In contrast to world-famous destinations such as Heidelberg or Neuschwanstein Castle, the romantic Middle Rhine Valley is still an insider tip among the holiday regions in Germany.
The “Upper Middle Rhine Valley” region has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002 and attracts thousands of tourists every year. The narrow valley with the legendary Loreley rock inspires with many castles, great old towns and steep vineyards.
How to get to the Middle Rhine Valley
The Middle Rhine Valley can be easily reached from different directions. The proximity to major German cities such as Cologne or Frankfurt and Main makes it a great destination for day trips. You can arrive by car as well as by train.
With the car, however, you are more flexible on-site, as the sights are spread across the valley. Excursions by ship are available from Mainz or Koblenz.
When is the best time to visit the Middle Rhine Valley?
The Middle Rhine Valley can be visited all year round. Summer and autumn with their warm temperatures are particularly suitable. In autumn the leaves of the trees are brightly coloured and the view of the valley is breathtaking.
How to get around the Middle Rhine Valley
From the airports in Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt Hahn or Cologne-Bonn it is best to take a rental car to visit the Middle Rhine Valley as comfortably as possible. So you are flexible on-site and can target the sights. Another option is to travel by Deutsche Bahn.
Every town in the Middle Rhine Valley has a train station. There are offers for cheap day or multi-day tickets with which you can then comfortably travel from one place to the next.
Some sights – especially the castles – are not directly on the river, so you have to plan time and equipment for short hikes if you don’t have a car.
Budgeting for Middle Rhine Valley
For visiting the Middle Rhine Valley, you should expect to spend roughly 75-100 Euro a day in average per person. That includes accommodation, transport, basic meals in a normal restaurant and entry fees.
10 Things to do in Middle Rhine Valley
In the Middle Rhine Valley, there are many sights that can hardly be visited in a single day.
Depending on the areas of interest, there are various ways to explore the region: by car, train or excursion boat. Particularly active visitors discover the romantic Middle Rhine Valley on foot along with one of the many hiking trails such as the Rhein-Burgen-Weg or the Rheinsteig.
1. Visit the Niederwald monument near Rüdesheim
The Niederwald monument with a huge Germania statue was built after the Franco-German War of 1870/71. Germania looks towards France with her arm raised. You can comfortably go to the monument with a chairlift from Rüdesheim or hike there through the vineyards.
2. Stroll through the old town of Rüdesheim
The old town of Rüdesheim with its cosy squares, old half-timbered houses and many restaurants and wine bars is popular with guests from all over the world. The Rüdesheimer Drosselgasse is particularly famous here, where you can also buy great souvenirs of all kinds
3. Stroll through the old town of Bacharach
Bacharach is an insider tip for a trip to Germany. Under the magnificent Stahleck Castle are the picturesque old town with many winding alleys, cobbled streets and old houses. The city wall around Bacharach is very well preserved with many towers.
4. Make a photo stop at Pfalzgrafenstein Castle
The Pfalzgrafenstein near Kaub is an old toll castle in the middle of the Rhine. With the help of a boat, you can drive over from Kaub and visit the castle. From here you also have a great view of the old town of Kaub and the Hohenstaufen castle Gutenfels on the slopes of the Rhine
5. Discover the city wall in Oberwesel
Oberwesel is also called the “city of towers and wine”. A particularly well-preserved city wall with many high towers winds around the city.
The city is flanked by the imposing churches of Liebfrauen and St. Martin. From the cosy old town, you can also wonderfully reach the Schönburg above the city after a short hiking tour.
6. Marvel at the imposing Loreley rock from the “Maria Ruh” vantage point near Urbar
The Loreley rock is the narrowest point in the Middle Rhine Valley and has always been a dangerous place for boaters.
According to the legend, a bewitchingly beautiful woman, the Loreley, sits high up on her rock and distracts the boatmen so that they crash against the rocks and drown. The best view of the rock is from Loreleyblick Maria Ruh in the Rheinhöhen village of Urbar.
7. Visit the Rheinfels castle ruins via St. Goar
Rheinfels Castle is the largest ruin on the Middle Rhine. Large parts of the imposing fortress can still be viewed today. From the high towers and walls you have a magnificent view of the Rhine Valley, the city of St. Goarshausen and the Katz Castle above.
8. Visit the Marksburg near Braubach
The Marksburg is an impressive sight high above the Rhine Valley. The complex dates from the 12th century and is the only castle on the Middle Rhine that was never destroyed.
