It was a stormy summer afternoon on top of Loreleyblick. While dark clouds were accumulating and sounds of thunder were getting louder and louder, I heard someone singing. It was in a distance, a bit quiet, but melodic. The closer to the edge of a cliff the better the sound was. Who was singing? Was it a famous Loreley?
An old legend from the Middle Rhine Valley talks about a sirene, who deceives sailors as a revenge on an unfaithful lover. Therefore the voice of Loreley was misguiding them and a lot of ships got drowned in this deepest part of Rhine river.
Nowadays, due to noise from boats, trains, and cars, it is very hard to hear the song of Loreley. But it inspired many artists and there are plenty of tails, poems, and songs about her.
Sankt Goarshausen, a little town at around 555 km of the Rhine river, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Visitors usually aim to see the statue of the sirene and climb the rock named Loreley as well.
The statue is located at the end of a long peninsula. You can park your car at the beginning of it and just walk for few minutes. It is a good place to leave a car because at an exact same place you can find the stairs that lead to the top of the rock.
It is not very high, but a bit exhausting hike. However, the view from the top is really rewarding. You will see some turns of Rhine river surrounded by steep cliffs. At one side there is St. Goarhausen with Katz Castle and on the other St. Goar with ruins of Rheinfels Castle. In the middle small and bigger boats are passing by, trying to safely pass legendary Loreley.
It is the deepest, but also narrowest part of the river, which makes it hard to navigate.
A few minutes away from this top view place there is a tourist information point called Loreley-Besucherzentrum. They sell souvenirs, postcards etc. but also maps and guidebooks. After climbing up the hill you may also be interested in the offer of a small bistro or simply in using a toilet.
Behind the building, there is a really cool bobsleigh track. It goes up the hill in the middle of the field and then you just slide down.
Instead of going back down the stairs it is possible to reach the city by making the loop. It leads through the field, some forest, village Heide and finishes at Katz Castle and St. Goarhausen.
At the side of St. Goarhausen there are multiple hiking options:
– Loreley – St. Goarhausen, the one described above
– Dreiburgenblick Patersberg brings you to the spot from where you can see 3 castles at once! Katz Castle, Maus Castle, and Rheinfels Castle (only the last one is opened for visitors)
– Loreley Weinlehrpfad and Liefeld, allows experiencing the rich culture of wine production in the region with more beautiful viewpoints to the river
– Loreley Extratour, which combines them all
The maps, times and distances can be found at: loreley-touristik.de
There are not any bridges on the Rhine between Wiesbaden and Koblenz, so the only way to cross it and explore the other side – St. Goar is by ferry. It works on regular bases, so it is very convenient.
The biggest attraction is obviously the castle. But there are also many hiking options from there. Especially interesting one is if you follow the stairs behind the train station and go along the Panoramic Trail St. Goar to reach Loreleyblick. Maybe you hear the song of Loreley.