Beautiful Scenery, Historical Past And Mystical Magic.
The Middle Rhine is a romantic river valley straight out of a picture book, with abrupt cliffs, precipice vineyards, a castle built on almost every hilltop and lovely villages lining the river banks on either side.
Myths and legends originate here, such as the Nibelungen story or Loreley, the beautiful siren of the rocks. The Rhine River was the most important transport route between the southern Mediterranean region and the north for thousands of years. Mighty fortresses, castles and palaces were built to protect these trade routes. Countless legends wrap themselves around these proud ruins and recount the adventures of an often bloody past. This lends a mystical magic to the Middle Rhine Valley that has fascinated countless visitors for centuries.
However this isn’t a boring history lesson but a living experience of the artistry and creativity of the Romans and early Christians, right through to the Middle Ages with its knights in shining armour. The Rhine valley has, in its time, seen many travellers come and go, in good and bad times, well-meaning or ill-meaning, and always leaving their markings. The scenery is the stuff of dreams and villages and towns like Bacharach, Boppard, St. Goar and Linz represent the charm of this remarkable area with its rich cultural heritage. UNESCO has recognised the importance of the region by awarding the Upper Middle Rhine Valley a World Heritage area.
The history in the towns and villages of the Middle Rhine Valley that is visible even today, goes back to some degree to Roman times.
Camps in Coblence, Boppard, and Bingen secured the Rhine and formed the northern boundary of the Roman Empire from the 4th century onwards after the limes had come down,.
In the early middle ages they were the main areas of resettlement in this area.
In the high middle ages, the region represented one of the main sites of the holy roman empire. Especially since the possibility of collecting lucrative tolls starting in the 13th century. The effort for control over the Rhine resulted in the construction of numerous fortified towns on the banks of the river.
The wealth of the region at the time is reflected in the many magnificent buildings, which even today dominate the appearance of the towns. Because of the specialisation in viniculture, the clearing of plateaus increased after the 11th century, resulting in villages and farmland for the cultivation of staple foods.
Notable points along the river from north to south.
- Bonn-Bad Godesberg (west)
- Bad Honnef (east)
- Remagen (west) — site of the famous World War II bridge
- Linz am Rhein (east)
- Andernach (west)
- Neuwied (east)
- Koblenz (west) — where the Mosel river joins the Rhine
- Lahnstein (east)
- Rhens (west)
- Braubach (east)
- Boppard (west)
- St. Goarshausen (east) — right across the river from St. Goar
- St. Goar (west) — opposite the Loreley rock
- Oberwesel (west)
- Kaub (east)
- Bacharach (west)
- Lorch (east)
- Assmannshausen (east)
- Bingen (west)
- Rüdesheim (east)
Bonn was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (previously, West Germany). It is located on the river Rhine about 20 km south of Cologne. Bonn is the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven. Its population is app. 315,000.
You should consider a trip to Bonn if you like lovely smaller atmospheric cities with many students and a rich culture. Admirers call it Italy’s most northern city because of its street culture with many cafes and beer gardens in the summer. It is also a good base for day trips to Cologne, Düsseldorf, the romantic Rhine and the Eifel region.
Bad Godesberg is located along the hills and cliffs of the west bank of the Rhine river, in west central Germany and is a municipal district of Bonn. Godesberg is also the name of the steep hill, of volcanic origin. On its top are the ruins of the Godesburg, a castle destroyed in 1583 during the Cologne War.
Bad Honnef is a spa town near Bonn in the end of the Middle Rhine Valley state between Königswinter and Linz am Rhein in the Rhein-Sieg district, North Rhine-Westphalia. It is located on the border of the neighbouring state Rhineland-Palatinate. To the north it lies on the slopes of the Drachenfels (“Dragon’s Rock”) mountain, part of the Siebengebirge at Königswinter.
Several legends surround the Drachenfels, most famously that Siegfried, the hero of the Nibelungenlied killed the dragon Fafnir, who lived in a cave in the hill, then bathed in its blood to become invulnerable. Hence, the hill is named the “Dragon’s Rock”, Drachenfels.
