Rhine is a massive, 1033km long river, that begins at South Germany, passes via Switzerland, then goes along the French-German border and goes back into Germany and then heads into Netherlands and finally into the North Sea!. A portion of the river, 67km from 526km to 593km, from Rudeshiem/Bingen to Koblenz is protected as UNESCO World Heritage Site – Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
The best way to explore the Rhine Valley is ofcourse on the Rhine River itself. Depending on the time that you have, you could do only a non-stop cruise on the Rhine river, or stop at a few villages or many villages if you do have much time. You could stay at Koblenz or Bingen which are big towns or any of the smaller towns or villages in that entire 67km for a more authentic experience. If you do want to see the several castles and churches and beautiful, picturesque villages along the Rhine, you need 4-5 days! While kids would love the touristic activities in Koblenz & Bingen, you could skip one of these if you want to be more authentic/adventurous.
The train does go along the Rhine river all the way from Koblenz to Bingen. Whilst it is possible to go by train and it is super fast, you cannot really enjoy the beauty of the nature here, with that! The train takes 35 mins to reach Bingen from Boppard while the cruise boat takes 4 hrs! Cruise is very slow, even though it has almost the same number of stops as the train.
As you go on the cruise, you’ll spot the Rhine km mentioned on the banks and it is possible to guide yourself about what you’re seeing. Another interesting feature in this path, is that it was loved by William Turner, an English Artist of the Romanticism movement and he has done a series of paintings sitting the banks of Rhine & cliffs of the valley!!! Today, you can stand at the very places where he stood and did his paintings!
There are a whooping 40+ castles in this length of 67km! Originally these castles were tax collection points for the ships that passed on the Rhine! Almost 50% of the value of the goods were paid as taxes by merchants as the passed through this region!!!! There are 40+ historical churches in this stretch! Now, you get why I say you need 4-5 days right?! If you really do want to visit just these castles and churches, and not to mention the trekking paths, trails, vineyards, museums and other things to do in this region, it takes a lot of time!
This region is so gorgeous that you could spend an entire lifetime here. Infact that’s what a local that I met, did! He’s from Chicago in the USA, and saw this beautiful Rhine Valley and the view was so spectacular that he decided to buy a house & settle down here. That’s what the valley is capable of doing…
Our first stop was ofcourse Koblenz (592nd km) for half a day including cable-car to the fortress, and then we proceeded by train to Boppard (570th km) and for the rest of the day we caught a glimpse of Boppard, St.Goar and Oberweesel and spent the night there. Next was was the magical trip on the cruise to Bacharach (543rd km). After spending a couple hours at Bacharach we headed by cruise again to Bingen (529th km). A few hours at Bingen (we missed the chairlift though) and we headed back to Koblenz by train.
It is possible to go along the Rhine via walking & hiking. Way marked trails of various types are available in the region, like Wine Trail, Nordic walking, Mining & countryside etc. The longest is the Rheinsteig Hiking trail that’s about 320km, followed by Rhein Castle trail that’s about 200km!
The most famous spot in the whole region – Lorelei (555th km). The legend of Lorelei is that she’s a very beautiful maiden with flowing, long, blonde hair who distracted the sailors who tried to maneuver the curve of the river here, making them to wreck their ships! She was standing here awaiting her long-gone lover. Anyways, with the distractions she made, she was ordered to be sent away to a nunnery. She wanted to look onto the river standing at the Lorelei rock one last time and lo-behold, her long gone lover was heading back! She wanted to wave to him from atop there, but slipped and fell!!! Her sculpture is there in the middle of the river. The folk song of Lorelei is sometimes played in the cruise as we cross this point! Though it sounds medieval, the story was made up only in early 1900s by Heinrich Heine.
- Bhushavali N
- : I'm a Fashion & Textile Designer by profession and an ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust. I love to travel, and I hate crowds. So by default, I venture to places which are roads less traveled, where many don’t venture. Currently I travel much with my husband and our 2 yr old kid. We've been to 72 UNESCO Sites so far of which more than 25 were with our little daughter!
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- : My area of interest especially lies in Nature (trying to trek one forest at a time) and Heritage (trying to visit a UNESCO World Heritage site at a time). As much as I'm tempted to tick the check boxes of as many as countries, I'd prefer what I call 'backyard tourism'! Many a times, in a quest to reach far and wide, we miss what's in our own backyard (well, in our own city, state, province, country)!!! I like slow travel and explore what's in my own backyard as well! And a compilation of all this, is My Travelogue.
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