The 11 Best Things to See and Do in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

| Valentino Casavecchia / Unsplash
Lena Blos

Rüdesheim am Rhein is one of the most beautiful wine regions in Germany. Stroll among the half-timbered buildings of the old town and Drosselgasse, see castles and vineyards during a Rhine river cruise, and sip local riesling and pinot noir in Medieval settings.

1. Take a castle cruise on the Rhine River

Natural Feature

A gloomy castle extruding out of a dark forest in Rüdesheim, Germany
Noah Boyer / Unsplash

A history of Medieval knights and kings lingers across the Middle Rhine Valley, in the form of 40 enchanting castles. Several of the castles can be seen around Rüdesheim during a short boat trip such as the 1.5-hour Rhine Valley Castles cruise. You’ll sail past castles such as Rheinstein, Brömserburg and Klopp, as well as Binger Bridge and the Mouse Tower of Binger Loch, among romantic pinot noir vineyards.

2. Stroll along Drosselgasse

Architectural Landmark

At the heart of the old town in Rüdesheim is Drosselgasse, a 144m (472ft) cobbled street lined with timber-framed buildings. It might be olde worlde in architecture, but, here, you’ll find some of the best entertainment venues in the city, from live music in taverns to restaurants serving regional dishes. Three million visitors a year flock here – partly for the Breuer’s Rüdesheim Castle (a 1,000-year-old building that’s now a restaurant and hotel) and the atmospheric Christmas Market.

3. Sip fine Riesling wines on a vineyard tour

Winery

Mandel, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Luca J / Unsplash

No trip to the Rheinland is complete without a stroll through some vineyards accompanied by a few glasses of Riesling and Pinot Noir. Book a guided tour and you can be whisked around the region on an afternoon full of gorgeous riverside views, charming old towns and villages, and endless hillsides embellished with neatly arranged vines. The best part, of course, is always the tasting session – that’s what you’re here for after all! Recommended by Gethin Morgan.

4. See the Niederwald Monument

Shrine

Niederwald Monument, Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany
Valentino Casavecchia / Unsplash

Walk up the stone steps of the Niederwald Monument for an up-close look at Kaiser Wilhelm I among soldiers, carved into a relief, beneath a 10m-tall (34ft) Germania figure. The statue was built between 1870 and 1880 to commemorate the unification of the German Empire after the Franco-Prussian War. It’s flanked by vineyards and sits atop a vantage point at Niederwald Park, so the peaceful setting alone is worth a visit to the monument.

5. Visit the wine museums at Brömserburg Castle

Museum

Brömserburg Castle is one of the oldest castles in the Middle Rhine region. It was built in the 10th century as a fortress, with vaulted ceilings and walls more than 2m (7ft) thick. These days, it contains an excellent wine museum – over 2,000 exhibits are on display – including iron grape presses, wine barrels and carts – providing a deep insight into the wine production around the verdant Rhine Valley.

6. Pop into the Benedictine Abbey of St Hildegard

Church

The Abbey of St Hildegard is set among vineyards on a hill above Rüdesheim town, delivering a magnificent view over the Middle Rhine Valley. Inside, the frescoes of this Romanesque-style abbey are an equally beautiful sight. The community of nuns here lives in accordance with the rules of Saint Benedict, dedicating themselves to prayer and work. It’s not all stoicism though: they also produce their own wine – which you can buy in the gift shop alongside original art and books.

7. Stop by the Klunkhardshof

Architectural Landmark

Behind the bustling market square is an icon of Rüdesheim: the Klunkardshof. This two-storey, half-timbered building with a gabled roof dates back to the early 16th century and was once owned by the respectable Klunkhard family. It’s a prime example of German Medieval architecture – although it’s also still a private residence, so you can only view it from outside.

8. See the sights by cable car

Architectural Landmark

Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany
Tjaard Krusch / Unsplash

If you want to take in a panorama over the valley without tackling any hills on foot, the Seilbahn Rüdesheim is the way to go. The cable car whisks you from the town centre up to the Niederwald Monument (and to the red-wine town of Assmanshausen), with an impressive panorama over the vineyards and the shimmering waters of the Rhine River. It’s also wheelchair and pushchair-accessible, so everyone can enjoy the experience.

9. Browse the instruments at Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet

Museum

The museum of Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet contains one of the biggest collections of self-playing instruments in the world. A stone’s throw from the Drosselgasse, this enchanting place features all sorts of musical curiosities, from fragile music boxes to the gigantic piano-orchestrion. Check out the snuff box with a musical songbird from the early 19th century, as well as Bernhard Dufner’s band of 27 automatic dolls, and the incredible mechanical violins.

10. Have dinner at Breuer's Rüdesheimer Schloss

Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, German

In the heart of the old town lies the four-star hotel, Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss – the place to try the top cuisine and wine from this region. The monthly changing menu is focused around seasonal produce from the area, with favourite dishes including Hessian tapas, riesling-cheese soup and schloss (castle) duck. The building was first constructed by the archbishop of Mainz in 1729, and it’s now a Unesco World Heritage site. It’s the perfect setting to end a day of sightseeing in the historic town.

11. See birds of prey at Adlerwarte Niederwald

Architectural Landmark

Falconry show
Céline Geeurickx / Unsplash

Combine a hike through the mountains with a visit to the Adlerwarte Niederwald observatory. It takes in vulnerable and injured birds of prey, with the aim of reintroducing them to the wild. You can usually see more than 40 species here, including eagles, falcons, vultures and owls. Join a guided tour for an insight into the behaviour of the majestic creatures. From the observatory, you can also hike to the nearby castle ruin of Rossel, or further to Johannisberg castle.

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