Bacharach, whose name may derive from the Latin Bacchi ara (altar of Bacchus), has long been associated with wine. Like Rüdesheim, Bingen, and Kaub, it was a shipping station where barrels would interrupt their Rhine journey for land transport. Riesling wine from the town's most famous vineyard, the Bacharacher Hahn, is served on the KD Rhine steamers, and Riesling is used in local cooking for marinades and sauces; you can even find Riesling ice cream. In June you can sample wines at the Weinblütenfest (Vine Blossom Festival) in the side-valley suburb of Steeg, and, in late August, at Kulinarische Sommernacht in Bacharach proper (www.kulinarische-sommernacht.de).
Park on the riverbank and enter the town through one of its medieval gateways. You can ascend the 14th-century town wall for a walk along the ramparts around the town, then stroll along the main street (one street but three names: Koblenzer Strasse, Oberstrasse, and Mainzer Strasse) for a look at patrician manors, typically built around a Hof (courtyard), and half-timber houses. Haus Sickingen, Posthof, Zollhof, Rathaus (Town Hall), and Altes Haus are fine examples.