Imagine a 40-mile stretch of scenic landscape, dotted with grand hilltop castles and fortresses and marked by deep-ravined canyons that plunge to unbelievable depths. This is the Rhine Gorge — a UNESCO World Heritage Site that traverses from Rüdesheim to Koblenz, Germany and has connected the northern and southern halves of the continent since prehistoric times.
While aboard one of our award-winning ships sailing the Rhine River, you can take in the awe-inspiring scenery from the Sun Deck or enjoy a personal moment admiring the landscape from your twin-balcony stateroom or suite. Either way, the view is one you will always remember. A river cruise along the Rhine will transport you into a fairytale, and though the knights and lords are long gone, the majestic castles remain as a reminder of the past. Here are five of the incredible castles that hold court along the Rhine River.
Marksburg Castle (BRAUBACH, GERMANY)
Located just above the quaint town of Braubach, Germany, Marksburg Castle is the only castle on the Rhine that has fully withstood the test of time, having survived unscathed by the Austro-Prussian and Second World wars. It now serves as the headquarters of the German Castle Association and contains the largest library dedicated to castles in all of Europe.
Rheinfels Castle (SANKT GOAR, GERMANY)
After its expansions, Rheinfels Castle became the largest fortress of the Middle Rhine between Germany’s Mainz and Koblenz, and today, it is the largest castle ruin, with its labyrinth of trenches and tunnels that visitors can explore. This castle changed hands several times throughout history, and what remains of the castle now includes the luxury Romantik Hotel Schloss Reinfels as well as a museum detailing its history.
Stahleck Castle (BACHARACH, GERMANY)
Stahleck Castle overlooks the Rhine from 525 feet up offering an impressive view of the area. While the 12th-century fortification was destroyed in the late 17th century, it was rebuilt a few hundred years later. The brick and half-timbered façade and grey shingled roof make it a sight to behold, and while it is no longer serving its original purpose, today, Burg Stahleck is known as one of the most popular youth hostels in the region.