let your hair grow long until the performance, in keeping with the medieval model.
A special, historical event: the Landshut wedding in 1475
But what exactly is the Landshut wedding all about? The short version: The festival recreates the wedding of Duke George the Rich and the Polish king’s daughter Hedwig Jagiellonica in 1475 and medieval life at that time. The city’s residents stage the historical event in authentic, historical costumes over three and a half weeks. On a huge fairground, but also in the entire city center, whose house facades are all festively decorated for this special occasion.
The symbol of the Landshut wedding is the book wreath, which stands for love and friendship. You can see the green wreaths everywhere during the celebrations: on the costumes, as an accessory on the belt, but also as decoration on the buildings.
This year, a Landshut wedding took place for the first time in six years, two years later than originally planned due to the corona pandemic. The anticipation for this extraordinary event was even greater. Of course, we didn’t miss the opportunity to follow up last year’s theory with the practice of immersing ourselves in medieval life.
But today we don’t just want to tell you about the Landshut wedding, we also want to give many other tips for the charming city. Because one thing is certain: Landshut is ALWAYS worth a visit. Even if the atmosphere during the Landshut wedding is something very special.
How can you imagine the Landshut wedding? The time frame is similar to the Munich Oktoberfest, but the two events couldn’t be more different. The Landshut wedding includes theater performances, music, dance, a large parade, as well as jousting games and takes place on a festival site – the so-called Zehrplatz – on the Isar and in the entire city. A unique cultural event that is famous far beyond Bavaria’s borders.
The nice thing: You can immerse yourself in the medieval world of Landshut without tickets. There are many ways to experience the Landshut wedding far away from the festival site.
For example, at free concerts in the Gothic St. Martin’s Church or in the inner courtyard of the Residenz, performances by the Traveling Comedians Hofberg in the KOENIGmuseum or spontaneous performances by the various groups at various places in the city.
First and foremost is of course the biggest event of the festival, the wedding procession, which takes place four times – always on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the old and new towns. Tens of thousands of people sit in the stands in the middle of the old town and cheer on the groups, crowned of course by the entry of the bride and groom and their entourage.
By the way, the stands will be used with great pleasure throughout the Landshut wedding period. On a warm summer evening there is no space left. Thousands of people sit together, eat, drink, chat and laugh. Large picnic baskets and even long buffets are organized. Groups of friends meet and simply have a great time together, accompanied by all sorts of little performances by the costumed people, whose path always takes them past the stands.
A little excursion to Oktoberfest. You can’t help but draw parallels when you hear about a big, historic festival in Bavaria: When I think about the largest folk festival in the world in Munich, I’m always a little ambivalent. On the one hand, I think the tradition and celebrating together is something wonderful. But I think it’s such a shame that for many people, Oktoberfest is just “millions of people from all over the world come together and drink together”. And the traditional idea falls somewhere between beer and a far too short 20 euro plastic dirndl. That’s why I like the Oide Wiesn so much, which is unfortunately just a small side event. Real tradition is lived there, (almost) unadulterated.
I think it’s all the nicer that in Landshut you have the feeling, everywhere and at all times, that tradition really comes first. Of course there is a lot of celebration, but that’s just a small side effect. The focus is on the historical event that is recreated with so much dedication. The tradition is lived with all the senses and in Landshut you have the feeling that you have traveled 550 years into the past in a time machine.
In the late afternoon, the action shifts more and more to the Zehrplatz, where, in addition to countless beer benches and numerous food stalls for the guests, there is also the so-called “lager”.
There, the participants recreate medieval life and the eve of the wedding with great attention to detail. From a fence you can watch the hustle and bustle there, marvel at the detailed costumes and enjoy the very special atmosphere. By the way, the participants completely immerse themselves in the world of that time. Smartphones and other things “of the modern world” are prohibited. A precious reflection on what is essential in today’s world, when we are always online and reachable.
Tips for a (summer trip to Bavaria)
I already mentioned that Landshut is of course worth a visit not just because of the event. The city skilfully combines tradition with modernity, offers many charming little shops and restaurants and, thanks to the Isar, also bathing areas in the middle of the city. The old building facades are among the most beautiful in all of Bavaria and it’s a lot of fun to wander through the streets and “just look”. There is so much to see and discover on every corner.
Last year we rented e-bikes, which can be rented from the tourist information office in the city of Landshut, among other places. The perfect way to get around the elevated castle. Trausnitz Castle above the city, as well as the adjacent Hofgarten, are an absolute must when visiting Landshut.
Exciting to know: The Landshuter Hofgarten was the first “English Garden” in Bavaria. A very idyllic place where you can spend lovely hours, especially in summer.
Also well worth seeing: the KOENIGmuseum in the old town, where numerous works by the famous Landshut sculptor Fritz Koenig are exhibited.
Mini food guide for Landshut
In Landshut you can of course also eat well away from the festival site. By the way, this has the advantage that you can sit and relax and enjoy a short break from the hustle and bustle of the wedding.
Here are a few favorites where you can enjoy culinary delights in a beautiful ambience. Of course not just for the time during the Landshut wedding, but for every (summer) visit to the city:
Rauchsteiner, Badstrasse 3
The Rauchsteiner is not only in a particularly idyllic location on the Mühleninsel, you can also have fantastic food in the restaurant. Be sure to grab a spot on the pretty terrace in summer!
To Freedom – Landshut Soup Kitchen, Kirchgasse 247
Especially during the Landshut wedding, the Landshut soup kitchen in the heart of the old town is the perfect place to sit relaxed during the meal but still be able to take in a lot of what is happening. And delicious (vegetarian) burgers and salads with that certain something end up on your plates!
The Neue Burgschänke, Trausnitz Castle 168
The best view of Landshut is from Trausnitz Castle. All the better that you can also eat well there. Our favorites: the delicious castle breads, which are so much more than “just a sandwich” and the gnocchi.
Hofberg Café, Weickmannshöhe 4
A real insider tip that we got to know last summer: the Hofberg Café, which looks rather inconspicuous from the outside and not only offers delicious cakes, but also a particularly idyllic ambience. From the terrace you look out over an orchard and feel as if you have landed in a “summer in the country” dream.
Nepomuk, Ländgasse 121
Another nice place in Landshut is Nepomuk, which is located directly on the Isar and spoils its guests with a nice selection of delicious cakes and drinks. There is also a small but very fine menu. For example, there are tarte flambées and tapas platters.
Portucalis Wine Café Bar, Kirchgasse 229
Portuguese delicacies, good wine and live music: the Portucalis is the perfect place to end an active day in Landshut comfortably.
And if you can’t make it to the Landshut wedding this week: don’t worry, the next date has already been set! In 2027 it will be that time again!
But: As I said, a visit to Landshut is always worth it, because even without the wedding decorations, the city is one of the most beautiful that the south of Germany has to offer.