Discover fairytale castles where history meets mystery

Imagine a 40-mile stretch of scenic landscape, dotted with grand hilltop castles and fortresses and marked by deep-ravined canyons that plunge to unbelievable depths. This is the Rhine Gorge — a UNESCO World Heritage Site that traverses from Rüdesheim to Koblenz, Germany and has connected the northern and southern halves of the continent since prehistoric times.

While aboard one of our award-winning ships sailing the Rhine River, you can take in the awe-inspiring scenery from the Sun Deck or enjoy a personal moment admiring the landscape from your twin-balcony stateroom or suite. Either way, the view is one you will always remember. A river cruise along the Rhine will transport you into a fairytale, and though the knights and lords are long gone, the majestic castles remain as a reminder of the past. Here are five of the incredible castles that hold court along the Rhine River.

Marksburg Castle (BRAUBACH, GERMANY)

Located just above the quaint town of Braubach, Germany, Marksburg Castle is the only castle on the Rhine that has fully withstood the test of time, having survived unscathed by the Austro-Prussian and Second World wars. It now serves as the headquarters of the German Castle Association and contains the largest library dedicated to castles in all of Europe.

Rheinfels Castle (SANKT GOAR, GERMANY)

After its expansions, Rheinfels Castle became the largest fortress of the Middle Rhine between Germany’s Mainz and Koblenz, and today, it is the largest castle ruin, with its labyrinth of trenches and tunnels that visitors can explore. This castle changed hands several times throughout history, and what remains of the castle now includes the luxury Romantik Hotel Schloss Reinfels as well as a museum detailing its history.

Stahleck Castle (BACHARACH, GERMANY)

Stahleck Castle overlooks the Rhine from 525 feet up offering an impressive view of the area. While the 12th-century fortification was destroyed in the late 17th century, it was rebuilt a few hundred years later. The brick and half-timbered façade and grey shingled roof make it a sight to behold, and while it is no longer serving its original purpose, today, Burg Stahleck is known as one of the most popular youth hostels in the region.

Drachenburg Castle (KÖNIGSWINTER, GERMANY)

Originally the home of a stockbroker in the 19th century, Drachenburg Castle stands atop a hillside near Königswinter, Germany overlooking the magnificent Rhine River. After the owner’s passing, the castle was repurposed several times before being damaged by Allied bomb raids in 1942. A private investor saved it from being knocked down at the last minute, and now the public can enjoy its stunning views, vast gardens and elaborately decorated rooms or visit for the annual Christmas Market for some added holiday magic.


The 13th-century Lahneck Castle is a medieval fortress located in Lahnstein, Germany. Its pentagonal shape is rare for castle towers, making it a definite stand-out. An exclusive shore excursion, offered for both active and gentle walkers, treats you to a closer look at this castle, which has been cloaked in mystery.

*Exclusive shore excursion available on our Enchanting Rhine, Europe’s Rivers & Castles, Rhine & Moselle Splendors and Rhine & Moselle Fairytales itineraries.

Join us on any of our Rhine River cruises for a view of the magnificent castles featured here, including Captivating Rhine , Enchanting Rhine, Rhine & Moselle Delights , Rhine & Moselle Fairytales, Rhine & Moselle Splendors, Europe’s Rivers & Castles, Treasures of the Main & Rhine, Vineyards of the Rhine & Moselle, Swiss Alps & Rhine Castles and Rhine Castles & Swiss Alps.

Featured Itineraries

19 Days – Travel to Basel, Switzerland & return from Amsterdam, Netherlands
Read more
21 Days – Travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands & return from Basel, Switzerland
Read more
21 Days – Travel to Amsterdam, Netherlands & return from Basel, Switzerland
Read more