Magical Things to do in Oberwesel Germany
Crave the Planet is reader-supported and I am not sponsored. Some links earn me commission at no additional cost to you. – Thank You -Morgan
As a long-term expat here in Germany, I have had the pleasure of exploring many hidden gems in this beautiful country (usually on a search for a hike with delicious pitstops for wine and local cuisine with my golden doodle Ruby).
The authentic wine town of Oberwesel is definitely one of my favorite places in Rhineland Pfalz due to it’s inclusivity, excellent cuisine served atop a mountain castle and charming history.
The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with historic medieval castles, outdoor art installations, delicious food and vineyards + plenty of outdoor activities.
It’s nicknamed the “Romantic Rhine” due to the incredible scenery, river and castles that inspired the father of the “Romanticism” art movement, William Turner.
Best Things to do in Oberwesel Germany
As an avid hiker I come to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley frequently to take advantage of the two amazing long distance trails here, the Rheinsteig and the Rhine Burgenweg (Rhine Castles Trail).
My little goldendoodle is named Ruby Lorelei Fielder…after the infamous Lorelei Rock on the Rhine.
You don’t have to love hiking to enjoy this little slice of medieval heaven.
➡️ From exploring the town’s rich history to enjoying local wine, there is something for everyone.
Short on time? Quick Take:
Don’t have time to read the whole article? No problemo!
Best Thing to Do for History Lovers
Absolute Most Magical Experience: Stay at a Fairytale Castle
Our bathroom in this authentic castle hotel was behind a false bookcase!!!!
A Stay at Burg auf Schönburg was the highlight of my mother’s day gift to myself and my friends last year. We planned a backpacking trip where we walked from one castle hotel to the next castle hotel on the Rhine for a long weekend. Schönburg was our absolute favorite.
Mostly because of the insane architecture and imaginative rooms. The food was excellent and the owners were so kind. We were really impressed they fly the pride flag above the castle along with Ukrainian and German flags.
oberwesel things to do : Best Quick Tour
Getting to Know Oberwesel : The Town of Towers and Wine
While I really love activities in Assmannshausen, Boppard and Bacharach, my favorite town of the entire amazing gorge is Oberwesel. It’s got a real feel as it’s a working town on the banks of the Rhine River.
This town has retained its medieval silhouette, with sixteen of the original 21 towers and much of the town wall still standing. It’s known as the “town of towers,” and it’s easy to see why.
So many people come to the Rhine and never get past Rüdesheim, which is a shame because these lesser known towns offer a more authentic experience.
Let’s dive into the list and discover the best historical and off the beaten path activities in Oberwesel. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family with kids, there is no shortage of activities to keep you entertained.
23 Best Things to Do in Oberwesel Germany
You can take a tour (or even stay overnight) of a medieval castle, take in culture at the local museum, visit stunning cathedrals dating back from 1331, or simply relax in a cozy cafe while admiring the stunning views on a break from one of the many awesome Rhine River hop-on, hop-off boat tours.
1. UNESCO World Heritage Site Rhine River Cruising
A Rhine River Cruise is the perfect way to explore the Middle Rhine Valley and admire the unique castles that have made this stretch of river a UNESCO World Heritage site.
One option is the hop-on, hop-off KD cruise. On board KD, you can relax and enjoy the stunning views of the castles and other tourist highlights such as the Loreley Rock, while indulging in delicious food and drinks. Here is the google maps of the ticket office.
The Castle Cruise runs from April 1st to October 22nd, 2023, and offers tours between Koblenz and Mainz with 19 stops for joining or leaving.
During the tour, you will have the opportunity to visit numerous medieval castles on the Rhine, including the Marksburg, Burg Rheinfels, Schönburg, Burg Stahleck, Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, Burgruine Ehrenfels, and many more.
To help you plan your trip, here is a table of the highlights you can expect to see on the Castle Cruise:
|⛫ Castle/Highlight||Town or Wine Village|
|Burg Rheinfels||St. Goar|
|Loreley Rock||St. Goarshausen|
I made a full tour guide of the Rhine River Castles and Castle Ruins with GPS, history and architecture tidbits.
