There are so many fabulous 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.
Surrounded by lush vineyards, German fairy tale towns, and gorgeous medieval castles, you can’t help but feel like you have been 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 fantastic wine produced in the region, the half-timbered villages, the steepled churches, and the dramatic cliffsides, you become genuinely enthralled by the beauty surrounding 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 revitalized 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!
Let us show you some fabulous Rhine River Castles you can visit.
Rheinfels Castle, St. Goar
The ruins of Rheinfels Castle sit high above the middle Rhine River town of 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 in the Rhine Valley.
With 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 most 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 an authentic feel for the medieval period in this region.
Here’s a Rhine Cruise to Consider:
Schonburg Castle, Oberwesel
Schomburg Castle overlooks the charming middle Rhine River town of Oberwesel.
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.
After the family died out with their last heir, French soldiers burned the castle in the 17th century, and it 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 with 27 rooms, 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
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 to generate revenue from boats traveling down the River Rhine; only this toll castle was built in the middle of the river.
While one of many toll castles on the river, the unique location in the middle 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 of the tiny castle if you like, but it’s pretty dull, so, I wouldn’t bother. Just admire it from your cruise.
This is one of the unique Rhine castles.
Stahleck Castle, Bacharach
Bacharach’s charming middle Rhine town sits right along the Rhine and is overlooked by Stahleck Castle up on the hill.
Known for the beautiful white wine 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 want to see the ruins of Wernerkapelle, the ruined church with an exciting story, 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, head up to Stahleck Castle, the 12th-century castle with one of the most picturesque views of the River Rhine 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 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 travel with children, as there is so much to do here.
Gutenfels Castle, Kaub
The Falkenstein family has owned the Gutenfels Castle since the 11th century.
As one of the many Rhine River castles used to charge tolls 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 castles on the River Rhine!
Sooneck Castle, Aachen
Up on the hilltop near Aachen is one of the many castles along the Rhine named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sooneck Castle.
Initially built in the 11th century, Sooneck Castle was destroyed twice.
It was also the site of several medieval battles and sieges, including one in 1282 when King Rudolph I overtook the castle.
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 be later 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 beautiful paintings and furniture.
This is one of the breathtaking castles along the Rhine.
Reichenstein Castle, Trechtingshausen
Reichenstein Castle is a perfect example of romanticism 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 an extensive 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 worth visiting!
Rheinstein Castle, Trechtingshausen
Rheinstein Castle was one of our favorite castles along the Rhine.
Built at 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, who founded the Noble Knighthood.
Like most castles of the Rhine, it fell into disrepair for many years until the Hecher family purchased it in 1975 and 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.
The castle is decorated with stained glass windows, beautiful paintings, and period furnishings.
Today, Rheinstein Castle hosts many events, including medieval games and romantic tours.
Rheinstein is one of the great castles in the middle Rhine Valley!
Marksburg Castle, Braubach
Marksburg Castle holds a special place in history as it was the only castle on the Middle Rhine that had never been destroyed.
Standing high above the town of Braubach, Marksburg Castle was initially 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 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 fantastic 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 palace 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 the King of Prussia.
Stolzenfels Castle, with its picturesque surroundings, 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.
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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 flight prices. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines worldwide 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, 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 your needs while ensuring 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 honest reviews on TripAdvisor hotels. 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!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it offers 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!
If you want a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, 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!
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!
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.