Rhine & Wine Tour: Exploring Hidden Vineyards, Charming Villages, Medieval Castles

A 8 day trip to Germany 
4.43 out of 5 stars
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Old-world mystique cascades across the Middle Rhine as vineyards roll beneath fabulous castles, and half-timbered taverns reveal medieval charms. Germany's most scenic region is also its most sensual, a realm of sublime aesthetics and subtle smells, captivating in its revelation of bygone centuries. This 8-day tour follows the great river, unraveling the vineyards and the surprises.

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Frankfurt, Goethe House and Museum, Rüdesheim, Rhine River, Bingen, Worms, St Peter's Cathedral, Luther Memorial, St Paul's Dominican Monastery, Heidelberg

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Frankfurt – Culinary Welcome to Germany

Frankfurt's culinary heritage is far more complicated than the simple sausage it gave its name to. While Frankfurters are easily found from the street hawkers, the city reveals a gourmet indulgence far beyond a sausage and a bread roll. This city has been a cultural hotbed for 2,000 years, and its legacy prevails amidst the towering skyscrapers of its future. You'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to a five-star hotel in the city's heart, where the atmosphere is distinctly old-world. Relax. Refresh. Admire the skyline. Then head out in the evening for a fantastic restaurant experience.

Housed in a fabulous country residence, this fabled restaurant has two Michelin stars and an outdoor terrace of pure indulgence. After an outdoor drink, step inside to a dining room that's as kitsch as it is chic, a style that reflects the royal tastes of a bygone era. The food is innovative and sophisticated, delicate flavors in bold and daring creations, an ode to creation that reflects the bounty and style of the Rhine. It's an ideal introduction to the tastes of this region, one that's rooted in regal history and pioneering in every dish.

What's Included: accommodation, transfers, dinner

Day 2: Frankfurt – Exploring an Intriguing City

Frankfurt blurs the centuries, hiding its treasures beneath a facade of a futuristic vision. The country's financial capital and the glass-fronted skyscrapers suggest a city of slick, cutting-edge design. Beneath the towers, however, the history that's survived Napoleon, Nazism, and near-obliteration during World War II. An expert guide helps uncover the treasures, leading you on a trail from Roman settlement to ancient Germanic tribes, all the while connecting the dots of German emperors from the first millennia AD. Head out on a private four-hour walking tour to unearth the gems that hide along the city's streets.

Frankfurt is the city of Goethe, and his house has been wonderfully preserved. It takes you into the late 18th century, to a time of dukes and epic poems, theatrical dramas and noble lifestyles. Much like any of the world's other famous playwrights, Goethe transcends history, helping to preserve a time and a place through the written word. After the walking tour and Goethe Museum, there's a leisurely late lunch at one of the city's traditional taverns. Roasted meat smells spill from the kitchen, the beer menu is extensive and rooted in history, while the gregarious atmosphere encourages you to dine slowly and indulgently. The evening is at your leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, walking tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 3: Frankfurt to Rüdesheim – Discovering the Wine of the Rhine

The Rhine, the legendary father of all rivers, is the meandering waterway that sweeps past the ancient towns of Germany. Fairytale castles hang above the water, casting a charming glow on a patchwork of vineyards and flowering valleys. Mystique clings to the corners and the Rhine always moves slowly enough for you to see it as this is not a river that rushes. The Rhine provides a gentle journey, one that seems fitting for the soft tones of the landscapes that surround it. Leave Frankfurt and cruise along the river, taking in the panoramas that feel like they're from the Middle Ages.

Stop in the elegant spa town of Wiesbaden, a place to languidly stroll and take in the Rhine over coffee. Cruise past 1,000-year-old castles and admire the vineyards that dominate the banks. Spend the afternoon at three vineyards, a exciting tasting tour revealing both the white and red tastes of the Rhine. Lunch is included and continues the immersion in local produce, one that has always celebrated organic growing. Continue along the river to Rüdesheim, the medieval city of winegrowers. With a dozen traditional wine taverns for you to spend an evening at your leisure, each offering a tasting journey through the Rhine Valley.

