Watertravel & Waterside Destinations
The famous Lorelei (or Loreley) rock, is near Sankt Goarhausen, Germany.
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The famous Lorelei (or Loreley) rock, is near Sankt Goarhausen, Germany.

Lorelei

The large, famous rock is near the town of Sankt Goarhausen at the point where the Rhine Gorge takes a sharp bend.

This spot is the Rhine’s narrowest and swiftest point between Switzerland and the North Sea. In addition to the acute twist in the river, its bed is covered with stones which increase the water’s turbulence.

That turbulence in turn tumbles the stones, causing a kind of murmuring sound that echoes off the rock cliff. According to one explanation, the name “Lorelei” is said to derive from lureln ley in the ancient local dialect, meaning “murmuring rock.” This gave rise to legends not unlike the Siren Songs of Homerian epics, of navigators being lured to their deaths. Maidens’ songs or no, it’s a rough patch of river with a long history of swamping ships.

Today the murmuring is lost with the sounds of road traffic and trains on either side of the river and tour boats passing in the middle of it. As you can see below, opposite the famous rock is a camping spot, very popular in summer.

Campers and trailers are parked beside the Rhine opposite the Lorelei rock. In the distance, two cruise ships pass through the treacherous narrows.

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Copyright Don Douglas