With picturesque wine places and the UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley as the backdrop, the Rhine River Cruise is a must-do for anyone visiting the area.
It’s almost a rite of passage to sing along German-style with Loreley on the Rhine on your river tour.
For Outdoor and Hiking Lovers
When it comes to outdoor activities, Oberwesel has something for everyone. Here are some of the best outdoor activities you can enjoy in Oberwesel:
2. Awe Inspiring and Historical Hiking Trails
Oberwesel is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and hiking trails. The RheinBurgenWeg (Rhine Castles Trail) is one of the most popular hiking trails in the area, offering stunning views of the Rhine River and the surrounding vineyards.
The trail is is a 200-km route that stretches from Rolandsboden through Boppard to Bingen. The trail is divided into 13 stages and stage 4 goes from Oberwesel to Sankt Goar.
Mittelrhein Klettersteig : What to do in Boppard
The most exciting part of the Rhine Castles Trail is the Mittelrhein Klettersteig with it’s ladders, rungs and cable assisted sections. You can bypass all of that, but it’s a nice exciting 6 km loop located on this trail near Boppard.
You can hike 8.8 km (3-4 hours) northwest (downriver) passing the Skulptureweg (sculpture trail) and the Maria Ruh restaurant with amazing views of Lorelei Rock.
Once in Sankt Goar you can take the train back to your hotel in Oberwesel.
Another option is to cross the river and get onto the 320 km long Rheinsteig. From Oberwesel without a car you can take the train to St. Goar and cross here to Sankt Goarshausen where you can pick up the trail immediately in town.
These trails frame the Romantic Rhine River darting in and out from the river’s edge. They meander through vineyards, forests, and high meadows with views, views and more views.
These trails inspiring the great William Turner and they will inspire you too!
3. Mountain Biking and Road Cycling Routes
Cycling and mountainbiking is a great way to explore Oberwesel and its surroundings. The Rhine Cycle Route is a popular route that takes you along the river, passing through charming towns and villages along the way.
For a more challenging ride, try the Hunsrückhöhenstraße, a scenic route that takes you through the Hunsrück Mountains and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
If you’re looking for something more relaxing, there’s even an e-bike wine tasting tour just down the river in Hattenheim (with train connection).
4. Kayaking and Canoeing
If you’re looking for a more adventurous way to explore the Rhine River, kayaking and canoeing are great options. You can rent a kayak or canoe in Oberwesel and paddle along the river, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
5. Experience Thrills on a Klettersteig (Via Ferrata)
The Oelsbergsteig is a small and easy klettersteig at the northern edge of Oberwesel. It’s rated a 2/5 in difficulty and includes some gentle climbing up a vertical rock face with the use of metal rungs and ladders.
There is also metal cable to hold on to during this steep ascent from the river’s edge to the Günderodehaus.
For History and Architecture Lovers
6. Meander on Medieval Town Walls
One of the best things to do in Oberwesel is to take a stroll on TOP of the medieval town walls and experience the rich history of Oberwesel. The walls were built in the 14th century and offer stunning views of the town and the Rhine River.
Be sure to stop by the Town Wall Gardens, a peaceful spot to rest and enjoy the scenery.
7. Go Tower Spotting – This is the “Town of Towers”
If you’re looking for a little bit of medieval magic on your trip to Germany, you’ve got to check out the Towers of Oberwesel.
Oberwesel is a town that’s rich in history, and the towers are a testament to that. They were built in the 14th century as part of the town’s fortifications, and they’re still standing strong today.
In fact, there are 16 towers in total, and they’re all different shapes and sizes. It’s like a medieval version of a game of Jenga.
One of the coolest things about the Towers of Oberwesel is that you can actually climb up into some of them. From the top of the towers, you get an amazing view of the town and the Rhine River.
And if you’re a history buff, you’ll love learning about the role that the towers played in the town’s defense. Each tower has its own unique story, and you can imagine what it must have been like to live in a town that was so heavily fortified.
