Bacharach is a tiny medieval-era village along the romantic Rhine River in Germany, and everything about it is perfect.
I have visited the Rhine River region three times — it’s one of those places that’ll keep me coming back again and again — and Bacharach is by far my favorite burg along the belt.
The Rhine River region was my favorite stop on my first international trip as a 16-year-old. I immediately fell in love with the magic of its wide-snaking river, lush hillsides, and quaint medieval towns that punctuate the shoreline every few miles. My family liked it so much that three years later, we made it a point to return to it before going back home after a trip to the UK. Then, when Jim and I planned our “Big Trip” after college, I of course made sure to put Bacharach in our itinerary.
Here are four reasons why Bacharach is so great.
1. Its hilltop castle
Stahleck Castle commands impressive views of the river below and surrounding vineyards and woodsy hills. But what may be even more impressive is that it’s actually a hostel, and one of the cheapest beds in town. Jim and I stayed on the fourth floor attic in bunk beds. Whether you sleep there or not, all are welcome to explore the castle (for free), and dine on an economically priced hearty buffet. It’s about a 20 minute walk through the town and woodsy hillside from the train station below to the castle.
2. Its ruined church
The Werner Chapel ruins sit slightly above the town and on the way to Castle Stahleck. The ruins dominate the skyline from the river. The church was originally built in 1426 and has been in ruins since the 1700s. It is a peaceful and contemplative spot.
3. Its scenic landscape
The Rhine river reminds me of a mini Columbia River Gorge. It’s a perfect spot for skipping stones. Or jumping in to cool off if it’s an unusually hot day. Trails and pathways crisscross through the hills connecting steep vineyards and neighboring towns.
4. Its half-timbered charm
Many of the buildings in Bacharach are old, and I mean very old. Most are from the middle ages, and their half-timbered walls lean at impossible angles. The “Altes Haus” (Old House) pictured below was built in 1368.
— Laura Rowley