Rheinfels Castle Ruins

Sankt Goar, Germany

Rheinfels Castle construction was started in 1245 by Count Diether V of Katzenelnbogen. After expansions, it was the largest fortress in the Middle Rhein Valley between Koblenz and Mainz. It was slighted by French Revolutionary Army troops in 1797.

The main entrance to the castle complex is a tall square clock or gate tower (~1300 AD) opposite the hotel. A connecting path joins the clock tower to the remains of the living quarters of the Earls of Hessen-Darmstadt (the so-called Darmstadt Building). The Darmstadt building was designed in Tudor style with pointed gables. The connecting path was the site of the former moat of the main castle buildings; part of which is now the large cellar or basement. This large cellar was arched over in 1587-89 in two visible phases. It is the largest self-supporting vaulted cellar in Europe and has a length of 24 metres, a width and height of approximately 16 metres and can accommodate up to 400 people.

The walls are up to 4 metres thick. Previously a 200,000 litres wine barrel was constructed for storage. The cellar was renovated in 1997 and restored to its original condition and now serves as a meeting place for concerts, theater performances, and other shows.

The castle museum is located in the former castle chapel which is the only finished room of the original castle. It is accessed through an internal gate and up the path. The museum contains a model reconstruction of the castle before its destruction giving one a sense of how big the castle used to be. The medieval castle courtyard is found beyond the castle museum building (slightly uphill). This was the center of the medieval castle which contained a bakery, pharmacy, garden, brewery, well, and livestock—which would have allowed it to withstand an extended siege. Remnants of the original 13th-century plaster which was painted white can still be found on some walls.

While much of the castle is a ruin, some of the outer buildings are now a hotel and restaurant.



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Founded: 1245
Category: Castles and fortifications in Germany
Historical period: Hohenstaufen Dynasty (Germany)


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

paolo piccolo (2 years ago)
A nice hotel but in the middle of notting. Good breakfast but not the dinner. If drive an electric car they have only one plug for charging.
Sarah Gentile (2 years ago)
This was an amazingly beautiful hotel & spa, that had some of the least helpful staff I've ever met. There is no elevator up to the lobby, so if you can't climb stairs or have heavy bags you're out of luck. No porter, no elevator or ramp. If you don't speak German fluently, forget getting a taxi either, the staff won't call for you, and there is only public transportation at certain times of day. Maybe it's an entirely different experience if you plan all of your transportation in advance and speak fluent German, but for my rudimentary skills it was a headache and no one was helpful.
Deborah Hodges Maschietto (2 years ago)
The hotel is poorly managed and expensive. The service was non existent, the rooms in a pitiable state and the food underwhelming. A shame considering the spectacular location.
Allison Correll (2 years ago)
The staff was very friendly and accommodating. It was easy to access the castle by foot (although be prepared for it to be a steep walk) or by taking the shuttle for the castle museum for a small fee. They may also be able to help you arrange transportation if you do not have a car. We had the double room in the castle. The balcony and view was fantastic. The staff helped us get a wine bucket filled with ice so that we could cook the wine we had brought with us. However the room itself was disappointing. It in no way felt like a hotel room you would except to stay in at a castle and really use updates. Also be very careful when booking. There are two separate buildings, the castle and a building next to it. It costs more to stay in the castle proper. Make sure you read the room descriptions carefully to stay in the place you would like.
Maurice Newton (2 years ago)
Very nice hotel with a beautiful view of the Rhein. We only stayed one night during a trip up the Rhein. We would have stayed longer to take advantage of the pool and spa. The breakfast buffet was very good.
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