The UNESCO World Heritage portion of the Rhine Valley is breathtaking.  Surrounded by lush vineyards, German fairy tale towns, and gorgeous medieval castles, you can’t help but feel like you have whisked away to a far off land as you cruise this beautiful region. Nowhere else in the world can you find as many castles as close together as the castles in The Upper Middle Rhine Valley.  These castles highlight the wealth and prosperity of this region in The Middle Ages, and a cruise along the Rhine River gives you an amazing view.

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Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Travel Like Us

Accommodations: For our trip to the Rhine Valley, we decided to make the charming town of Bacharach our home base.  You can read all about why we chose Bacharach in our post, Ultimate Guide to the Fairy Tale Town of Bacharach, Germany.  We stayed in a charming bed and breakfast, Bistro Rene, where the town castle overlooked our balcony!  We found Bistro Rene on Hotels.com.  Marty and I love using Hotels.com.  Not only do you get a great rate, but you also earn free nights.  You can’t beat that!

If you prefer a small apartment, consider booking with Airbnb.  We use Airbnb when we want to “live like a local.”  Haven’t tried Airbnb? Well, click here to get a $40 credit toward your first stay.


Choosing a Cruise:  We chose to do a day cruise on the most scenic portion of The Rhine, from St. Goar to Bingen.  We recommend cruising in one direction, and then taking the train in the opposite direction.  Marty and I chose to use KD Cruise line for our trip.  The lady working the ticket office in St. Goar was super helpful so she won our business.

When to Visit:  The boats run from early April through October, with the summer months being the nicest weather and therefore the most tourist.

Sights on the Romantic Rhine

Rheinfels and Katz Castle

Boarding our boat in St. Goar meant we were immediately greeted by two castles. The ruins of Rheinfels Castle sit high above St. Goar like a ghost from the past, while the Katz Castle sits across the river staring at the town of St. Goar.  In the Medieval days, these castles combined had clear views up and down the river where they could control traffic and collect their duties.  Today Burg Katz sits empty after the plans to renovate were squashed by the local townspeople.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

The Loreley

Be on the lookout for the infamous statue of the Loreley, the beautiful-but-deadly nymph.  Legend has it that a young maiden threw herself into the river in a fit of despair over an unfaithful lover.  Upon her death, she was turned into a siren that sailors say could be heard singing a hypnotic song that lured them to their death.

Luckily our captain didn’t fall under her spell, and we sailed safely past!

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Oberwesel and Schonburg Castle

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

The charming town of Oberwesel is overlooked by Schonburg Castle.  Oberwesel has a magnificent medieval wall and towers.  The Schonburg Castle is now a hotel!  Definitely on my list to stay in next time we visit!

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Pfalz Castle

Built in the middle of the river, Pfalz Castle can’t be missed.  This castle would string large chains across the river forcing traffic to stop and pay their taxes before crossing.  This helped to make the town of Kaub very wealthy!  You can tour the tiny castle if you like, but it’s pretty boring so I wouldn’t bother.  Just admire it from your cruise.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Bacharach and Stahleck Castle

The charming town of Bacharach sits right along the Rhine and is overlook by Stahleck Castle up on the hill.  Bacharach is a great little town and well worth spending some time in.  Some of the best wine in the region is from Bacharach, and the local vintners are proud to share the fruits of their labor with you.  While visiting Bacharach, you can stay in Stahleck Castle which is now a hostel.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Lorchhausen

Surrounded by vineyards, as are most towns on the Rhine, you will find the quaint town of Lorchhausen.  Famous for being the starting point of the Rheingau Riesling Route, you will find the area growing Riesling and pinot-noir grapes.  Visitors can roam the vineyards and explore the castles and towers of the area.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Gutenfels Castle

The Gutenfels Castle has been owned by the Falkenstein family since the 11th-century.  Since 1277 it has been the castle of the Electorate of Palatinate.  Today it is used as a hotel.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Niederheimbach and Heimberg Castle

