The Rhine River is one of Germany’s most famous rivers. It is lined with castles, forts, watch towers, and interesting little towns.
This Spring and Summer, I went on a total of 3 Rhine River cruises and they were all a little bit different.
The first cruise I took was with a friend of mine and our daughters. We parked in Rudesheim and purchased our roundtrip tickets to Assmanshausen from the cruise line right next to the boat. On this 2-hour journey, I was amazed at how many castles were in such a highly concentrated area. We ordered lunch on the boat, which was surprisingly delicious and had a lovely, relaxing trip.
Next, I went on a Rudesheim Ring Tour (as they call it). This time, it was with my husband, daughter, and a newcomer we were showing around. Again, we parked in Rudesheim. The friendly English-speaking tourist office sold us our tickets and we began our journey. First, we took a gondola lift above the vineyards to Niederwalddenkmal monument. From there, we hiked around the monument, down a ways, and past a deer park to a ski lift, which we took down the mountain to the town of Assmanshausen, where we caught a boat. The boat went to the next castle then turned and headed back to Rudesheim. It was an exciting adventure, but it wasn’t something I would do again with a squirmy toddler!
My third Rhine River experience was a Rudesheim to Sankt Goar cruise. Our daughter’s godparents were in town and this turned out to be the perfect first day activity for people with jet lag! Parking in Rudesheim, we purchased our “Loreley” tickets from the tourist office and caught the 11:00 am boat out. Again, the amount of castles in such a small area was really neat.
However, between Assmanshausen and Sankt Goar there were fewer than expected. Upon arrival at Sankt Goar, we had an hour and a half to explore and eat lunch. Unfortunately, in our experience, Germany is a country that considers preparing and serving a meal in less than 2 hours to be only for fast food restaurants. We know to eat on the boat next time! The village itself has three castles around it, at least one of which is a hotel. Overall, I was insulted by the unfriendliness of residents, not impressed by the village in general, and disappointed that there was not enough time to walk up to the castles. But oh, well. Passing by Loreley cliff on the way back, we noticed a small village that we will stop at next time: Oberwesel. It looked interesting and overlooked. On our way back, we were able to get off the boat at one village and catch the last boat back to Rudesheim. We chose to get out at Bacharach.
Now here is a charming village with some interesting sites that I would love to drive to and spend more time walking around. We found everyone to be friendly, and the owner of the restaurant we ate at sat with us and visited during our meal, which was really interesting.
Of course, back on the boat we all had trouble staying awake. It had been a long and peaceful day on the Rhine.