9. Visit the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz
The Deutsches Eck in Koblenz is located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. A huge equestrian monument of Kaiser Wilhelm I adorns the square, from which one has a great view of the Prussian fortress Ehrenbreitstein on the opposite bank of the Rhine.
You can also comfortably go to the village in a Godel and see Koblenz and the surrounding region from above.
10. Take a trip on the ship
The best and most convenient way to see many of the above attractions is by boat. Tours are offered daily by various companies in the high season. You can also leave the ship to visit an old town or castle and later continue with another.
Rüdesheim / Bingen or Koblenz / Lahnstein are ideal starting points. From the ship you can see every castle on the Middle Rhine, which is usually not possible by car.
Top Places to Eat at the Middle Rhine Valley
The typical food in the Rhineland is very down to earth and comes from local farmers, bakers or butchers.
- Customs office Bingen (Hafenstrasse 3, 55411 Bingen am Rhein) – In the old customs office in Bingen you sit directly on the Rhine with a great view of the Rheingau and the Niederwald monument over Rüdesheim
- Burg Reichenstein (Burgweg 24, 55413 Trechtingshausen) – here you will find a castle, museum and upscale restaurant in one.
- Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels (Schlossberg 47, 56329 St. Goar) – from the terrace and the dining rooms of Rheinfels Castle you have a great view of the Middle Rhine Valley and the Katz Castle opposite
- Hotel Bellevue Boppard (Rheinallee 41, 56154 Boppard) – upscale restaurant in a great location with a large selection of regional dishes
- Gasthof zum Goldenen Schlüssel (Marktpl. 14, 56338 Braubach) – authentic, home-style restaurant with typical German dishes near the Marksburg
Top Places to Drink at the Middle Rhine Valley
The Middle Rhine Valley, like the neighbouring wine-growing area on the Moselle, is known for its impressive vineyards on very steep slopes above the river, the so-called “steep slopes”. Here the grapes are still often picked by hand and carried up the slope by the helpers.
- A special drink in the region is, therefore, the Asbach Uralt, the oldest brandy in Germany from Rüdesheim.
- In autumn, “Federweißer” is a popular drink for locals and guests from all over the world throughout the region.
- Asbach Visitor Center (Ingelheimer Str. 4, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein) – In the visitor center of Asbach GmbH in Rüdesheim you can not only taste fine wines from the famous brandy, but also buy various souvenirs and gifts such as chocolates
- Kaub-Mitte Weinbistro (Marktstrasse 5, 56349 Kaub) – cozy, small restaurant in the center of Kaub with delicious local wines
- Weingut Goswin Lambrich (Auf der Kripp 3, 55430 Oberwesel) – In the old wine-growing village of Oberwesel-Dellhofen, you can expect an authentic atmosphere with a large selection of good wines from the steep slopes of the Middle Rhine
- Loreleyblick Maria Ruh (Loreleystraße 20, 55430 Urbar) – cozy café with its own coffee roastery directly at Loreleyblick Maria Ruh in Urbar
- Maximilians Brauwiesen (Didierstraße 25, 56112 Lahnstein) – Enjoy the self-brewed beer with hearty German brewery food. In good weather in the great outdoor area on the Rhine.
Where to stay at the Middle Rhine Valley
The whole region has a very good tourist infrastructure. Accordingly, there are many hotels in all cities along the Rhine, from simple to luxurious, there is something for every budget. Some castles offer special overnight accommodations. In the villages on the Rhine heights, there are good offers for cheap pensions and Airbnbs.
Hotel: For a double room, the price is from 50 Euro a night, some basic hotels are cheaper if you’re travelling on a small budget
Airbnb: The average cost for 2 people per night is around 60 Euro.
From the west of Germany, not far from Koblenz and Cologne, there is another exciting excursion region: Wallonia in Belgium. Find out in the article “Wallonia Road trip – Itinerary, Things to do & Tips” how to spend the perfect days in Wallonia and what there is to see.
Author Bio: Explored by Phil from JOURNICATION Travel Blog. Phil focuses not only on his BIG5 summaries for world-famous or exotic travel destinations, but also writes about the psychological aspects of travelling and financials around it. He grew up in the Middle Rhine Valley and therefore is a local expert for this beautiful region. You can also find Phil on social media at Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
My Travel Tips and Recommendations
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