Niederheimbach is overlooked by Heimberg Castle.  Although Heimburg Castle is individually owned today, and not available for tours, you can still visit the town of Niederheimbach.  Enjoy the of the historic ring-wall, as well as some 17th-century relics in the church.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Sooneck Castle

Originally built in the 11th century, Sooneck Castle was destroyed twice.  It was also the sight of several medieval battles and sieges. Touring this castle gives you insight into wonderful paintings and furniture.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Assmannshausen

The village of Assmannshausen is well worth a visit during your time in the Rhine Valley.  Stop in one of the historic taverns to enjoy the town’s famous red wine made from grapes grown on “hell hill”.  Ride the chair lift to the top of the hill while overlooking half-timbered house and beautiful vineyards.  There is also a Gothic style church, a 12th-century basilica, and the Niederwald hunting lodge.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Reichenstein Castle

Reichenstein Castle is currently privately owned but they do allow tours.  Although the castle was first built in the 11th century, it was rebuilt in the beautiful Romantic era.  Passed around several times, the castle fell into despair in the 1500s until it was purchased and rebuilt in 1834.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Furstenburg Castle

Built by the archbishop in 1219 to protect his lands, Furstenburg Castle is just ruins today.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Rheinstein Castle

Located opposite of Assmannshausen, this gorgeous estate was our favorite on the Rhine.  Built in the beginning of the 14th-century, Rheinstein screams romance to me.  Inside are stained glass windows, beautiful paintings, and period furnishings.  Today the castle hosts many events including medieval games and romantic tours.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

Ehrenfels Castle

Ehrenfels Castle was one of three castles originally built to protect the archbishop of Mainz.  In Medieval times, it was of strategic importance because of its location above the Binger Loch.  It was destroyed in 1689, but the ruins are still pretty impressive.

Do you love castles? Then you have to book a Rhine River Cruise. Cruising the Romantic Rhine is a great way to see these beautiful Medieval castles and vineyards. #rhinerivercruise #rhinevalley #germany #germancastles #castles

These were just a few of the beautiful sights we saw along the Rhine River.  Although we spent three days in this area, we wanted more time.  We will definitely be going back.

Please comment below and tell us your favorite castle or town in the Rhine Valley. While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe!

 

 

 

 

47 Comments

  1. these castles are incredible! They almost look fake! My daughter is 6 she would love to see these. Ive never been to this part of Germany, nor have I went looking for castles! Love the tip on the one way cruise

    • Thanks, Harmony! Your daughter would feel just like a princess! These are actually only a few of the castles in this area. It was truly magical.

  2. These castles look like they are straight out of a fairytale! I’m glad that one can stay in some of the castles. It would be an enchanting experience.

    • I know Kareemah! I told Marty that we are definitely staying in one next time!

  3. Wow these pictures are beautiful. Can’t believe I haven’t made it to Germany yet! Will have to after reading this.

    • Thanks, Amy! We highly recommend Germany. It was a great trip!

  4. I can never get enough castles! These look spectacular and now I definitely want to book a trip with the family to see them!

    • It would be a great place to take the family. It is so laid back and relaxed.

  5. Aww this makes me want to revisit Germany! We never made it to Rhine – had we known there were this many castles we would have made sure we visited this beautiful city. Especially because we love castles!

    • We love castles too, Christina. We will be going back for sure!

  6. We did a Rhine River ferry with KD – from Mainz to St. Goar – and loved it. You captured all the castles so well in your pictures! We also took the train back and it was a good thing because the return boat we would have taken wasn’t running all the way back to Mainz. The boat goes slowly enough that it’s not like you’re going to miss anything on the first trip 🙂

    • I agree, Sarah. We were a little disappointed first because we thought it was more of a “hop-on, hop-off” style, but it wasn’t in this area. It was still really nice and super relaxing. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. 🙂

  7. Whoa. I had no idea there were so many castles so close together. They are so stunning! The cruise is a great idea but people who want a more active vacation I wonder if it would be possible to bike the route?

  8. I actually studied in this area, extremely beautiful! Great photos, thanks for sharing <3

  9. What a fairy tale trip! Last year I did see a few of these from a train ride east from Mannheim. Just enough of a glimpse to let me know I wanted to go back. Now you have given me even more reason and the info to do it. Thanks!

