Weiden in an afternoon

Weiden in an afternoon

by Susan Melnyk
Stripes Europe

Weiden in der Oberpfalz is a hidden gem providing all the charm of a quintessential Bavarian town. The size of this modest city makes it both easy to explore on foot in an afternoon, and vibrant enough to provide a real glimpse of daily German life. Weiden is also the perfect day trip from the Bavarian Military Community, with several hotel options in the historic center if you wish to extend your stay.

The long rectangular town center, bookended by two historic gates, is mainly pedestrian with the rare slow-moving car, belonging to those who live in the surrounding buildings. With its myriad of restaurants, cafes, and shops, Weiden is popular with Germans from neighboring towns and the suburbs which makes a visit to this city feel less touristy and more wonderfully authentic. As a result, the corridor almost always sounds festive with laughter and conversation reverberating off the colorful gabled houses that provide a historic backdrop.

For the perfect afternoon in Weiden, start with the popular and robust Saturday morning market, which takes place in the historic town center (also referred to as the ‘lower market’ or ‘lower gate’) from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. From early morning on Saturdays, locals can be seen flocking to the market, many with baskets in hand. During warmer months, it’s not uncommon for a festival to be tied in to the day, including vintage car shows, children’s festivals, historic celebrations, and music events.

You’ll find market stalls packed with local honey, fresh flowers, fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, and several options for sliced deli and fresh meat. Don’t leave the market without picking up some fresh pasta and pesto from the incredibly friendly Italian man in the white food truck. The pasta needs to be refrigerated and eaten within two days or frozen, but it’s so good we bet you’ll devour it before the weekend is through.

Beginning with the market and extending well into the evening, restaurants, pubs and cafes will be bustling. From spring into late fall, Germans can be found enjoying brunch, lunch, or afternoon drinks in the sun or the shade of umbrella-lined patios. The hardy locals will bundle up to enjoy these patios as early or late as possible in the season, and you’ll quickly understand the allure. 

In colder weather, the flickering candlelight from restaurant and café windows is an invitation that is often impossible to resist. Since they lose the extra seating of the patios in the winter, Weiden’s restaurants tend to fill up quickly.  Here are a few of our favorites that are well worth making a reservation for:

Zoe Restaurant is a beautiful establishment tucked away near the lower gate. Though the menu is hard to describe and often includes specials and seasonal delicacies, we guarantee there will be something to please everyone. From the wild boar burger or ribeye to the goat cheese and shaved radish salad, we’ve enjoyed every single meal we’ve had here and many of our guests still rave about their visit.

If you have a craving for Greek food, Weiden has a variety of options, but Yamas should be at the top of your list.

The friendly and accommodating waitstaff is part of the charm here and an English menu is available on request. Though you might have luck grabbing a table without a reservation at lunch, it’s rare that you can sneak into this popular restaurant’s modern interior for dinner without one, so be sure to make one in advance. To share with a group, try the lemon potatoes, moussaka, giouvetsi (a tasty lamb dish with orzo), and grilled octopus. Don’t be surprised if your evening meal ends with a complimentary shot of ouzo, the potent traditional Greek liquor that tastes like black licorice or anise.

For lovers of wine or prosecco, stop by Hansel & Gretel, Weiden’s popular locally-owned wine shop. Located near the fountain in front of the Old Town Hall, the walls of this shop are lined with unpretentious wines from around the world and the owner delights in matching his customers with the perfect pairing. Let the multilingual owner know if you prefer dry, sweet, red, white, wine, prosecco, or champagne, as well as a price range, and he’ll disappear into the back or scour the shelves to find you the perfect options from which to choose.  Grab a bottle to take home or consider sitting at one of the cozy window seats for a glass of whatever they have open at the moment. During the summer months, a sweet vignette of tables and chairs pepper the exterior, the perfect spot to people watch.

For tea lovers, duck into the tunnel beneath the Old Town Hall and wander until you locate the carved wood-clad tea shop.

Weidener Teeladen has tins of delicious green, fruit, and black teas and candies lining nearly every wall. Though the staff does not always speak English, it’s easy enough to point at a labeled canister, at which point it’ll be retrieved from the shelf and you’ll be invited to take a sniff. It’s impossible to leave this store without a few bags of tea and the friendly staff will help you choose one that suits you.

No matter what you find yourself doing on an afternoon in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, it’s easy to see why this charming Bavarian town is so irresistible to locals and visitors alike.

Tips:

Be careful not to confuse Weiden in der Oberpfalz (which means Weiden in the Upper Palatinate) for its Northern relative with the same name, located just below Dusseldorf. 

The city has an affordable and convenient underground parking lot right near the lower market, providing you easy access to the pedestrian corridor that makes up most of Weiden’s charming center. Prices are 8 euros for the day on the weekend and 10 euros to park overnight.

Many of the vendors will start packing up afternoon during the Saturday market, so try to get there earlier in the day for the freshest baked goods and pasta, and your pick of the finest fruit and vegetables.

Some restaurants are closed on Mondays and many take close for a week or two in the summer so that the entire staff has time off.  These holidays are rarely reflected on Google, Yelp, or Facebook, so be sure to give them a quick call or check their website if you’re keen on eating at a particular place.

Weiden’s Christmas market is quaint and wonderful.  It takes place each year around the Old Town Hall and there are plenty of food, drink, and shopping options so be sure to bring your appetite and cash.

Looking for more to do in Weiden?  Follow the author on Instagram @visitweiden

All photos are by Susan Melnyk

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