8. Schönburg Castle – Working Hotel, Museum and 4 star Restaurant
Perched high above the town, Schönburg Castle is a must-see for anyone interested in history and architecture. The castle dates back to the 12th century and has been beautifully restored.
Take a tour of the castle and it’s gardens and learn about its fascinating history and the noble families who once called it home.
9. Saint Martin’s Church – A Military Church!
The Roman Catholic Church of St. Martin is a must-see attraction in Oberwesel for travelers interested in history and architecture.
Located on the highest point of the city, the church is easily recognizable with its bright shimmering color and mighty tower that was once part of the city fortifications.
The church was mainly built in the first half of the 14th century and was modeled after the Church of Our Lady, also known as the Red Church.
Since 2002, the Church of St. Martin has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Visitors can marvel at the late Gothic northern aisle that was added in the 16th century and the crenellated wreath and four corner turrets that crown the tower.
The church’s interior is equally impressive with its colorful vaulted areas painted with half-length figures of the apostles and prophets, and the niches and pillars painted with figurative paintings.
10. Learn About Mammoths to Monasteries at the Kulturehaus Oberwesel Museum
Explore 2000 years of history in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley at the Museum on the Rhine.
Housed in a beautifully restored former winery that exudes the atmosphere of a 19th-century upper-class house, this museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the chequered history of a small town on a great river.
Spread across four storeys, the museum features rare finds from pre and early history, the town’s heyday in the Middle Ages, the euphoric era of Rhine Romanticism, and the hard lives of the boatmen’s families.
Visitors can also enjoy film exhibits and a virtual tour of the town, making history an authentic experience.
One of the museum’s most special attractions is the “Blue Parlour,” a room with valuable original furnishings dating back to 1868.
It tells the story of the Hoffmann family, who built the house and owned one of the largest wine estates on the Middle Rhine. There are even interactive kids exhibits with a witch tour guide.
11. Church of Our Lady – Sporting a Gold Altar Since 1331
The Church of Our Lady, or Liebfrauenkirche, is a stunning Gothic church located in Oberwesel that is rich in history and works of art. Originally built in 1308 as a collegiate foundation, the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was built to provide better pastoral care in the wide parish.
The church is home to the greatest treasure, the gold altar consecrated in 1331, which features 56 individual figures that tell the story of God’s salvation to mankind.
The entire interior of the church is of high quality, with numerous frescoes from the 16th century that depict holy men and women.
The altar of Martha in the southern side choir, the altar of Nicholas, and the altar of the 15 signs pointing to the end of the world in the northern side choir are also worth seeing.
12. Günderodehaus – Cult Film Reenactment Turned Chill Restaurant Perched Above Rhine River
The Günderodehaus Filmhaus HEIMAT 3, is a speciality museum that’s especially well-done. In 2005, the more than 200-year-old house was transported from Seibersbach in the Hunsrück.
It was placed above Oberwesel and reconstructed for a cult film series. When it was finished, it became a UNESCO site and turned into a film museum and cultural meeting center.
Now it’s a unique restaurant and event space serving local trout and venison with an incredible view of the Rhine through a magnificent chestnut tree.
Check their site for opening times as they close for bad weather at times. Every time I’ve gone by they’ve been closed! But I really want to try their set menu.
Just a few hundred meters past the Günderrodehaus is the famous Troll Path and the Oberwesel sculpture path. They are magical and on the way to the most beautiful lookout of the Loreley Rock.
13. Turmmuseum – Interactive Tower Museum
If you’re interested in history, be sure to visit the Turm Museum, which is housed in one of Burg auf Schoenburg’s towers. It’s a fascinating look at the town’s past, and the knowledgeable staff are happy to share stories about the tower’s long history.
It’s actually a family-owned and operated castle, hotel and musuem. The father will show you photos of when his grandfather picked up the castle at a steep discount after WWII.
And if you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss the crossbow range at the end of the tour.
For Art Lovers
14. Stand in Actual Footsteps of the Father of Romanticism – William Turner
William Turner was an English Romantic painter who is widely considered one of the greatest landscape painters in history and often featured in the Tate Museum in London.
