Summer outing to Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

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Rüdesheim am Rhein

The Rhine makes a sharp, scenic curve at Rüdesheim am Rhein, which is also a delightful place to stop on any trip through Germany’s Rheingau winegrowing region. When we visited last summer, Tom and I were surprised at the diversity of attractions on offer in this crook of the Rhine. From next weekend’s Rhine in Flames celebration until harvest festivals and beyond, there is always something happening on the tourism calendar in Rüdesheim.

Rüdesheim am Rhein is located in the UNESCO world heritage Middle-Rhine valley. Visitors with limited time can sample food, castles, river-boat rides and perhaps the cutest cable car going. For a longer stay in the area, options for active travelers include cycling and hiking. For everyone, the locals have made it a snap to sample Rheingau food and wine. Here are a few ideas for making the most of a visit to Rüdesheim, whether as a side trip from Wiesbaden, an evening out on a river cruise, or a long weekend of outdoor activities.

 

Rüdesheim am Rhein–plenty of German Gemütlichkeit

 

Take a “Romantik Tour”

Local transport providers and a castle museum have banded together to provide a four-in-one excursion package that delivers a great one-day overview of a unique cultural landscape. The Romantik Tour enabled my husband and I to build a day that suited our schedule perfectly. We were atop the hill with ample time for walking and sightseeing around the Niederwald monument with its statue of Germania. We were also able to make a leisurely lunch stop in picturesque Assmannshausen, known for its Pinot Noir vintages, before our boat left for an afternoon visit to Rheinstein Castle.

Rüdesheim am Rhein cable-car
An early start with the cable-car has visitors “floating over the vines” and enjoying a fine view of the Rhine and vineyards below.
Rüdesheim am Rhein, heart of the Rheingau
The Rüdesheim Seilbahn celebrated 60 years of operation last year, and puts on full-moon rides and “Silent Rides” above the town’s Christmas market during Advent season. Imagine this view with Christmas lights twinkling in the town below!
Germania
Germania, a monument commemorating founding of the Germany’s Second Reich, the historical German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 to the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918.

 

Visit Drösselgasse

No stop in Rüdesheim is complete without a visit to the Drösselgasse, a single atmospheric street lined with open-air terrace restaurants. Here and just around the corner, visitors have multiple opportunities for sleeping, dining, wine-tastings and shopping.

To discover the winemaking traditions of the Rheingau, a tasting walk with the Winetime Pass makes it easy to visit a number of Rüdesheim’s wine merchants. For a small additional charge, it’s also possible to add in the wine merchant in Assmanshausen.

Atmospheric Drösselgassein
Drösselgasse is a busy place day and night. This atmospheric street is lined with open-air restaurants and souvenir shops.
Georg Breuer Rheingau Riesling
Summer wine tastings made easy: with the WineTime Pass, visitors to Rüdesheim can visit the tasting counters of four different local producers.
Hotel Lindenwirt
For an unusual hotel stay, sleep in a wine barrel! Several of the rooms at Hotel Lindenwirt are built right into (very large) wine barrels. Rooms have en suite bathrooms and feature twin beds, tiny front windows and a small sitting area.

Hotel Lindenwirt
Amselstraße 4, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein

 

Hotel Felsenkeller
Hotel Felsenkeller provides a stay of simple comfort just a few steps from the Drösselgasse, and very close to the gondola.

Hotel Felsenkeller
Oberstraße 39/41, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein

 

Good food, lots of fun!

 

Eat (and sleep) at Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss

One restaurant in particular, Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss, proved delightful enough to draw us back for a return visit. The family-owned restaurant has been dishing up regional specialties for decades, and now offers hotel rooms and day excursions as well. Popular with cruise and tour groups, the restaurant is also fun for independent travelers. The house band has been pleasing guests for 14 years, with cross-over tunes from an extensive pop and country repertoire, and we took a few turns on the dance floor.

At Rüdesheimer Schloss, it is possible to try local dishes without ordering full-sized platters, and to choose from a wine list of more than 350 wines from the Rheingau (including some very rare–and pricey–ones).

Rüdesheimer Schloss
In between sing-along German drinking ditties At Rüdesheimer Schloss, there is even a conga line to move the evening along.
Appetizer at Rüdesheimer Schloss
Before launching into our hefty main course, my husband and I enjoyed an appetizer “surprise” of six local dishes, creatively served in small portions: salmon trout smoked in-house, several meaty salads , garnished with forest fruits and nuts.

