The Rhineland - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to The Rhineland

The Rhineland

The Rhine River winds through Germany amidst a fertile valley of villages, castles, mountains and vineyards. The Rhine has been an important trade route for the last two millennia, and the towns that have sprung up along its banks exhibit all the tradition and charm of that rich history.

Each section of the Rhineland has its own attractions, including the winelands of Rheinhessen, hiking trails of Westerwald, mineral springs of Ahr, and historic Roman and Celtic settlements of Hunsrück. The regions are full of their own fairytales and mythology, inspiring tales like Wagner's epic Ring Cycle, where Siegfried killed the dragon and Brunhild plotted revenge. The Rhineland also inspired stories by Lord Byron, Goethe, and Mark Twain.

Today you can visit bustling small towns along the river, each with its own charm, including Mainz, Trier, Koblenz, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse and Worms. Larger cities like Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf are attracting business to their growing metropolises and offer more cosmopolitan shopping and dining. The variety of experiences makes the Rhinelands a perfect holiday destination for just about anyone!

Information & Facts

German is the official language. English is also widely spoken and understood.

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents. ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. The major credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in many large shops, hotels and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash. Travellers cheques are best cashed at exchange bureaux, as banks often won't change them. The quickest and most convenient way to change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that are ubiquitous features on all German streets. Banks are closed on weekends, but exchange bureaux at airports and main railway stations are open daily from 6am to 10pm.

GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).

Bonn is dominated by the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhem University, with a student population of over 24,000. The city has several beautiful churches, including the Kreuzbergkirche, Doppelkirche, and Das Bonner Münster basilica, and other interesting buildings ranging from medieval to modern. Bonn also has many museums, including art museums, history museums, and a zoological museum. On nice days, visitors can enjoy spending a few hours in the Arboretum or Botanical Garden, or any of the other pleasant parks in Bonn; there is also an extinct volcano on the south end on the border with Wachtberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The city is small enough to see on foot, but there is an excellent public transport system.

Despite these pleasant and worthwhile attractions, Bonn is most widely known as the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, and there are many attractions in Bonn relating to the famous composer. The Beethoven House, located at Bonngasse 20 in the house he was born in, has the world's largest collection of Beethoven artefacts and memorabilia, including several of his pianos and a collection of busts. Nearby is the chamber music hall ( Kammermusiksaal), where there are regular performances of Beethoven's works.

Cologne (or Köln) is one of the largest cities in Germany, and a bustling hub of media and business on the Rhine. The dramatic Kölner Dom can be seen from miles away, and a number of other beautiful Gothic and Romanesque churches dot the city. There are also museums dedicated to Roman history, modern and religious art, ethnology, sports, and even chocolate. Several pedestrian streets, called Hohe Strasse and Schildergasse, offer interesting shops, cafes and street music. Cologne has a vibrant and colourful cultural life, with its locally-brewed Kölsch beer and other gastronomic specialties, and is known as the gay capital of Germany with a large Gay Pride event held every year.

Düsseldorf is one of Germany's economic hubs, with a densely populated city centre housing over 10 million people. The city is lively, with a love of music and culture that is hard to resist. Streets like Bolkerstraße, Ratinger Straße and Kurze Straße are alive with nightlife in the evenings, and those looking for a quiet drink can sample the locally-produced Altbier (meaning old-style beer) for which Düsseldorf is known.

Because much of Düsseldorf was destroyed in World War II, the city is not as scenic as others in Germany; modern architecture enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy, however, in Frank Gehry buildings and the colourful Colorium, all clustered in the media harbour. There are several pedestrian malls to stroll and plenty of museums and parks to enjoy, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a cleaner and more elegant city in Germany.

The capital of the Rhineland, Mainz is a bustling city with a curious mixture of medieval architecture and gleaming office blocks. The Dom und Diözesanmuseum dominates the skyline in the centre of town, and St Stephen's Church, with its original Chagall stained-glass windows, is a popular attraction in the Old Town, as is the Schillerplatz square. The Kaiserstraße boasts an attractive pedestrian boulevard and church. The city is compact enough to enjoy walking tours around town or along the Rhine. Mainz is also the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press. Close enough to Frankfurt for a quick day trip,

A taste of ancient Rome is a popular tourist attraction in the German city of Trier, 120 miles (193km) south west of Frankfurt. Trier was founded as a colonial capital under Roman Emperor Augustus in 16 BC, making it Germany's oldest city. The city became an important political and cultural centre, and many Roman buildings and monuments remain to be explored by visitors. The city is also a good starting point for trips into the Mosel Valley, and cruises on the scenic Mosel River, which is Germany's main wine-producing region.

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