Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany
A common port on Rhine River itineraries, picturesque Rüdesheim am Rhein is located in the heart of the UNESCO-protected Upper Middle Rhine Valley, known for its terraced vineyards and ancient winemaking traditions. The compact German town affords ample opportunities for a pleasant day in port. Sample the region's famous vintages (rieslings reign supreme here), and explore the niche museums and an historic center anchored in the medieval alleyway of Drosselgasse.
What We Love
Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Cabinet Museum: This delightfully quirky and fun stop showcases a fascinating array of automated mechanical instruments built over a span of three centuries, from tiny music boxes to player pianos.
Brömserburg Castle: Set on the banks of the Rhine, this thousand-year-old castle houses a wine museum, which documents the Rheingau region's extensive history of winemaking (and wine drinking, of course).
Best Known For
Drosselgasse: This narrow, cobblestoned lane is touristy but still enjoyable for its many shops, wine taverns, biergartens, and eateries housed in half-timbered medieval buildings. Some establishments even host live oompah brass bands.
Niederwalddenkmal: This late 19th-century monument to German nationalism — represented by a colossal female statue of Germania — presides high above town. Getting there via cable car is half the fun; the ride swoops over area vineyards, and at the summit, the panoramic views are just as impressive.
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Who It's Best For
Oenophiles: Wine lovers can raise a glass to the pastoral vineyard landscapes fringing town. You can also sample labels in charming local taverns.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Beware the Cobblestoned Streets: Keep in mind that some sections of Rüdesheim have stone-paved streets, where you can easily trip if you're wearing heels. It's best to wear flat footwear when heading out.
Elissa Garay is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.