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10 Awesome Castles on the Rhine River in Germany

10 Awesome Castles on the Rhine River in Germany

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There are so many awesome castles on the Rhine River in Germany!

Part of the Holy Roman Empire in the Medieval Ages, the Middle Rhine portion of Germany’s Rhine Valley has over 60 German castles!

Nowhere else in the world can you find as many castles as close together as the castles in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.  

This UNESCO World Heritage site is breathtaking and should definitely be on your couple’s bucket list.

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.  

During our visit to the region, I was amazed at the number of German castles in the upper middle Rhine Valley and wanted to visit all of them!

When you combine these German castles with the amazing wine produced in the region, the half-timbered villages, the steepled churches, and the dramatic cliffsides, you become truly enthralled in the beauty that surrounds you.

These famous castles highlight the wealth and prosperity of this region in the Middle Ages.

Throughout history, many of the best castles fell into ruin until the Rhine Romanticism Era brought painters, poets, and storytellers to the region who began telling about Germany’s Rhine Valley.

This Romanticism Era, in the 19th century, brought a revitalization to the region as many wealthy and prominent individuals chose to purchase the run down German castles and transform them back to their glory days.

Today, you can visit many of the best castles for yourself!

Allow us to show you some of the fabulous Rhine River Castles that you can visit.

Rheinfels Castle, St. Goar

Rheinfels Castle-one of the castles on the Rhine
Rheinfels Castle

The ruins of Rheinfels Castle sit high above the middle Rhine River town St. Goar like a ghost from the past.

Rheinfels Castle sits watch over the town of St. Goar and is one of the largest castles of the middle Rhine, so if you are on a river cruise, rest assured, you won’t miss it. 

Built in the 13th century to protect the St. Goar tax collectors, Rheinfels quickly became one of the best castles of the Rhine Valley

A long-standing history, Rheinfels Castle was one of the only castles on the left bank of the Rhine River to withstand the attacks from King Louis XIV, making it one of the famous castles along the Rhine River.

Today, visitors can immerse themselves in medieval ages history by touring the many towers, halls, and passageways that intertwine to make up Rheinfels castle.

Adding Rheinfels Castle to your list of Rhine River Castles to visit is a must! As we said, this is one of the best castles to get a true feel for the medieval time period in this region.

Schonburg Castle, Oberwesel

Schonburg Castle and the town of Oberwesel
The town of Oberwesel
Schonburg Castle-one of the Rhine River castles
Sconburg Castle

The charming middle Rhine River town of Oberwesel is overlooked by Schonburg Castle.

Oberwesel has a magnificent medieval wall and 16 of the original 21 towers of the town are still standing! 

Schonburg Castle was built in the 12th century for the Dukes of Schonburg, the ruling family of Oberwesel at this time. 

After the family died out with their last heir, the castle was burned down in the 17th century by French soldiers and sat in ruin for over 200 years. 

This castle was purchased by the Rhinelander family in the late 19th century and restored.

Schonburg Castle is now a castle hotel that boasts 27 rooms along with a prison tower and a library!

Definitely on my list to stay in next time we visit the Rhine River castles or do a river cruise!

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, Kaub

castle in the Rhine River-Pfalz Castle

Sitting on a tiny island in the middle of the Rhine River, Pfalzgrafenstein Castle can’t be missed. 

Like most other castles in this area, it was built for the sole purpose of generating revenue from boats traveling down the River Rhine, only this toll castle was built in the middle of the river.

While being one of many toll castles on the river, it was the unique location in the middle of the river of that gave Pfalzgrafenstein Castle a clear advantage over the other toll castles of the Rhine.

For you see, Pfalzgrafenstein 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 take a guided tour the tiny castle if you like, but it’s pretty boring so I wouldn’t bother.  Just admire it from your cruise.

This is definitely one of the most unique Rhine castles.

Stahleck Castle, Bacharach

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 middle Rhine town of Bacharach sits right along the Rhine and is overlooked by Stahleck Castle up on the hill.

Known for the wonderful white wine that has been exported from this area since the medieval ages, Bacharach is surrounded by vineyards just waiting to be explored. 

No wonder it is one of the most beautiful cities on the Rhine!

You can climb into the hillside, walking into the vineyards before exploring the remaining town towers and the town wall.

Visitors will definitely want to see the ruins of Wernerkapelle, the ruined church that has an interesting story behind it, before stopping into Altes Haus, the oldest house in Bacharach. 

This half-timbered village will have you falling in love with it in a matter of minutes and allow you to see why people call it Rhine Romanticism.

Before leaving, be sure to head up to Stahleck Castle, the 12th-century castle that has one of the most picturesque views of the River Rhine that we experienced during our time in the Rhine Valley. 

Stahleck Castle is now one of the famous castles thanks to the youth hostel that it has become. 

Even though the castle doesn’t offer a guided tour, you are welcome to come up and admire the views while sipping a glass of wine in the castle’s courtyard.

The view alone is worth adding Stahleck Castle to your list of Rhine River Castles to visit!

This is also one of the best castles to stay in if you are traveling with children as there is so much to do here.

Gutenfels Castle, Kaub

The Gutenfels Castle has been owned by the Falkenstein family since the 11th-century.  

As one of the many Rhine River castles that was used to charge tolls in order to transport goods down the Rhine River, Gutenfels Castle is very fortified.

Since 1277, the castle served as a castle of the Electorate of the Palatinate. 

