Ever since we moved to Wiesbaden in 2014 I have wanted to ride my bike along the Rhein River from Wiesbaden to Koblenz. It is such a beautiful view with the river and vineyards on the hills and the many castles. Since I have been in Germany this long I am using the German spelling for the Rhine River and not the American English spelling throughout this post.
Now that I have a folding bike I can easily do this in stages by catching the train to and from my start and finish points or have my wife drop me off and pick me up.
So, this is the planned route that I will ride from Frankfurt International Airport Train Station to Koblenz. I am starting from the airport train station because if someone wants to do this route they will most likely start from there. If not there they could also start from the Wiesbaden train station and pickup the route in Biebrich by the river and continue to Koblenz.
Before you hop on the bike, make sure you do a quick Bicycle Warmup each day to help prevent injuries from starting out cold.
1st Leg – Frankfurt International Airport/Train Station to Brauhaus Castel in Mainz-Kastel – 35 km
The train station is connected to the airport by passageway that is clearly marked by signs with a metro icon and “Regionalbahnhof Regional trains” or “Fernbahnhof Long-distance trains”. I will need to add more detailed instructions on how to leave the airport after I have finished the first leg of this trip. However, until then you would exit at the P39 Terminal 1 Drop-off Area – Frankfurt Airport on Google Maps. It also looks like I need to invest in a phone mount found on Amazon so I can mount my iPhone 7 Plus and use it while navigating from the airport to the river. Otherwise, I will be stopping every 100 meters to see if I am on the right route. At a minimum I will post some Google Maps snippets as a reference here:
Frankfurt am Main is a metropolis on the Main River and is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse. Frankfurt is the destination of many tourists and is the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. Frankfurt was a city state, the Free City of Frankfurt, for nearly five centuries, and was one of the most important cities of the Holy Roman Empire. Tourist attractions include; Römer (city hall), the Frankfurt Cathedral, St. Paul’s Church (Paulslkirche), the Opera House (Alte Oper), and many others.
Since we will start at the airport we will actually start the ride following the Main River. We will cross the river at one of the dams on the northeast side of Eddersheim and get on the Main River Bike Path, aka MainRadweg. The MainRadweg is a total of 538 km or 557 km long depending on whether you start at the Weißen (White) Main (Bischofsgrün) or at the Roten (Red) Main (Creussen), respectively.
From where the White and Red Main meet near Kulmbach it is 498.5 km to the Rhein.
Along the Main River we will pass Flörsheim am Main. Flörsheim today has a poplulation of 20,000.
On the other side of the river is Rüsselsheim. This would make for a nice halfway point to today’s final destination. One thing of note for me is the Brauhaus called Das Brauhaus (An der Wied 1, 65428 Rüsselsheim am Main). They make a very nice dunkel or dark beer and they serve excellent traditional German food. Admittedly, there is a shorter route from the airport to Das Brauhaus in Rüsselsheim but we want to enjoy the river ride. Now that we have gone 20 km and had a nice beer and meal, let’s continue on our journey to Brauhaus Castel in Mainz-Kastel. We have another 15 km to go to get there.
Brauhaus Castel, the Hessian brewery, opened in 1990. It is modeled after classic Bavarian breweries. It has rustic furnishings, massive wooden furniture, and typical Bavarian beer. It is brewed according to the German Purity Law, from Taunus spring water, the best malt and Tettnang cone hops. Depending on the season, various styles of beer are available. For example, Märzen beer, Maibock beer, and Oktoberfest beer. At the beginning of the year, the Brauhaus Castel’s Doppelbock “Castelator” is popular.
Across the river from Mainz-Kastel is Mainz. Although Mainz has some places to see in old town your time may be better spent in Weisbaden on the following day. There are a couple of hotels down by the river from Brauhaus Castel; Hotel Zum Schnackel and Villa Rheinblick.
2nd Leg – Brauhaus Castel in Mainz-Kastel to Rüdesheim am Rhein – 30 km
From Brauhaus Castel you will drive along the Rhein river on the south side of Wiesbaden. In Wiesbaden the Beautiful squares are a hallmark of the Hessian state capital, including the Kranzplatz, which the Romans had developed in their time as a thermal spring area.
If you do not want to head up into Wiesbaden then Schloss Beibrich and the Schlosspark are very nice to stop and take a break. After that enjoy the river scenery as you move down the river towards Eltville. You will be riding on the north side of the Rhein river so you will have the sun on your left. If you are doing this on a hot day you may consider riding along the south bank as you’ll have more shade.
Eltville seems like a good midway point to stop and have some food and wine. You are in the heart of German wine country and there are several wineries within Eltville that you can visit. My plan will be to stop at Anleger 511 (Platz von Montrichard 2, 65343 Eltville am Rhein) and see what they have as it is right on my route and right next to the river.
After a nice stop for something to eat and a glass of fresh local wine we continue down the Rhein toward Rüdesheim am Rhein. Once you reach Parkhotel Rüdesheim (Rheinstraße 21-23, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein), you can explore the town. It is a very interesting tourist town so take your time and enjoy it. One of the things that is unique to Rüdesheim is something called Rüdesheimer Kaffee or Rüdesheim coffee. If you like real Irish coffee you will love Rüdesheim coffee. I will make a video of how it is made and served and put it here. When we visit Rüdesheim, we usually have Rüdesheim coffee at the Restaurant Café Stadt Frankfurt (Marktstraße 30, 65385 Rüdesheim am Rhein) and sit on one of the tables on the terrace or the street.
