Bingen and Rüdesheim form the southern gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which runs for around 65 kilometres to Koblenz. With the beauty of nature, breathtaking panoramic views and an incredible wealth of castles and palaces overlooking sun-drenched vineyard slopes, the valley remains one of Europe's biggest tourist attractions.
For two millennia, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley has been one of the main routes for cultural exchange between southern and northern Europe – a former border, a bridge between cultures and the ultimate romantic destination. The steeply rising rock of the Loreley has always stood as a symbol of Rhine Romanticism. The beautiful siren would sit on the rock combing her golden hair – a sight that, as legend has it, lured many sailors to their death upon the rocks. This legend was recounted by Heinrich Heine in his famous song of the Loreley.
The Upper Middle Rhine Valley and its romantic small towns and winegrowing villages on both sides of the river are best discovered by boat – perhaps on board the last remaining paddle steamer on the Rhine, the 'Goethe' – or on footpaths such as the Rhine Castles Trail or the Rheinsteig. The valley ends at the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) in Koblenz where the Moselle meets the Rhine. The best way to view this striking location is by cable car. Although the cableway across the Rhine is not a UNESCO World Heritage site itself, the trip over the river and up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress is something not to be missed. However, if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, the Romanticum in Koblenz has an interactive exhibition depicting the beauty of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley on board a virtual steam ship.
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