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On the Horseshoe Bend of the Rhine

The town of Boppard lies in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage area at the upper part of the Middle Rhine not far from the Loreley. The past and the present merge here to picturesque scenes of winegrowing and inn-keeping, fishing and ferrying and those vital traditions live on, in and around the ancient city. The town of Boppard offers you the best of opportunities to get to know the surrounding valley in all its many facetted tradition.

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Video: Impressions of Boppard (length: 4 minutes)

1. Location of Boppard in Germany

The town of Boppard is located in the Romantic Rhine holiday region, approximately 71 km to the northeast of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (see map on bottom of page).

The Romantic Rhine is one of the nine holiday regions of Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate. This holiday region is characterized by Rhine Romanticism, that is still very much in the air today, as anyone who has visited this world-famous valley between Bingen/Rüdesheim and Koblenz will tell you. With its picture-book castles and ruins and its historical towns and sights, this impressive stretch of the river epitomises some of the loveliest river scenery in the world. Only a short time ago, it was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Experience a journey back in time and let the diversity, the beauty and the culinary specialities of this region work their magic on you. ... read more about the Romantic Rhine holiday region

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2. UNESCO — Heritage of Mankind

Boppard is located in the UNESCO World Heritag Upper Middle Rhine ValleyOn 28 June 2002, UNESCO elevated the Upper Middle Rhine Valley stretching from Bingen/Rüdesheim to Koblenz — between which lies Boppard on the great horseshoe bend of the Rhine — to a World Heritage. It is so far the only cultural landscape in Germany which UNESCO has included in its list of World Heritage Sites. The crucial factor was the unique way in which the valley has been transformed by human hand over the centuries: over 2,000 hectares of terraced vineyards on the steepest of slopes, of which approximately a quarter are cultivated today; 28 castles in a density to be found nowhere else in the world; and not least, the great importance of the routes connecting southern with northern Europe. The Rhine romantic Heinrich von Kleist summed it all up: ‘It is a region like a poet’s dream, and the most vivid imagination cannot conceive anything more beautiful than this valley, which now opens out, now closes, now blossoms, is now bleak, now laughs, now startles.’

But it is not only Boppard’s treasured historical monuments which contribute to the richness of this incomparable region. Between the dry stone walls of the terraced vineyards, in the orchard meadows and extensive, near-natural woods in the surrounding area, there is a teeming and fascinating diversity of flora and fauna. The green lizard, which otherwise only feels at home in the climes of the Mediterranean, lives on the slopes of the Bopparder Hamm. And with the Boppard candytuft ‘Iberis Boppardensis’ there is even a species of flower growing here which is not to be found anywhere else in the world.

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3. Boppard's Eventful History

Boppard's Promenade along the Rhine RiverFor thousands of years all kinds of people have settled at the biggest horseshoe bend of Europe's most frequented river, the Rhine, and have been instrumental in shaping the unique character of the town. The latest archaeological finds at Boppard's main station attest to the existence of a large fireplace which burned some 15,000 years ago. The place name ‘Bodobrica’ can be traced back to the Celts and was later adopted by the Romans as well. Thanks to its position on the Rhine route, the Roman Bodobrica was initially a flourishing little trading centre. The fourth century then saw the town develop into an imposing border fortress and to this day its outer walls determine the course of the road in the old town centre. The Romans built large baths in their fort ‘Bodobrica’ and even today they still lie hidden in the Rhine sand under the market square.

Roman Fort in Boppard with SoldiersThe Roman fort also formed the centre of the Boppard of the Middle Ages, a free imperial city which through the many sojourns of emperors and kings, time and again came into contact with the pomp and circumstance of courtly splendour. Monasteries being established by Benedictine, Franciscan and Carmelite Orders also furnished the town with unique art treasures. 500 years ago the citizens of Boppard under the Knight of Schwalbach's command were defeated by the mighty Elector and Bishop of Trier, who had already built a customs fort and stronghold on the river bank in Boppard. 1794 saw French revolution troops annex the town to the Republic of France, while Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo brought Boppard into the Kingdom of Prussia. With the Rhine romanticism of the 19th century, Boppard became a popular health spa resort and a place to spend a holiday. People have been coming here from all over the world ever since to enjoy the mild climate and the romantic countryside in the valley of the Loreley.

