Sights of the Rheingau region
Famous vineyards, medieval towns, castles, palaces and monasteries and the popular Drosselgasse – find out more about the sights of the Rheingau region.
City Map & Tips
Towns and villages worth visiting
Assmannshausen, Eltville, Lorch, Geisenheim – so much to discover!
Assmannshausen: The world-renowned wine growing area is the most famous part of Rüdesheim and the destination for many international wine lovers and visitors.
Eibingen: Eibingen is situated above Rüdesheim and south of the Rheingaugebirge mountain range. As a well-known place of pilgrimage, Eibingen is home to the famous Benedictine abbey and the Parish and Pilgrimage Church of St. Hildegard. The abbey and church are named after Saint Hildegard of Bingen.
Eltville: Known as the “town of wine and roses”, Eltville has a special charm. As well as the splendid noblemen’s and burghers’ villas on the banks of the Rhine and the old town with its alleyways, the rose garden is also a highlight. Together with Eltville’s Electors’ Castle, its accessible tower and gallery, and the print workshop, this charming town has many wonderful features that make it well worth discovering.
Frauenstein: You needn’t travel as far as Japan to see the cherry blossom in all its glory. In April and May the slopes and fruit orchards are bedecked in white splendour. A sight that attracts visitors from all over the world.
Lorch: This town is around 10 km downriver of Rüdesheim. Alongside its distinguished history as a former free state, the town is home to the oldest monochrome carved wooden altarpiece in Germany, which dates from 1483. Additional sights from the 13th and 14th centuries enable visitors to immerse themselves in mediaeval religious craftsmanship.
Schlangenbad: The spa town of Schlangenbad lies in the forests and hills of the Taunus region. Long hikes and walks in the wonderful natural surroundings around the Rheingaugebirge mountains or relaxing in the thermal baths are just some of the ways of discovering this area.
Geisenheim / Rats- und Gerichtsbaum (council and court tree): About 700 years of history have grown up here in Geisenheim. Council and court proceedings were held as long ago as the Middle Ages under the tree on Lindenplatz. The Linden festival is celebrated every year on the second weekend in July in honour of the tree.
Monasteries, castles and fortresses
The region is not only characterised by wine growing, but also by its many fortresses, castles, churches and monasteries.
St Hildegard Abbey: Tourists travelling through Rüdesheim and Bingen, located on the other side of the river Rhine, will inevitably come across the name of Hildegard von Bingen. The Benedictine nun from the 11th century still has a great influence today due to her writings on medicine and natural therapies. The so-called “Hildegardian medicine” has been regaining popularity over the past few years. However, Hildegard von Bingen has also been famous for her poems, musical pieces and intellectual writings long after her death. The Benedictine abbey, which is situated above Rüdesheim’s Eibingen district and belongs to the Rupertsberg and Eibingen monasteries, was thus named after the famous Benedictine nun Hildegard von Bingen. The walk from Rüdesheim’s city center up to the abbey will take you between 30 and 45 minutes. It leads uphill on country lanes through the vineyards. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of Bingen, Eibingen and the river Rhine.
Eberbach Abbey: This former Cistercian monastery is the most significant mediaeval cultural monument in the state of Hesse. Due to its uniqueness, it has also become popular as a film location and was the setting for the film “The Name of the Rose” with Sir Sean Connery and for many other domestic and international productions.
Johannisberg Castle: The Benedictine monastery, which was founded in 1100 AD, became a castle in 1716 and today is one of the first and thus oldest Riesling vineyards in the world. The “spätlese” harvesting process was discovered here in 1775. The wine cellar is a special feature where treasures from several centuries are stored.
Vollrads Castle: The castle is one of the oldest vineyards in the world and has been the seat of the Greiffenclau family since 1320. The baroque manor house was built in 1684 by Georg Philipp von Greiffenclau. In addition to a vineyard restaurant in what was originally the orangery, and a wine shop, the castle also holds historic treasures such as its gold-leaf printed leather wallpaper. A visit is definitely recommended.
Hansenberg Castle: Now (since 2003) an elite boarding school, the castle was a vineyard in 1823. In 1823 Johannes de Laspée wished to set up a school and home for orphaned children. Unfortunately he died before he was able to fully realise his idea. In 1871 the property was sold and the building became a hotel, which over the course of time became the castle that it is today. It is a romantic thought that the original idea of founding a school and home became reality around 150 years later with the opening of the boarding school.
Biebrich Palace: The baroque palace on the bank of the Rhine in Wiesbaden was originally planned as a summer house for the princes of Nassau. However, since the family desired a more prestigious seat, in the 18th century the building became one of the most important baroque edifices in the Middle Rhine. Today, various different authorities are based in the castle. A rotunda and the galleries are used by the Hessian state government for a variety of events. And if you dare, we heartily recommend the registrar’s office there!
