Places shown in teal are regions or interesting
areas of the country.
- The Rhine Valley with its rounded hills, mighty river, historic castles
and scenic towns represents a region that has a special ambiance and a
unique attractiveness. The vineyards that covers the hills along the
river are put to good use and great wines and good food add even more magic
to a tour of this enchanting area.
Upper Middle Rhine Valley, defined as the area from
Bingen/Rüdesheim to Koblenz, is an exceptional destination that combines one
of Europe's most beautiful river valleys with the opportunity to explore
some of the most scenic examples of Germany's historic castle culture. The
countryside is lush and each town or village along the banks of the Rhine
yields unexpected treasures. Be prepared for a busy journey as numerous
towns will beckon for your attention and the region's numerous,
excellent wineries surely deserve some attention as well.
- The best way to observe the beauty of this area is by boat. Yes, this
can be a little "touristy", but great fun all the same. So plan
to hop on one of the daily tour boats and observe the Rhine Valley from its
river. The castles and towns are glorious when viewed from the Rhine
and you do not have to move your feet to see the sights.
- If you have time for a longer cruise, consider one of the many
cruises targeting the "Great Rivers of Europe". We think the
"river cruise" prices are competitive. The best part of river
cruising is that you do not have to schlep your luggage to a new hotel
- On the other hand, the tours associated with these cruises are not
particularly ambitious and might not leave you enough time to see what
interests you It thinking about taking a river cruise of the Rhine, be
sure to research the shore tours and time available for wandering.
- Another great way to explore the Rhine Valley is by car. Driving
both sides of the River allows you to stop at the attractions and views that
interest you and not be relegated to the stops the tour boats make. Be
prepared for slow driving, as the few roads that snake through the valley
and its cities are narrow and traffic is slow moving in tourist season.
- In addition, the Rhine Valley is a popular summer vacation destination
and many who visit do so for a week or more and are in no hurry for tomorrow
to come, so meals can be long and crowds can be considerable.
- While the Rhine Valley is a thoroughly enjoyable area to travel, it is
easy to underestimate the amount of time it will take to explore the nooks
and crannies of the valley, its towns and castles. Be sure and budget
your time and prepare an itinerary of the places of specific interest to
- The Rhine Valley, extends further north and south than the area we
recommend be the focus of your visit. Most sections of the river
have something to offer, but no other area offers quite as outstanding
scenery or as many fascinating towns as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
and enjoyable village is a popular stop along the Rhine, as it is the
region's most well-known "wine town". Rüdesheim's setting is quite
scenic and the town is filled with places to eat, drink and shop (walk the
- Be sure to see the Niederwald Monument (take the cable cars), a famous
monument of stone and bronze commemorating the 19th century
reunification of Germany.
- Click here for official tourism information on
- The famous Lorelei Rock sits above a narrow, curved section of the
Rhine, about 15 miles north of Rüdesheim. In the past, this
section of the Rhine was difficult to navigate and many ships ran aground on
the now famous rocky outcrop.
- Legend has it that a young lady called Lorelei, jumped off the
cliffs here in despair over an unfaithful lover and was reborn a
"siren", whose hypnotic songs lured sailors to their deaths.
Mesmerized by Lorelei's voice they forgot the strong current and their
ships were slammed into the large rock outcrops along the edge of the
here for our Photo Guide to the Rhine Valley to
see some beautiful photographs of the towns and scenery you will see during
- For additional information on any of the towns described above, see the
official website of the
Rhineland-Palatinate Tourist Board. For more official tourism
information on the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, visit this
website produced by the Ministry of Education of the Rhineland
Palatinate focused on the Upper Middle Rhine World Heritage Site.
((Moselle) River Valley
- Although the Rhine is the most famous of the rivers in Germany, the
Mosel and its valley may be the most beautiful. We cover the Mosel Valley
from Trier to Koblenz in the ThereArePlaces
Guide to the Moseltal. If you tour the Mosel Valley be sure to
include a stop at the city of
Trier, Germany's oldest city.
- We recommend a visit to Trier and consider this historic town to be
one of Germany's unexpected treasures.
- Trier is Germany's oldest city and its highlights include Porta
Nigra - the city's Roman gate dating from the 2nd century, the Trier
Cathedral (reputed to be Germany's oldest church), the Throne Room of
the Roman Emperor Constantine, and the ruins of several Imperial Roman
- Read our
Guide to Trier, to discover the details not covered here, including
facts on the city's amazing Roman ruins, fantastic cathedral and
enchanting Old Town.
- Once again the capital of Germany, as well as being considered as the
new Capital of Cool in Europe, Berlin is both old and new. Visiting
combines poignant views of its past through the city's historic buildings
and museums, while its modern outlook is shown by its culture, galleries,
restaurants, hotels and nightlife.
- Berlin, located at the heart of Europe, is the third most popular city
in Europe, behind London and Paris, while more popular than Rome and
Barcelona. We think it is the best place to examine the
promise and complexity of modern Germany.
- Perhaps the best secret about Berlin is that it has many new, great
hotels that offer value for the money. Its average hotel rate is one
of the lowest in Europe.
- Berlin offers over seven centuries of history and is one of the largest
cities in Europe. It is divided into twelve boroughs that are called
Bezirkes. Be sure to visit the Brandenburg Gate, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial
Church, and the Museum Island (also known as the Museum Quarters and
- The Museum Island is noted for the Berliner Dom (cathedral) and,
especially, the Altes Museum with its amazing collection of fine arts.
