Extending 65km from the old Roman town of Koblenz to Bingen and Rüdesheim, this river valley with its hillside castles and palaces was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. The valley is home to the famous Rhine wine-makers and is also site of the mysterious Lorelei rock.
The rock rises on eastern bank of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen and towers 120 metres above the water at the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. Strong currents and hidden rocks below the water have meant the mysterious spot has seen countless boat accidents.
The Germans call the Rhine the "river of destiny" as it not only transports goods and people, it has fostered artistic movements and ideas, and has inspired many writers, painters and musicians.
Its profusion of prestigious architectural monuments is among the most impressive anywhere in Europe.