The Rhineland

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Rhineland - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Amphitheater

    The sheer size of Trier's oldest Roman structure (circa AD 100) is impressive; in its heyday it seated 20,000 spectators. You can climb down to...

    The sheer size of Trier's oldest Roman structure (circa AD 100) is impressive; in its heyday it seated 20,000 spectators. You can climb down to the cellars beneath the arena—animals were kept in cells here before being unleashed to do battle with gladiators. Gladiatorial performances (1¼ hours) take place Friday through Sunday and holidays at 6 pm from April through October. Tickets can be booked in advance at Tourist Information.

    Olewiger Str.
    - 0651 - 978080

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4; Gladiator performances €18, Closed Nov.--Mar.
  • 2. Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck

    Three miles north of Remagen, via a scenic riverside promenade, the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck incorporates a 19th-century converted railway station, which hosts a world-class...

    Three miles north of Remagen, via a scenic riverside promenade, the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck incorporates a 19th-century converted railway station, which hosts a world-class series of concerts, and a soaring modern building designed by renowned architect Richard Meier set on a hill high over the river. The translucent white building incorporates four levels of exhibition space to house the permanent collection focusing on the work of Dadaist Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp in parallel with modern and contemporary works by internationally known artists and sculptors. There is also a fine collection of paintings from the Middle Ages to the present. The stylish in-house bistro is a great place to grab lunch or a snack. A train from Remagen station goes right to the museum (€5.90 round trip, about a six-minute ride), or you can take a ferry to nearby Rolandseck and walk.

    Hans-Arp-Allee 1, Remagen, Rheinland-Pfalz, 53424, Germany
    02228–94250

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €9, Tues.–Sun. 11–6
  • 3. Burg Eltz

    Genuinely medieval (12th–16th century) and genuinely stunning, Burg Eltz deserves as much attention as King Ludwig's trio of castles in Bavaria. For the 40-minute English-language...

    Genuinely medieval (12th–16th century) and genuinely stunning, Burg Eltz deserves as much attention as King Ludwig's trio of castles in Bavaria. For the 40-minute English-language tour, ask at the souvenir shop. This on-request experience guides you through the period rooms and massive kitchen, as well as a treasure vault filled with gold and silver. To get here, exit B-416 at Hatzenport (opposite and southwest of Alken), proceed to Münstermaifeld, and follow signs to the parking lot near the Antoniuskapelle. From here it's a 15-minute walk, or take the shuttle bus (€2). Hikers can reach the castle from Moselkern in about an hour.

    - 02672 - 950–500

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tour and treasure vault €12, Closed Nov.–Mar.
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  • 4. Burg Rheinstein

    This castle was the home of Rudolf von Hapsburg from 1282 to 1286. To establish law and order on the Rhine, he destroyed the neighboring...

    This castle was the home of Rudolf von Hapsburg from 1282 to 1286. To establish law and order on the Rhine, he destroyed the neighboring castles of Burg Reichenstein and Burg Sooneck and hanged their notorious robber barons from the oak trees around the Clemens Church, a late-Romanesque basilica near Trechtingshausen. The Gobelin tapestries, 15th-century stained glass, wall and ceiling frescoes, a floor of royal apartments, and antique furniture—including a rare "giraffe spinet," a harpsicord which Kaiser Wilhelm I is said to have played—are the highlights of a visit here. All of this is illuminated by candlelight on some summer Fridays. Rheinstein was the first of many a Rhine ruin to be rebuilt by a royal Prussian family in the 19th century.

    - 06721 - 6348

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €7, Closed mid-Dec.–mid Mar.
  • 5. Dom

    Aachen's stunning cathedral, the "chapelle" of the town's earlier name of Aix-la-Chapelle, remains the single greatest storehouse of Carolingian architecture in Europe, and it was...

    Aachen's stunning cathedral, the "chapelle" of the town's earlier name of Aix-la-Chapelle, remains the single greatest storehouse of Carolingian architecture in Europe, and it was the first place in Germany to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Though it was built over the course of 1,000 years and reflects architectural styles from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, its commanding image remains the magnificent octagonal royal chapel, rising up two arched stories to end in the cap of the dome. It was this section, the heart of the church, that Charlemagne saw completed in AD 800. His bones now lie in the Gothic choir, in a golden shrine surrounded by wonderful carvings of saints. Another treasure is his marble throne. Charlemagne had to journey all the way to Rome for his coronation, but the next 32 Holy Roman emperors were crowned here in Aachen (with some exceptions), and each marked the occasion by presenting a lavish gift to the cathedral. In the 12th century Emperor Frederick I (aka Barbarossa) donated the great chandelier now hanging in the center of the Palatine chapel; his grandson, Friedrich II, donated Charlemagne's shrine. English-language guided tours of the cathedral are offered daily at 2.

