Discover Rudesheim with Emerald Waterways

Located at the foot of the Tanus Mountains, Rudesheim is at the centre of Rhine Valley’s wine industry; production has thrived in this town for over 1000 years.

Quaint and picturesque, the town is one of the principal destinations of the beloved Rheingau, a district of the Rhineland whose exquisite natural beauty and year-round mild climate have earned it the affectionate moniker of the German Riviera.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, Rüdesheim boasts a rich historical and cultural heritage, as well as prime views over the dazzling Rhine Valley. First settled by the Celts, Rüdesheim prospered as an important Roman trading port on the Rhine before being inhabited by various Germanic tribes, most notably the Alemans and the Franks. Despite this tumultuous timeline, the town remained untouched by the wars that plagued the region throughout the Middle Ages – gifting it some of the Rhineland’s finest, untouched medieval architecture.

Home to world-famous vineyards, bustling taverns, rolling hills, and historical monuments, there is plenty to see, do, and experience in Rüdesheim. If you’re counting down the days to a luxury Rhine river cruise with Emerald Waterways, you can discover everything you need to know about this wonderful destination in our in-depth Rüdesheim city guide.

Must-see sights

Drosselgasse

Drosselgasse is a 144-metre cobbled street that winds its way through the historic heart of Rüdesheim. Boasting timber-framed houses garlanded with vines, as well as taverns, souvenir shops, restaurants, and bars, Drosselgasse is often described as the merriest street in the world. Appearing in records in the 15th century, the street is steeped in tradition, and was originally the area where the Rhine boatmen would find board and lodgings. In the 18th century, inns and wine taverns began moving into the area, and today, around three million people a year make their way to the Drosselgasse to soak up its magical atmosphere, live music and delightful culinary traditions.

Siegfried's Mechanical Museum

One of Rüdesheim’s main attractions is Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum – the first museum collection of automated musical instruments in Germany. Housed in Brömserhof, a noble court built in 1542, the museum has one of the largest and most beautiful collections of mechanical music boxes in the world, featuring over 350 exhibits dating back to the 18th century. The 45-minute guided tour of the museum is highly recommended and includes a demonstration of some of the instruments – immersing you in one of the more charming facets of German history.

Seilbahn Rüdesheim

A cable car ride up to the Germania monument is the perfect way to take in awe-inspiring views over Rüdesheim’s old town and the glistening waters of the Rhine. The ride lasts 15 minutes and, as well as the standard daily trips, couples can also enjoy a romantic moonlit ride to the Germania monument by night. Travelling over terraced vineyards up and away from the river, you can expect some of the finest views the Rhineland has to offer – so make sure you pack your camera. Rüdesheim’s iconic chairlift operates from March to October each year, and there’s no better way to see the sights during the spring and summer months.

The best of Rudesheim's food and drink

Centuries of winemaking heritage paired with the hearty fare synonymous with the Rhineland ensure dining highlights aplenty in Rüdesheim. Here are some of the dishes and beverages to try in this beautiful German town.

Muller-Thurgau

Riesling may be the best-known wine of the Rhine Valley, but it’s arguably not its best. That accolade, in our opinion, falls to Müller-Thurgau, a reasonably modern grape variety which is a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale. Developed by Hermann Müller in 1882, this grape now grows widely on the hilly slopes of the Rheingau, and it’s a delicious alternative to the dominant Rieslings of the region.

Rüdesheimer Kaffee

Rudesheimer Coffee

Where to try it: Rüdesheim’s reputation for fine viticulture has gifted the town several charming wine bars, but our favourite is Weinstand Marktplatz. This alfresco bar serves wine right on the town square, and benefits from knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Developed in 1957, Rüdesheimer Kaffee is, aside from wine, one of the Rhineland’s best-loved exports. An alcoholic, coffee-based beverage, traditional Rüdesheim coffee contains flambeed brandy, sugar cubes, strong coffee and a thick topping of vanilla cream. It’s usually topped off with shaved chocolate – just to add to the indulgence. It might sound unusual, but Rüdesheimer Kaffee is an absolute must on your visit to the Rheingau.

Where to try it: Any of Rüdesheim’s selection of charming cafés will serve the town’s signature coffee, but few offer as authentic a take as Eiscafe Engel.

Rheinischer Sauerbraten

Like other parts of Germany, the Rheingau is synonymous with hearty dishes whose origins stem from traditional peasant fare. One such plate is Rheinischer Sauerbraten, a dish of roast beef, marinated in herbs and spices, and served with a sweet and sour raisin-based gravy, mashed potato and sauerkraut. Delicious served with a glass of local white wine, Rheinischer Sauerbraten celebrates the bold yet simple flavours of the Rhineland.

Where to try it: For a wholly Germanic dining experience in Rüdesheim, make for Breuer’s Rüdesheimer Schloss. Traditional dishes pair with a warm and welcoming atmosphere to make this one of Rüdesheim’s best eateries – and the wine list is very comprehensive to boot.

Fast facts

Rudesheim is a truly fascinating city – here are our favourite facts:

  • Rudesheim is home to 2,408 people
  • The town’s wine-growing heritage dates as far back as the Roman era
  • The Abbey of St Hildegard in Rudesheim is home to a community of nuns
  • Located in the heart of the old town, Rudesheim’s Breuer’s Rudesheimer Schloss is a four-star hotel with UNESCO World Heritage Site status
  • Rudesheim was first mentioned in 864
Vineyards, Rudesheim, Germany
The town of Rudesheim nestled between spectacular rolling hills

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