A popular stopping spot for any Rhine River cruise is Rüdesheim, or Rüdesheim am Rhine, located at the eastern bank of the Rhine Gorge not far from the Lorelei. It is surrounded by vineyards and lies below the towering Niederwald. Due to its location in a UNESCO World Heritage site ( the Rhine Gorge), and the town’s attractions including its quaint streets, Rüdesheim is one of Germany’s most visited areas.
If visiting on a river cruise, the docks are located just a few minutes walk from the town centre where you will find winding and hilly streets packed with pubs, stores and attractive old buildings. One cobble-stoned street of mainly restaurants is known as the Drosselgasse. It is extremely popular with tourists in summertime with outdoor cafes and bands playing. Or you could walk or bike the trails through the surrounding countryside and enjoy the endless landscape of grape vines. Rüdesheim lies in a corner of the wine producing region, the Rheingau, and wine making is an important part of it heritage and traditions. Each summer there is a wine festival where a Wine Queen is crowned.
Christmas Market Stall
There are a number of other festivals you might be lucky enough to have your visit coincide with such as the Fireworks Festival in July and the Rheingau Music Festival. Most cruisers try to visit in the time of late November to Christmas when the Christmas markets are in full swing. Most streets in the old centre of town will have purposely built huts ( over one hundred) selling Christmas ornaments, food stuffs and other holiday goodies.
Seigfried’s Mechanical Museum
A popular attraction in Rüdesheim at any time is Seigried’s Mechanical Museum. The vast part of the building composing the museum is in itself quite interesting as it is centuries old, built in early Medieval times. Here you can see a vast exhibit of self-playing instruments with modern ( but much smaller!) versions available in the attached gift shop.
Ceiling fresco in the mechanical museum
Other attractions nearby are the Niederwalddenkmal , Bromserburg Castle, and the Medieval Torture Museum which in itself requires no further explanation!
Ride the cable car to see the Niederwalddenkmal. It is a 125 ft. monument started in 1871 and inaugurated in 1883. It represents the unification of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War. It is located above the city in the Niederwald Landscape Park. The park, from the same time, is worth a visit as well.
For those wine lovers, a visit to the Bromserburg castle might be more to your liking. It contains a wine museum with a collection of wine making paraphernalia. The castle itself is quite historical being the oldest in the Rhine Gorge region. Originally built as fortifications, it has been a residence of the Knights of Rüdesheim, and then of the archbishop, until purchased by the town in 1941.
Rüdesheim am Rhine is one of the highlights in a series of highlights of a Rhine cruise. One should take the opportunity of visiting the town twice if you can, once on a summer river cruise and once again for the Christmas Markets. You won’t be disappointed either time!