    Münsterpl., Domhof 1
    - 0241 - 477–090

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; guided tours €5
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  • 6. Festung Ehrenbreitstein

    Europe's largest fortress, towering 400 feet above the left bank of the Rhine, offers a magnificent view over Koblenz and where the Mosel and the...

    Europe's largest fortress, towering 400 feet above the left bank of the Rhine, offers a magnificent view over Koblenz and where the Mosel and the Rhine rivers meet. The earliest buildings date from about 1100, but the bulk of the fortress was constructed in the 16th century. In 1801 it was partially destroyed by Napoléon, and the French occupied Koblenz for the next 18 years. The museum has exhibits on the history of local industries, from wine growing to technology. Pride of place is given to the fortress's 16th-century Vogel Greif cannon, which has done a lot of traveling over the years. The French absconded with it in 1794, the Germans took it back in 1940, and the French commandeered it again in 1945. The 15-ton cannon was peaceably returned by French president François Mitterrand in 1984. For an introduction to the fortress and its history, head for the Besucherdienst (visitor center). English-language tours are for groups only, but you can often join a group that is registered for a tour. A Seilbahn (cable car) carries you a half mile from Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer over the river to Ehrenbreitstein, offering spectacular views of the Deutsches Eck below. Lifts can accommodate 7,000 passengers in an hour, and operate continually throughout the day from a half hour before the site opens until a half hour after it closes.

    Felsenweg
    - 0261 - 6675–4000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8
  • 7. Kaiserthermen

    This enormous 4th-century bathing palace once housed cold- and hot-water baths and a sports field. Although only the masonry of the Calderium (hot baths) and...

    This enormous 4th-century bathing palace once housed cold- and hot-water baths and a sports field. Although only the masonry of the Calderium (hot baths) and the vast basements remain, they are enough to give a fair idea of the original splendor and size of the complex. Originally 98 feet high, the walls you see today are just 62 feet high.

    Weberbach 41
    - 0651 - 436–2550

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4
  • 8. Kloster Eberbach

    The former Cistercian monastery is idyllically set in a secluded forest clearing 3 km (2 miles) west of Kiedrich. Its Romanesque and Gothic buildings (12th–14th...

    The former Cistercian monastery is idyllically set in a secluded forest clearing 3 km (2 miles) west of Kiedrich. Its Romanesque and Gothic buildings (12th–14th century) look untouched by time—one reason why the 1986 film of Umberto Eco's medieval murder mystery The Name of the Rose was filmed here. The monastery's impressive collection of old winepresses bears witness to a viticultural tradition that spans nearly nine centuries. The wines can be sampled year-round in the atmospheric wine cellar (or on a roving tasting around the abbey), in the Vinothek, or in the popular restaurant on the grounds; in warmer months, you can enjoy them outside at Kloster Eberbach's premier vineyard, the Steinberg, which is surrounded by a 3-km (2-mile) stone wall (dating from the 13th–18th centuries). The church, with its excellent acoustics, and the large medieval dormitories, are the settings for concerts, wine auctions, and festive wine events. English audio guides are available for self-guided tours.

    Kloster Eberbach
    - 06723 - 917–8100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11
  • 9. Kölner Dom

    Altstadt

    Cologne's landmark embodies one of the purest expressions of the Gothic spirit in Europe. The cathedral, meant to be a tangible expression of God's kingdom...

