Kelheim is a blend of hills and forests shaped by the Altmühl and Danube rivers.
You’ll know the town from kilometers away, thanks to the now-iconic Hall of Liberation that dominates the skyline. However, fortresses and monuments are just a way of life here.
Starting back in Celtic times, Kelheim was a fortified zone. Then, it was known as Alcimoennis, and the Greek historians recorded its might and influence as a hilltop fort city. You can record things about it, too, if you bring a camera. There are both architectural ruins and burial grounds to check out in the forest (use your imagination on the stones) and in the local museum (good displays!).
Yet you don’t want to dally in the old ruins when you could be snapping away shots of the newer Hall of Liberation (Befreiungshalle). Honoring victories over Napoleon, it was completed in 1863 after a lot of stops and starts.
The trick here is to be sure to count to 18 as this is the notable number around which everything is arranged. There are 18 statues, 18 pillars, and so on. The inscriptions inlaid in the floor mosaics are quite inspiring, too.
When you hike down from the Befreiungshalle, you will want to head straight into the old town. Check out the Otto Chapel, the docks of the Ludwig canal, and both the Old and New City Hall buildings.
From there, you will want to start hunting down a specific statue. Local farmers and crafters have market stalls periodically among the winding streets of the pedestrian zone, and these may distract you. However, the monument to Ludwig I is the guardian of a very special local attraction — the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria!
The Schneider Weisse beer house moved over to Kelheim after the Munich location got bombed in WW II, and they have an attached restaurant and tavern for tastings after the tours.
There is one other notable brewery in town, the Aukhofer Bräu, a hotel and tavern complex which is less than a five minutes walk from the Schneider Weisse location.
In my (not so) humble opinion, since we’ve been toasting beer after beer, your best bet is the world’s oldest monastery brewery in Kloster Weltenburg. Their monks have been making this refreshing liquid since the year 1050!
Geez… I probably should stop drinking, else I’m unable to leave this magnificent and tasty town… ;-)