This Touristy But Tranquil Destination Is One Of The Most Romantic In Germany, Per Rick Steves

Germany is renowned for its romantic grandeur, and couples from all over the globe visit to celebrate love. Some find it in fairytale fantasies, visiting must-see German sites such as Neuschwanstein Castle, while others seal it on the Hohenzollern Bridge, where 40,000 locks hang, each bound by a lover's wish. However, there is one touristy but tranquil destination Rick Steves considers one of the most romantic in Germany: Beilstein.

Beilstein is also known as "Dornröschen der Mosel" or "Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle" due to its unique inaccessibility and impressively well-preserved architecture — keep in mind, it was only accessible by boat until around the 20th century. With half-timbered houses, narrow alleys, and riverside ambiance, travelers seeking a romantic escape will be delighted by the forces of love ready to be conjured from such scenery. Although walking through Beilstein feels like stepping into a timeless fairy tale, it has a long history of both peace and conflict, dating back to roughly the 11th century.

From the ravages of the Thirty Years' War to the Napoleonic conflicts, this little remote village nestled along the Moselle River has had its fair share of hardships. Thankfully, today, Beilstein is as serene as it is picturesque, with a charming old town, wine vineyards, and the stunning Metternich Castle. As Rick Steves warns, this place is touristy, and its tranquility is interrupted during peak season from September to October, when the village, with a population of just 140, welcomes over 1,000 tourists per day.

Romance in Beilstein

It's hard to imagine such a small place filled with so many visitors. To put this 'size' in perspective, Rick Steves mentions that Beilstein has no food shops or ATMs. It boasts one bus stop, one mailbox, approximately 30 guest houses, and a couple dozen places to eat. But there is a certain charm in having a limited array of options — it means less planning and more spontaneity! Stroll through the medieval townscape of the old town, letting intuition guide you and your partner along the river on age-old cobblestones, past houses with detailed door knockers and flowers.

Perhaps your intuition will lead you to a wine bar, in which case, you're in luck! The Rick Steves-approved Moselle region is famous for its Riesling wines, and Beilstein is no exception. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in tastings at local vineyards like Schlossgut Hohenbeilstein or a cozy wine tavern such as Zehnthauskeller. The town participates in regional wine tasting events and tours, and in the wintertime, there is a magical Christmas market.

Rick Steves also recommends checking out a Moselle riverboat cruise. Timetables are available here, but an excellent starting point is the route from Beilstein to Cochem. This journey offers a delightful passage to Cochem, a nearby town celebrated for its medieval charm and scenic beauty. These cruises provide a peaceful escape and a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape you may not otherwise get if traveling via car.

More travel tips for Beilstein

What's romance without a castle? Enter Metternich, a centerpiece of the town that dates back to the 13th century. The 200-foot castle, perched above the river, ensured that Beilstein remained an important site for trade. Eventually, it became a defining feature of the village, offering protection and serving as a residence for noble families over the centuries, including the Metternichs beginning in 1637. Climb the observation tower and witness what Rick Steves calls a "postcard panorama" of the Moselle Valley; note that there is also a café to enjoy while visiting.

For lovebirds who enjoy a good hike, try the Briedener Schweiz hiking trail. It loops from Briedern to Beilstein and offers a scenic 4.2-mile route with an elevation gain of about 625 feet. Starting from either location, you'll get a glimpse of two beautiful Moselle towns. The hike takes about two hours to complete and is perfect for those seeking a moderately challenging but rewarding experience.

The most time-efficient way to get to Beilstein is by car, but bus routes are also available. If you time it right, you can even start your adventure with a river cruise! Uncovering such a romantic spell involves more than just visiting a beautiful town; it's about savoring every moment with your partner along the journey. If you are visiting Beilstein, be ready to embrace it with a spirit of adventure, an appreciation for each other, and the wonderful place and time you are in.