The Rhine Gorge is a popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 65 km section of the Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse in Germany. If you do partake in one of the increasingly popular week-long river cruises down the Rhine, you will at some point find yourself docked in the beautiful city of Koblenz. However you arrive, though, be sure to make your first stop the magnificent Deutsches Eck, or German Corner. The region’s rocks were laid down in the Devonian period and are known as Rhenish Facies. This is a fossil-bearing sedimentary rock type consisting mainly of slate. The rocks underwent considerable folding during the Carboniferous period. It’s here you’ll witness one of the most incredible natural phenomena in the country – the meeting of the Rhine and Mosel rivers, overlooked by the huge Memorial to German Unity, an impressive equestrian statue of King Wilhelm I.
Watching these two mighty rivers meet is a sight to behold. The river has been an important trade route into central Europe since prehistoric times and a string of small settlements has grown up along the banks. Constrained in size, many of these old towns retain a historic feel today. If you time it right, you can even enjoy a summer evening classical music concert at the same time. Great views of the German Corner and the two rivers can also be enjoyed by taking the Koblenz cable car up to spectacular Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.
Koblenz also serves as a superb jumping-off point for explorations of the beautiful Rhine Valley. The annual Rhine in Flames festivals include spectacular firework displays at Sankt Goar in September and Koblenz in August, the best view being from one of a convoy of boats. The Middle Rhine Valley, or Rhine Gorge, is so important that its entire length from Koblenz south to Mannheim has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you’ll have the chance to see picture-book Germany, with scenery so spectacular you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s straight out of a book of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.