After two nights exploring Nurburgring and all the many adrenaline-fuelled fun to be had here, it was finally time to leave and head off on the next leg of our road trip – the bit filled with castles, vineyards and the cutest villages and towns.
Our first stop (well, more of a pit-stop really) was the Loreley Plateau, a viewpoint on our way where you essential get multiple views of the Rhine valley around you, but even before we got there, we were greeted by many a beautiful castle as we made our way through.
The Loreley Plateau has multiple ‘official views’ you’re meant to check out here but I just say head straight through to the end of it to see all of the valley below from the vantage viewpoint (there are about 3 main ones here where you get a sense of how long and winding this area in Germany in).
Like I said though, it was a quick pit-stop so off we popped back into the car as we made our way over to a pretty little town called Bacharach.
One gem we drove past on our way there (and one I wish we’d set more time to check out) was Pfalzgrafenstein Castle (good luck pronouncing that! 😄).
Pfalzgrafenstein Castle is this gem standing right in the middle of the Rhine River on its very own island and is just so gorgeous in the sunshine.
By the way, you’ll find your drive along the Rhine peppered with gorgeous castles and vineyards. Like so much so that you almost come to expect one every so often as you drive. With such an abundance of castles, a lot of them have now been turned into hotels, restaurants and so much else, giving you the perfect opportunity to stay in a real-life ancient castle.
And don’t even get me started on the many cute villages and towns along the way too…
Now I knew from pictures that Bacharach was meant to be this cute spot in the Rhine Valley but how beautiful it was was something that took me totally by surprise.
We drove through initially looking for where to park (parking is easy just outside the town walls – like a minute’s walk from the town’s centre) but even the little taste we had of it driving through had me chomping at the bit to get out there and explore it properly.
The best way to get to grips with a place like this is just to get lost in it, sans maps and sans directions, which is exactly what we did.
Even with lunch, typically, I would try to find a place in advance (always makes sense to do this to avoid disappointment) but caution was thrown to the wind and we chose the very first place we can across once the rumbling in my tummy was too loud to ignore.
With Lloyd on driving duties, I got to cool off with a nice beer (water for Lloyd), with schnitzels for both of us (a tad greasy but still quite delicious).
Lunch done with, we proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon essentially just pounding the pavements of Bacharach. Let me show you around…
One bit we definitely made an effort to get to here, based on a recommendation, was the viewpoint in the tower overlooking the town.
Now viewpoints like this can sometimes feel tedious to get to (essentially you have a solid uphill walk to get there) but this one was surprisingly easy to get to and for how little effort it took to get there, had some of the most rewarding views of Bacharach and the surrounding area.
From here you also get to see the amazing Burg Stahleck, which – get this is a hostel! (Not hotel – hostel!). Like there are so many amazing castles here turning one into a hostel was nothing. 😀 I feel like back at home in the UK a castle this size and this grand, this would be some fancy hotel or perhaps even more likely, a heritage property with so many restrictions on how it could be used and visited.
By the way, this theme with castles carried on here, literally within a few minutes drive of here there are like 3 other grand castles used for many other purposes other than just sightseeing.
There’s such a wealth of castles here that you almost need to decide in advance of visiting which ones you want to focus on. I guess it’s all that wine wealth the valley is known for. 😀
Speaking of which, after checking the views here, we made our way through the vineyards back down to the town to check out other parts we had properly explored yet…
…and even made our way up to check out the castle properly.
Eventually, it was time to leave Bacharach (though I do wish we could have stayed for longer) as we made our way over to Assmannshausen – our home for the evening.
Assmannshausen is pretty close to Rüdesheim (it’s like a 10 mins drive) so after quickly chucking our luggage in at B&B Altes Rathaus, we headed over to Rüdesheim for dinner at Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss.
Rüdesheim was perhaps the only part of the trip I would look to change. Like, our hotel in Assmannshausen was perfectly fine and I have no regrets about it but Rüdesheim is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect place to finish off a day of travelling.
More importantly, the place we were staying in have their own vineyards with some pretty amazing wines, absolutely delicious food, a hotel too (which is always busy) and generally a crowd that’s apparently always looking for fun that it would have been nice to just have been able to kick back make the most of it.
By the way, it’s also a really popular spot in town so if you wanna come here for dinner, I’d recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially in summer.
So much of the ingredients used here are local and even the herbs and seasoning come from the owner’s gardens. It’s also a family-run place that has been in the same hands for generations and was just one of those places on this trip that I felt we could have stuck around longer to enjoy properly.
After a quick nosey around town, we settled down for dinner, where I proceeded to taste and describe the different wines on offer (much to Lloyd’s benefit and chagrin in equal measure 😄), while tucking into hearty, delicious German meals.
And this is all before things started kicking off with people dancing around and just generally good old fashioned merriment.
The food here is so delicious though. Like everything that came out of the kitchen has us “Ooooh”ing and “Aaaah”ing and with every bite, you truly understand why this is a place popular with locals and visitors alike.
Fed, it was eventually time to say bye to Rüdesheim and to Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss, making notes to return here properly and spend a lot more time properly soaking up the beauty of this amazing little town.