    Cologne's landmark embodies one of the purest expressions of the Gothic spirit in Europe. The cathedral, meant to be a tangible expression of God's kingdom on Earth, was conceived with such immense dimensions that construction, begun in 1248, was not completed until 1880, after the original plan was rediscovered. At 515 feet high, the two west towers of the cathedral were briefly the tallest structures in the world when they were finished (before being eclipsed by the Washington Monument). The cathedral was built to house what are believed to be the relics of the Magi, the three kings who paid homage to the infant Jesus (the trade in holy mementos was big business in the Middle Ages—and not always scrupulous). The size of the building was not simply an example of self-aggrandizement on the part of the people of Cologne, however; it was a response to the vast numbers of pilgrims who arrived to see the relics. The ambulatory (the passage that curves around the back of the altar) is unusually large, allowing cathedral authorities to funnel large numbers of visitors up to the crossing (where the nave and transepts meet and where the relics were originally displayed), around the back of the altar, and out again. Today the relics are kept just behind the altar, in the original, enormous gold-and-silver reliquary. The other great treasure of the cathedral, in the last chapel on the left as you face the altar, is the Gero Cross, a monumental oak crucifix dating from 971. The Altar of the City Patrons (1440), a triptych by Stephan Lochner, Cologne's most famous medieval painter, is to the right. Other highlights are the stained-glass windows, some dating from the 13th century and another, designed by Gerhard Richter with help from a computer program, from the 21st; the 15th-century altarpiece; and the early-14th-century high altar, with its glistening white figures and intricate choir screens. If you're up to it, climb to the top of the bell tower to get the complete vertical experience (at the time of writing, available by guided tour only from the Domforum at  www.domforum.de) but be aware that viewing Cologne from the Dom itself removes the skyline's most interesting feature. The treasury includes the silver shrine of Archbishop Engelbert, who was stabbed to death in 1225.

    Dompl.
    - 0221 - 9258–4730

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Treasury €5; guided tours from €10
  • 10. Königsallee

    Düsseldorf's main shopping avenue is a nearly mile-long stretch of designer boutiques and stores, including the Daniel Liebeskind-designed Kö-Bogen shopping mall at its northern tip....

    Düsseldorf's main shopping avenue is a nearly mile-long stretch of designer boutiques and stores, including the Daniel Liebeskind-designed Kö-Bogen shopping mall at its northern tip. Known as "the Kö," this wide, double boulevard is divided by an ornamental waterway fed by the River Düssel. Rows of chestnut trees line the Kö, shading a string of sidewalk cafés. 

  • 11. Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen: K21

    Within the more conservative 19th-century architecture of K21 is some edgier fare—international contemporary art since about 1980, including the works of Thomas Ruff and Nam...

    Within the more conservative 19th-century architecture of K21 is some edgier fare—international contemporary art since about 1980, including the works of Thomas Ruff and Nam June Paik. A huge draw is the Tomás Saraceno installation “Orbit,” a climbable steel web located in the building's dome.

    Ständehausstr. 1
    - 0211 - 838–1204

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From €12; free entry 1st Wed. of month, Closed Mon.
  • 12. MedienHafen

    This stylish, revamped harbor district is a mix of late-19th-century warehouses and ultramodern towers housing restaurants, bars, hotels, and the many media companies that have...

    This stylish, revamped harbor district is a mix of late-19th-century warehouses and ultramodern towers housing restaurants, bars, hotels, and the many media companies that have made this area their home. On the riverbank you'll find the Frank Gehry–designed Neuer Zollhof, a particularly striking ensemble of three organic-looking high-rises. The best way to tackle the buzzing architecture is to take a stroll down the promenade and over the pedestrian Living Bridge, which connects both sides of the harbor.

  • 13. Porta Nigra

    The best-preserved Roman structure in Trier was originally a city gate built in the 2nd century (look for holes left by the iron clamps that...

    The best-preserved Roman structure in Trier was originally a city gate built in the 2nd century (look for holes left by the iron clamps that held the structure together). The gate served as part of Trier's defenses, and was proof of the sophistication of Roman military might and its ruthlessness. Attackers were often lured into the two innocent-looking arches of the Porta Nigra, only to find themselves enclosed in a courtyard. In the 11th century the upper stories were converted into two churches which remained in use until the 18th century. The tourist office is next door.

    - 0651 - 460--8965 - Tourist Information

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4
  • 14. Rheinisches Landesmuseum

    The largest collection of Roman antiquities in Germany is housed here. The highlight is the 4th-century stone relief of a Roman ship transporting barrels of...

    The largest collection of Roman antiquities in Germany is housed here. The highlight is the 4th-century stone relief of a Roman ship transporting barrels of wine up the river. This tombstone of a Roman wine merchant was discovered in 1874, when Constantine's citadel in Neumagen was excavated. Have a look at the 108-square-foot model of the city as it looked in the 4th century—it provides a sense of perspective to many of the sights you can still visit today.

    Weimarer-Allee 1
    - 0651 - 97740

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €8, Closed Mon.
  • 15. Schloss Johannisberg

    The origins of this grand wine estate date from 1100, when Benedictine monks built a monastery and planted vines on the slopes below. The striking...