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Donna. It truly was a great trip! I hope you had fun in Mannheim as well!

  10. Oh. Em. Gee. All of those castles are absolutely stunning!! I’m so glad that many of them are hotels and hostels, because I would definitely be booking a night at any of them! It’s also interesting that some of them are still privately owned! I never thought that in this day and age that people lived in real castles still- not going to lie, I’m a bit jealous!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Deni, I know! I am so jealous. I have to admit that I was pretending to be a princess in every single one we toured! LOL! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

  11. I have been to Germany twice. During the first trip we drove the Rhine from Mainz to Koblenz and enjoyed several towns and loved the castles. Second time I spent 2 and a half months in southern Bavaria last winter. I can’t get enough of Germany. Great photo’s !!

    • Thanks so much, Ron. It sounds like you had an amazing trip. I would love to hear about some of your favorite towns. We loved Germany as well, and can’t wait to go back!

  12. I love Germany, but I am yet to see any of the castles. I have done big cities and small towns though, so I do need to go back. You’ve given me too many choices for what to go back and see now! These castles are AMAZING!

    • Thanks so much, Toni. It is truly an amazing area. We wish that we had scheduled more time there.

  13. Very informative post. Forced me to add this locale to my bucket list.

    • Then it was a successful post in my opinion! 😉

  14. So glad I read your article. Oddly enough, my husband and I are just starting work out the details of a trip to Germany and I said to him “I want to see castles.” Well, here we are! Thanks for the tips!

    • That’s so great to hear, Hayley. I hope you have an amazing time!

  15. OMG I’ve always wanted to visit Rhine Valley! Germany definitely knew how to make castles haha they look so stunning! I need to plan a trip quick especially now when I am moving to south of Poland so I can drive there easily ! Lovely photos!

    • Thanks, Ada! You really should plan a trip there. We fell in love with the entire region.

  16. I love how different the castles are. And I have always wanted to spend a night in one, so maybe this is the place for that! 🙂 And combined with a wine tour – I am sold!

    • The wine was incredible Linn. I only wish that I had booked a stay in a castle as well. Next time!

  17. Omg! These castles are unreal! They are literally out of a fairytale Disney movie. I would love to visit some of these in my lifetime!

    • They did seem to be out of a fairytale, but so did the little villages surrounding them. I think I could live there!

  18. Castles always remind me of fairy tales…or at least a good Harry Potter novel. Love the photos!

    • Ha-Ha me too! Thanks for the compliment on the photos. 🙂

  19. This looks incredible – I’ve always wanted to go the Rhine. It makes sense that it’s UNESCO protected, sites like this should be preserved.

    • It really was amazing Julianna. We love to visit the UNESCO protected areas, they never disappoint.

  20. What an inspiring list. I really love the historical places. All these castle look so amazing. I wish I could visit each one of them

  21. What incredibly diverse castles. All so different and such unique architecture. My favorite is the Stahleck Castle, though all are unique in their own way. How many of them did you actually visit or are open to tourists? Great photos!

    • Hi Rosemary! I know, we loved the architecture of the castles as well. We actually only visited 2 during our trip. We just didn’t plan enough time in this gorgeous area. Several are individually owned, and therefore not tourable, but there are several that you can tour and even stay the night in! We are doing that next time!

  22. These sure do look straight out of a fairy tale! I would love to be able to stay in the one that is turned into a hotel!

    • Me too, Mona. It’s on my list for the next visit. 🙂

  23. Sounds like a great place to relax and take in the views! I’ve never been to this part of Germany but it seems great for the summer or fall.

    • You are so right, Kanicia. It was gorgeous and so relaxing!!

  24. How beautiful! I don’t know if I could choose a favorite castle. I’d probably spend my evenings looking through the photos and drinking Riesling.

    • Oh, we did that! And the Riesling there is amazing!!!

  25. Wow, those castles are beautiful! It truly looks like a fairy tale!