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4. Historical Monuments

View on the town of BoppardNo matter where you go in Boppard's picturesque historic quarter, you will find fascinating evidence of the town's eventful past. A replica at the Remigius place near where the Mühlbach stream flows into the Rhine calls to mind the important statue find of the Celtic goddess Epona. There also used to be a Celtic village at this very same spot and in mediaeval times the Hohenstaufen and Ottonian kings would hold court here. The Roman fort ‘Bodobrica’ can be marvelled at in the town's historic centre, the best preserved fortifications of late antiquity north of the Alps. Also putting its stamp on the townscape is the Late Roman St. Severus Church at the market square. In addition to the unique Christus triumphens (crucifix) and murals dating back to the 13th century, there is even significantly older testimony to Christian life to be discovered within its bowels: below the stone floor lie the baptismal font and the pulpit of Boppard's first, early Christian church, which once rose up here in the erstwhile thermal spa of the Roma fort.

The mediaeval town wall extending the Roman fort bears witness to the townsfolk's ability to defend themselves. The most beautiful part is undoubtedly the Binger Gate, not far from the ‘Balz’, the square in the neighbourhood of the same name. The electoral palace on the banks of the river is one of the most impressive edifices on the Middle Rhine. It was from here that the customs fort and stronghold of the Trier electors had command over not only the town but also over the entire Middle Rhine. Today the town museum is housed within these formidable walls and contains an impressive collection of the so-called bentwood furniture with which the Boppard cabinetmaker Michael Thonet revolutionised furniture design around the world in the 19th century.

Just as much worth visiting are the magnificent Provost's Residence in the district of Hirzenach, the unique baroque church of St. Pankratius with presbytery and working quarters in the district of Herschwiesen, and Castle Schöneck high above the Ehrbachklamm gorge.

