The “Castles on the Rhine” are so well known, but until I visited the Middle Rhine, I didn’t understand the abundance of the castles that line the bluffs. The first time I cruised along the Rhine, I expected to see a castle or two. Instead, every few minutes, around the bend, another town and another castle came into view. The best way to tour the area is on a boat going down (or up) the river so you can look to either side. You will be rewarded far beyond what you’ve imagined.
The Middle Rhine is the portion of the river that goes from Mainz / Bingen north to Koblenz. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where about 40 castles once stood, and at least the ruins of many of them are still here. A cruise of a few hours will allow you to take in a good amount of the tiny, colorful medieval towns that line the river and the castles that stood guard along the way. Green vineyards line the terraced hills. It is truly breathtaking.
Time to board! These boats travel up and down the Rhine all day. The largest company is KD Rhine. Times are dependent on the season, so check the website for times and prices. Generally the boats run a full schedule from early April through October. And if you want to go beyond the Middle Rhine, you can take one of these boats all the way to Cologne.
Our hotel in St. Goar was right on the Rhine and a boat dock for the KD line was outside the door. It’s the perfect location for exploring the Middle Rhine. This is the view from our room. One of the most famous castles, the Rheinfels Castle, sits atop the town and the stone ruins are definitely worth a visit.
The Middle Rhine is enchanting, and it can be enjoyed if you have even a morning or an afternoon in the area. You don’t have to take an overnight cruise or block out more time to visit this richly historic place in our world.
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