Take the waters, drink the wine

Discover the historic sights around the Rhine, the set of a Hollywood movie and a town that once inspired Mark Twain.

Discover the historic sights around the Rhine, the set of a Hollywood movie and a town that once inspired Mark Twain.

Eberbach Monastery

Now a state-owned winery, this former Cistercian monastery shot to fame in 1986 as the backdrop for the film version of Umberto Eco's bestselling novel The Name of the Rose. Much of the monastery dates back to the 12th century and it has been used as a filmic jail and a lunatic asylum.

By car: take the motorway A3 then A66 and follow signs; journey time 35 mins. By train: frequent service to Eltville from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof then walk; journey time 1 hour plus.

Würzburg

This overlooked town on the River Main is the official starting point of Germany's famous Romantic Road. Highlights include Balthasar Neumann's baroque masterpiece The Residence, dating from 1720, and the hilltop Marienberg Fortress. Much fine Franconian wine is found here so don't miss the wine cellars.

By car: take the motorway A3, then B19 and follow signs; journey time approx 1 hour. By train: frequent service from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof; journey time approx 1 hour plus.

Heidelberg

Mark Twain helped to put Heidelberg on the map in 1878 in his masterpiece A Tramp Abroad. Germany's oldest university and its massive student population turn the winding streets of the old town into a bustling throng with alfresco cafés and restaurants. Hop on the funicular up to the romantic ruin of Heidelberg Castle.

By car: take the A3, A5, A656, then B57 and follow signs; journey time approx 1 hour. By train: frequent from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof; journey time approx 1 hour.

Rüdesheim

Pilgrims come to worship the grape at this wine town on the river Rhine. Famous for its quality Riesling, Rüdesheim bustles with summer visitors sampling the honey-coloured nectar.

By car: take the A3, A66, then B42 and follow signs; journey time approx 45 mins. By train: frequent service from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof; journey time approx 1 hour plus.

Wiesbaden

The list of those who have taken the waters at Wiesbaden reads like a literary Who's Who, and which includes Goethe and Dostoyevsky. Today the well-heeled seek cures in the spa town's two main baths and the beautifully restored Kaiser-Friedrich Bad.

By car: take the A3, A66, B455, then B54 and follow signs; journey time approx 30 mins. By train: frequent service from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof; journey time approx 45 mins.

Seligenstadt

Built on the banks of the river Main, Seligenstadt is a walled town crammed with historical sights and half-timbered houses. Check the remains of the Benedictine abbey with its stunning Carolingian basilica and wander through the abbey gates and step back in time in peaceful gardens. Explore the Romanic House,with frescoes from 1595.

By car: take the A3 and follow signs; journey time approx 20 mins. By train: frequent service from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof; journey time 35 mins.

Cresta Holidays offers a two-night b&b weekendat the Miramar Hotel from £232 per person, includingflights from Stansted (0870 333 3303, www.crestaholidays.co.uk). Europcar offers weekend car hire from £58 (0870 607 5000; www.europcar.com).

Comments