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5. Points of Interest

Roman ‘Fort Bodobrica’
Roman Fort Bodobrica in Boppard
For Rome, Boppard was one of the most important settlements on the Middle Rhine, proof of which is to be found everywhere in the town. As a direct result of Julius Caesar's triumphal campaigns in the country, this area was also, was conquered to eventually form part of the Roman realm. The area was formerly occupied by Celts who gave the name 'BAUDOBRIGA' to their ancient settlement. After traces of early Roman occupation in the Mühltal area not far from what now constitutes the western borders of the town, work began on a substantial fortification with the name BODOBRICA and from which the present name BOPPARD is derived. It was built in the fourth century and situated directly on the banks of the Rhine, measuring approximately 1010 by 505 ft., and forming a rough rectangle, ranging over an area of 4.7 hectares. The walls are 10 ft. thick to the inland side and 8 ft. thick towards the Rhine. It was 29 ft. high and thus presented an impressive obstacle to intended attack. In addition, on the inland side, the fortress could boast 20 horseshoe shaped towers each at regular intervals of about 88 ft. from each other, which offered additional protection against a possible attack from that direction. After the fall of Rome and the final departure of Roman forces, this building formed the centre of settlement from which the later town steadily developed. Today, we can see the pulsing life in the streets of a modern town, but the origins of Boppard are still clearly visible. We can see the ruins of Roman occupation with its mighty fortification, which still surrounds the town centre, and indeed the walls of this Roman fortress are the best preserved in the land.
St. Severus Church
St. Severus Church in Boppard
This twin-towered parish church, built in Romanesque style over the original Roman military baths of the fortress in the 13th century has a rich architectural structure and decoratively painted arches with the legend of St. Severus. Especially worth seeing is the Triumph Cross (13th century).
The Carmelite Church (Karmeliter-Kirche)
Carmelite Church in Boppard
The Gothic Carmelite Church (14th-15th century) houses a rich interior which includes, for example, gravestones, choir stalls (15th century). The Carmelite Worship of Mary can be seen in various representations, the 'Grape Madonna', the 'Madonna with the Rosary', and 'In Piety'. The former cloisters now houses the town administration.
Church of Christ
The new Byzantine style ‘Christuskirche’ was inaugurated in the presence of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1852. The interior soars up to a dome-like vault supported by slender columns. The south wing was turned by 90 degrees in 1975 as a consequence of building the B9 highway.
The Baroque Church of St. Pancras
Surrounded by a wall and in the middle of a former cemetery in Herschwiesen, stands the baroque church of St. Pancras (1744-46). It is of interest because of the homogeneity of its baroque furnishings and is also a place of pilgrimage, as it houses a picture of grace of the ‘Black Madonna’ in Windhausen.
The Priory at Hirzenach
Priory in Hirzenach near Boppard
The church, the vicar's house and the garden constitute an ensemble the origins of which go back to the ancient church of St. Bartholomew (Romanesque tower) in the early 12th century. The early Gothic choir stems from the year 1250. The huge vicarage (an early priory until the 18th cent.) overlooks the garden.
Protestant Church at Holzfeld
On a small hill in the centre of Holzfeld stands its protestant church, erected in the 18th century. Because of its structureless construction and the square west tower (15th cent.), the church gives a very defiant impression. The interior of the church harbours a very old baptismal font made of basalt lava.
Mustard Mill in the Monastery of St. Martin
The old mustard mill or grinder can be found in the monastery, which is now under the protection of the National Ancient Monuments Trust and can be viewed twice daily in the accompaniment of a professional guide who will give the visitor detailed information on the manufacturing of mustard. And, of course, there is a free sample of the mill’s product.
Teehäusje (Little Tea House)
The ‘Teehäusje’ is the oldest half-timbered house in Boppard and goes back to the year 1519. Today, it shelters a small teashop, which is worth visiting on your tour of the town for a view of the ancient building's interior.
Marienberger Park
Behind the large baroque building of the former Marienberg Monastery (18th century) there is a park belonging to the monastery, laid down as a country park in the 19th century. By far the majority of the trees stem from this time. A large pond and paths leading to and from it invite the visitor to explore the surroundings.
Half-Timbered Houses in the Town
Half-Timbered Houses in Boppard
There are many half-timbered houses to admire in the town centre, namely those to be seen in ‘Unteren Marktstraße’, in Kronengasse (Crown Lane) and in the Market Place. Of special interest are ‘Haus Bodenbach’ where the gables stand on posts and are richly carved, and the ‘Haus zur Arche’ (16th – 17th century), both of which are situated in the Oberstraße.
Eltzer Hof
One example of the many medieval residences belonging to the privileged at that time in Boppard is the carefully restored ‘Eltzer Hof’. The building to the rear goes back to the 16th century, while the main building to the street is from the 18th century. The coat of arms signifies the marriage of this noble family of ‘Eltz’ (Lion) and that of the ‘Stromberg Fist’.
Ritter Schwalbach Haus in Boppard
One part of the Federal Academy (formerly a monastery for Franciscan monks) is the Ritter-Schwalbach-Haus on the banks of the Rhine (13-15th century) and is one of the oldest buildings in the town. It is a square, three-storey building with little bay window turrets and pointed, helmet- like towers standing next to the medieval ‘Sandtor’ (Sand Tower).
Museum in the Kurfürstlichen Burg
Kurfürstliche Burg in Boppard
What is the link between the Vienna Coffee House atmosphere and the romantic Rhine? It is here in Boppard on the Rhine that Michael Thonet was born in 1796. He was not only a carpenter but also a manufacturer of furniture and later the developer of a new method of furniture manufacturing. He experimented with wood, steam and pressures and, as a consequence, he was able to create his famous bent-wood furniture, including the Vienna Coffee House chair, which he created after settling down in Vienna. The Thonet Collection is the heart of Boppard’s museum which has been in the Kurfürstlichen Burg (Electoral Castle) for the last hundred years. Its thick walls accommodate other exhibitions, which tell something of the life and activities of Boppard’s citizens since its early settlement. In the former castle chapel, for instance, one can discover a unique frescoed room dating from the 14th century and one of the best to be found in a Rhine castle. 

