The section of the Rhine River that flows from Bingen, Germany north to Bonn, Germany is known as the Middle Rhine. In popular culture, it is also known as the Romantic Rhine.
The northern half of the Middle Rhine area includes the cities of Bonn and Remagen. I have not visited Bonn but spent some time in Remagen on the World War II Sites tour my husband and I were on.
During World War II, Germany destroyed most of the bridges across the Rhine River so Allied forces could not easily cross the river to get into Germany. When the Allies arrived in Remagen, they were pleased to see that the bridge, which had been built for World War I, was still intact.
The Allies were able to get fourteen divisions across the bridge before it collapsed. It is believed that this access to the other side of the Rhine shortened the war.
The bridge has not been rebuilt, but a ferry transports people across the river. In 1980, a museum was opened in the remaining bridge towers. The Peace Museum celebrates those who fought in the area of the bridge.
Koblenz is located at the halfway point from Bonn to Bingen. The area from Koblenz, south to Bingen, is considered by many to be the most beautiful part of the Rhine River. There are over 40 castles located among the vineyard-covered hills surrounding the river. A river cruise from Koblenz to Bingen is a great way to experience this part of the river. If you are able to spend several days in the area, I would still recommend cruising the river.
Koblenz is located at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. The area around the Mosel River is also known for excellent vineyards and wine production. My daughter and I took the train along the Mosel from Koblenz to Moselkern and then hiked to Burg Eltz. My main reason for traveling to Koblenz was to use it as a starting point to go somewhere else. It is a clean, attractive city where I’d like to spend more time.
On my first trip to Germany, my husband and I stayed in Boppard. Although we had internet in our home, online trip planning then was very different than it was now. Our travel, too, was much different. I recently wrote about that trip. The post that included Boppard can be accessed here.
The first night in Boppard we stayed in a nice gasthaus, or bed and breakfast. We enjoyed dinner at a lovely restaurant down the street. The next morning, we walked through the Roman ruins – Romans lived in the area as early as the third century.
Across the river from Boppard is the Marksburg Castle. This is an interesting castle to visit if you plan ahead to take an English tour (or if you speak German).
The town of Boppard is a little larger (population 15,000) than some of the other, more popular, towns in the area. We found it warm and welcoming. It could be a good base for travel in the area.
I look at St. Goar, Oberwesel, and Bacharach as sister cities, or towns. The small towns are similar with shops, restaurants, churches, and a nearby castle or two. Over the years, I have stayed in each one at least once.
St. Goar was named after a monk who lived in the town in the sixth century. He was known for hospitality. He built a chapel and hospice in the town. Later, Charlemagne built a church on the same site.
The tourist highlight in St. Goar is the Rheinfels Castle Ruins located on the hill above the town. The enormous castle was built in the 13th century. Much of it was demolished in the late 18th century by explosives and the remains used as a stone quarry. The site attracts tourists to visit the ruins, but also to spend time at the hotel, spa, and restaurant built on the castle grounds.
The town itself is also worth spending time to visit. There are many lovely restaurants and small hotels. We found the shopping in St. Goar pleasant. There is a relaxing park along the river.
The middle of the three towns, Oberwesel located near the Schonburg Castle. This town, like the others in the area, was inhabited by Romans – Oberwesel has a remaining Roman wall and tower.
The entire Romantic Rhine region is know for wine production. Vineyards are seen on the hills on both sides of the river. When my husband and I visited, we stayed at a bed and breakfast located at a winery. Looking out of our room window in the morning, we were greeted with a view of the Schonburg Castle. We did not visit the castle, because it now houses a luxury hotel.
Another striking building in the town is the Liebfrauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, a beautiful church built with red stone. If you get a chance, go inside.
The smallest of the three tows, Bacharach has a population of just over 2000 people. The town was named for Bacchus, the god of grape harvest, because of the superb wines that are produced in the area.
The town is quiet and relaxing. there are restaurants, hotels, and small stores in addition to several wine shops. Plan to do wine tasting while visiting Bacharach.
The town is partially surrounded by on old , well-maintained wall. The tourist information has a map for walking around the town. From the section along the river, there are beautiful views of the area.
Another great view can be seen from the ruins of the Werner Chapel. The large stately bones of the chapel provoke an eerie atmosphere. The chapel was built to honor St. Werner, whose death was blamed on the Jews. In recent years, the ruins are the site of speeches promoting peace and forgiveness between Catholics and Jews and different religions or views in general.
Further up the hill in Bacharach is Burg (Castle) Stahleck. Now a hostel, the castle originally built in the 12th century and destroyed in the 17 century, was rebuilt in the 20th century. The hostel, one of the most popular in Germany, is nearly always fully booked.
I haven’t actually visited the town of Trechtinghausen, home to about 1000 people. My husband and I stayed in the nearby Reichenstein Castle on our first trip to Germany.
Trechtinghausen is located just below two castles – Rheinstein and Reichenstein. The castles, connected by a walking trail, were built as hunting castles. They both house museums showing artifacts of previous owners. The Rheinstein, originally built in the 14th century, has a restaurant and two apartments that can be rented. The Reichenstain, built in the 13th century or before, has several hotel rooms and a restaurant. Both offer facilities for weddings.
Visiting the Romantic Rhine
Although I’ve visited this area of Germany four times already, I’d love to plan another trip to the beautiful Romantic Rhine.