You can ride up the cable car to the Niederwald monument, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Rüdesheim old town and the Rhein river. The monument was constructed to commemorate the founding of the German Empire in 1871 after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The first stone was laid on 16 September 1871, by Kaiser Wilhelm I (William I). The monument was inaugurated on 28 September 1883. The union of all Germans are represented by the 125 foot (38m) tall monument.
Rüdesheim has half a dozen or more places to choose from if you want to spend the night.
3rd Leg – Rüdesheim am Rhein to Oberwesel – 25 km
After a nice night’s sleep we will head out of Rüdesheim and catch the KD Ferry and cross the Rhein river to Bingen on the south side. Another interesting point about the Rhein river from Bingen to Koblenz is that it is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river will turn north and you will be heading up the west side of the river at that point.
Not too far up the river you will come across Romantik-Schloß Burg Rheinstein (Rheinstein Castle). There is an on-site hotel and restaurant at the castle. The castle has a great view of the Rhein River valley and there is also a museum that shows the history of the castle.
Now, we continue north to Rhein-Kiosk “Niederheimbach” (Rheinstraße 88, 55413 Niederheimbach), our midway stopping point. If you prefer to visit and walk around a very nice old town, then do not spend too much time in Niederheimbach.
It would be better to stop in Bacharach, a nice town with wineries, bakeries, restaurants, and castles. You will have plenty to see in Bacharach. Bacharach is also home of Stahleck Castle. The 12th-century fortification was destroyed in the late 17th century, but it was rebuilt a few hundred years later.
From Bacharach to Oberwesel you will see Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, a castle that is literally in the middle of the river. The castle, built between 1326 and 1327, initially served the sole purpose of making the passing ships pay taxes. It is possible to visit the castle by taking a ferry over to it.
Have you ever stayed in a castle? Well, in Oberwesel you can stay at the Burghotel Auf Schönburg Oberwesel (Auf Schönburg, 55430 Oberwesel).
4th Leg – Burghotel Auf Schönburg Oberwesel to Bellevue Rheinhotel, Boppard – 22 km
We will now continue our journey north to Boppard and along the way on the east side of the river is Loreley. The story behind Loreley is that a siren named Loreley was said to bewitch sailors from upon her granite rock, causing them to ground their boats or lose control of them and sink. The area around the massive granite outcrop which rises vertically 433 ft (132 m) about the river, is indeed dangerous – the narrowest part of the Rhein between Switzerland and the North Sea surrounded by reefs and rapids which are a major threat to shipping.
You could stop on the west side of the Rhein river at the Panorama Restaurant Lereley Theis and have a beer while looking across the river at Lorely. I know I will.
Just after leaving St. Goar is Burg Rheinfels (Rheinfels Castle). In 1245, the ruling count commissioned the construction of the castle to collect taxes from the shipping traffic up the Rhein River. After expansions, Rheinfels Castle was the largest castle of the Middle Rhein between Mainz and Koblenz, and after successfully standing a siege, it was believed to be impregnable. With wars and besiegements, the castle changed hands several times over the course of history, and today, the crumbling walls have turned parts of the castle to ruins. Better preserved sections house a luxury hotel and a museum.
A good possibility for a midway point to stop is Gasthaus zum Anker Schankwirtschaft Heike Niel (Rheinstraße 70, 56154 Boppard).
From there we continue north to the Bellevue Rheinhotel (Rheinallee 41, 56154 Boppard) in Boppard. Some interesting things to see in Boppard are the Binger Gate and Kastell Bodobrica or Roman Fort.
5th Leg – Boppard to Altes Brauhaus, Koblenz – 22 km
A good midway point may be the Gasthaus zur Marksburg (Zehnthofstraße 58, 56322 Spay). Across the river from you is Marksburg Castle. Now home to the German Castle Association, it’s stood since the 12th century and has never been destroyed, though it was damaged by American artillery at the end of World War II. This is just one of the 40 plus castles between Bingen and Koblenz.
Between Marksburg and Koblenz is the Stolzenfels Castle (Schloss Stolzenfels). The castle is the epitome of the romantic atmosphere for which the Upper Middle Rhein Valley is known. Prussian Prince Frederick William had the palace renovated from its 13th-century ruins and made a perfect example of Rhein romanticism.
Just north of the Alte Brauhaus in Koblenz is where the Moselle and Rhine rivers meet. The Memorial of German Unity is a good place to take pictures where the rivers meet. You can take the cable car over the Rhine up to the fortress Ehrenbreitstein for a great view. The fort as it stands today was built in the early 19th century and used as a Prussian military base, though its origin dates back to a Conradine fortress from around 1000. But long before the foundation was laid, the Romans recognized the strategic importance of the Koblenz region. Many other attractions include; Schloss Stolzenfels (Stolzenfels Castle), Kurfürstliches Schloss (Electoral Palace), Schlängelbrunnen Fountain, and the Vier Türme (Four Towers).
The Four Towers in Koblenz are an ensemble of four historic buildings in the old town at the intersection of the streets Am Plan – Löhrstraße – Altengraben – Market Street. The name Four Towers is derived from an ornate bay window attached to each house.
The Alte Brauhaus (Braugasse 4, 56068 Koblenz) has a 50 years history. Since the old town of Koblenz was successfully restored and renovated many people have visited the “Old Brauhaus”. They have various fresh beers on tap, plus selected specialties from the bottle. The owner of the Koblenz Brauhaus is the experienced restaurateur Monika Retzmann, who also successfully runs the breweries in Neuwied (“Brauhaus zur Nette”) and Mülheim-Kärlich.