Castles and Vineyards Along the Rhine

Explore the History of One of Germany’s Most Fascinating Regions

Image by Johannes Klein from Pixabay

The Rhine River is one of Germany’s most famous tourist regions. This legendary river has been at the core of German history for many centuries.

The river outlined the eastern boundary of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar seized the territories to the south and west of the Rhine, while the Germanic tribes kept possession of the areas to the north of the river.

The Marksburg, maybe the most well-preserved castle in Braubach in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley — By Bytfisch — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Around 400 AD when the Roman Empire collapsed, the Germans surged across the river and formed a group of states which would eventually become the Holy Roman Empire and finally modern-day Germany.

The Rhine River stretches over 700 miles from Switzerland through Germany and the Netherlands and emptying into the North Sea. The most popular destination along the river is an area that runs from the town of Bingen to the port city of Koblenz. Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit this area because of its picturesque castles and vineyards.

View of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meeting in Koblenz, Germany — Photo by Anthony Dezenzio

It is along this narrow passage of the gorge that you will find more castles than anywhere else in the world. Although most of these castles are in ruins, many have been restored into luxurious hotels and also offer tours.

Visitors can get a glimpse of the castles situated on cliffs overlooking the Rhine River providing an excellent opportunity for pictures. These castles were built by overlords to defend their territories from robbers who traveled up and down the river.

Rheinfels Castle overlooking the Rhine — Image by Katja S. Verhoeven from Pixabay

Along this section of the river lies the famous Lorelei, a steep slate rock, 433 feet high at Sankt Goarshausen. According to legend, a nymph lived high above in the rock. It is said that she lured fishermen to their death with her singing. Once she became overwhelmed with lust, she plummeted to her death. A bronze figure of the nymph can be seen overlooking the river.

Location of Katz castle above Sankt Goarshausen and the river Rhine with Loreley rock in background — Photo by Johannes Robalotoff — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Situated along the river are charming and picturesque villages that welcome visitors with open arms. The two most popular towns are St. Goar and Bacharach, each with their own castle offering daily tours.

But the Rhine River is also known for its superb wine with vineyards dotting the hillside high above. Many of Germany’s vineyards are situated in the Rhine River Valley. Some of the most distinguished wines are grown in this region that include Riesling, Spätburgunder and Pinot Noir. It’s an enchanted region were vineyards occupy the hills among some of the most amazing castles.

Upper Rhine Valley Vineyards — Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

All of the vineyards in the Rhine Valley produce their own distinguished type of wine. However, you will find Rhine wine to be much richer in taste than the Mosel wines.

The principal grape in Mosel wines is the Reisling, but they also make other varieties of grapes available. The Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute founded in 1872, has produced a variety of new combinations offering visitors with a variety of distinctive tastes. These include wines such as Ehrenfelser, Ehrenbreitsteiner, Schönburger, Rotberger, Scheurebe, and Kerner.

A cruise ship on the Rhine River in Germany — Photo by Anthony Dezenzio

The best way to explore the region is on a river cruise ship. Several cruise ship companies offer cruises along the river. The most popular cruise is the one from St. Goar to Bacharach. It provides the most scenic view of the area and its amazing castles.

Another method of transportation is by train. There is a train that travels between the villages allowing for stops at various spots to get a taste of the local cuisine and wine. Visitors can also explore the area by car via highway along the banks of the river.

Tony is a #freelance #photographer and #writer specializing in #lifestyle/#travel, and #fine #art. Enjoys traveling and learning new #cultures.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store