Visiting Wertheim on the Main River


Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise – Avalon Waterways – Day 5
Wertheim historic center Follow Me on Pinterest

Wertheim historic center

Although Wertheim sits at the junction of two rivers – the Main and Tauber rivers – we did not come to this town on our river boat. After our visit of Miltenberg, we were transported here by coach – it may be that for expediency it was faster for us to come by land while our ship meandered its way along the Main River to pick us up later. Like Miltenberg, Wertheim has a medieval town center and on arrival, this was where we were taken to.

Exploring Wertheim

Wertheim is another Main River town that is noted for its timber-framed houses and lining the town’s narrow streets and at the historic Marktplatz (market square), we saw a good range of these houses, in different styles, colours and sizes. Talking about size, at no. 6 Marktplatz is one of the oldest and narrowest house in the Franconian region. This house is frequently referred to as “Zobel’sche Haus” (House of the Knight of Zobel), but apparently it is an incorrect reference.

Angels fountain Follow Me on Pinterest

The decorative Engelsbrunnen

At Rathausgasse 4, just around the corner from the Marktplatz, we were shown the Engelsbrunnen (Angels fountain), one of the attractions in town. This decorative fountain was created in 1574 as a municipal well, with the two angels at the top carrying the coat of arms of the county. Other figures on the fountain include the sheriff, alderman, town architect and an artist representing planets that were known at the time.

Another unusual sight in Wertheim is the Blaue Haus, a blue house and the only one that uses ground blue glass for its paintwork.

It was at this point that our cruise director decided that it was time for him to have a break from us and so we were left to explore the town on our own. There is much to see in this town, including Wertheim Castle.

Burg Wertheim

As the imposing Burg Wertheim (Wertheim Castle) is the main landmark in town, we trundled uphill to the castle and were rewarded with panoramic views of the Old Town and the Main River valley.

Wertheim marktplatz Follow Me on Pinterest

Aerial view of Wertheim

Built in the 12th century, Wertheim Castle is one of the largest and prettiest castle ruins in southern Germany and the structure is still quite well preserved. The cafe/bar on the castle terrace is a great place to take a break and enjoy the fabulous views. The good news is that these days a little tourist train takes visitors to the top.

Burg Wertheim Follow Me on Pinterest

Wertheim Castle

Other Attractions in Wertheim

One thing that stands out in Wertheim is the number of watch towers. In the past there were 18 town gates that served as entrances into the city. A fine example of a tower is the Spitzer Turm.

Spitzer Tower Follow Me on Pinterest

Spitzer Tower or Pointed Tower

Apart from being a watch tower, Spitzer Turm (Pointed Tower) was also used as a prison for drunks and “quarrelsome wenches”. If the tower looks a little tilted, I’d can assure you that the photographer wasn’t on the booze. As Wertheim is located at the junction of the Main and Tauber Rivers, the town is susceptible to flooding. With over 800 years of floods, Spitzer Turm has developed a lean. The marker on the tower and other buildings in the Old Town record the level of flood waters that have covered Wertheim.

After the castle visit, we took a pleasant stroll through the town hall rose garden. We also walked across Tauberbrucke and along the opposite side of the river for a different view of Wertheim.

Like Miltenberg, Wertheim occupies a strategic location on the Main River and prospered from trade on the river traffic. This is still true today, but nowadays it is the tourists rather than traders who bring in the cash! Although Wertheim has similar attractions to Miltenberg and an impressive castle, Miltenberg has more of an edge as a place to visit.

Update 2014

Wertheim is no longer included as a stop on Avalon’s Amsterdam to Budapest river cruise.

Onboard Entertainment

Tonight’s onboard entertainment included a "Vanillekipferl" demonstration. This crescent-shaped biscuit is a typical local German specialty and is usually made with ground almonds or hazelnuts and dusted with vanilla sugar.

Vanillekipferl Follow Me on Pinterest

Vanillekipferl demonstration

Our guest baker was assisted by two male passengers for whom being in the kitchen seemed like a very new experience for them. Their wives were probably very pleased that they were at last getting some cooking lessons. Their attempt at making Vanillekipferl was quite hilarious!

The Locks

In the newsletter, we were warned that tonight the ship would pass through about seven locks and to expect ‘possible disturbance’. It did rumble and woke me up, so earplugs are recommended if you are noise sensitive. Tony is one of those lucky people who is able to sleep through anything!
Note: these days the new river ships are more advanced and very quiet in the locks.

Photos of Wertheim: Wertheim Photo Gallery

Next page: Würzburg

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