The Schloss is also an official host of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss
Drosselgasse, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein

 

Make (Mechanical) Music

Siegfried’s Mechanischem Musikkabinett and its collection of 350 self-playing musical instruments is well worth a stop. The museum is located in an old mansion with creaky floors and a family chapel, and escorted tours are mandatory (lasting 45 minutes and available in nine languages) and must be booked ahead of time. Museum guides demonstrate selected instruments, from fairground organs to mechanical piano-and-violin combinations, and tell the history of the preoccupation with mechanical musical instruments at the turn of the last century. The museum’s shop offers a wide range of musical souvenirs, from pricey replicas of the instruments on display to books and posters.

Siegfried's Mechanischem Musikkabinett
Car parked in front of Siegfried’s Mechanischem Musikkabinett. Inside, the collection includes Victrolas, 18th century songbird snuff boxes of chased silver, and the largest automated doll orchestra ever built, by a German emigrant to the United States.
Siegfried's Mechanischem Musikkabinett
Museum guides are dressed in period costumes from the early 20th century, the heyday of mechanical music.
Siegfried's Mechanischem Musikkabinett
Many of the instruments, such as fairground organs with the programmed music of a small orchestra, are from instrument makers working in Germany’s Black Forest at the turn of the 20th century.

 

Get physical!

 

Go cycling

Rüdesheim is an ideal base for cycling tours in the Rheingau, including family outings. The route to Wiesbaden has gradients of 1-2 percent, and takes cyclists on a 25-kilometer tour through picturesque wine-growing villages such as Eltville and Oestrich. On the western side of the river, the cycling route runs for more than 65 kilometers through the Upper MIddle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage site between Bingen and Koblenz , passing castles and vineyards along the way. Simply take the ferry across the river from Rüdesheim and start pedaling!

Touring the Rheingau
Cyclists touring the Rheingau have plenty of views like this one, passing vineyards alongside the Rhine.

 

Go hiking

Rüdesheim, Assmannshausen and the surrounding area are ideal starting points for short strolls and long hikes. The premium Rheinsteig trail covers a distance of 320 km between Bonn and Wiesbaden, passes through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage site along the way. This route is for energetic walkers and offers diverse scenery and numerous scenic vantage points.

Rheinsteig cycling trail
The Rheinsteig trail covers a distance of 320 km between Bonn and Wiesbaden, passes through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage site along the way.
Hotel in Assmannshausen
Assmannshausen is an ideal starting point for short strolls and long hikes.

 

If you go

Popular with Rhine River tour operators, the little town handles the influx of tourists well, and is an enjoyable destination for independent travelers as well.

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We visited Rüdesheim am Rhein as guests of Deutsche Bahn and Rüdesheim Tourist AG. Thanks to Hotel Felsenkeller, Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss and Hotel Lindenwirt for showing us a great time!

 

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Cycling, hiking, wine-tasting – looks like there’s lots to enjoy in Rudesheim am Rheim. We’ve explored a teeny bit of Hamburg, Munich and Berlin. But not much along the river. Perhaps it’s time to start planning a trip?

  2. I would love to spend a summer around the region of Rüdesheim am Rhein Germany – the hiking would be fantastic, and whenever I got tired I could hop on the cable car 🙂

  3. Hi Anita and Tom,

    Driving through Rudesheim am Rhein many years ago — and only stopping for a quick bite — was a mistake! I see from your lovely photos this is a memorable place to spend some time, especially hiking. . . . And vineyards. . . . And food . . . And, And, And.
    Sweet. sweet village!
    Regards,
    Josie

    • Thanks for your comment, Josie. Yes, Ruedesheim and the Rheingau is a special place indeed. Easy to go with the crowds, and almost as easy to leave them behind on a hiking or cycling trail!

  4. Great peek at this region, Anita! Interesting for me right now, because I’m planning on expanding my travels in Europe. Germany is a country I don’t know well but clearly I’m missing something here. I also plan to travel with my dogs and that hike looks as though they could manage it – not too steep or dangerous it seems… So this has made it on my list! Thank you!

    • Hi Leyla, Generally speaking, the Rheingau around Ruedesheim looks to be quite do-able with dogs. You’d need to check the “Rheinsteig” website for details though, as some parts of this (very long) route are quite up and down.

  5. We visited Rudesheim a few years ago during December. It was an adorable town where the village streets were lined with Christmas markets. I just loved it and now seeing your review visiting during the summer makes me want to return again in the nicer weather.

    • One of our hosts told us that Rudesheim is a non-stop festival from Easter through Christmas…so, plenty of occasions to celebrate there!

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