Blog

Scenic Drive along the Romantic Rhine

Posted on February 16, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Part of: Winter in Germany

the romantic rhine

Today we took a nice drive along the Romantic Rhine, a stretch of river that begins about an hour south of the "industrial Rhine" where we live. Also known as the Middle Rhine, this riverside scenic area is absolutely loaded with castles, villages and vineyards. It was a great day for a scenic drive, as it was brilliantly sunny but freezing cold.

the middle rhine

The Romantic Rhine gets its name from its popularity with the Romantic artists and poets of the 18th century, many of whom were English. It is apparently packed with tourists on river cruises in the summer, and Rick Steves really likes it too.

the middle rhine

We thought it was lovely and we were amazed at how many castles there are! Just about every peak of the rocky hills along the river had one. Here's a selection of some of our favorites.

the romantic rhine the romantic rhine the romantic rhine the middle rhine the romantic rhine the romantic rhine

Most people see the Romantic Rhine on a river cruise (which sounds fantastic and we may yet do), but driving it worked well, too. We drove down the west side of the river first, crossed via car ferry at the town of Bingen, then drove up the east side.

the romantic rhine
On the east side of the river we stopped for a late lunch in the village of Kestert.

the romantic rhine
Like all the villages we drove through, it was not at all crowded but there were lots of happy walkers out and about with their hiking boots, backpacks and walking sticks.

the romantic rhine
The bakery-cafe pictured above even had this special snack for the hikers: the Nordic Walking Bread!

After investigating several restaurants, most of which were closed, we lucked out at the Goldener Stern. When we arrived inquiring about lunch, the appropriately stern-looking waitress informed us that it was "the hour for coffee and cake", but soup was also available. We said soup was just fine and settled in at a table with a river view.

But after a brief conversation with the jolly man behind the bar, who turned out also to be the cook and probably the owner, she came back to offer us schnitzel or rump steak also. Wahoo! We ordered potato soup, salad, and schnitzel, and it was all delicious.

the romantic rhine
The potato soup was cheesy and oniony and really warmed us up.

the romantic rhine
The salad was especially fantastic - fresh and crisp with some kind of vinegar-dill dressing that went perfectly with everything.

koblenz
On the way home we drove through the surprisingly large city of Koblenz, which apparently has quite a nice Romanesque cathedral! But that will have to wait for another day.