Born in 1775, Turner’s works often showcased his love for nature and his ability to capture the beauty of landscapes in his paintings.
His use of light and color was revolutionary and helped set the stage for the Impressionist movement that followed. Some of his most famous works include “The Fighting Temeraire,” “Rain, Steam and Speed,” and “The Slave Ship.”
In 1817, Turner embarked on a walking tour along the Rhine River, which would later inspire many of his paintings.
During his time in Germany, he traveled through many of the towns and villages along the river, including Oberwesel, Bacharach, and St. Goar.
Turner’s time along the Rhine River was a turning point in his career and helped solidify his reputation as a master landscape painter.
To find the locations, walk along the Rhineburgenweg trail near the Günderodehaus and keep your eyes down for the placards with footprints. You can stand in the exact place he did, to see what inspired him to create some of the greatest works of art of all time.
15. Find the Defiant Dali House
All I’m gonna say is wow. Just wow. It’s right in town and I’ll let you find it, have fun on the treasure hunt!
16. Get Creeped Out at the Frauenblick Sculpture
Another testament to how NOT BORING Germans are. This one is on the way to the Günderodehaus just above Oberwesel and I’ll let you find it, have fun on the treasure hunt!
For People Who ❤️ Off-the-Beaten Path
17. Amble Up the Secret “Weinlehrpfad”
Oberwesel is full of little cobblestone alleys and secret paths that give you insight into the local culture and views into immaculate back gardens.
On this .6 mile hike up to the Günderodehaus you’ll find frescos to saints and angels on this secret little path to learn about wine. Here’s the GPS directions.
18. Meditate on the Ancient Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Path
All roads lead to Santiago, as the saying goes. Known in Germany as “Jakobsweg”, the Camino winds through the Rhine River gorge right through the town of Oberwesel. Find the signature blue scallop sign and follow this mystical path and ponder what really counts.
Most people think only of Spain for the Camino, but there are thousands of tributaries throughout Europe leading to Santiago de Compostela.
19. Get Your Heart Racing on the Hidden Path to Burg auf Schönburg
For a fun, short and heart pounding excursion, you can hike up to the town’s signature castle and get a new perspective of Oberwesel.
Here’s a gps to the exact trailhead where you’ll climb up 100 ft of elevation in less than a half of a mile to get really gorgeous views and walk past the Liebenfrauenkirche and wine bottle garden.
The trail is rocky and slippery in parts, so I recommend to have a sturdy pair of shoes on and not go up in flip flops unless you are really agile.
20. Fly Down a Summer Bobsled at Sommerrodelbahn Loreley
Fun for the whole family, a “rodelbahn” is a part tobaggon, part bobsled and super fun. You sit on a little sled inside a metal half-tube that’s equipped with a hand brake to slow yourself down as you fly down the hill. This would definitely be against the law in most parts of the US.
It’s encouraged to use your brake frequently, but here in Germany we like to see who can go the fastest!
The park has a cozy cafe, food stands and large parking lot. It’s best to drive or get a taxi from Oberwesel.
For Food and Wine Lovers
21. Go Wine Tasting – Vineyards Dating Back to Roman Times
When in Oberwesel, you cannot miss the opportunity to taste some of the finest wines in Germany. The region is famous for its Rieslings, and the local wineries offer wine tastings that will leave you wanting more.
My favorite casual wine tasting is the Winegut Hoffmann on the main street of the village adjacent to the Altstadt. Here you’ll find fellows with their dogs always willing to get into a broken English-German conversation. Time operates more slowly here than most of Germany.
Some of the other top wineries in the area include Weingut Lanius-Knab and Weingut Winfried Persch. Both offer tours and tastings, and you can even purchase a bottle or two to take home with you.
If you like red wine, you’ll have to use the auto-ferry (or drive a LONG way) to Assmannshausen on the “right bank” of the Rhine. It’s THE red wine village.
