Konigswinter is a town on the bank of the river in the North Rhine-Westphalia part of Germany at the foot of the Siebengebirge or Drachenfels mountain. Drachenfels translates as ” Dragon’s Rock”. It has been a tourist destination since the early 19th century. It was made famous in a poem by Lord Byron. “The castled crag of Drachenfels frowns o’er the wide and winding Rhine. Whose breast of waters broadly swells between the banks which bear the vine…” There are several legends most notably where Siegfried killed the dragon Fafnir. The surrounding vineyards are harvested by hand as they are too steep for machinery.
The ruined castle Burg Drachenfels is on the summit of the hill and a neo-gothic castle has been built lower on the hill named Schloss Drachenburg. Both castles can be reached by the Drachenfelsbahn, a rack railway. This runs every 30 minutes from Konigswinter on the banks of the Rhine and the ticket price is 10 Euros. The line opened originally in 1883 and was propelled by steam, but now it is all electric.
At the start of the journey, in the station concourse, there is an exhibition showing its history with motion pictures and original items on display. Then on the upper floor is a model of the railway and castle.
At the middle station is the neo-gothic chateau with an exhibition about nature conservation. There are twelve large paintings referring to Wagner’s Ring Cycle. You pass through a tunnel to the Dragon’s Lair where there is a giant stone dragon. Next door to this is a Reptile Zoo with crocodiles and snakes.
When reaching the top station, you get a fantastic view of the Rhine valley below. Here you can buy refreshments in the large restaurant with modern facilities.
Close to the Drachenfels station down in Konigswinter town is the Sealife centre with more than 6000 species on show. It’s obviously popular with families. The old part of the town is pleasant to walk around before taking the Route 66 city railway back to Bonn.
The place is well worth a visit if you are in that region of Germany.