Remagen, in the district of Ahrweiler Rhineland-Palatinate and is about a one hour drive from Cologne, just south of Bonn. It is situated on the Left bank of the River Rhine. Remagen has many beautiful and well maintained buildings, churches, castles and monuments like the Apollinariskirche and is the site of the famous World War II bridge “The Bridge at Remagen” which was captured by soldiers of the U.S. 9th Armored Division on 7 March 1945, during Operation Lumberjack. Its towers housing the Peace Museum Bridge at Remagen. It also has a sizeable pedestrian zone with plenty of shops.
Linz am Rhein (in English Linz on the Rhine) is a municipality in the district of Neuwied, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the river Rhine near Remagen, approx. 25 km southeast of Bonn and has about 6,000 inhabitants.
The town is a destination for many tourists thanks to its location next to the Rhine river and its colorful half-timbered houses. The town of Linz was first mentioned in an official document in 874 and called “Lincesce”
Andernach founded by the Romans as Antunnacum in 12 BC on the site of an old Celtic settlement probably called Antunnuac, is one of the oldest towns in Germany. The city of Andernach is the location of several old industrial plants such as a huge malt mill (the last one of more than ten mills and breweries from the 19th and 20th centuries). Tourists who come to the region usually visit the medieval fortifications such as the tall Round Tower, castle ruins with a well-preserved keep, and the remains of the town wall with several well-restored wall towers and two gates: the “Rhine Gate” (das “Rheintor”) and the “Coblencian Gate” (“Koblenzer Tor”), originally called the “Castle Gate” (“Burgpforte”). Another attraction from its ancient industrial past is the “Old Crane”. You also can visit one of Andernach’s natural attractions, the world’s highest (max. 210 feet (64 m)) cold-water geyser, driven by carbon dioxide which is part of the Volcano Park with the ancient Roman mine at Meurin, the Lava Dome with lava cellars – 30 meters beneath the earth’s surface and the Terra Vulcania Discovery Centre in Mayen.
Neuwied is a town in the north of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, capital of the District of Neuwied. Neuwied lies on the right bank of the Rhine, 12 km northwest of Koblenz, on the railway from Frankfurt am Main to Cologne. In 2005 the German stretch of the frontiers of the Roman Empire, known as the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. It joins “Hadrian’s Wall” in Great Britain, inscribed in 1987, as part of the transnational property “Frontiers of the Roman Empire”. The Limes stretched from Rheinbrohl on the Rhine in the municipal district of Neuwied to Regensburg on the Danube. The German >Limes< Road connects more than 80 towns, which have ancient monuments or museums with heritages of the roman time. Serveral monuments have been conserved because of their excellent state of preservation. They include forts, baths and towers together with parts of the fortifications themselves such as ramparts, ditches, walls and palisades.
Koblenz, where the Mosel river joins the Rhine is situated in the picturesque landscape of the Rhine and Moselle and surrounded by four low mountain ranges is 2000-years-old. Its abundance of cultural monuments and historic buildings, its cosy lanes and narrow alleyways, the relaxed and happy atmosphere of its squares and river promenades make Koblenz a friendly town where its guests feel right at home. The view from Ehrenbreitstein Fortress high above the Rhine (118 metres) across the river down to “Deutsches Eck” with its re-erected equestrian statue of Emperor William I is spectacular. Koblenz is a meeting point for visitors from all over the world and an excellent starting point for trips into the fascinating landscape along the Rhine and the Moselle. Fortess walls and towers, castles and palaces, monuments and parks paint a vivid picture of the town’s eventful past. Koblenz was conquered by foreign armies and has received princes, kings, emperors and presidents within its walls. Today visitors from all over the world enjoy discovering the history and rich cultural heritage of this old town.