22. Taste the Local Cuisine
Foodies, rejoice! Oberwesel has a variety of local cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds. The region is known for its hearty dishes, such as sausages, schnitzel, and potato dishes. But there are also some unique local treats that you should try.
- Flammkuchen: This is a thin-crust pizza-like dish that is topped with crème fraîche, onions, and bacon. It’s crispy, savory, and oh-so-delicious.
- Rheinischer Sauerbraten: This is a classic German dish that is made with marinated beef, red wine, and vinegar. It’s slow-cooked to perfection and served with potato dumplings and red cabbage.
- Schneeballen: This is a sweet treat that is made with fried dough that is covered in powdered sugar. It’s a bit messy, but it’s worth it.
For a taste of local cuisine, head to my favorite for ambiance and taste – the Historische Weinwirtschaft.
23. Take a gondola ride over vineyards
The Rhine river features summer chairlifts along its length, allowing people of all abilities to reach the top of the steep gorge and enjoy the breathtaking views.
🚠 SUMMER CHAIRLIFTS 🚡 🚠
An easy & relaxing Way to experience the 🇩🇪 German OUTDOORS 🚠
It doesn’t have to be HARD to explore & connect to Nature 🌎.
1️⃣ On the Upper Middle Romantic Rhine UNESCO site:
the Boppard Chairlift and Assmannshausen chairlift offer stunning views of the Rhine River. The Rüdesheim cable car offers wheelchair accessibility.
2️⃣ Flying over the Moselle River:
the Cochem chairlift takes you over vineyards and slate blue craggy mini-mountains.
Just like an e-bike, a bit of technology can make exploring nature more accessible to everyone. ❤️ ♿️
Oberwesel Travel Guide
In this guide, I will first share with you some tips such as:
- How to get to to Oberwesel
- How long to stay in Oberwesel
- How to get around inside Oberwesel
- Best time of year to visit Oberwesel
- Where to stay in Oberwesel
How to Get to Oberwesel
By Train: Oberwesel is served by the MittelrheinBahn and the main (only) station is right in the center of town. Trains are about 1 time per hour.
When you book your transport online, I personally recommend and always use OMIO. They search for trains, buses, flights and ferries, so you get the easiest way to your destination!
By Car: There are multiple ferries that allow you to criss cross the Rhine river, so it’s easy to drive to Oberwesel from wherever you may be approaching. There can be backups however, just give yourself some extra time. Parking can be challenging in summer and is usually paid.
🚗 Car Rental: I always use Discover cars because they search for local and international options so you get the best deal.
By Flight: Frankfurt Hahn is the closest airport, only 65 minutes away. There are also 3 easy airports close to Rudesheim that take about 1.5 hours to drive to get there. The first is Frankfurt International Airport. The second is Luxemburg International Airport. And finally, Cologne-Bonn International Airport is also an easy drive.
How Long to Stay in Oberwesel
Most people coming to Oberwesel may only be here as a stop on of the Rhine River boat cruises and that’s totally fine. You can see quite a few things in the space of an afternoon.
However if you really want to soak in the genuine German ambiance I would suggest 2-3 days to really see all that it has to offer. It’s a perfect weekend getaway to pair with a visit to next door Bacharach.
How to Get Around Oberwesel
One of the best ways to get to know Oberwesel is by walking around the Altstadt, or Old Town. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time as you wander through the narrow streets and admire the half-timbered houses.
You can also rent a bike or ebike, but the town is small enough for most people to enjoy it by foot. To reach other villages or towns on the Rhine you can utilize the train and bus system, hike, bike or go by car.
Best Time of Year to Visit Oberwesel
Year Round Fun – but April through October is the Best
Mother’s day is my absolute favorite time to visit Oberwesel. The canola oil fields are blooming a brilliant yellow and fruit trees are still in blossom.
The crowds haven’t come yet and you get to enjoy restaurants and wine tastings without reservations. However, the rest of the year has it’s benefits and you can always go hiking.
January through March can be a bit of a drag and muddy.