The Neues Museum houses the world famous bust of Egypt's Queen Nefertiti
as part of its famed Egyptian and Papyrus Collection. Also, the
Bode Museum, has an outstanding Sculpture Collection and Museum of
Byzantine Art. The Pergamon Museum is undergoing renovation and its
famed Great Altar of Pergamon will be closed for renovation for three
years starting in May 2014.
- Take time for walk between the Brandenburger Tor and the Palace Bridge
of the Arsenal along Unter den Linden to see many of the glories of historic
Berlin. Over a third of the city is green space, so take time to
smell the roses.
- If you like world-class shopping, head for the amazing collection of
stores along both the Ku'Damm (the Kurfürstendammmstrasse) and the
- If you are a "Cold War" buff, you might be interested in seeing the
underwhelming recreation of "Checkpoint Charlie" and the privately
funded Museum at Checkpoint Charlie (also known as the Wall Museum -
both located on Friedrichstrasse at Zimmerstrasse).
- The Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered
Jews of Europe is located just south of the Brandenburg Gate.
Here you will find almost five acres covered with 2711 concrete slabs of
varying size. The site was meant to be a memorial, but it seems to
have generated more controversy than healing. For more information,
visit the official website of the
Foundation (you may need to use Google Translate).
- The Reichstag,
seat of the German Parliament is a pleasant building with an unusual modern
glass dome that is accessible. You have seen photos of it and visiting
is a thrill.
- Also, visit this
site to find out about the
Mauerguide, a GPS-integrated tour tracing the path of the Berlin Wall.
You can rent the device and the guide (fee) at several prominent locations
in Berlin and use it find out about the Berlin Wall and its path through the
- Note that Berlin is one of the centers for the modern arts in
Europe and the town is filled with interesting galleries, some with unusual
exhibits that make for a great way to spend an afternoon.
- If you are
going to be in Berlin in October, check the timing of the Berlin Festival of
the Lights. It is one of the largest illumination festivals in the world and
it is a "spectacular" event.
- Click the official
Berlin Tourism website for more details on this amazing city.
- Potsdam, a short distance from Berlin, is the historic heart of the
Prussian Empire that played a key role in the history of Europe.
Although the city suffered from World War II and its after effect, Potsdam
is beginning to reassume its leadership role in Germany's cultural and
- See the official Potsdam tourism website for more
information on visiting.
- Potsdam, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known for many things, but
the most interesting attractions are its parks, palaces, historic
architecture, and gardens. Schloss Sanssouci in Potsdam was the
summer residence of Frederick the Great and is considered a landmark of
world architecture. Click for our
Photo Guide to Sanssouci.
- Potsdam has several historic districts and neighborhoods that
uniquely reflect this famous city's role in pan-European history.
- If you have time, see the Neur Garten Park, the Cecilienhof
House and the Babelsberg Palace and Park (which was the summer home
of Emperor Wilhelm I).
- Although not as popular an attraction as the Romantic Road, the Castle
Road, approximately 620 miles long, is a scenic route that runs from
Mannheim to Prague and passes 70 castles. The beginning section
of the Castle Road follows the valley of the Neckar River, which is densely
populated with castles, many functioning as hotels. If you are looking
to drive in a scenic area that is less touristy than the Romantic Road, full
of interesting towns, and one that offers a dramatic view of German history,
the Burgenstrasse may be the right choice for you.
- For more information, see the official tourism
website for Germany.
- Of the many stops along the Castle Road, Heidelberg is the most
popular. The city has a beautiful setting with its castle perched
on a hill overlooking the town, which overlooks the Neckar River. .
- For detailed information on Heidelberg, Castle Heidelberg and the
town's many attractions, you can rely on our detailed
Guide to Heidelberg, or continue reading below for a brief
Heidelberg's Castle (Schloss) dates from the 14th century, but large
sections of the castle were destroyed during battles in the late 17th
century. This fabulous castle, towering over the town and its
river, is a picturesque scene known around the world. The Castle
has a storied history and an interesting interior. While visiting,
you can see a wine cask claimed to be the world's largest (and it is a
- Heidelberg is a noted university center and offers a variety of
- Heidelberg's Old Town is filled with dramatic buildings that
line crooked lanes filled with interesting shops, great cafés and
quality restaurants. Be sure to walk this area if you visit.
- During your Heidelberg visit, you might be interested in
shopping the Hauptstrasse, the longest pedestrian-only shopping
area in Europe.
- If you are serious about antiques, Heidelberg has numerous shops
whose treasures will tempt you.
- Many visitors enjoy walking along the Philosopher's Way/Walk
(Philospohenweg), across the Neckar River, for a spectacular view of
the city and its Castle .
- For those of you with a literary inclination, Mark Twain spent
several months in Heidelberg, a fact which is commemorated in the
- Maulbronn is famed for its Monastery, which was founded more than 860
years ago. The Maulbronn complex of buildings is unique and a UNESCO
World Heritage Site. We have included it in the section on the Castle
Road, as it is a place that is convenient to see if you are on you way to
Heidelberg or Mannheim. Although quite small, and relatively
undecorated, Maulbronn has a feel of history that you will not experience in
many other locations.
- See the ThereArePlaces
Guide to Maulbronn Monastery for details on visiting and several
photographs showing what you will see, if you visit.
Castles along the Rhine add to the attractiveness of a river cruise
Cochem and its spectacular Castle on the Mosel
The Porta Nigra in Trier
The recreation of "Checkpoint Charlie" in Berlin