Lahnstein is a verband-free town of Rhein-Lahn-Kreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany approximately 6 kilometres south of Koblenz. Lahnstein is situated amidst beautiful mountain ranges exactly at the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Lahn. It is the romantic and tranquil Lahn Valley as well as the hustle and bustle of the busy Rhine that gives this town its unique character.
Located amidst two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – The Upper Middle Rhine Valley and the Upper German Raetian Limes – Lahnstein and its area offers various leisure time opportunities.
Rhens is a municipality in the district Mayen-Koblenz, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhine, approx. 10 km south of Koblenz. A vivid history and a wonderful landscape. The city of Rhens has a lot to offer.
Braubach is best known for its famous castle the “Marksburg” but there is much more to be seen here. Its medieval charm with narrow alleys, ancient corners and romantic frame houses combines the past with the present and the beauty of the Rhine valley.
This unique region was selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site recognising its international cultural significance.
Boppard with its 10 districts which was once a Roman fort has all the ingredients for an unforgettable holiday. Hills and valleys, quiet lanes and lively squares, and a wealth of nature and culture. Colourful pictures of a holiday region that is spoiled by the sun and blessed with uniqueness.
All kinds of people have felt at home here, whether Celts, Romans or Franconians. All of them have left their mark on the 2000 year-old history of the town and at every turn there is witness in stone of their presence. Not many towns on the Middle Rhine have so much to offer and to discover, from over 2000 years of cultural history. Boppard offers its guests so much to discover between the blue band of the Rhine and the fresh green of the Hunsrück hills: Castles and stately homes, churches and monasteries, gardens and parks but also the genius of past composers and inventors. The town’s treasures can be found in many different ways…by passing romantic squares and small lanes in the old town and by strolling along the Rhine Allee, filled with trees and flowers. Or take a trip on one of the excursion boats to new discoveries in the region
Sankt Goarshausen and Sankt Goar are tourist towns located on the eastern shore of the Rhine, in the section known as the Rhine Gorge, directly across the river from Sankt Goar, in the State Rhineland-Palatinate, in Germany. It lies approximately 30 km south of Koblenz. The most famous point in town, that also brings the most tourists is the site of the Lorelei rock.
In St. Goarshausen there are two castles, Burg Katz (English: Castle Cat, formerly Burg Neu-Katzenelnbogen) and Burg Maus (English: Castle Mouse). Burg Katz is not open for visitors. There is a good view over the town from Burg Maus, and also visible are the ruins of Burg Rheinfels on the other side of Rhine at St. Goar well known for its central location in the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since July 2002. Above the town stand the ruins of Burg Rheinfels, one of the castles for which the Middle Rhine is famous, and across the river lies the sister town of Sankt Goarshausen with its own castles, Katz and Maus (“Cat” and “Mouse”). The Loreley is right nearby, just upstream over on the right bank.
Oberwesel, the historic town on the Romantic Rhine, is surrounded by an almost completely preserved medieval city wall featuring gates and towers. 16 fortification towers surround the town, wide parts of the city wall and defence towers are accessible for visitors. Oberwesel has preserved its medieval character like hardly any other town in the Middle Rhine Valley. The town is also one of the largest vineyard communities of the Middle Rhine. On the 72 hectares of steep vineyards at the Schönburg Castle, the winegrowers cultivate above all Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Kerner. The town Oberwesel is the ideal location to explore the magic of the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Upper Middle Rhine Valley’ on foot, by bicycle or by riverboat.
Kaub, original home of the wine growers, pilots and slate-miners is well-known because of its Toll Station Pfalzgrafenstein. The city can look back on a 1000 years old history, documented by written certifications. In 1324 Kaub received its town charter by Ludwig the Bavarian. The king built a toll station for keeping the toll and for a better control of the shipping traffic on the Rhine. It was built in 1326 on the Rheinaue (wetlands). After the enlargement as Pfalzgrafenstein it became the landmark of Kaub.
