The Rhine by Motorhome
Leaving The Black Forest Germany behind, a long drive followed as we go in search of the wide river waters of The Rhine by motorhome. Our route takes about two hours to the vine-filled river banks beside the tourist town of Rudesheim-am-Rhine.
We hope to find a Stellplatz to park up for the night, but we find it hard to locate one. Instead, we opt for bus parking just on the perimeter of the town, but there’s a downside! Yes, just as we turn off the engine, we notice a policeman heading our way! Next, he’s knocking on the window asking to see our parking ticket – whoops. Crikey, we haven’t had a chance to take the seatbelts off yet, let alone work out the pay machine.
So, with the keen policeman looking on, Nigel pops out the cab in his crocs. He’s trying to work out the cheapest rate in German which turns out to be 1.50 Euro for an hour. So, he pays up, gives the policeman the thumbs up and pops it in the windscreen. Now, with the formalities taken care of and one happy policeman, we have 60 minutes to see this place.
Rudesheim am Rhine
On this trip, the rain seems to be following us with a vengeance and today is no different. It’s late September and it’s a bit on the chilly side too. So, with the raincoats on and the time ticking, we head into the centre of Rudesheim am Rhine.
Well, never have we seen such a busy tourist place – it’s packed! Tourist shops are selling every kind of tat trash rubbish imaginable, along with repeats of souvenirs in each shop window.
To be fair, the town itself is rather pretty. It’s traditional Germany and it’s what the tourists crave – timber framed, crooked buildings, tiny streets and cobbles!
There’s bars, restaurants and beer to fill these historic streets and keep those tourists merry for a very long time. Colourful floral displays add to the ambience, whilst the punters sip they’re jugs on pavement bars.
Just above the ancient roofs we notice a huge lookout and statue dominating the hillside for miles around. There’s a cable car taking people up to this monster of a monument, then it clicked – I’d been here before! Good grief, yes that school trip of 1983 hit me on the head like a nutcracker! Well I never, I’d always wondered where that place was and now I’ve found it!
Without further ado the monument beckoned.
The Niederwald Monument – The Rhine by Motorhome
This colossal monument which rises above the Rhine river at Rudesheim am Rhein is just mesmerising. The weirdest part was, until now, I’d had no idea where I’d been on that old school trip to Germany back in the 80’s.
The drive brings views of the Rhine, which is huge and full of boating craft of all descriptions. However, it’s the monument that brings the biggest moment of awe, whilst the views from it are an added bonus.
You have to pay for parking here, but we manage to find a place for free. Sneaking just outside the main car park on a dirt track. That’s probably not advisable for most of you, and only for it being off season, we wouldn’t chance it either!
The Niederwald Monument is what a monuments are all about – grand, opulent and above all, simply fascinating. This commemorates the re-emerging of the German Empire after the Franco-Prussian war. Its completion in 1883 must have been one of huge significance.
Not only is it tall, at 38m, but its presence marks it’s importance as Germany’s National Monument ever more understandable. It’s no wonder this area is UNESCO World Heritage Status. Then the views only add to the fantastic setting of this incredible structure.
The Riesling Route
Never is a wine route more likely than here on The Rhine. I can’t tell you how many vines there are here, it’s just phenomenal. Every hillside rising up from the great river is literally covered in grapes.
It’s no wonder that 84% of the World’s Riesling is grown on these hillsides. All well known for their climate, minerals and long ripening season. So, what about red wines? Well, Pinot Noir is gown here on around 160 hectares of the land. So equally, there’s enough to go round should this be your preferred tipple.
When it comes to driving this route, it’s not only straight forward but it’s also incredibly scenic. The road takes us beside The Rhine, with its vast expanse of water gushing past. Above are hills of rock, filled to the brim with flourishing vines, so all in all, it’s magical.
Then, there’s fairytale castles along the route, as well as ferry crossings to take vehicles to the opposite river bank. It all makes it rather a special drive and a truly interesting route.
Motorhome Parking and Ferry Crossings
Well, Germany is every bit as good as France or Italy for their acceptance of motorhome tourists. So much so, just like other Motorhome Aires in France and Europe there’s a brilliant system here too – the Stellplatz.
Now, we already knew about Stellplatz parking from previous trips to Germany. Not only are they as good or even better than French Aires, but they’re also every bit as accessible. Not forgetting they provide services of fresh/waste water and toilet emptying at most locations too. The one thing you will find is that generally, there is a charge.
Today, we’re stopping at a Stellplatz overlooking the river, costing 8 euro for the night. It’s a scenic location and well worth the fee, which we pay at a parking meter.
First, we take a ferry across the Rhine, which costs us 9 Euro. This however, adds to the excitement and breaks up the journey by road. Here on the Rhine, small ferry ports are frequent, that’s because bridges are few and far between. The Rhine is 760 miles long, so it’s no wonder they need boats and bridges along the way.
The Rhine by motorhome is just brilliant! I wonder if the people on the river cruises enjoy it as much? Perhaps the views from the river bring out the best of the scenery, but for us it’s idyllic enough. This is one busy river though, and the mix of cargo craft and pleasure cruises makes river watching quite fascinating.
Now, we’re seeing it in bad weather, so on a good day, the scenery would look even better!
Oberwessel and Bacharach – The Rhine by Motorhome
The rain and the cool Autumn feel of late September is still with us. Oberwessel has provided a good overnight resting place, but the town itself isn’t overly exciting. However, we get out the bikes and are soon on the excellent cycle path to the neighbouring town of Bacharach.
It’s a short, easy trip of 6km and Bacharach is actually rather lovely. It’s familiar architecture of half-timbered houses look picturesque enough and that’s without the striking vines as a backdrop.
We park up the bikes and venture into the cobbled streets. There’s walking routes from here, as with most towns on the Rhine, many taking in the vines and leading upwards to view points spanning the river.
We soon find ourselves above the 16th century historic centre, which, by the way is World Heritage status. As with so many of these towns along the Rhine, this one also has a castle, nestled amongst the vines. The hillside settings add to the spectacular surroundings, bringing views and romance together.
The end of the River
Well all good things must come to an end and our trip along the Rhine was nearing its finish. The final section of the route, lead us towards Koblenz, where the river Rhine and Mosel meet.
The Rhine by Motorhome is a splendid mix of everything you’d expect from Germany. Not only is the river a hustle and bustle route of cargo and pleasure but it’s also dramatic. There’s castles on every corner, yes some may be derelict but many are very much intact.
Then there’s the wine and beautiful towns and villages. The roads are good and there’s plenty of places to park. It’s well worth a trip and if you only have a short time to spare, then this is one location that ticks the box.
The route can be driven on either side of the Rhine or a mix of the two like we’ve done here. By the time we reach Koblenz, 50km further along from Oberwesel, our journey is complete. We’ve been to Koblenz before and it’s a great place to stop and explore on foot. There’s a lovely Stellplatz there beside a campsite, where we got a foot ferry to the centre.
For us, our route is passing Koblenz by, instead we’re going to drive another river route – The Mosel! So join us next time to find out how we get on and see which of these famous rivers we prefer.
- The Mosel River by MotorhomeA graceful river of historic towns and fairytale castles
- The Rhine by MotorhomeWine, River Cruises, Historic towns and Fairytale Castles
- The Black Forest GermanyA land rich in seasonal produce, greenery and lakes
- Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial“Work sets you free” a moving visit to the historic memorial site
- The German Alpine RoadFrom the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s Retreat To fabulous Alpine Lakes