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6. Vineyards of Bopparder Hamm

Vineyards of Bopparder HammWine and the Middle Rhine are inseparable, and at no better place than at the gates of the town of Boppard can one enjoy the majestic green of the vine here at Bopparder Hamm, a vine that produces a very fine, exclusive wine to delight the spirit. The vineyards of Bopparder Hamm, which dominate the banks of the Rhine as it flows northwest, are visual proof of Boppard's reputation as the home of a very special winegrowing area. The incline facing south enjoys an ideal angle to the sun, is able to utilise the river's surface as thermal storage and is well protected from the west and from the east, and so benefits from this ‘mini-climate’ constellation of circumstance. In short, it constitutes the optimum environment for the cultivation of excellent wine.

Bopparder Hamm vineyard covers an area of 75 hectares and thus is the largest single vineyard on the central Rhine. It is divided up into individually cultivated areas such as Elfenlay, Fässerlay, Weingrube, Mandelstain, Feuerlay, Ohlenberg and Engelstein. The uncontested star among the wines is the Riesling, which, because of the deep, widely distributed slate content in the primordial soil here produces a wine of distinctive character. Typical aromas, among them, for example, apple, mint, and other diverse herbs, give the wine an unmistakeable flavour immediately recognisable as coming from this region, and they are thus able to delight the connoisseur's palate with their delectable subtleties. However, the best of sites could not produce a wine of such high quality without the passionate commitment and knowhow of local winegrowers who know very well how to bring forth jewels of taste from their wines. Work in the Bopparder Hamm vineyards is still a matter of manual skill among the wines on the steep slopes of the mountain. Anyone coming along at any time of the year will see the winegrower busy binding the wine or trimming it or in some way cultivating and guiding its growth.

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7. Wine Festivals & Wine-Tastings

Wine Festival in BoppardWalks and rambles through the Boppard Hamm vineyards lead directly to the nursery of the grape, which will one day produce the bursting fruit for wine. A highlight of wine research and wine cultivation is the ‘Middle Rhine Wine Spring’ which takes place every year on the last Sunday in April and offers a selection of good wine and culinary delights. About a dozen vintners and winegrowers alternately offer small delicacies to eat and drink in the way of modest celebration. This event is followed and complemented by the ‘Bopparder Weinkost’ which offers as many as 100 wines and champagnes and takes place in the courtyard of the Kurfürstliche Burg (Electoral Castle). The event nicely falls into line with the Wine Festival at the end of September and beginning of October. That, of course, is the highlight of the season, but throughout the year there are many opportunities to enjoy the excellent wine in a wine parlour, where our winegrowers often have their own ‘courtyard festivals’ or to take part in one of the weekly wine-tastings at one of the local wine taverns. Here one will meet guests and locals alike, each relishing the aromas of these superb wines.

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8. Rhine River Cruises

Cruising the Rhine on an Excursion Boat leaving BoppardTravelling on the Rhine is always bound to be a very special experience. On the stretch of the Rhine where Boppard is located, you will pass one attraction after another. Picturesque wine-growing villages with historical centres full of old half-timbered buildings, and romantic castles sitting in splendour on top of the vineyard slopes.

This line caters for round trips, day trips and romantic evening trips by boat along the Rhine. Times and schedules are available at the Tourist Information or directly from the Hebel-Line.
Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD)
Köln-Düsseldorfer is the only shipping line which runs the whole length of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley and offers 160 opportunities to board and disembark.
Loreley Line Weinand
General and day excursions as well as trips with dance music to favourite destinations along the Rhine and Moselle. Schedules and timetables available from the Tourist Information or directly from the Loreley Line.

