In a previous post, I detailed how to get to the Rhein and also gave information on my favorite village to visit, Oppenheim.
If you’re more interested in hiking up the hills and viewing the scenery from the top, nothing can beat hiking up to the Niederwald Statue. This is a mammoth statue overlooking the Rhine and was built in commemoration of Franco-Prussian War. It can be accessed from Ruedesheim (which is a stop on the KD ferry line) or from Assmannshausen, both of which offer a ski-lift type ride up to the top of the mountain. For those of you who prefer not to hike, take the gondola out of Ruedesheim. For those of you who would like to hike for about one-two hours (with the consolation of more great scenery on the way), feel free to take the Assmannshausen route. When taking the Assmannshausen route, be aware that the estimated time left to hike is grossly incorrect. We hiked an hour after seeing a sign that indicated we only had about twenty minutes left. Despite this, the hike is very pleasant, and not hard at all (no intense climbing, etc.). The views both on the way and at the statue are amazing, and so worth your while. Food and drinks services are available at the top, so if you fancy lunch, you can arrive hungry!
Information can be found at the Niederwald Denkmal site (look on the left hand side for the English-language option).
For those of you just driving through (but still looking for a quick lunch and scenery out-look), check out Burg Liebenstein (clearly marked from the road) as an option. With excellent views of the Rhein, it is one of the last castles before you head towards Cologne and I’ve stopped there several times on my way through. The food is decent, although on the more expensive side. I love their Goulasch (a German meat stew), and as a locally-owned establishment, they offer a good array of local cuisine. For a few euros you can climb up the ruins of the castle’s tower and get an even better view of the area.
Sorry for the unattractive picture of my friend (he was antagonizing some local goats, literally) – be sure to note the ruins in the background!