Oberwesel Accommodation Options
Hotels and Inns
Looking for a cozy place to rest your head after a day of exploring Oberwesel? You’re in luck! There are plenty of hotels and inns in the area that offer comfortable accommodations and a touch of local charm.
|Hotel/Inn Name||Price Range||Features|
|Schönburg Castle Hotel||$$$||Historic castle, restaurant, bar, terrace|
|Gasthaus Weingut Stahl||$$||Family-owned, restaurant, wine tasting, free breakfast|
|Hotel Weinhaus Weiler||$$||Wine bar, family-owned, terrace, free breakfast, pet-friendly|
Each hotel and inn has its own unique features and amenities, so be sure to do your research and find the one that best fits your needs and preferences.
Most Magical Place to Stay schönburg oberwesel
The absolute best place to stay in Oberwesel is the stunning Schönburg Castle, which looms over the town like in some medieval nerd’s dream and offers breathtaking views of the Rhine River.
It’s LGTBQ friendly, has a secret garden, an interactive tower tour and a hotel that will completely blow you away with it’s imaginative touches and delicious food.
Oberwesel Camping and Glamping
If you’re looking to get closer to nature during your stay in Oberwesel, camping or glamping might be the way to go. There are several campgrounds and glamping sites in the area that offer a unique and sustainable travel experience.
- Campsite Oberwesel: Located just outside of town, this campsite offers tent and RV camping, as well as cabins and bungalows. Facilities include showers, toilets, and a playground.
- Campingplatz Loreleyblick: Situated on the banks of the Rhine, this campsite offers tent and RV camping, as well as rental caravans. Facilities include a swimming pool, playground, and restaurant.
Whether you prefer roughing it in a tent or enjoying the comforts of a glamping site, camping in Oberwesel is a great way to connect with nature and experience sustainable travel.
Quick History of Oberwesel
Oberwesel, located in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany, has a fascinating history that dates back to the Middle Ages. The town was founded in the 9th century and quickly became an important center of trade and commerce, thanks in large part to its location along the Rhine River.
In the 13th century, Oberwesel was granted city status, and its fortifications were expanded to protect the town from invaders.
One of the key figures in Oberwesel’s history was the Archbishop of Trier, who had significant influence over the town and its surrounding region. The archbishop was responsible for overseeing the town’s fortifications, which played a crucial role in defending Oberwesel from invaders.
Despite these efforts, the town was besieged and attacked numerous times over the centuries, and its fortifications were put to the test.
Despite these challenges, Oberwesel continued to thrive and grow, and its rich history is still visible today in its medieval architecture, fortifications, and museums.
Visitors to the town can explore the remains of the town’s fortifications, including towers, walls, and gates, and learn about the town’s role in the Rhine River trade and the local wine industry.
Germany Off the Beaten Path: Curious about other castles and hikes nearby?
- Read my map and trail guide to the Oberwesel to Neiderheimbach hike. It’s amazing and you can stay in a castle hotel there too.
- Want to experience a truly off-the-beaten path part of Germany. Check out my list of the top things to do in Beilstein Mosel.
Oberwesel Attractions Map
How to use this map: Use your computer mouse or fingers to zoom in and out. Click on the icons to get more information. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the written index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your google maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open google maps, click the menu button, and go to “your places”/ “maps.”
What is Oberwesel Castle?
Oberwesel Castle is a ruined castle that sits on a hill overlooking the town of Oberwesel in Germany. It was built in the 13th century and was once a formidable fortress. It is a working hotel, restaurant and musuem.
What to do in Bacharach?
Bacharach is a picturesque town on the Rhine River just one town down from Oberwesel, with plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained. You can explore the town’s medieval architecture, take a boat ride on the Rhine, or hike up to the Stahleck Castle for stunning views of the town and river.
Final Thoughts on Oberwesel : To go or not to go?
Oberwesel is a German hidden gem that is absolutely worth a visit.
There are many ways to experience the romantic beauty of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley in Germany. Visitors can choose from a variety of transportation options, including boats, bikes, trains, and walking tours, to explore the region and take in its breathtaking scenery.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.
Thanks for reading this travel guide on the best things to do in Oberwesel Germany.