Bacharach (also known as Bacharach am Rhein) is a historic and picturesque town in the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley in the Mainz-Bingen district in Rhineland-Palatinate. The original name Baccaracus points to Celtic beginnings. Bacharach honors the ancient God of Bacchus in its name and the ancient god of wine left his mark on this city as on no other place. In the Middle Ages, Bacharach was one of the most important trading centers for wine. The history of wine trading is reflected still today in the city’s facades. Many of the old timber-framed houses around the historic market place tell of those times. The oldest one was built in 1368 and is appropriately called “Old House.” The medieval timber-framed structure houses a famous wine tavern. There were two reasons for Bacharach’s fame during the Age of Romanticism: the medieval castle of Burg Stahleck towering over the village and Werner’s Chapel. The chapel in Gothic style was erected but never completed. Its distinctive ruins, however, became the very symbol of Rhine romanticism. The wine itself, of course, is commemorated today within the countless small wine taverns throughout the wine village of Bacharach.
Lorch is situated in the south-western part of the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis in the foothills of the Rheingaugebirge (range), some 10 km north of the bend in the Rhine near Rüdesheim. Lorch spreads itself along the Rhine and extends inland up the Wisper valley. (The Wisper is a small tributary of the Rhine).The surrounding hills force Lorch to take on a shape something like a T. The town is a state-recognized recreational resort. In the Rhine near Lorch lies the island and nature conservation area called Lorcher Werth. Although small the town has a number of interesting things to see, perhaps foremost of which are the Hilchenhaus and the St.Martins church.
Assmannshausen at the most romantic point on the Rhine, in the scenically most impressive section of the Rhine Valley, the tightly-packed together, pointy-gabled houses of the old wine village can be seen. Along side of the mighty stream the picturesque Rheinstein Castle, thickly-wooded chains of mountains and the steep, colourful cascades of grape vines dominate the landscape. Beginning with the hour of its birth in 1108, Assmannshausen and wine are inseparable. Since the 19th Century it is famed as a destination for recreation and recuperation in poetical words of prose. Nature fans and hikers feel equally at home here as demanding lovers of the culinary pleasures. Comfortable wine bars and accomplished restaurants as well as romantic terraces with orchards seduce one, calling out, imploring the wine lover to sample and become acquainted with one of Germany’s finest red wines, the Assmannshaeuser Spätburgunder, a Pinot noir, the Rhine’s red Burgundy.
Rüdesheim has been an attraction for English and German poets since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and is today, considering the modest number of residents one of the most visited towns in the country. Historical landmarks, such as the ‘Klunkhardshof’, the fortified ‘Adler Tower’, the thousand-year old ‘Brömser Castle’ and the ruins of the ‘Ehrenfels Castle’ invite you to linger. Those seeking peace and tranquillity will find it in the extensive forests of the nature park Rhein-Taunus and in the Niederwald Park, in the natural beauty of the vineyards, or in the hidden alleyways of the town.
From the vantage points of the Niederwald, the visitor can also enjoy breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley with the Nahe River estuary and the beautiful uniformity of the steep vineyards which are also worth hiking through.
Bingen is situated just southeast of the Rhine knee at the Bingen Forest (Binger Wald – actually a low mountain range), which rises west of the town. Rising to the north on the other side of the Rhine is the Rheingau range, the Taunus’s southwesternmost outcrop. In Bingen the river Nahe empties into the Rhine Gorge. Bingen forms the southern limit of the UNESCO Rhine Gorge World Heritage Site. The Rochusberg (mountain) is nearly completely surrounded by the town site. Bingen am Rhein has always been a centre of wine trade and an attractive destination for travellers. Hardly any other town in Germany is predestined to be the secret capital of German wines. Here is where Germany’s wine-growing areas of Rheinhessen, Nahe, Rheingau and Middle Rhine Valley meet. Bingen am Rhein is also known as the gateway to the Romantic Rhine and the UNESCO World Heritage of the ‘Upper Middle-Rhine Valley’.
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/de/rheintal-deutschland-schiff-fluss-321290/