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Legend says that when God was looking for a place to set up Paradise, the sunny slopes between the Taunus Mountains and the Rhine nearly won the prize. Today the Rheingau is the kingdom of another god: Bacchus. Nearly every town and village from Wiesbaden to Assmannshausen is a major wine producer. The names suddenly seem familiar -- Bingen, Johannesburg, Rüdesheim, Oestrich -- because they're featured on the labels of many wines.

The Rheingau is also rich in old churches and castles, as well as landmarks. The Niederwald Monument, on a hill halfway between Rüdesheim and Assmannshausen -- it can be reached by cable car from either town -- is a huge statue of Germania, erected by Bismarck in 1883 to commemorate the unification of Germany. Below it, on a small island at the bend of the Rhine, is the Mäuseturm (Mouse Tower), where, according to legend, the greedy archbishop of Mainz was devoured by a swarm of hungry mice. But the real attraction of the Rheingau is the cheerful character of the wine villages and their people. Rüdesheim and Assmannshausen are the most visited towns.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.