    The origins of this grand wine estate date from 1100, when Benedictine monks built a monastery and planted vines on the slopes below. The striking early-18th-century palace is closed to the public, but wine tastings and cellar tours take place from Monday to Saturday, and there is an excellent wine shop, which also offers the estate's gin. The excellent restaurant, Schlossschänke, offers stunning views over the vineyards.

    Weinbaudomäne Schloss Johannisberg
    - 06722 - 70090

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Wine tasting €25; tour €10
  • 16. Schloss Vollrads

    Built in 1211, Schloss Vollrads is the oldest of Germany's major wine estates. The tower, built in 1330 and surrounded by a moat, was the...

    Built in 1211, Schloss Vollrads is the oldest of Germany's major wine estates. The tower, built in 1330 and surrounded by a moat, was the Greiffenclau residence for 350 years until the present palace was built in the 17th century. There is a wineshop, and the castle's period rooms can be toured during concerts, festivals, and wine tastings—check the website for specific dates. It's 3 km (2 miles) north of town. In addition to the restaurant (which closes early for dinner at 8 pm), you can sit outside on the patio in the warmer months and order very good Flammkuchen (baked thin-crust pizza, typically with bacon and onions) and sausages from the food truck.

    Vollradser Allee
    - 06723 - 660
  • 17. Spielbank

    Built in 1907, the neoclassical Kurhaus is the cultural center of the city. It houses the Spielbank casino, the Thiersch-Saal, a splendid setting for concerts,...

    Built in 1907, the neoclassical Kurhaus is the cultural center of the city. It houses the Spielbank casino, the Thiersch-Saal, a splendid setting for concerts, and a Parisian-style bistro. The Staatstheater (1894), opulently appointed in baroque and rococo revival styles, and two beautifully landscaped parks—one with a boating pond—flank the Kurhaus. The Spielbank's Klassiches Spiel (table games area: roulette, blackjack, and poker) is one of Europe's grand casinos, open Sunday through Thursday 2:45 pm to 3 am (until 4 am on Friday, Saturday holiday eves; jacket required). The less formal Automatenspiel (slots) in the neighboring Kolonnade is open from noon to 4 am. To enter either, you must be at least 18 (bring your passport).

    Kurhauspl. 1
    - 611 - 1729--100
  • 18. Trierer Dom

    The oldest Christian church north of the Alps, the Dom stands on the site of the Palace of Helen. Constantine tore the palace down in...

    The oldest Christian church north of the Alps, the Dom stands on the site of the Palace of Helen. Constantine tore the palace down in AD 330 and put up a large church in its place. The church burned down in 336, and a second, even larger one was built. Parts of the foundations of this third building can be seen in the east end of the present structure (begun in about 1035). The cathedral you see today is a weighty and sturdy edifice with small round-head windows, rough stonework, and asymmetrical towers, as much a fortress as a church. Inside, Gothic styles predominate—the result of remodeling in the 13th century—although there are also many baroque tombs, altars, and confessionals. The highlight of the Schatzkammer (Cathedral Treasury) is the 10th-century Andreas Tragaltar (St. Andrew's Portable Altar), constructed of oak and covered with gold leaf, enamel, and ivory by local craftsmen. It's a reliquary for the soles of St. Andrew's sandals, as signaled by the gilded, life-size foot on the top of the altar. You can also visit the Cathedral Museum, which has a separate entrance just behind the cathedral.

    Liebfrauenstr. 12
    - 0651 - 979–0790

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Cathedral free; Schatzkammer from €2
  • 19. Alter Friedhof

    This ornate, leafy cemetery is the resting place of many of the country's most celebrated sons and daughters. Look for the tomb of composer Robert...

    This ornate, leafy cemetery is the resting place of many of the country's most celebrated sons and daughters. Look for the tomb of composer Robert Schumann (1810–56) and his wife, Clara, also a composer and accomplished pianist. A PDF plan of the most prominent burial sites can be found on the cemetery website.

    Bornheimerstr.

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Seasonal weekend tours €5
  • 20. Alter Markt

    Altstadt

    The square has an eclectic assembly of buildings, most of them postwar. However, two 16th-century houses survived the war intact—Nos. 20 and 22, which are...

    The square has an eclectic assembly of buildings, most of them postwar. However, two 16th-century houses survived the war intact—Nos. 20 and 22, which are today a Kölsch brewpub, Zum Prinzen. The oldest structure dates from 1135. In late November and December, Alter Markt is the site of one of the city's prettiest Christmas markets.

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