Complete Guide to Visiting Romantic Rheinstein Castle

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The Rhine Valley in Germany is renowned for its scenic beauty, dotted with vineyards, historic castles, and picturesque towns. It’s a popular destination for travelers and tourists who love a bit of romance. I drove along the Rhine on a 2-week German road trip and loved stopping at many of the castles and half-timbers villages along the way. 

A commanding beauty along the Rhine River is the Rheinstein Castle, perched high up on a hill. It’s a picturesque medieval castle dating back to the 13th century. The castle was initially built by Diether V of Katzenelnbogen around 1279 and served as a strategic stronghold for the powerful Counts of Katzenelnbogen, who were influential rulers in the region during the Middle Ages. It was constructed as a defensive fortress to protect the territory and collect tolls from passing ships on the Rhine River. 

Over the centuries, the castle underwent several expansions and renovations until it fell into disrepair during the 17th century and was eventually abandoned. In the 19th century, the castle was restored and reconstructed by Prince Frederick of Prussia. He undertook extensive renovations to transform the castle into a romanticized representation of a medieval fortress. It was the first castle along the Rhine Valley to be rebuilt after decades of conflict and still stands as a symbol of Rhine Romanticism today.

The Hecher family is now the owners of the castle with the third generation in care of restorations and preservation, ensuring Rheinstein Castle can be viewed and enjoyed by all for many years to come. 

What To Know Before You Go

Rheinstein Castle attracts a lot of tourists for its well-preserved medieval architecture, and stunning views of the Rhine River. It gets busy in peak season (May-October). 

Parking is limited in the reserved spots along B9 and a 2 hour time limit is enforced during peak season, but you won’t need much more time than that to tour the castle and get a bite to eat at the cafe. 

There is a short switchback walk from B9 to get into the castle as it is only accessible by the foot path. 

Visitors can self explore the castle’s many rooms including the knight’s hall, armory, and living quarters, and enjoy a self guided tour with signposts and pamphlets that provide insights into its past. 

It takes about 45 mins to walk around the castle on the self-guided tour. There are 26 points of interests and some overlooks and narrow hallways you are able to explore with lovely views of the valley below. 

Entrance fee is €9.50 a person. They do offer a 20% discount on a combo ticket if you visit the Sooneck Castle on the same day. 

The discount was not offered when I visited Sooneck Castle and I went there first, so if that is your first stop its best to ask. The representative at Rheinstein castle did not understand me when I was asking about the discount if I had already been to Sooneck Castle so I paid full price for the Rheinstein castle.

This castle has a cafe offering salads, sandwiches and Flammkuchen (like a thin pizza), along with beer and wine. You can only access the cafe with a valid castle ticket. 

I had a salad and a goat cheese Flammkuchen and both were really good!

I enjoyed touring the castle. There were marked signs at significant areas around the property explaining what you were seeing and you were able to explore more rooms than most of the other castles I’ve been to. 

The castle also offers accommodations for up to two people for less than 200 euros a night. Can can read more on the castle website.

Getting To The Castle

You can only access the castle by footpath. The footpath is located along Route B9 at the base of the castle.

There are free parking spots along B9. You will need to walk up a switchback path to get to the castle grounds. The uphill walk is about five to ten minutes.

The nearest train station to Rheinstein Castle is Trechtingshausen. It’s a 25 min walk to the castle from the train station along the road.

Alternatively you can opt to hike a mountain path from the train station to the castle.  

There are many hiking loop routes that can be done in combination with Rheinstein. 

Read more about the Castle Routes here and check out this site for hiking routes and to download offline maps.

More Photos of Rheinstein Castle

I didn’t bring my tripod to the castle so I was not able to get any selfies. The best pictures of the castle itself are from the river or overhead. The cover photo is a stock drone photo. Drones are not allowed to be flown at the castle.

A wide angle lens (14-24mm) is the best to use to take photos of the castle while visiting the interior.

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Overall I enjoyed my visit to Rheinstein Castle. I was starving so the cafe was the best part. It’s a little challenging to get to by public transportation so if you don’t have a car, I recommend visiting Cochem Castle instead. It is easier to get to via public transportation and makes for a better day trip with the charming village of Cochem at its feet. 

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