Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states in Germany and a treasure trove of attractions for travelers. It is home to ancient towns and picturesque hamlets, and is ready to woo travelers with historic architecture, fairy-tale castles, breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley and rolling vineyards. Here are our top recommendations for towns in this lovely state.
Trier is the most ancient city in Germany, whose existence can be traced back to the Roman era. The icon of Trier is the massive sandstone Roman gate, Porta Nigra, which dates back to 180 AD and is among the best-preserved ancient structures in the world. Alongside, Trier boasts a medieval old town, remnants of Roman architecture, Germany’s oldest bishop’s church – Trier Cathedral – and excellent wine-tasting opportunities.
Speyer is one of the oldest cities in Germany, its foundation dating back to the 10th century. The city is known for its impressive architecture, the most famous among which are the 11th century red sandstone Speyer Cathedral, celebrated Baroque architecture of Trinity Church, the 13th century Old City Gate offering panoramic views of the city and the neo-Gothic Memorial Church.
With a rich history spanning over seven centuries, Worms is also up there with Germany’s oldest cities. The Cathedral of St. Peter, perched atop the highest hill in town, is a brilliant sight. This Romanesque church was built in the 12th century, and awarded the title of Basilica minor in 1925.
Bingen am Rhein
Bingen is the hometown of Saint Hildegard, who was a Benedictine abbess. She is known for being the founder of scientific natural history in Germany. Bingen is a picture-perfect town by the River Rhine. It is also an especially attractive spot for wine connoisseurs as it holds the 11-day long famous Wine Festival in Autumn and numerous taverns and wineries across town host wine-tasting sessions all through the year.
The picturesque town of Bernkastel-Kues is yet another piece of heaven for wine lovers. The Mosel Wein Museum not only educates visitors about the century-old history of Moselle vineyards, but also offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sample up to 160 varieties of wine! This dazzling green town with a beautiful river promenade equally appeals to nature lovers.
Possibly the most romantic town in Rhineland-Palatinate, Bacharach steals hearts with its historic architecture, including the 12th century fortified Burg Stahleck, ruins of the Gothic structure of Wernerkapelle, the oldest structure in town, the 14th century Altes Haus, the Romanesque church of St. Peter’s, and more. Make the effort to climb to the top of the Postenturm, and we guarantee a view you will not easily forget.
St. Goar is home to the largest and perhaps the most romantic castle in the Rhine Castle stretch, Rheinfels Castle. It faces another picture-book castle called Castle Katz on the opposite bank of the river at St. Goarhausen. When in town, you can’t miss the Loreley Rock, shrouded in legends and myths, as well as the largest free-hanging cuckoo clock in the world.
The lovely town of Koblenz is the meeting point of the two mighty rivers Rhine and Moselle. This spot is marked by the bow-shaped platform called Deutsches Eck, Koblenz’s most famous sight. The 19th century hilltop Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is a delight to explore, and the fun is doubled when you reach the fortress on the Koblenz Seilbahn (cable car), enjoying beautiful river views en route.
The riverside town of Trabel-Trarbach is another gem in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. This little riverside town has a series of historically-significant architecture, including the ruins of the 14th century Gravenburg Castle, the massive French Mont Royal Fort and the imposing Brückentor (city gate), among others.
Boppard is a quintessential medieval German town, with a beautifully-preserved town center and views of the river valley and endless vineyards. A favorite activity among travelers in this town is the hike or chairlift up to Vierseenblick (Four Lakes View), from where the Rhine River appears to be four separate lakes. This is also one of the richest wine producing regions in the Moselle, so wine lovers are in luck.
Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate, is the southernmost point of the Rhine Castle Cruise and filled with attractions. Its most iconic sight is the majestic six-towered structure of Mainz Cathedral. Other notable tourist spots in this town are the Gutenberg Museum, the Baroque masterpiece of St. Augustine’s Church, the beautiful Gothic St. Stephan’s Church, Botanischer Garden and much more.