Awash with pale purple-flowering wisteria in the springtime, diminutive Deidesheim is one of the German Wine Route’s most picturesque – and upmarket – villages. Perfect for a romantic getaway, it offers plenty of opportunities for wine tasting, relaxed strolling and sublime dining.
These charming twin towns are the hub of the Mittelmosel (‘Middle Moselle’, ie Central Moselle) region. Bernkastel, on the right (eastern) bank, is a symphony in half-timber, stone and slate and teems with wine taverns. Kues, the birthplace of theologian Nicolaus Cusanus (1401–64), is less quaint but is home to some key historical sights.
Rüdesheim & Around
Some three million day-tripping coach tourists descend on Rüdesheim each year. Depending on how you look at it, the town centre – and especially its most famous feature, a medieval alley know as Drosselgasse – is either a touristy nightmare or a lot of kitschy, colourful fun. If you’re looking for a souvenir thimble, this is definitely the place to come.
Loreley & St Goarshausen
The most fabled spot along the Romantic Rhine, Loreley is an enormous, almost vertical slab of slate that owes its fame to a mythical maiden whose siren songs are said to have lured sailors to their death in the river’s treacherous currents. Heinrich Heine told the tale in his 1824 poem Die Lorelei.
One of the prettiest of the Rhine villages, tiny Bacharach – 24km downriver from Bingen – conceals its considerable charms behind a 14th-century wall. From the B9, go through one of the thick arched gateways under the train tracks and you’ll find yourself in a medieval old town filled with half-timbered mansions.
A car ferry connects St Goarshausen with its twin across the river, St Goar. It's lorded over by the sprawling ruins of Burg Rheinfels, once the mightiest fortress on the Rhine. It was built in 1245 by Count Dieter V of Katzenelnbogen as a base for his toll-collecting operations. Its size and labyrinthine layout are astonishing.