Visit Rheinfels Castle (Burg Rheinfels) to journey through the ruins of a magnificent fortress that dates back over 700 years. Uncover the ancient history of both the castle and Sankt Goar via exhibits in the castle museum. Count Diether V. von Katzenelnbogen established Rheinfels Castle in 1245 as a hideout for Sankt Goar’s tax collectors. It passed to the House of Hesse in 1479 and then to the French revolutionary army in 1794 before Napoleon inflicted major damage at the end of the 18th century.
Enter via the wooden door of the castle’s clock tower and follow the stone paths that traverse the ruins. Pass through a maze of casemates, courtyards and tunnels. Look inside former banquet halls, bedrooms and entertainment salons. Feel dwarfed while standing inside the enormous vaulted cellar.
Climb up onto the ramparts and enjoy panoramic views of the picturesque Rhine Valley countryside. Gaze down on the town of Sankt Goar and across the Rhine River to Sankt Goarshausen. Watch as canoes, cargo ships, passenger ferries and sailboats cruise along the calm water.
Browse the exhibits in the castle museum in the old chapel. Spot antique coins, ceramics and a scale model of the castle’s appearance in its heyday. Find examples of a bookbindery, tools and machinery from a fret sawmill. See a reconstruction of the Rheinfelsapotheke, a pharmacy built in Sankt Goar in 1598.
The castle stands on a hilltop above the northern side of Sankt Goar’s town center. Walk here in 15 minutes from the town’s train station. Pay to park if you are arriving by car. Check to see if the Castle Express toy train connecting the castle and town center is operating.
Rheinfels Castle is open daily from March to November and has an admission fee. During the rest of the year it is open on weekends only for pre-booked guided tours. The fee includes a trail map of the castle. Visit the official website of Sankt Goar for more information about guided tours and medieval festivals. Bring comfortable walking shoes and a flashlight for exploring the ruins.