After surviving an unsuccessful siege in 1504, the castle was renamed Gutenfels, meaning solid rock.  Rebuilt between 1889 and 1892, the castle is now used as a hotel and is one of the best castle on the River Rhine!

castles on the Rhine River, Gutenfels

Sooneck Castle, Aachen

Up on the hilltop near Aachen, is one of the many castles along the Rhine that have been named UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Sooneck Castle.

Originally built in the 11th century, Sooneck Castle was destroyed twice.  

It was also the sight of several medieval battles and sieges, including one in 1282 when the castle was overtaken by King Rudolph I. 

It was during this siege that the castle was destroyed and the king put a ban on rebuilding it.

It wasn’t until 1346 that a new castle was built on the site to later be destroyed in the War of the Palatine Succession.

In 1834, the remains of the castle were rebuilt and today is open to tours.  A guided tour of this castle gives you insight into wonderful paintings and furniture.

This is really one of the breathtaking castles along the Rhine.

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, Trechtingshausen

Reichenstein Castle is a perfect example of romanticism that is contained within the Rhine castles.

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.

This gorgeous castle is a classic example of the neo-Gothic style.  Pay particular attention to the castle’s impressive shield wall.

Today Reichenstein Castle houses a modern roomed hotel where guests can immerse themselves in history. 

Inside you will find a large collection of cast-iron plates, hunting trophies from all over the world, weapons, arms, porcelain, and furniture from centuries.

Reichenstein Castle is one of the Rhine River castles that is definitely worth a visit!

Reichenstein Castle-one of the Rhine River Castles in Germany

Rheinstein Castle, Trechtingshausen

Rheinstein Castle was one of our favorite castles along the Rhine.

Built in the beginning of the 14th-century, Rheinstein Castle screams romance to me. 

Situated on a rocky outcrop, Rheinstein stands 270 feet above the Rhine River.

Rheinstein Castle was home to the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph von Habsburg where he founded the Noble Knighthood. 

Like most castles of the Rhine, it fell into disrepair for many years until it was purchased by the Hecher family in 1975 who spent 19 years restoring it to its glory.

The castle possesses a working drawbridge, a gorgeous courtyard with fabulous views of the Rhine, a garden still producing grapes, and a small chapel.

Inside the castle is decorated with are stained glass windows, beautiful paintings, and period furnishings.

Today, Rheinstein Castle hosts many events including medieval games and romantic tours.

Rheinstein is definitely one of the great castles in the middle Rhine Valley!

Rheinstein Castle-castles along the Rhine River in Germany

Marksburg Castle, Braubach

Marksburg Castle on the hilltop of the Rhine River

Marksburg Castle holds a special place in history as it was the only castle on the Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed.

Standing high above the town of Braubach, Marksburg Castle was originally built in the middle ages in the 13th century, 14th century, and 15th century.

This hillside castle was built to provide protection instead of as a residence for a royal family, Marksburg Castle definitely makes a statement when viewing it from a river cruise down below!

A visit to Marksburg Castle allows you to take a guided tour of the amazing castle grounds and several of the rooms within the castle.

Visit their website for the most up to date hours and tour information.

Another of the best castles in Germany!

Stolzenfels Castle, Koblenz

The beautiful Stolzenfels Castle shines in all its glory on the hillside of the River Rhine.

One of the best castles in the region if you are looking for a fairy-tale like castle to visit.

Stolzenfels Castle is a 19th century castle palace that was built using the 13th century castle ruins on this site.

The original castle on the site was built to protect the toll station on the Rhine and was later rebuilt by King of Prussia.

Stolzenfels Castle with its picturesque surroundings is what makes this one of the best castles to visit on the Rhine.

The castle is open to guests daily March-November, and on weekends in January and February. Note that the castle is closed in December. Check their website for complete information.

Check Out These Posts As Well:

11 Great Day Trips From Munich

The Best Small Towns in Europe

Why You Must Visit Nuremberg, Germany

Ultimate Guide to Bacharach, Germany

Top 10 Things to do in Munich, Germany

Here are some suggested tours while you’re in the region!

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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight:

We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.

Book Your Vacation Package:

If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.

Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!

For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.

Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”

Book Your Accommodations:

We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!

There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.

Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!

HotelsCombined is another cool site. They allow you to compare all of the top travel sites with one search to ensure you are finding the best deal out there. Kayak works in this way as well.

If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.

Tour Companies We Trust:

We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!

For a guided city tour, check out City Sightseeing and BigBus Tours. These bus tours are so much fun and easy to hop on and hop off at top attractions in cities around the world.

CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.

Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.

Looking to Save Time and Money?

Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!

Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

About The Author

Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

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Grafinya Katzenelnbogen Leana

Sunday 26th of September 2021

I am the American Born heiress to Katzenelnbogen. One of my relatives was King of Poland in 1541.

Burg Katz is my family. Der Lorelei is from my family.

thattexascouple

Monday 27th of September 2021

That is so awesome! Thanks for reading our post!

Tori

Sunday 30th of June 2019

I will be there in October. My daughter is in Cologne for a convention and I am going with her. I want to cruise the Rhine while she is busy working. My question is can you get off and on the boat or do you have a set destination from one port to another. I will take the train back to Cologne.

thattexascouple

Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

Hi, Tori. Oh, you are going to love it. It's such a beautiful area!

There are different options. Some allow you to get on and off, others don't. The tour we took allowed you to use your ticket to get on and off for that day.

Exploring Curiously

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

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

Maggie Torsney-Weir

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

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.

thattexascouple

Saturday 3rd of March 2018

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

Kanicia Cognard

Friday 2nd of March 2018

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.

thattexascouple

Friday 2nd of March 2018

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