Boppard itself is a designated Fremdenverkehrsort (state-recognized tourism resort), known for its wine growing. Word of its famed wines started with the Romans in 643 and today, over 75 hectares are devoted to its vineyards. It is actually the biggest wine-growing center in the Middle Rhine.
Visitors can take part in Boppard's walking tours operated by the tourism board (in a variety of languages by appointment from mid-April to mid-October) as well as use our guide to its top attractions and discover the heart and soul of Boppard.
How to Get to Boppard
Boppard is well-connected to the rest of Germany by car, train and even by boat.
Boppard is 10 km from major roadway A60. It is also accessible on the B9 which follows the Rhine River.
The Köln-Düsseldorfer Rheinschiffahrt (KD) ferry service runs all along the river with a stop in Boppard. Rhine River cruises are also quite popular with many stopping in the city on the their way through the Netherlands, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Switzerland.
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Boppard is centered on the Rhine and easily identified by its proximity to nearby Bopparder Hamm, the large loop in the river. The word Hamm comes from the Latin hamus, which means "hook" - fitting for such a dramatic u-turn.
Trek up to Vierseenblick (Four-Lake View) for oddly segmented views of the river that make it look like four separate lakes. You can hike to the viewpoint or take a chairlift (April to September) for an easy 20-minute ride over vineyards than forest. From here you can also see (and plot a visit) to castles Burg Liebenstein and Burg Sterrenberg.
Back in town, take an after dinner stroll of Rheinallee, a pedestrian promenade along the water bordered by boat docks, chic cafes, and cozy wine taverns.
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Surround yourself with the prized product of the region - wine. The Romans started growing wine here about 2,000 years ago and it has been perfected to an art form. The valley's geography is ideal for vineyards with a sunny south-facing incline.
The vineyards of Boppard Hamm are the largest in the Middle Rhine valley, divided into different areas known as Elfenlay and Weingrube and Mandelstein. Workers are constantly perfecting the vines, but visitors can simply enjoy walking along the grounds and sampling everything from riesling to müller-thurgau to pinot noir - produced right here. If you prefer to drink with a guide, Boppard Tourism offers vineyard tours with tastings.
Return to the city of Boppard to sample more wines from the area in the cozy atmosphere of a wine tavern, like Weinhaus Heilig Grab, Boppard’s oldest wine tavern dating back over 200 years. Or if you arrive at the end of September, the wine harvest begins and a wine festival celebrates the haul.
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Boppard's Electorial Castle (or Alte Burg, "Old Castle") is one of the few along the Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed. Visitors can explore its full 13th century majesty right along the water's edge in the center of town.
This is unusual as most castles were placed high away from the townsfolk on the highest hilltops. But this castle's placement was intention as its placement on the river allowed it to extract tolls on every boat and good that passed by on the Rhine.
The castle extended and morphed throughout its history. During the French Revolution, Boppard Castle was used a a hospital and during the 19th century it acted as a prison. In the 20th century, the west wing housed the police station.
Today, its grace has been restored with extensive renovations taking place between 2009 to 2015. The Thonet Museum, honoring famous Boppard son and furniture maker Michael Thonet, is housed in the castle as well as the Boppard Museum.
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The Roman influence isn't just found in the wine, but in preserved ruins of the town. Some development has taken place on top of these sites (see the church below), but there is still the Roman Fortress.
Römer-Kastell (or Römerpark), just south of Marktplatz, is an archaeological site with original 4th-century Roman ruins. There are 28 semi-circular towers and walls that still stand nine meters high. Though the site is a shadow of itself as stronghold (the walls were once 3 meters thick), visitors can picture the place as it once was with a wall panel that depicts the original Roman town of Bodobrica. This is actually one of the best-preserved Roman fortresses in Europe.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Walk the Town Wall
Despite the development of the city, great care has been taken to maintain medieval elements. For example, many of the medieval town walls remain and are living pieces of the city. One of the town gates, Ebertor, has been transformed into a hotel.
These sections of the wall once separated the Altstadt (old town) from its expansions in the west (Niederstadt or "Lower Town") and east (Oberstadt and "Upper Town"). Other elements, like Säuerlingsturm (tower), have been moved to make room for newer construction like the Hunsrückbahn (train).
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The Church of St. Severus is a beautiful example of late Romanesque architecture. 13th-century Severuskirche was built on the site of Roman military baths and a 6th century Christian church. Its towers define the city skyline.
Restorations since the 1960s have left it in impressive shape. The church features a grand 285 cm high / 248 cm wide cross with a crowned Jesus from 1220. The organ was refinished, polychrome wall paintings were freshened and the interior was restored as recently as 2010. In an unusual move, the church was even modernized with the market square lowered to make it barrier-free.
Even if you don't enter the church, you can't ignore its presence. The church has five bells (all which have survived the medieval ages) and they ring out across the town at 10:00 and 12:00.
St. Severus is a registered monument and was raised to a Basilica minor in February 2015 by Pope Francis.
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Consistently ranked the number one restaurant in Boppard, expect a boisterous local crowd and good German cooking at Severus Stube (Untere Marktstrasse 7). Everything from Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) to Kasseler (smoked pork) is one the menu, ready to be washed down with bottles of local wine for a fair price.
The building is a classic in the heart of the city, half-timbered with outdoor seating on the narrow cobblestone street in the summer.
As this is a favorite with locals and tourists, reservations are recommended. While a little German is appreciated, staff is generally fluent in English and English menus are available.
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Ride the Train Up, Up, Up
Hunsrückbahn is a picturesque railway runs among the trees and above the valleys and through the tunnels from Boppard to Emmelshausen. It is one of the steepest railways in Germany, and certainly one of the most scenic. On the six-kilometer climb between Boppard Hauptbahnhof to Boppard-Buchholz, the tracks climbs 336 meters. This charming stretch of rail has been designated a protected monument.
For those into a more active journey, take the Hunsrückbahn up the most unpleasant part of the hike to Buchholz or Emmelshausen and then amble down to Boppard. Hiking info and maps for the area (in German) can be found in this brochure.
Tickets can be purchased at the station or on the train. A single ticket can cost as little as 1.85 euros, but tarif depends on how far you ride the train. Though this rain line is operated by Rhenus Veniro , tickets for Rhineland-Palatinate and Schönes-Wochenende-Tickets (discount fares) are also valid on the Hunsrückbahn.