For centuries, Rheinfels Castle was the region's largest, most important fortress. Now the imposing castle—one of many along the UNESCO-listed Upper Middle Rhine Valley—is in ruins. The castle, located on a hill along the river’s left bank, dates back to the 13th century. Roam the grounds and learn its history at the on-site museum.
Situated above the town of St. Goar along the Middle Rhine, Rheinfels Castle was founded by the counts of Katzenelnbogen in 1245. Over the years, the castle grew to be the region's largest. While it is largely in ruins today, you can scramble over the rubble, walk through its subterranean galleries and tunnels, and visit the museum. The castle is undergoing a renovation, so some sections may be closed; however, the bulk of the landmark remains open.
Admire the Rheinfels Castle from water on a river cruise, or visit it on a hop-on-hop-off boat tour of the region. You can plan an independent visit by car from Frankfurt or other nearby cities. Book ahead for guided tours and night tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Most tours of Rheinfels Castle are conducted independently; check the website for details on prebooking guided tours, including for groups of 10 or more.
- Dogs are allowed on site, except in the castle’s museum.
- The castle only accepts cash for tickets and for goods in its on-site gift shop.
- A hotel is hosted on site.
How to Get There
See Rheinfels Castle on a variety of numerous one-day and multi-day Rhine cruises. If traveling by car, take the A61 to St. Goar; from St. Goar, take the B9. The castle is also a popular stop for hikers and cyclists in the region, and a shuttle operates from St. Goar and back from late April through late October.
When to Get There
Rheinfels Castle is open in March from morning until early evening, with extended evening hours April–October. In October and November, it's open from morning until early evening. Prebooked, weather-dependent weekend guided tours may be available November–March 1. The museum hours vary slightly from that of the grounds, and last admission is one hour prior to closing time.
Events at Rheinfels Castle
Rheinfels Castle hosts several major festivals and events. The Medieval Castle and Hansen Festival, held on the first weekend in August, takes attendees back to the Middle Ages. Rhine in Flames, a fireworks festival held along the river, is in September.