Germany // Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland //


After the beauty and tranquillity of the Rheingau landscape, first impressions of Rüdesheim can come as a shock, above all the noisy, crowded Drosselgasse, a narrow lane leading up from the river into which tour groups are funnelled for an over-amplified facsimile of German joviality. Having suffered wartime bombardment, Rüdesheim’s not even consistently pretty. Yet beneath the veneer of plastic oompah lurks a genuine wine-growing village with quaint and peaceful corners worth exploring, including at the uphill end of Drosselgasse on Oberstrasse where the half-timbered Brömserhof at no. 29 dates from 1542 and now houses Siegfried’s Mechanisches Musikkabinett (March–Dec daily 10am–6pm; €6), a quirky collection of musical automata. Another saggy half-timbered beauty worth seeking out is the early sixteenth-century Klunkhardshof, in a narrow lane off Markt two blocks east of Drosselgasse. Meanwhile, at the eastern edge of town – a twenty-minute walk from the centre – you can watch a short presentation and buy a variety of local brandies from the Asbach distillery at the Asbach Besucher Center, Ingelheimer Str. 4 (March–Dec Tues–Sat 9am–5pm; free;


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