Rüdesheim and Bingen are one of the most fascinating towns to visit on the Rhine. They are located in front of each other, on opposite sides of the river, and connected by a short and beautiful ferry ride (however, there are no bridges nearby).
The towns are very romantic, surrounded by medieval castles and vineyards, full of old timber-framed “Fachwerk” houses and cozy wineries. Many famous artists loved to visit these towns. There is even a poem “Bingen on the Rhine” by 19th-century poet Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton:
“I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow sunlight shine
On the vine-clad hills of Bingen — sweet Bingen on the Rhine”.
Rüdesheim as a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site is more touristic and picturesque while Bingen is calmer and quieter but they both worth a visit. We were there many times during different seasons and it was always wonderful.
It is one of the nicest directions for a weekend trip near Frankfurt, Mainz, and Wiesbaden. You can go there by car, train or by boat – all options are cool!
List of my favorite things to do and to see in Rüdesheim and Bingen:
- Take a cable car ride up to Niederwald Monument
- Go hiking at the vineyards and see how the wine grows
- Don’t miss the wine tasting
- Visit Rüdesheim as a part of a boat tour on the Rhine
- Try Rüdesheimer Coffee
- Have dinner at the winery
- Take a ferry to Bingen on the Rhine
- Visit Klopp castle in Bingen and enjoy the medieval atmosphere
- Swim at the Naturerlebnisbad Bingerbrück
- Have fun at the Christmas market in Rüdesheim
What to do in Rüdesheim and Bingen on the Rhine
1. Take a cable car ride up to Niederwald Monument
Niederwalddenkmal is a huge historic monument located in the Niederwald, on top of Rüdesheim, overlooking the Rhine valley. It was build at the end of the 19th-century and represents the Unification of Germany.
You can reach the monument on foot or take a nice old cable car, starting directly at the city center. The ride offers wonderful hilltop views over the vineyards and the Rhine.
2. Go hiking at the vineyards and see how the wine grows
Our favorite thing to do is to reach the Niederwald Monument by cable car and go back down on foot, walking through the vineyards. Sometimes we also go hiking to the Niederwald forest with our dog Scout. It is especially beautiful in summer and fall – just look at the pictures!
3. Don’t miss the wine tasting
Vineyards mean wine, right? So, Rüdesheim is a famous winemaking town, where many wineries produce wine (mostly, Riesling and Spätburgunder) from the grapes that grow here. Everywhere in the town, you will find wine tasting at the wineries, which offer a selection of local wines. Additionally, you can always buy a bottle or two in small shops and directly at the wineries.
On the third weekend of August, you can visit a wine festival “Summer of Riesling”, or enjoy “Tage des Federweissen” (festival of the new wine) in the fall. Passionate wine lovers can also visit the Rheingau Wine Museum, which is located at the Medieval Brömserburg Castle.
4. Visit Rüdesheim as a part of a boat tour on the Rhine
As I already said, it is easy to reach Rüdesheim by train or car from Mainz, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt, and other cities nearby. But the most romantic way to get there is by boat. There are many boat tours and river cruises on the Rhine provided by KD Köln-Düsseldorfer and other companies. Stunning views along the way are guaranteed!
5. Try Rüdesheimer Coffee
Take a break in one of the cute coffee houses and order “Rüdesheimer Kaffee”: a coffee drink made with Asbach Uralt brandy. It is always served in a special cup that is designed for this kind of coffee. The preparation of a drink is a small show directly at your table: the Asbach Uralt brandy is flambéed and stirred, then a strong coffee is added, followed by whipped cream. It tastes as interesting as it looks and sounds.
6. Have dinner at the winery
Many taverns and cozy restaurants offer local food in Rüdesheim (along with a bottle of Riesling, of course!). Typical German dishes in this region are Zwiebelkuchen (Onion Pie), Handkäs mit Musik (a special kind of cheese – veeery special), Spundekäs with Pretzels (typical snack originally from Mainz), red cabbage with figs, different kinds of meat and so on. You can easily find fine dining menus and try local delicatessen along with a good wine, which is (mostly) not expensive at all.
7. Take a ferry to Bingen on the Rhine
Bored of Rüdesheim and want more? Just take a ferry to reach the other side of the Rhine and visit Bingen! You can take a ferry with a car or without – both options are available. The ferry ride takes around 5 minutes and offers a nice view of the river.
8. Visit Klopp castle in Bingen and enjoy the medieval atmosphere
Bingen is less touristic and not so beautiful as Rüdesheim. However, there are several things to do there as well. For example, take a walk through the town up to the Klopp Castle (Burg Klopp). The castle stands on a hill above the town so you can enjoy a wide-ranging view of the Rhine valley. It was originally built in the 13th century and then restored much later, in the 19th century. Now it is serving as a historical place and a gourmet restaurant. We visited a castle with Scout – dogs are allowed there!
9. Swim at the Naturerlebnisbad Bingerbrück
One of the greatest outdoor swimming pools I’ve ever seen is located at the top of Bingen. I would recommend going there by car because it is located in the forest, on the hill. The pool “Naturerlebnisbad Bingerbrück” offers gorgeous views of the Rhine Valley.
It is a forest lake and a swimming pool in one. You can spend there a whole day, make a picnic or grab snacks at the cafe nearby. The best place to be on a hot summer day!
10. Have fun at the Christmas market in Rüdesheim
I think that Rüdesheim and Bingen are great in any season and you can always find something special there. But some seasons are more magical than the others. Of course, I’m talking about December and the Christmas market in Rüdesheim. The whole town turns into a Christmas village – there is a fairy tale at every corner! And if you go on Sunday, it will be less crowded than on Friday and Saturday evening 😉
If you miss the Christmas market in Rüdesheim, there is still an opportunity to feel the atmosphere of German Christmas all year round at the Käthe Wohlfahrt shop that sells wonderful decorations and articles at the center of town.
We’ve been to these cute towns on the Rhine many times and we often bring our guests. I hope these ideas will help you to start loving Rüdesheim and Bingen as much as I do.
More ideas for local tourism in our region: Hiking on the Moselle