Bacharach is a small town not too far from Frankfurt and it’s how you’d imagine a beautiful german town should be! Located by a river with loads of pretty half timbered medieval houses, a beautiful cathedral and a castle. It even has a forest, ruins of a chapel and many vineyards! And these are just a few reasons why Bacharach is an ideal destination for a day trip from Frankfurt am Main! There’s just so many things to see and do there!
While it’s beautiful and atmospheric enough for you to spend 2-3 days, it’s also small enough for a visit as part of a Rhine river cruise or even a longer road trip along the river or around its valley.
WHERE IS BACHARACH?
WHAT IS BACHARACH?
Bacharach is a small town in the Rhine-Palatinate region of Germany, situated by the river Rhine. It has a population of about 2,000. Its name has Celtic origins and it probably sounds as bad as you’d think it does! At least in my ears! And I’m one of those who like the way the german language sounds!
It’s so pretty that even Victor Hugo has praised its beauty!
It’s famous for its annual Medieval Festival.
I don’t think it has anything to do with the singer Burt Bacharach, but Google sees to think it does, as it includes so many search results about him when you try to research the german town!
– St Peter’s Church (St Peter Kirche), the town’s cathedral!
– The ruins of an unfinished gothic chapel, Wernerkapelle, on the site where a 16 year boy called Werner was allegedly murdered by Jews and therefore resulting in an antisemitic pogrom in the region. A plaque has now been placed there to remind of the incident, so such actions don’t take place again in the future.
–Stahleck Castle (Burg Stahleck), a 12th century castle that nowadays operates as a youth hostel!
– FRA – Frankfurt Airport
– HHN – Frankfurt-Hahn Airport
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN BACHARACH:
It’s a very small town with many beautiful corners, so I’d recommend walking every inch of it and make the most of it! Let me suggest an easy itinerary, a walking tour around Bacharach so to speak, which will include most visit worthy sights and things to do:
1. As you enter the town from the end where the train station is, you see the town hall, which is not that attractive compared to other buildings in Bacharach!
2. If you walk straight, after a few metres you’ll bump into the cathedral, the Evangelical church of St Peter. It’s a white and orange building dominating the skyline, as it’s the largest building around. It was completed in 1094 and it’s open from April to October and there’s no admission fee.
3. One of the town’s highlights is undoubtedly its oldest construction, the Altes Haus! As its name suggests (well, if you can speak German that is!), it’s an old house. A very old house! The oldest one around. To be more exact, it was completed in 1568 and now serves as a restaurant!
4. For an abandoned places and ruins lover like me, the ruins of Wernerkapelle don’t offer much, except for a nice viewpoint of the city and the valley! What’s more, most of it is even fenced out for visitors! Let’s move on higher up that hill!
5. Climbing higher up that hill from St Peter’s Church and the Wernerkapelle chapel ruins there is a path that takes you along the walls of the city and a part of it is through a forest. There are some nicely placed benches at certain spots that offer excellent panoramic views from the top.
And by views, I have something like this in mind…
6. As you walk up the hill you’ll find the Stahleck Castle sitting beautifully at the top. Not only can you admire it from the outside, you can also choose to stay in it! The castle operates as a youth hostel! I don’t know about you, but that sounds super cool to me!
Continue walking a little further down and you’ll explore more angles to enjoy this awesome view!
7. Walking along the walls of the town is an activity by itself in Bacharach with nice stops along the way. Like the Love Tower for example! Or the rest of the imposing towers and gates (especially Steeger Tor)!
8. My favourite stop along the way has to be what I think was Bacharach’s prettiest neighbourhood! It’s where the Im Malerwinkel Hotel is located, surrounded by vineyards and waterways.
9. Once you’ve reached the other side of the walls, be prepared to awaken the professional photographer in you! This spot is excellent for photos that are Instagram worthy or postcard perfect (choose your definition based on the generation you identify more with!)! For even better photos, climb up the Post Tower (Postenturm) if it’s open!
10. When you’re back down in the actual town, walk and try to discover all the pretty little neighbourhoods! Pay extra attention and you’ll locate a super narrow street between 2 of the houses of Rosenstraße. It’ll take you somewhere a bit unusual!
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME:
Especially if you decide to spend a night or more in Bacharach, the list of things to see and do grows even longer:
– Go for wine tasting. You’re in the source! The place is surrounded by vineyards for a reason! Ideal for Riesling lovers!
– If you’re both into wine and ice cream, you should taste the local specialty: Wein Eis, which translates as wine ice cream!
– Hike as much as you can! The nature around Bacharach is impressive!
– For something very different spend some time at Rheintheater! In particular, check out its beer garden and all the retro games that will take you to another era!
This is a rough idea of the itinerary suggested above (including most things to visit), though Google Maps wasn’t very helpful, especially in a language other than the German. I hope you find it helpful!