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Rhine River Cruises – 5 Enchanting Rhine River Sites to Explore

If you’re planning to embark on one of the many Rhine River cruises you’ll quickly find that there are many places offshore excursions to explore. But if you’re looking for unique experiences, these enchanting Rhine River sites are rich in legends and history.


I travel the world far and wide in search of fairytale places and places rich with folklore and history. Walking into an old castle sends my imagination into a world of princesses and knights of valor as if I’ve gone back to a time of wooden swords in my childhood.


Rhine River cruises have always appealed to me. Not only do I love cruising, but the Rhine River sites of medieval fortresses, castles, and palaces make this type of travel to Germany a perfect fairytale adventure.


Rhine River Cruises, Rhine River sites, Würzburg Residence
The Würzburg Residence


A River cruise gives you the opportunity to get off the boat for way more ground time. Time for exploring castles of course. And of course, with any of the Rhine River cruises, you can expect a plethora of magical adventures by stopping off at these Rhine River sites.


Rhine River cruises, Rhine River sites
The Rhine River

Rhine River Sites for the Fairytale Travel Enthusiast – Castles, Romance, and Witches


There are loads of enchanting, storybook moments to be had along when enjoying one of the Rhine River cruises. With a stunning skyline of jaw-dropping castles, the infamous Romantic Road, sleepy medieval villages, and even a proper medieval banquet in a 12th-century castle, there is no way this trip would be anything less than a fairytale.


Oh, and we must not forget the witches, what would a fairytale be without its witches?


During my research of the most magical Rhine River sites to my fairytale bucket list, I stumbled upon some pretty enchanting stuff. Here are some tips on common Rhine River excursions for the most enchanting experiences.


Würzburg Residence, Rhine River Cruises, Rhine River sites
Würzburg Residence


#1 Visit the Würzburg Residence – Prince Bishop’s Fortress


Whether your travel to Germany includes Rhine River cruises or not, exploring the Wurzburg Residence is a must. The splendors of this 18th-century German Baroque palace where the former two Prince Bishops of Würzburg resided are nothing short of magical.


A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this fortress was built to imitate the Palace of Versailles and is known for its famous Baroque staircase created by Balthasar Neumann. Stroll the grounds, get loads of photos, and when you’re done you can also enjoy wine tastings in its underground cellars.


Marienburg Kapelle, Wurzburg Witch Trials, Rhine River Cruises, Rhine River sites
Marienburg Kapelle


#2 Explore Germany’s Romantic Road


Prince Bishop’s Residence is one of the highlights of the Wurzburg section of Germany’s Romantic Road. Wurzburg is home to many more sights that emulate the romanticized fairytale culture that this part of Germany radiates.


Stift Haug, the Cathedral of St. Kilian, Marienburg Kapelle, the Town Hall, and the Main Bridge are also great highlights of the popular tourism route.


Marienburg Kapelle along the Romantic Road
Marienburg Kapelle along the Romantic Road

#3 Take a Witch Trial Tour


In Wurzburg, you can take a guided tour and learn the history of the largest mass execution in the Early Modern Period known as the Wurzburg Witch Trials. From 1626-1631 over a thousand men, women and children were burned at the stake after being found guilty of witchcraft. Or so it is said.

Schloss Stolzenfels along the Rhine River
Schloss Stolzenfels along the Rhine River


#4 Visit the Rhine River Castles


The slopes of the Rhine River in Rudesheim are something straight from a storybook. Here you will see some of Germany’s most spectacular castles.


This area is also known as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and stretches between Koblenz and Bingen, Germany. Due to its unique combination of geological, historical, cultural, and industry, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2002. 


Some of the structures you will see commanding the skyline are; Burg Katz, Stolzenfels Castle, Marksburg, Burg Pfalzgrafenstein at Kaub, Burg Gutenfels, Werner Chapel at Bacharach, Burg Rheinstein, Mouse Tower, Ehrenfels Castle, and Burg Stahleck Castle.


Marksburg Castle
Marksburg Castle


#5  Enjoy a Medieval Dinner at Marksburg Castle


This 12th-century castle is the only one in the Middle Rhine region that was never destroyed. It is perched high upon a hill in Braubach, Germany where it was constructed to maintain a watchful eye of the town and served to protect it.


One of its interesting features is the herb garden from the medieval period. It boasts witching herbs like hemlock and deadly nightshade and even mandragora (mandrake) like the herb from the Harry Potter movies.


They also host a candlelight dinner by an open fire in the castle’s Gothic Great Hall. You can get a private tour of the castle as well. As far as magical, this definitely is at the top of the list for Rhine River sites.


In Closing


Whether you’ve planned a trip already on one of the many Rhine River cruises or you’re just getting started, these Rhine River sites are sure to give you all the enchanted feels and great stories to tell to your friends and family when you get home.

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

5 thoughts on “Rhine River Cruises – 5 Enchanting Rhine River Sites to Explore

  1. Don’t forget to mention the Loreley, just between Koblenz and Rüdesheim, near St. Goarshausen! It’s just a statue, but the story behind it is still interesting.
    Besides, on the way there you pass about five castles on either side of the river, some of which are amazingly illuminated by night.
    Koblenz itself also has a few sights to behold, including a fortress high above the city, the “Deutsches Eck” (German Corner), where Moselle joins the Rhine and a clock in the city centre that will stick a tongue at you.

  2. That really is a great collection of castles, Christa! The Rhine Valley and Romantic Road sound quite amazing and even if I grew up in Germany, I have never even seen much of the area myself. But since I feel much the same way as you when entering one of the old castles, I should really make an effort to explore this beautiful area of Germany as well… 🙂

  3. So beautiful! Love castles, and Germany is wonderful. Such a fairytale place. I really want to road trip around to find all the fairy tale castles

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