I have seen many lovely little German towns where the vineyards are right in the middle of town or at the very least in full view of the town’s center. I often refer to this as my vision of Heaven. There really is something about the green vineyards that enhances the beauty of a village. This is the case in Rüdesheim am Rhein. The vineyards give the town a striking rustic charm, which blends lovely with the historical buildings, restaurants and shopping all beside the beautiful Rhine River.
We arrived in Rüdesheim from Ramstein and decided to take the ferry route. The ferry connection between Bingen and Rüdesheim has been a vital lifeline on the river for hundreds of years since there are no bridges crossing the Rhine for a distance of more than 90 km between the cities of Koblenz and Wiesbaden. Crossing on the car or passenger ferry takes only a few minutes. For some, taking the ferry is their daily routine to and from work. For us, it just gave us a sense of adventure and made us feel like we were on vacation!
One of the delights of Rüdesheim is a walking wine-tasting tour. It’s probably a big shock, but we did not take this tour when we were there. (Although we do have plans to go back). A guide familiar with the history of the region (often called “German Tuscany”) can escort you to some of the top wine estates as well as take you hiking from vineyard to vineyard. On the other hand, you can just wing it and go out on your own.
Things to See
The best place for panoramic views of Rüdesheim and the surrounding area is from the Niederwald Monument.
There is a lookout in front of the monument with a viewing telescope. We could see for miles and had excellent views of the village and the River Rhine.
It really is a MUST DO and a relatively easy walk, or you can take the cable cars as we did. The station is located in town on the Oberstrasse and has a cable car sitting out front, so you can’t miss it.
For the castle lovers, there are two castles in Rüdesheim. The Boosenburg Castle sits among the vineyards and is the highest structure in the town. Unfortunately, it is privately owned and is not open to the public.
Another castle, the ancient Broemserburg Castle, is more than 1,000 years old and is the oldest castle in the Rhine Gorge. It is owned by the town and has over 2,000 winemaking exhibits on display. Of course, since we only had time to visit one museum, we chose this museum.
There are a couple of other museums in town as well that we did not have time to visit on this trip –Foltermuseum, which is an intriguing medieval torture museum and Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Museum.
Possibly Rüdesheim’s greatest claim to fame is a wonderful little (and I mean little) street called Drosselgasse. Some of the most fun is in the evening and late into the night on Drosselgasse. It is easy to see why this little shopping street is so very popular. It is full of charm that is exclusive to Germany with great cafes, bars, music, and lots of laughter.
Rüdesheim as a town is touristy due to its location on the Rhine River. Souvenir shops (with some bargains as they compete with each other) mix with more serious wine, craft and clothing stores. There are lots of restaurants, mostly German cuisine. Our favorites are the ones somewhat hidden from the streets, in courtyards and gardens. Get a free city guide from the Tourism Office on Rheinstrasse.
Idyllic Rüdesheim am Rhein is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Wine growing has a long tradition in Rüdesheim and has established the town’s reputation as a producer of acclaimed Riesling and Pinot Noir wines.
How to Get There
By car Rüdesheim is approximately 30 minutes southwest of Wiesbaden, 1 hour and 30 minutes north of Kaiserslautern and 2 hours and 30 minutes north of Stuttgart. Go on DB Bahn for train information.
Author’s Profile: Cheryl Koller is a native of Georgia. She is a DOD spouse, mom of 4 daughters (2 adults, 2 teens), thrill-seeker, avid traveler, and lover of food and wine. She is a self-proclaimed Freedom-Prenuer and Blogger currently living in Ramstein with her family.