Last updated: 10:00 PM ET, Thu December 31 2015

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  • Worldwide Scott | December 31, 2015 10:00 PM ET

    A Mini Guide to the Romantic Middle Rhine

    A Mini Guide to the Romantic Middle Rhine

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    There's no need to beat around the busch (that's German for “bush” by the way), the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine region between Bingen and Koblenz Germany, also called the Romantic Rhine due to its association with Romantic writers and the fact that it's so darn romantic, is a place you must see when you are in Europe.

    Well, it's easily in the top ten anyway.

    So many elements of a dream European trip — riverside villages, timbered houses, castles, vineyards, fanciful folklore — come together in this little section of Germany, that it makes the Romantic Middle Rhine a truly special place.

    Here's a mini guide to the Upper Middle Rhine to get you primed.

    What to Do

    1. Castle Spotting — Easily the most popular activity on the Upper Middle Rhine, as over forty castles crown the hills of the region, with some open to the public. Rheinfels Fortress above St. Goar and Rheinstein Castle are two of the most prominent fortifications that you can visit, in addition to the famous Pfalzgrafenstein Toll Station that resides in the middle of the Rhine and was used to collect fees from passing boats to ply the waters.

    2. Hiking  — If you're the active type, the famous Rheinsteig Trail atop the cliffs that weaves past the famous castles and in-and-out of local vineyards is a thrill to traverse.

    3. Cruising — The most relaxing way to take in the scenery of steep vineyards and castles while treating yourself at the same time is by boat, and the KD Ferry line offers hop-on-hop-off services throughout the entire stretch of the Upper Middle Rhine. Spending a few hours on one of these vessels makes for a great day that feels like a vacation-in-a-vacation. 

    4. Wine Tasting — Dozens upon dozens of small vineyards line the Upper Middle Rhine, dramatically rising before your eyes on terraced inclines carved by the Rhine. Many are open to visitors for fun and educational tasting sessions.

    Where to Stay

    1. Koblenz — The biggest town on the Upper Middle Rhine, with all ranges of accommodation and home to the confluence of the Mosel and Rhine at the so-called German Corner featuring a famous statue of Wilhelm I, the man who unified Germany.

    2. St. Goar — One of the most popular and scenic villages along the Rhine, the town has a plethora of hotels for all budgets and the aforementioned fortress looming above. Hotel Rheinfels gets high marks for its views out to the river. 

    3. Bacharach — Sleepy wine village home to cozy family-run hotels like the Bacharacher Hof and plenty of wine taverns and timbered facades.

    4. Schonburg Castle — High above Oberwesel, this castle-turned-hotel looks like something straight off an animated movie featuring a princess — and you'll be treated like real-life film stars.

    What to Drink

    1. Riesling — Sweet, smooth and palate cleansing, this white wine is the predominant grape grown on the hills of the region, and you will find it in ample supply at nearly all restaurants and cozy wine taverns.

    2. Pinot Gris — Drier than Riesling, the locally made Pinot Gris is buttery and bold.

    3. Koblenzer Pils — Brewed in Koblenz, it's clean, crisp, classic and most importantly: on tap nearly everywhere.

    When to Go

    Summer is without a doubt the most popular time of year to visit the Romantic Upper Middle Rhine, but after personally going in the autumn and seeing the fall foliage, I can't imagine the region any other way. So I say October. 

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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