A classic road trip tour of iconic Napa Valley in California is a wonderful way to spend a honeymoon filled with wine and romance. I’ve been to the Napa Valley region several times over the years and experienced the tourist filled mayhem. And let me tell you, a romantic winery tour of the Rhine Valley in Germany adds old world honeymoon charm that Napa could never hope to compete against.
Drive along the 60km+ stretch of the Rhine River from Mainz or Weisbaden in the south all the way up to Koblenz in the north. Castle turrents and battlements peak out from hillsides along both sides of the river, interspersed with row upon row of of grapevines waiting for harvest season. It seems like something from a Disney film – a movie set indeed! Go ahead and pinch yourself as a reminder that it is all real and not a dream.
Quaint towns cluster along the riverbanks, a mix of typical old-world style German buildings along with newer ones.
As we rounded the river bend into the town of Oberwesel, sure enough another similar view of a castle atop a hill. This time our excitement grew because we realized we had reached our destination for a romantic castle stay – the beautiful 12th century Castlehotel Schönburg
pathway to garden at Castlehotel Schönburg
Driving up the steep mountain with all its switch backs, I can only imagine how difficult the journey must have been on horse back so many centuries ago. Reach the top and marvel at a castle that looks as you imagine it would from below.
If entering by car, steel your nerves to cross the extremely tight drawbridge structure. Turret, imposing ramparts and typical castle like architecture exude power, money, and strength, no matter what century you live. Such an amazing piece of history that offers an authentic castle experience.
Schönburg Hotel is not for the faint of heart nor those who wear heels! The location on a steep hill makes simply traversing the cobblestone path up to the hotel from the small parking area a bit of a trek. Although, I believe a golf cart is available for those who need assistance. Also, the hotel itself has been updated with a modern elevator.
A warm greeting by hotel reception staff dressed in period costume made the experience feel even more authentic. Upon checkin, we were escorted to our room and provided a neat hand drawn welcome scroll map of the property.
We have stayed in palaces, chateaux, and villas across Europe. Finally, the first stay in a real life castle. I must say that my preconceived notions about what staying in a castle might be like were not far off:
Many of the extremely thick wall are made from stone and painted white
Narrow corridors lead to winding staircases and oddly positioned rooms
Hallway windows are small and narrow, which seems like such a waist given the surrounding scenery. I was quickly reminded by Andrew that the capability to make big sheets of glass wasn’t available back then. Going for Authenticityremember!
What an absolute lovely honeymoon-worthy evening. The third floor lookout was simply stunning at sunset time. Comprised of virtually a whole “L” shaped outer wall walk with a panoramic view of mountains, the town below, and the beautiful river.
This place has romance written all over it. Secluded and alone, we rushed down to the room to acquire a deck of cards, crackers, and wine that we bought from a local winery earlier that day. A romantic evening of games, talking and glorious sunset ensued.
Romance, vineyards, and castles are on offer for a road trip honeymoon of the Rhine Valley. If you are looking for that special somewhere to put your feet up after a long day of wine tasting and exploring, Schönburg Castle is a top choice.
Wether you arrive from Germany, North America, or elsewhere in Europe, a tour of the Rhine Valley with castle life stay is a must. Castlehotel Schönburg couldn’t be any closer to the real deal. Steeped in centuries old history, it offers sunset views of the bustling Rhine River waterway, vineyard covered hills, accessible cute villages, a lovely and private outdoor garden, and terraces to relax. An overall fantastic honeymoon experience.
About the Castle
First mentioned in historical records between the years 911 AD and 1166 AD, Schönburg Castle is perched atop a mountain overlooking the small town of Oberwesel, Germany.
Records indicate the castle was burned down by the French during the Palatinate Heritage War and remained in ruin for two centuries. In the late 19th century, an American of German Ancestry, bought the castle, invested two million Gold Marks and restored the castle.
The town council acquired the castle from the American owner’s son in 1950 and since 1957 the Hüttl family (now 3rd generation) operates the castle on a long-term lease. The Hüttl family started out with only 1 room and have slowly added more rooms over the years. Amazingly, the family live on-site to operate the hotel — sounds like a fantastic live/work arrangement!
The hotel offers 25 comfortable non-smoking rooms and suites, many of which have a private terrace or view of the Rhine River. In addition, a beautiful private garden exclusively for hotel guests offers an fruit tree filled oasis of splendor.
We were given the option between two rooms, Hoftorkemenate No. 37, which has a separate entrance from the castle off the courtyard and offers views into the Engehöller Narrow, it also has a little patio set for two for you to enjoy a little people watching while you sip your wine just out your front door. It is also known to be one of the cooler rooms as it does not get direct sun light.
The other option was to bed down in Pfalzgrafenkemenate No. 11 (don’t ask me how to pronounce that), which offered stunning views of the Rhine River. However, we were informed that it tends to be a little warmer on hot summer days. One thing about Castlehotel Schoburg to note is that there is no air conditioning, entirely understandable due to the fact that it is a protected structure.
We absolutely had to choose the warmer room because the views were irresistible. The room came with a modern day oscillating fan, which made for the pleasant temperature at night.
Enter the room and you are greeted by sherry in a crystal decanter, a plate of fruit, and a lovely chocolate on the pillow. One extra touch that seems uncommon in hotel rooms these days is in-suite stereo speakers hung on the wall. A wedding themed CD library is included, which makes this room a great honeymoon option.
Each room is individually decorated in keeping with the heritage of the castle. Although the furniture is antique, the room ambience has a warm and inviting feeling. The bathroom includes a nice bathtub and separate toilet area. Thick stone walls ensure a soundproof sleep.
Visiting amazing hotels around the wolrd makes one a bit of a breakfast snob. We’ve certainly had a few good views to go with those morning breakfasts. However, I must say the bar keeps getting set higher and higher. Included in all Castlehotel Schönburg stays is a delicious buffet breakfast served outdoors on their Pfalzgrafenstein Terrace overlooking the Rhine River and surounding hillside vineyards.
Sunshine and twittering of birds included free of charge!
The buffet breakfast includes homemade jams, fresh croissants, mini hamburgers, cheeses, and loads more. Top it off with a stunning view and I think you’ll agree that can’t start your morning off any better.
The restaurant at Castlehotel Schönburg serves lunch as well as dinner. A 4-course-dinner is included with all hotel stays, which hotel guests can enjoy either inside the restaurant or on the romantic terrace.
Location: Oberwesel Germany
Schönburg Castle is situated on a small hill overlooking the medieval town of Oberwesel, smack in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley. The Rhine River makes for a beautiful scenic road trip. Located only an hour outside of Frankfurt, the meandering river lends itself to a spectacular and laid back drive.
The region will keep you busy with all sorts of activities. Whether you fancy a leisurely bike tour along the river from town to town, window shopping and sauntering the streets of charming towns such as Bacharach, an afternoon of vineyard tours and wine tasting, or a river cruise down the Rhine, this area most certainly has a little something special for everyone who visits.