What's Included: accommodation, tour including wine tasting and lunch, breakfast

Day 4: Rüdesheim – The Medieval City of Winegrowers

Beneath half-timbered houses, you'll find the secrets of Rüdesheim past. Bottles line the walls, and the ancient houses open out on small leafy gardens. Each cobbled street seems to contain at least one of these wine taverns, places that continue to define local life in the town. For centuries, these wine taverns have been the tasting houses for the Rhine's vineyards. But before all the tasting, there's more of the medieval city to find. A local guide takes you along the city's fortifications, like the Adlerturm (eagle tower), which stands like a sentinel to the past. Wander out of the old town to a wine-covered valley, and a cable car that rises above the Rhine Valley. Walk for hours, traversing the woods and glimpsing out at the famous river or take in the monument at the summit, then return to Rüdesheim and the lazy afternoon atmosphere of the taverns.

Much like a vineyard, every wine tavern presents an ever-changing menu of local produce, guiding drinkers from the popular favorites to the unique experimental bottles. A local guide helps navigate through the choice, guiding you through the menus and helping you select wines that reflect your interests. The ambiance is elevated by the buildings themselves, each a fabled portrait of medieval design, a place where you can smell the wood and delight in the originality. The evening is at your leisure, and the guide will be happy to offer dining recommendations.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Rüdesheim to Bingen to Worms – Cruising Along the Rhine and More Sensual Wine

Across the Rhine, a short ferry journey to the town of Bingen and immersion in the Rheinhessen wines. A vintner takes you through the styles, building a picture of cultivation that dates back to the 15th century. An Auslese accompanied by fresh bread, an iconic Riesling from an ancient vineyard, Silvaner that preserves tradition and then a banquet of Dornfelder that goes from dry to sweet. It's a leisurely tasting journey, the Rhine glowing beneath the town as you explore the complete suite of flavors. Enjoy a traditional lunch in town before being transferred to Worms, the legendary home of Liebfraumilch wine. As always, your hotel is within easy walking distance of the old city's charms. With St. Peter's Cathedral as the luxuriant compass point, Worms is an idyllic city to explore at leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, transfers, wine tasting, breakfast, lunch

Day 6: Worms to Heidelberg – Liebfraumilch Wine and Walking Through a Pre-Roman City

Gaze across the Worms skyline and St Peter's Cathedral dominates, surreal pinnacles that rise as if created for a lost-world fairytale. St Paul's Dominican Monastery is equally strange in design, but so is most history in Worms. A land where vineyards dominated the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), and wine was exported with names like Blue Nun. A Jewish cemetery provides another tale, and the Luther Memorial helps navigate into another captivating piece of Germany's religious history. At the forefront of it all is Liebfraumilch wine, a product that has never quite shook off a reputation of being the drunk man's wine.

Traditionally, Liebfraumilch is seen as a low-quality wine by world wine experts. However, the best stuff isn't always exported, and there's a side to Liebfraumilch that's packed with subtlety and creativity, one that often comes under a pseudonym. Your guide knows where to try a few of the region's finest bottles. After lunch and a leisurely tasting, transfer to Heidelberg, where your hotel is set in a converted old brewery, with a classic beer garden remaining in its grounds. The rest of the afternoon and evening are at your leisure.

What's Included: accommodation, transfers, tour including wine tasting, breakfast, lunch

Day 7: Heidelberg – Exploring the History of Heidelberg

Baroque charms paint the canvas in Heidelberg, one of the largest Southern German cities that survived the destruction of World War II. Standing on the River Neckar and flanked by the rolling peaks of the Rhine Rift Valley, Heidelberg rises like a dream from the past. Its history has been wonderfully preserved, an ode to both itself and the surrounding region. On a relaxed city tour, start on the Haupstrasse, a pedestrianized street that's lined with monuments to the Middle Ages. Then, ascend to the Castle, where the vistas reveal green forests and red sloped roofs. History merges as you continue, from 18th-century Baroque churches to an open-air theater built by the Nazi regime to host propaganda productions.

In the afternoon, wander through the town at leisure or be guided out to a series of vineyards that line the road out of the town, many of them specializing in apple wine or wine that's still in the process of fermentation (new wine). For true authenticity, you can bring a canister and have it filled directly from the barrel. Tonight, enjoy your dinner reservations at a 17th-century sailors' inn that serves all the classics from the past. Think haunch of rabbit washed down by red wine and shallot gravy, or veal cheeks with spinach.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 8: Heidelberg to Frankfurt – Departure

After looping around the curves of the Rhine, head back to Frankfurt with a one-hour journey to connect with your international flight. Wave farewell to your guide, and don't worry about how to bring the wine bottles on the plane. Throughout the tour, the guides will assist in secure packing and shipment of any of your vineyard purchases.

What's Included: Airport transfer, breakfast


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.