Of small rivers & great discoveries

The Loreley and Rüdesheim are two of the sights on the Rhine for which people travel halfway around the world in droves. Between them are only around 30 km of river and many more tourist hotspots. At around the half-way point, along the right bank of the Rhine, Lorch is the ideal place from which to embark upon beautiful tours into the Middle Rhine Valley and the Rheingau.

Susanne Röntgen-Müsel knows how to delight people. The hotel manager from Lorch positive-ly enthuses when asked why it’s worth spending the night in her hotel: “Where should I start?” she asks, laughing. Of course her “Hotel im Schulhaus” itself is wonderful, but it is even more important to her that people can go on so many wonderfully diverse excursions in and around Lorch and enjoy the landscape and cul-ture. She then starts a list and begins with an insider tip: the Wisper valley. The river Wisper flows directly past the hotel, flows into the Rhine in Lorch and is only 30 kilometres long. But on its short way through the forests and vineyards, the little river passes through a picturesque and idyllic landscape.

Footpaths to happiness

The banks of the Wisper and the surrounding forests are wonderful locations for walking. Of course, the famous Rheinsteig path leads along here, but also − and here comes insider tip number two − the Wispertalsteig. From early summer 2018, 14 attractive circular trails enhance the offer of “premium hiking in the Wispertaunus”, two of which start directly in Lorch itself. The wonderful thing about the walking trails here is that most of them are unspoiled, leading over forest floor, far away from roads and through the heart of the wonderful nature of the Wispertaunus.

Walking is a major topic if you want to go on tour from Lorch − and for Susanne Röntgen-Müsel in any case. She and her husband are trained hiking guides, and the entire hotel team also loves to be out and about on foot. The tips that every guest receives upon request are accordingly competent. You can start walking from right behind the hotel, and there are suitable tours for absolutely everyone. “You can take a relaxed walk for an hour or a strenuous hike for six or eight hours,” says the hotel manager, who is perfectly prepared for hikers in her hotel and also lends out Nordic walking sticks, for example.

Anyone who wants to hike on the Rheinsteig has two options from Lorch: upstream you can travel around 13.5 technically demanding but highly attractive kilometres to Kaub with its famous castle Pfalzgrafenstein in the middle of the Rhine. Downstream, the long-distance hiking trail leads down 20 kilometres in about six and a half hours to Rüdesheim, where the sights are lined up like pearls on a string.

“You can also relax during this tour on the return trip by boat. More UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one day is hardly possible!”

Train, ship or bike?

But Lorch is not only an ideal starting point for passionate pedestrians wanting to explore the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and the Rheingau. The wonderful cultural landscape with its unique mix of vineyards, castles and idyllic sites can also be explored by bicycle, train and, of course, by ship. When asked to name her personal favourite among day trips, Susanne Röntgen-Müsel finds it difficult to choose. One of her recommendations is to take the train to Kaub, walk from there to St. Goarshausen, admire the Loreley and then return to Lorch with a KD ship. On board, you can take a leisurely look at the world-famous rock in peace and quiet, relaxing and enjoying the panoramic view of the river banks, perhaps while drinking a glass of good Rhine wine.

Another excursion tip from the active hotel manager: In Lorch, take your bike onto the ferry over to Niederheimbach and then ride in the direction of the current on the left-hand side of the Rhine to St. Goar opposite the Loreley or even as far as Koblenz. You can also relax during this tour on the return trip by boat. More UNESCO World Heritage Sites in one day is hardly possible!

If you want to go upstream, your day trip could again start with a short journey by train or boat. Both are possible. Destination: Rüdesheim. After a short detour into the famous Drosselgasse, the cable car takes you up to the Niederwald monument (see box). From there you have a fantastic view over the Rhine, the vineyards and the Rheingau. The approximately one-hour walk through the forests high above the Rhine to the top station of the Assmannshausen chair-lift is more of a stroll than a hike. With the lift you can then float just above the treetops back towards the Rhine and in the village Assmannshausen you can find a KD jetty. This means you can start the return trip to Lorch in the form of a relaxed boat trip and calmly enjoy all the beautiful sights the area has to offer.

Always something new

According to Susanne Röntgen-Müsel, Lorch easily provides walking enthusiasts with new tours for at least one week of holiday, not including excursions to the surrounding area. But because she also always wants to offer her numerous regular guests something new, she often comes up with new experiences − from trail running weekends to stand-up paddling courses on the Rhine.

But despite all the activity, she also knows how to focus on the indulgent sides of Lorch. For example, the hotel also offers gourmet tours through the vineyards around Lorch, and the Altenkirch Winery, which is part of the hotel, serves selected local specialities as well as its own wines − and, of course, the famous Wisper trout, which Susanne Röntgen-Müsel also names as one of the good reasons for stopping at the hotel.

Here, nature looks almost untouched, the water of the Wisper is crystal clear and, in fact, so clean that salmon have been found here for the last few years. One of the region’s specialities is Wisper trout, which is bred here and is even said to have been a favourite of the queen. The Wisper is also responsible for a special spectacle of nature. A gentle wind often blows out of the narrow valley towards the Rhine and on some mornings, it ensures that there is already bright sunshine in Lorch, while father Rhine is still shrouded in dense morning fog.

Spectacular times on the Rhine!
The new KD event ship

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