Castles & villages of the Rhine River

I love the excitement of what a new day is going to bring you, or more importantly, what you’re going to make of a new day! You remember Christmas mornings as a kid, the excitement of the surprises ahead, well that sums up how I felt!

I awoke early & after a quick breakfast, I was off on foot exploring more of Bingen, with passenger & freight boats heading up & down the river and then through the town. It was a brisk start, 5 degrees on the warmer gusts of wind, but none of the rain that was expected. What a lovely old village Bingen was, cobbled streets, some great little cafes, a man selling asparagus on a stand (yes, it’s asparagus season in Germany), plenty of quaint little shops, it was so great to soak up the atmosphere of the village.

Bingen is located where the Nahe River meets the Rhine River and was named after the Romans built a citadel that they called Bingium 2,000 years ago.

I then made my way up the steep steps to the historic castle (Burg Klopp) that overlooks Bingen, a fabulous historic building & an incredible view over the village & the Rhine. It has an amazing history, as did many of the places I saw on my day 2 adventures. The castle after being destroyed by French soldiers of Louis XIV in 1689 was rebuilt only to then have its owner blow it up to prevent it from being used as a base in later wars (as you do)! It was rebuilt again in 1875 in the style of the many 15th century Rhine castles and has been owned by the town since to protect it.

After exploring the castle and taking more photos, it was time to continue on my journey and off I headed north along the Nahe River. Along the way there were many photography stops and some small detours inland through quaint little villages, but largely I followed the Rhine River all the way with the road running alongside the River.

Many castles and historic towers and cute little villages either side of he Rhine to marvel at & with the sun now out making it actually quite warm, it was a perfect day for exploring. After a few smaller villages along a scenic back road that I took, I came into my favorite little village for the day – Bacharach.

Bacharach had a warm charm about it and I explored every cobblestone laneway and visited many of the shops while I was there. Historically Bacharach was one of the wealthiest towns in the region due to its wood & wine trade and the main St Peter’s church that was built around 1700 & one of the standout buildings in the village was amazing. Another impressive building, the Gothic Werner Chapel was built from 1294 & took 140 years to finish… so much history!

Overlooking Bacharach is the impressive castle Burg Stahleck, you can’t help but walk around these incredible buildings and wonder what happened here. It’s the perfect castle, complete with a bridge (once a drawbridge) some of the buildings there are now used as a youth hostel. Definitely allow time to walk (or drive up to here), the castle is impressive but the view over the Rhine River is amazing! It’s funny how within the space of a few hours you can have a connection to a place, Bacharach did that for me, I don’t know what it was, but I really didn’t want to leave.

Next I was onto Oberwesel & Schonberg castle, another great village and after taking the ‘scenic route’ to find the castle, (yes, I got lost), however I got to drive through some lovely countryside and see a couple of small villages along the way. Schonberg castle also has accommodation and a restaurant and although I didn’t see inside, it looked very impressive & the accommodation was a 4 star rating which is basically deluxe over here in Germany. The view from up here was once again incredible!

After a quick coffee break & a bite to eat for lunch, I realized it was already 4pm – the day was flying. I decided to change my plan of getting to Koblenz & instead stay in Boppard ( the beauty of not pre-booking).

This was a great decision as I was able to take my time (and take more photos) and arrive into Boppard & explore another great village set on a big horseshoe bend of the Rhine. after asking around at a few places & finding out who had wi-fi, I checked in to the very nice Great Western Premium overlooking the Rhine. It was a beautiful late afternoon & sunset over the river to get out and explore the village.

Boppard is another village with a great vibe, an almost coastal feel about it by the river, and after exploring the dinner options, I ended up eating at the hotel restaurant, which was great, a schnitzel and local Rhine Riesling was the perfect finish to what had been a great day.

Just as I was finishing dinner some loud cheering from another room nearby could only mean one thing… Football! After asking the waiter, I found out that the local team from the Rhine area, Dortmund, was playing F.C Bayern from Munich in the final of the German Cup. So I ordered a beer and witnessed the excitement of a room of people for the next couple hours as Dortmund gave Munich a hiding 5-2 to take out the cup. High fives were shared out freely amongst everyone as each goal was scored by Dortmund! Another great moment during my Germany trip and the perfect end for the day!

So my summary of today, the Rhine is an amazing region, and it’s no wonder it has being given UNESCO world heritage status. The actual distance I travelled today was only around 45 kilometers along the Rhine, but with so many amazing places & things to see, it’s impossible to do it quickly. For anyone planning to do the trip, allow the time to immerse yourself in the many villages along the way, you’ll be well rewarded!

Although I did plenty of walking, through the villages & up to & around the castles, many people were walking or riding in between the villages & it’s the sort of area that you’ll get a much richer experience for slowing down and exploring in detail, I know I’ll return one day & do just that.

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