During our trip to The Netherlands (watch the video here) in July, my husband and I took a detour (ok, truthfully a break from our busy schedule of visiting friends and family! 😉 ) to the Rhine Valley in Germany. With no set plan and a couple of free days, we ended up in one of the most picturesque areas of the Rhine River! With it's historic villages, medieval castles, and terraced vineyards - it's a lovely place to spend a few days! It's easy to see why this 40 mile stretch of the Rhine River between Bingen and Koblenz is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
There are 60 villages you can explore along this beautiful area of the Rhine! We stayed in the small, quiet town of Lorch. The Hotel Im Schulhaus (review coming soon!) was the perfect home base for the trip. Be sure to watch the sun set and boat traffic along the river banks in the evening. Bacharach is one you won't want to miss! With it's cobblestone streets, castles and Alte Haus (oldest house) it's a quintessential German village!
Hunt for Castles
With 40 castles in this area of the Rhine, you won't be hunting long! 😉 It's one of the main reasons it's a Unesco site. From the village of Bacharach, walk up to the Stahleck Castle. At 520 feet above sea level it has gorgeous views of the Rhine and surrounding valley! The castle is a hostel (popular with backpackers and families!) but their court yard is open to the public. It's a great spot for taking photos and enjoying the view!
Ride a Ferry
For fantastic views from on the water - hop on a KD Cruises ferry! They sell tickets between various points and you can hop on/off during the day at different villages. A few tips we learned... make sure to tell them where you'll be getting off when you board, as the boat doesn't automatically stop at every village (thanks to our captain for making an extremely last minute drop off for us!). During our trip - Europe was in the midst of an extended heat wave and the river was very low, so some docks weren't accessible. Instead of being able to walk to the location in Lorch for pick up we had to drive to Kaub to embark. Being on the river, enjoying the scenery and passing the famous Loreley Rock more than made up for this slight hassle!
Visit a Winery
This German wine region is home to the Reisling grape. They grow on the steep vineyards of the Rhine valley and produce it's famous fruity wines. In the early fall there are numerous wine festivals in the local villages and most of the wineries can be visited for tastings year round.
Take a River Cruise
Another way to explore the Rhine Valley is to take a river cruise! There are many options of itineraries for cruises on the Rhine. During our stay we saw numerous river boats cruising this area with port stops and time to experience the Romantic Rhine! Contact me and I'll help you choose the best fit of river boat and itinerary for you. 🙂
Please feel free to share your travel stories from the Rhine!
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!