Having survived unscathed by the Austro-Prussian and Second World wars, Marksburg is one of the only Rhine river castles that has never been destroyed or damaged. A typical medieval masterpiece, its interior features a wine cellar, women's chambers, knights' hall and armory, chapel, horse stable and bedchambers, all preserved in 13th-century glory.
Lying on a rocky island in the very middle of the Rhine, Pfalzgrafenstein is impossible to miss. It’s for this exact reason that it made perfect toll station. With dangerous conditions on the left bank of the river, passing ships were forced to veer straight into the channel between the castle and the town fortress, which was chained off to enforce toll payment. If traders refused, they were locked in the dungeon — a wooden float in the castle’s well — until ransom was delivered.
Rheinstein Castle is a 14th century fortress that was rebuilt as a knight's castle in the 19th century. Clinging to a rocky outcrop nearly a thousand feet above the river, its exterior is just as elegant as the interior, known for its vibrant stained-glass windows, three-dimensional paintings and fine historical furniture.
Nestled atop two opposite cliffs straddling the Wellmich section overlooking the Rhine River, the castles of Peterseck and Katz represent a legendary feud of 14th-century St. Goarhausen. Ordered by the archbishop of Trier, Burg Peterseck was built in an effort to dissuade the predatory toll practices of the powerful Katzenelnbogen family. Enabled by their wealth and power, the family responded with an even grander palace on the highest point of the village across the river. Today, the two are dubbed “Katz” and “Maus” castle, emblematic of their iconic rivalry.