Slow Down and Taste the Wine in Bacharach: Germany’s Rhine Valley Hideaway
Germany produces some of the best white wines in the world. The Middle Rhine Valley is a storybook paradise of crumbling castles and vineyards clinging to cliffs peppered with small towns. The best way to see the Rhine Valley is either by train, boat, or bike—all routes that hug the river for spectacular views. Out of the small towns that line the Middle Rhine Valley, Bacharach is our top pick for an overnight stay.
With the city taking its name from Bacchus, the God of wine, Bacharach has long been a trading center for wine. During the Middle Ages the rocky bottleneck in the Rhine River near Bacharach wasn’t navigable to big ships, so wine had to be transported on small boats to be loaded onto big ships in Bacharach’s harbor. Needless to say, the town prospered. These days big ships pass right by Bacharach without stopping, but it’s the tourist boats that now flood this quiet town. Outside tourist season, Bacharach is peaceful and sleepy, the perfect place to wander among half-timbered leaning buildings.
When people plan a trip to Germany, most head for Berlin. Hightail it to Munich. Fly into Frankfurt. Head for picturesque Heidelberg. All good options…but Germany is also brimming with small towns that are perfect for slowing down, soaking up the history of a place, discovering lesser visited art treasures, and simply enjoying the finer things in life—by which I mean food and wine, of course. The following series of articles will highlight 3 dynamic cities to add to your next Germany travel itinerary.
Delve into Art in the Franconian Wine City of Würzburg
Würzburg is known for great wine and great art. Located in Franconian wine country, Würzburg is filled with wine bars and a skyline dominated by rolling vineyards. Here wine lovers will find everything from vineyard hikes to wine festivals and plenty of wineries and cellars to visit for wine tastings.
Richard Diebenkorn is one of my absolute favorite artists. His large scale canvases are flooded with bold colors that combine to form a uniquely beautiful whole. Seeming to glisten with light, his paintings often hover between the realms of complete abstraction and mildly figurative compositions. Yet all of Diebenkorn’s colorful canvases are tied together by the same energetically-charged quality of raw emotion that continuously plays out alongside an ever-present in-depth exploration of color and light.
With so many great wineries surrounding the Bay Area, travelers to San Francisco will definitely want to find their way out to wine country. But where to start? Napa? Sonoma? Calistoga? We discovered the perfect weekend retreat in northern Sonoma County: The Farmhouse Inn.
Europe is filled with castles, but none quite invoke the fairytale romance we all imagine as children than the spellbinding castles of Bavaria. Two castles stand out among all the world’s top castles: Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle.
Castle #1: Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau is perched above Swan Lake, and was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The castle was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria, and is all original, decorated with scenes from medieval legends and poetry, the walls reading like giant storybooks. Translating roughly to “castle of the village of the swan,” this beautiful castle should be visited first before you set your eyes on nearby Neuschwanstein Castle, which is even more impressive.
Bavaria is my absolute favorite part of Germany. It’s iconic, friendly, flowing with great beer, and filled with incredible fairytale castles. A week in Bavaria will give you enough time to explore the dynamic city of Munich, then head south to one of Germany’s most picturesque regions for some castle hopping.
Munich City Guide
Munich is a beautiful city, filled with history and culture. Although Munich is quite a big city with a population close to 1.5 million, it still manages to retain a bit of a small town vibe. The city brims with festive beer halls, some of the country’s best shopping, and feels like the friendliest place in Germany. It’s got imperial palaces, crown jewels, modern art, and grand pedestrian boulevards. Munich is a true cultural powerhouse, with enough sights to easily fill a few days.
Blackwood’s Bar & Grill at Nira Caledonia
Nira Caledonia translates roughly to ‘Pure Scotland’ in Latin. Set in the new town district of Edinburgh in a classic Georgian building, this boutique hotel is a stylish retreat a world apart from other Scottish hotels, blending chic design elements with luxurious comfort. With rich textures, fancy wallpapers, and metallic highlights throughout, this hotel is a stylish find that also happens to offer a world-class restaurant filled with delicious specialties from Chef David Scott’s inventive hands.
Würzburg is known for great wine and great art. Located in Franconian wine country, this mid-size German city in northern Bavaria is home to one of the most comprehensive and intriguing collections of Concrete Art in the world, housed at the Museum Kulturspeicher.
London is filled with an overwhelming array of hotels. When planning a visit, where do you even begin to look? Foodies visiting the English capital will want to take note of the following hotels, which combine comfort, luxury, and show-stopping style with some of the city’s finest gourmet cuisine.