The Rhine Valley :
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The Rhine Valley
The Rhine ValleyBy car, 90 km, 2 days
The Rhine is just as it was in the days when Victor Hugo sang its praises: "Europe's entire history is contained in this river of warriors and thinkers, in its superb tide that thrills France and its deep murmur that inspires Germany. The Rhine brings it all together." A journey along the Rhine - through castles and vineyards, from legend to legend - is still the most romantic of pilgrimages.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
From the top of the pediment (107 steps) of Wilhelm I's statue, there is a view over the city and the right bank of the Rhine, dominated by the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein.
The original 10C fortress, which belonged to the archbishops of Trier, was destroyed by the French in 1799. The Prussians, who had ruled the Rhineland since 1815, built this powerful fortified stronghold between 1816 and 1832.
A drive up the Rhine Valley from Koblenz will take you past a series of fortified towns built in the shadow of imposing fortresses. Schloß Stolzenfels may be 19C, but the town of Boppard is in fact typically medieval. You will then go past St Goar and its fortress, burg Rheinfels, before continuing on past the towers of Oberwesel, the three fortresses of Schönburg, the fortifications of Bacharach, the terraces of Burg Sooneck and the sites of Burg Rechenstein and Burg Rheinstein. The tour ends at Bingen.
The castle, the only one in the valley that has never been destroyed, was built on a site high above the river. Particularly notable are the Great Battery, a medieval garden (170 species) and the armoury (ranging from 600 BC to the 15C).
The two castles that overlook Kamp-Bornhofen are known as the «rival brothers». There is a fine view of Sterrenberg castle and the valley from the ruins of Liebenstein.
Several different spurs afford a magnificent view of the «Romantic gorge». This is the most attractive part of the Rhine valley.
This legendary rock has become the symbol of the Romantic Rhine and has a very special place in German literature. Heine's poem « I know not whence cometh my sadness» is traditionally played aboard ship when the promontory comes into view.
This much-restored fortress offers a maze of staircases, platforms and terraced gardens.