Boosenburg Castle: Boosenburg Castle is one of the castles in and around Rüdesheim that characterise the Rheingau region. Built in the 10th and 11th centuries, since 1474 it has belonged to the Boos von Waldeck family who gave the castle its name. The fabric of the building has been repeatedly altered over the course of the years and was a regular base for many artists until 1939 when it became the headquarters of the Carl Jung company.
Brömserburg Castle: Much of the history of Brömserburg Castle is uncharted. Named after a Rüdesheim knightly family, the castle probably served as a toll castle and as protection for the ferry crossing over the Rhine. Later, in 983 AD, it became the administrative headquarters of the archdiocese of Mainz, before at the beginning of the 13th century it was transferred to the noble “derer von Rüdesheim” family. Severely damaged during the Thirty Years War, in 1806 the Brömserburg was converted into a romantic residence by the Count of Ingelheim, and was occupied until 1937. Since 1941 Rüdesheim’s Wine Museum has been housed in the castle, which is open to visitors daily between March and October.
Frauenstein Castle: This castle has a very particular history. Built in the 12th century, it is the oldest structure in Wiesbaden. Having fallen out of use over the centuries and no longer maintained, in 1996 the site was acquired by the Frauenstein Burgverein (castle society). With the help of many citizens and expert advice, by 2002 the ruins had been restored to their 16th century status. Today the castle is open to interested visitors, and those who wish to can also get married here.
Ehrenfels Castle: As a former customs post and important tactical position, the castle was often the subject of political intrigues. In the 17th century the French occupied the castle during the third robber baron’s war, and caused extensive damage to the stronghold as they withdrew. Afterwards the castle fell into disrepair until at the beginning of the 1990s work was carried out to secure and repair it. Since then visitors have been able to access the two corner towers and enjoy a wildly romantic view of the Rhine and surroundings.
Electors’ Castle, Eltville: As the principle castle and symbol of the town of Eltville, the Electors’ Castle is a destination for many visitors to the Rheingau region. Built in 1330, it is situated directly on the Rhine and at the heart of the old town. With a moat and a 24 metre-high defensive tower plus a dungeon, the castle amply conveys the atmosphere of days gone by. In addition to the possibility of enjoying a fabulous view from the defensive tower, it is also possible to visit the Gutenberg memorial. As well as a historic collection on the art of printing, there are interesting insights into the history of typesetting. In addition, the “Gallery in the Tower" is home to a variety of exhibitions that are well worth discovering.
Museums & Curiosities
Rüdesheim has several exciting, interesting and entertaining sights. Here is a small selection:
Asbach Visitors’ Centre: The world famous Asbach Uralt originates in Rüdesheim. An entire museum is dedicated to the renowned brandy. Visitors can visit the distillery here and afterwards purchase a variety of treats including brandy and pralines.
Käthe Wohlfahrt: This is the world-famous Christmas shop, which sells traditional German Christmas goods and hand-made decorations from its own workshop year round.
Mediaeval Torture Museum: The background to the history of European law and the development and progress of witch trials can be discovered in the mediaeval museum of torture. The museum covers 1000 square metres and contains instruments of torture as well as documents such as prints and chronicles.
Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet: This is another of Rüdesheim’s very special highlights. This museum exhibits 350 mechanical musical instruments from 3 centuries in the immediate vicinity of the famous Drosselgasse.
More around Rüdesheim
Niederwald Monument & Adlerwarte: The Germania statue is the symbol of the region. The national monument is around 38 metres high and towers above the southern slopes of the Niederwald forest. Upon reaching the top the visitor is rewarded with a wonderful view of the Rhine valley. Information from www.niederwalddenkmal.de. And whilst you’re in the Niederwald forest, it’s also worth taking a detour to the Adlerwarte eagle sanctuary, since if you’d like to see the “king of the skies” in the flesh, then the Adlerwarte Niederwald is just the right place.
The sanctuary was established in 1968 and is dedicated to caring for injured birds of prey and returning them to the wild, as well as raising and introducing eagle owls to the wild. Currently the Adlerwarte is home to 25 different kinds of bird of prey and cares for around 60 animals. If you wish, it is possible to sponsor a bird, or alternatively you can simply find out more about these fascinating creatures of the skies.
Seilbahn: Zum Niederwald-Denkmal hinauf kann man in ca. 30 Minuten zu Fuß aufsteigen, deutlich bequemer und spaßiger ist es jedoch, sich entweder für den Auf- und Abstieg oder nur einen der beiden Wege mit der Seilbahn über die Rüdesheimer Weinberge direkt zum Aussichtspunkt schaukeln zu lassen. Unterwegs kann man dabei ganz ungestört die wunderbare Aussicht über den Rhein genießen.
Trips on the Rhine: A trip on the Rhine is the ideal way to get around when visiting the Rheingau region. With trips to castles, romantic tours past the Lorelei or night-time trips with live music and dancing, it’s hard to know which one to pick, as every trip has its own special appeal. An overview of all the available trips can be found on www.bingen-ruedesheimer.com