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The Rhine River is scenic throughout its journey from its Alpine
beginnings at Chur, Switzerland
to its exit into the Netherlands. But by far the most celebrated and
remembered part is a thirty-mile stretch running through some of Germany's wine
country, between Koblenz in the north and Bingen am Rhein
in the south. Here, with the Rhein gaining speed and strength from its
joining with the Main, the river cuts a sharp winding path through the
mountains. Over the years, these mountains have been topped with castles
and monuments and the towns below have grown with the success of the wine
industry. Modern day tourists can take advantage of the many boat tours
Here are some snapshots taken on a drive upriver from Koblenz to Bingen
during a particularly warm winter's day. This is just as sampling of the
great scenes available.
|Marksburg Castle -- The Marksburg
Castle is located just to the south of Koblenz. It is one of the few
that had not been destroyed one time or another in its life. It now
houses a restaurant and hotel.
||Boppard -- The town of Boppard is one
of the most active wine towns in the Rheintal, catering almost exclusively
to the tourist industry -- witness the number of tour boats in the harbor.
|Boppard (cont.) -- This
photograph was taken from almost the same spot as the previous, showing
some of the vineyard territory that you would find. This
vineyard belongs to Boppard's major winery.
||Burg Maus -- The Burg Maus ruins
sprawl all along the top of a ridge line overlooking the little town at
left (I did not catch the name of the town). It appeared as through
it consisted of a number of towers positioned to oversee both directions
along a bend in the river.
|St. Goarshausen -- This
castle was roughly half-way between Koblenz and Bingen, and is the most
classic medieval-castlelike of the bunch. It's really huge and
sticks out plainly on the hill. The town of St. Goar is also blessed
with a ruined monastery on the opposite bank, above us when we took this
||Burg Katz -- A couple towns to the
south is this scene of a recently refurbished castle overlooking a
single-street town that stretches along the Rhein's east bank. It
was here that we watched several full container barges passing each other
in both directions -- the Rhein is indeed a busy transport river!
|Oberwesel -- As we closed in on
Bingen, we reached the town of Oberwesel -- and this shot captured its
three major landmarks. The Burg Oberwesel <verify name> is in
the background, built atop a very narrow hill, the church is in the
middle, and the old city tower in front.
||Pfalzgrafenstein -- For us (and for
many), the most interesting of the castles on the way is this one -- not
far from Bingen. It is a castle built on a mud paddy in the middle
of the Rhein. Clearly trusting that the Rhein would only flood 'so
much', the Pfalzgrafenstein is a popular attraction with boat rides taking
the curious out regularly.
Two other major highlights that we did not include are
the Loreley, a mermaid statue located not far from St. Goar that commemorates
the story of a siren who caused ships to be dashed on the Rhein's rocky banks,
and the Burg Assmanshausen that can be seen in the middle of a vineyard from
Bingen. Of course, Bingen am Rhein and Ruedesheim
across the way have been given their own pages and are highly recommended stops
on the Rhein.
But the key to enjoying this trip is taking your
time and looking at the whole valley. The pictures don't do the natural
beauty of this region very much justice. Driving is fine, but the best way
is clearly by boat so you can watch both banks equally. Enjoy!
Trip taken 26 January 2004 -- Page last
updated 01 September 2006 --
(C) 2004 Tom Galvin