About the area:
Regensburg bills itself as "Germany's best-preserved medieval city." It's hard to argue with that description, at least when you're wandering through the Altstadt with its 13th to 15th Century houses or crossing the Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), which has carried traders and tourists across the Danube since the 1100s.
Preservation may be Regensburg's most important industry after the BMW and Siemens plants in the modern suburbs. The medieval streets in the city center have been protected by strict laws since the 1970s, and the Bavarian state's conservation experts keep a close eye on all maintenance or renovation--even to the point of dictating what historically authentic pigments should be used when it's time to repair a building façade. Best of all, the churches, patrician mansions, towers, Roman walls, and other historic structures that you see are the real thing: Because Regensburg escaped damage from Allied bombs in World War II, its architectural heritage consists of original buildings instead of postwar replicas.
Despite its well-preserved 2,000-year-old heritage, Regensburg isn't just an architectural theme park: It's an energetic, prosperous town of 142,000 with a major university that gives a lively boost to the cultural and entertainment scene. Best of all, Regensburg is off the main American and British tourist circuit, so you'll feel that you're visiting "the real Germany"--at least until you see the McDonald's arches beneath a traditional Bavarian sign that reads "Zum Goldenen M."