In the Darmstadt district of Germany there is a lovely little winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge officially known as Rüdesheim am Rhein. The vineyards are in the middle of town or can be seen from the town’s Centre. This is what I imagine Heaven will look like….breathtaking, full of color and very peaceful.
As spring and summer come upon us, I really enjoy those green vineyards that surround and enhance the beauty of the villages. This is what I am reminded of every time we visit Rüdesheim am Rhein. The vineyards looming over the town mixed with the culture and charm of the historical buildings that lie alongside the Rhine River, make Rüdesheim am Rhein one of my favorite villages.
We discovered Rüdesheim am Rhein by mistake. Some weekends we just like to pack the saddlebags on our Harley Davidson and see where the road takes us. We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived in the village of Bingen and saw a river ferry that would take us across to Rüdesheim.
I cannot tell you how excited this made me. The ferry connection was established between the villages of Bingen and Rüdesheim because there are no bridges crossing the Rhine for a distance of more than 90 km between the cities of Koblenz and Wiesbaden. For many Germans, taking the ferry over with their car is their daily routine to and from work. For us, it was a bit fun to ride the Harley across the water. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that can bring a smile to my face.
Speaking of bringing a smile to my face…one of the best treats at Rüdesheim am Rhein is a walking wine-tasting tour. A guide, who is familiar with the history of the region, can escort you from vineyard to vineyard giving you a history lesson along the way. You are also allowed to wander on your own and sample wines from the different vineyards. This particular region is known for its Rieslings and Pinot Noirs.
Upon arrival, I recommend picking up a free city guide from the Tourism Office on Rheinstrasse so that you will know the details of the area as well as any available tours or events.
At the top of the vineyards is the Niederwald Monument. The monument is of Germania, the classical myth female representing Germany. She holds the imperial crown in one hands and the imperial sword in the other. History holds that for many years the monument reflected national pride and the creation of a single German nation.
Just in front of the monument is a stunning panoramic view of the entire area.
You can walk to the monument using a path through the vineyards or you can take the cable cars. I think it’s somewhat cool to hang from the sky so we took the cable cars. You can find the station in town located on Oberstrasse. The station has a cable car sitting out front, so it’s easily recognizable.
We spent two days in Rüdesheim am Rhein, relaxing and taking in the fun vibe of the town. The Drosselgasse, which is a famous alley in Rüdesheim, is the heart of the old town and is a tourist magnet for people from all over the world. Live bands, brass instruments, and dance music can be seen and heard from late morning until midnight along this tiny street.
This street is bustling non-stop day and night but most of the fun is in the evening and late into the night. We walked along this street during dinnertime and ended up celebrating with some fun ladies at a bachelorette party. You just never know who you will meet if you’re willing to be social!
Castles and Museums
If you have lived here for any amount of time, you know that you cannot visit a village in this area without running into a castle or two. There are a couple of castles in Rüdesheim am Main. The Boosenburg Castle and the Broemserburg Castle. Boosenburg is easily visible as it is the highest structure in the town. However, it is a privately owned and is not open for tours.
Broemserburg is the oldest castle in the Rhine Gorge. It has been converted to a Wine Museum and has over 2,000 winemaking exhibits.
During our tour of the town, we noticed a couple of other museums but did not have time to visit them. One is the Folter Museum, which is a medieval torture museum. The other is Seigfried’s Mechanical Musical Museum. While I am not convinced that I would appreciate a torture museum, I think I can get on board with some music history!
Rüdesheim am Main, is very popular, especially during the summer months due to its proximity to the Rhine River. There is plenty of shopping available as well as many restaurant options.
Rüdesheim am Main is located close enough to make it a day trip. However, I think the charm and fun factor requires an overnight stay so that you can experience all that this quaint town has to offer.
It takes about 1 ½ hours to drive from Kaiserslautern. You can drive to Mainz, cross the river and drive into Rüdesheim am Main. If you prefer to take the ferry across, you can drive to Bingen and follow the signs for the ferry.
If you wish to travel by train, check out www.bahn.de for accurate train schedules.