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9. Recreational Activities

Chair lift
It takes 20 minutes in the chair lift from the valley boarding station, Mühltal, to Gedeonseck and Vierseenblick high up on the hill. It is an unforgettable experience and something, which every tourist should experience. From the top one can enjoy a unique panoramic view over the largest bend in the Rhine.
Gedeonseck is easily accessible on foot a short way from the lift. There is a restaurant of the same name and from here one has a truly wonderful view over the meandering Rhine.
A few minutes away on foot from the lift station, the visitor arrives at the famous lookout point of Vierseenblick from where we have a view of the Rhine, which looks like a chain of four, shining lakes. This point, with its restaurant of the same name, is a starting point for many walking routes.
Rhine Express
A tour of the town of Boppard can be made in about thirty minutes by taking the mini-railway (56 seats) which runs past Boppard's Roman and medieval places of interest. It's an ideal beginning to a stay in Boppard, and if you wish, you can book the train for individual group activities.
Hunsrück Railway
The Hunsrück Railway which travels from Boppard to Emmelshausen, passing through Boppard’s woodlands and Buchholz, is one of the most beautiful railway routes in Germany. The route covers an altitude difference of 984 ft, running through 5 tunnels and crossing 2 impressive viaducts.
Walking Tours
On a tour, which takes about oneand-half hours, you can get to know something of the former Roman settlement, the medieval city and modern Boppard with its cosy, comfortable cafes and attractive shopping facilities. Our guides are happy to adapt themselves to individual needs.
Nordic Walking
The so-called ‘Eisenbolz’ is a circular route on the heights between Boppard and Bad Salzig and is especially suitable for ‘Nordic walking’. From here, the visitor has a magnificent view of both outlying districts, the ‘Hostile Brothers’ and the Rhine itself.

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10. The Spa at Bad Salzig

Just a few kilometres upriver from Boppard’s historic quarter lies the district of Bad Salzig. Nestled in the valley of the Salzbornbach stream, Bad Salzig offers beautiful views over the Rhine and to the Sterrenberg and Liebenstein castles, which are popularly called ‘die Feindlichen Brüder’ (hostile brothers). Bad Salzig is particularly worth visiting in the spring because it is then that the multitude of cherry orchards transform the whole valley into one vast and spectacular sea of blossoms. With its mild climate averaging 18°C over the year, Bad Salzig is not only a favoured fruit-growing area, but also an ideal health spa resort.

The fact that Bad Salzig is principally known as a mineral health spa today is thanks to the initiative of a certain Captain Theodor von Baginski, who was originally from East Prussia and who had the Barbara and the Leonore springs bored in 1902 and 1905. Since then, the healing waters of a carbonated, alkaline Glauber's salt spring have been bubbling up from 446 metres down in the ground. Salzig has in fact officially borne the title ‘Bad’ (spa) in its name since 1925.

Many patients and spa guests find the treatment and cures they need in the superbly equipped and state-of-the-art Middle Rhine Clinic, with its departments for gastroenterology, oncology and psychosomatic medicine. The historic spa house with its sauna and its thermal baths fed with healing waters is of course open to anyone else seeking relaxation and recuperation. The clinic is set in large, expansive gardens, which with their stock of old trees and unspoilt, ecologically laid-out pond offer ideal surroundings for leisurely strolls. Here you will find peace and quiet, inner calm and rest. It is in this unique, atmospheric setting and especially in summer that a wide variety of cultural events are staged.

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11. Events Finder

There is always something happening — whether it is art, music, wine festivals or a host of other activities. The Events Finder gives you an overview about what is on, where and when. Here you can search for events and festivals in the region.

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12. Hotel & Holiday Flat Finder

Here you have direct access to the online accommodation reservation service of the Tourist Board of Rhineland-Palatinate. No other hotel reservation system on the Internet offers you such a broad and comprehensive list of accommodation in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate regions. You can list accommodation, search accommodation, contact accommodation establishments and make online reservations.

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13. Brochures to Download or View Online

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14. How to get there from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport

14.1 By Rental Car

Google Maps: Route from (A) Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to (B) Boppard
(71 km distance / 54 minutes driving time) » get directions

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14.2 By Rail and Bus Services

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport has no direct railway connection. However, the buses from the airport will take you to the railway stations in Koblenz, Trier, Mainz, Frankfurt Main Airport, Frankfurt Main City, Kirn, Idar-Oberstein and Saarbrücken where you can connect with Deutsche Bahn trains or local transport links.

Weblink: Deutsche Bahn — show integrated Rail and Bus Services from Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to Boppard

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Boppard Logo

Tourist Office Address

Boppard Tourist-Information
56154 Boppard

Tel.: +49 (0) 67 42 - 38 88
Fax: +49 (0) 67 42 - 8 14 02