Tristan and I have often simply pulled off to venture up to a castle ruin we see from the road. It’s easy to do here as they’re often scattered along in the towns and villages we pass. However, on our last pitstop, Tristan asked if we’d ever stop by a castle that was “whole.”
He was right, of course. The last “whole” castle we’d seen was in 2019 in Cochem (which happens to be the very first castle we’d ever visited). So, when a co-worker mentioned wanting to visit Caslte Rhinstein, I jumped at the opportunity.
The Middle Rhine is only about an hour and a half drive from our home. It’s a beautiful river with towns, villages, vineyards, and 40-something castles built into the hills along the water. During non-COVID times (isn’t that such a strange notion?), river cruises offered amazing views of the castles.
The Rhine river is divided into the High, Upper, Middle, and Lower Rhine. The Middle Rhine is known as “The Romantic Rhine,” and is divided into upper and lower regions. The upper region stretches from Bingen to Koblenz and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lower half stretches from Koblenz to Bonn. The Rhine itself is rich with history. Since prehistoric times, it has been populated with people leaving behind their past. Celtic ruins can be found, as well as remnants of the Romans. The Romans used the river for shipping, and the river continued to serve as a trading route between the Mediterranean and Europe through the Middle Ages to the present. It’s also now become a popular tourist destination, for good reason: it’s absolutely beautiful.
Burg Rhinestein is located among the many castles on the left bank of the river. According to the castle website, the burg dates back to the 13th century and was used as a toll castle. After falling into ruin in the 17th century, Prince Friedrich Wilhem of Prussia purchased and rebuilt the property. In the 1970’s, the castle was purchased by the Hecher family, whom passionately maintain the property to this day.
The castle towers over the road that parallels the river. One has to crane their neck to see it; the silhouette glorious in the sun and clear blue sky. It was such a beautiful and perfect day.
The path up to the castle zigzagged until it reached the castle gate where we were able to pay for admission and were given a map of the castle for a self-guided tour. We were excited that we’d be able to explore the inside of the castle as there is much that isn’t currently open at the moment due to the COVID restrictions. We happily began our tour in the castle courtyard, and ended it with a delicious meal from the restaurant (to-go!), which we were able to eat at outdoor seating with views of the river, chapel, and castle vineyard.
It’s hard to say what my favorite part of the castle was. Perhaps the views from the courtyard, ramparts, and towers. I’d love to visit again in the full of summer to see the glory of the greenery along the river.
The self guided tour first led us through the courtyard of the castle. Here, a giant Burgundy grapevine umbrellas the area. We read that the grapevine is over 500 years old and continues to produce grapes. Just off the courtyard, was the restaurant, and chapel. The restaurant was only open for to-go, but also sold wine produced from the vineyards on the property, as well as dog treats, jams, himbeere salt, and other goodies – all made from the crop grown!
The chapel looked to be under renovations, however we could peer inside and we able to climb the rather scary stairs down to the crypt where the Prince and Princess are laid to rest.
Inside the castle, we had the opportunity to visit the kitchen, great rooms, the princesses tower, and the princes tower. It is said that many important people of states, as well as royalty like Queen Victoria, have visited and stayed in the castle. It was really cool to be able to glide your fingers along the walls and tread the same stairs that such infamous people once climbed. The longevity of the history of Deutschland will always remain novel and fascinate me.
So was Tristan happy with finally visiting a castle that was still whole? I think so. I know I was.
I hope you enjoy the remainder of the photo’s! Is there a castle you’ve always wished to see? Tell me about it in the comments!