The Rhine Cycle Route in Rheinhessen and what makes it so special

Table of contents

Worms - the city with many faces

The Worms Cathedral from near and far the distinctive mark of the city.

Coming down the Rhine from the south, the first thing that greets you on the Rhine Cycle Route is the Nibelungenstadt (Nibelungen City). Worms in beautiful Rheinhessen. The heroic epic of the Nibelungenlied is firmly rooted in the city and this is also visible. For example, there is the Nibelungen Bridge and the Hagendenkmal on the Rhine, which the Rhine Cycle Route directly touches. Did you know that the bridge with its Nibelungen Tower has nothing to do with the legend? It owes its name to the Nibelungen style in which it was built. This unique architectural style of the 19th century is a mixture of neo-Romanesque and Darmstadt Art Nouveau and can only be found in Worms.

Symbol of the Nibelungen treasure - the Hagen monument on the banks of the Rhine.

The Song of the Nibelungs, on the other hand, is world-famous and always the subject of the annual Nibelungen Festival. Equally famous, the refusal of Luther in 1521, where he refused to recant his writings at the Diet of Worms, today's Heylshof. But also the Jewish heritage has a great importance for the city. Together with the SchUM sites Mainz and Speyer, Worms looks back on a significant 1000-year Jewish history, which was honored in the summer of 2021 with the award "UNESCO World Heritage Site". And not to forget the landmark of the city - the Wormser St. Peter's Cathedral - one of the three imperial cathedrals on the Rhine, albeit the smallest. So there are many reasons, Worms to pay a visit.

Just slip into Luther's shoes and go on a journey through time.

The river becomes lakes

The next special feature that awaits you are the Old Rhine lakes. Yes, Rheinhessen not only has the Rhine, but also lakes left behind by gravel and sand extraction near the Rhine. A side trip is worthwhile, because the Old Rhine Lake District is not directly on the Rhine cycle path. In Eich you will find the three-part lake surrounded by lots of greenery. One part is used as a bathing lake and invites you to cool down and relax.

The Altrhein lakes area - the sea of Rheinhessen.

A break on the beautiful sandy beach gives you a real vacation feeling. Pure nature, on the other hand, can be found in the northern part of the lake. The Altrhein adventure trail with an observation tower is a great place to explore nature and marvel at the variety of birds in the protected area while enjoying the peace and quiet.

The Rhine promenade near Eich.
The Altrheinsee with beach feeling.
Lookout on the part of the Altrheinsee that is reserved for nature.

Small town with big church

Already visible from afar, the striking St. Catherine's Church made of red sandstone has an attractive effect. Embedded in the vineyards of the Rhine terrace around the traditional wine town of Oppenheim, it towers over the town and the Rhine. But to see the true splendor of the most important Gothic church building on the Rhine between Strasbourg and Cologne, you have to drive closer. If you find the detailed ornamentation on the red sandstone façade impressive, then you should definitely enter the interior of the church. When the sunlight falls through the stained glass windows, a unique atmosphere is created. One window in particular stands out. The famous Oppenheimer Rose. It is a window rose modeled after a hedge rose and is now considered the power point of the church.

St. Catherine's Church - impressive from above ...
... from close up ...
... and from the inside.

Wine wherever you look

If you haven't noticed it yet, you won't be able to miss it between Oppenheim and Nierstein. The Rhine Cycle Route takes you through the largest wine-growing region in Germany, Rheinhessen. On one side the great stream of the Rhine, on the other the Rhine terrace and vineyards galore. World-class wines grow here. Probably the most famous vineyards can be found at the Red slope. However, the name is not due to the great autumn color of the vines but to the distinctive red soil. The soil has this color because it contains a lot of iron. The combination of the minerals of the clay and sandstone soils here provides a distinctive taste of the wines. So you should definitely stop in one of the Gutsschänken and wine bars of Nierstein and Nackenheim and taste for yourself.

The Red Slope - vineyard with a view ...
... and its distinctive red earth.

State capital Mainz

Just a moment ago you were enjoying the nature and the vineyards and already you are in the hustle and bustle of the State capital Mainz arrived. Here modernity meets tradition and that directly on the Rhine. At Mainz beach and in the winter harbor life pulsates especially in the evening hours. Towering above it all is the Mainz Cathedral St. Martin. No matter how far you are from it, you can always catch one of the towers of the Mainz landmark or a peak of it.

Arrived in the state capital Mainz - in the urban winter harbor ...
... and at the historic cathedral square.

The Mainz "Gut Stubb

Mainz is a city on the water and awaits you with a long Rhine promenade, on which the Rhine Cycle Path also runs. Here you can soak up the pure urban Rhine feeling and marvel at important buildings at the same time. Especially prominent and not to be overlooked in the parade of Mainz Rhine shore highlights: the Electoral castle. The imposing, magnificent building made of red sandstone seems a little out of time. After all, it bears witness to another Mainz wedding. But even today the castle is known beyond the borders of the country. For the Great Hall of the Electoral Palace hosts every year the famous carnival session "Mainz remains Mainz, as it sings and laughs".

The Electoral Palace and its Baroque splendor.

Nature conservation between city gates

After Mainz, the route approaches Ingelheim and Bingen and it becomes quiet and tranquil again. The nature reserves of the Inselrhein with the typical Rhine islands await you. In the freshly inaugurated NABU Nature Conservation Center Rheinauen in Bingen-Gaulsheim you will learn a lot about this special natural area. Some people also like to simply dive into the lush green and the magical blue and the vastness of the Rhine. Lots of bird species on the water but also the hustle and bustle of freighters and other ships accompany you to Bingen.

The Rhine floodplains - tranquility, lots of water and ...
... a lot of green.

Upper Middle Rhine Valley Gateway to the World Heritage Site

In Bingen Once you arrive, you can't get enough of the impressive landscape. Vis a vis from the culture bank of Bingen rise the wine terraces of Rüdesheim with the important Niederwalddenkmal. A little further on is the crowning glory, the Rhine-Nahe Corner, where the Nahe flows into the Rhine and the gateway to the Middle Rhine Valley opens. In the middle of it all, small and inconspicuous Mouse Tower.

The Mäuseturm and Rheinstein Castle - pure Rhine romanticism.

From a distance, one might think that it owes its name to its size. However, the name of the tower, which is about 24 meters high, is surrounded by completely different legends. Since 2002, the 65 kilometers of the river from the Rhine-Nahe corner in Bingen to Koblenz have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the Rhine and through the Middle Rhine Valley, countless ships transported goods, traditions and ideas for two millennia. The size and importance of the Rhine for the region can be felt here in particular.

The crowning glory - the gateway to the Middle Rhine Valley at the Rhine-Nahe Corner.

You know the section of the Rhine Cycle Route and your personal highlight was not there? Then write us about it in the comments!

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As an external author for the Rheinhessen blog, I like to take you with me on my discovery tours through Rheinhessen. With camera and notebook always in my luggage, I explore the region of a thousand Hiwwel, get to know the diversity of wine and meet hospitable Rheinhessen.

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