Alpine Rhine driving tour, Rhine River
This driving tour along the Alpine Rhine begins at Lake Constance and ends in Richenau.
From the southeast end of Lake Constance road 13 leads up the wide valley of the Rhine to the village of Heerbrugg, with an old castle, and Altstätten (457 m/1,499ft; pop. 10,000), an ancient town with attractive arcaded houses (Marktgasse), a parish church of 1794 and a Heimatmuseum (local museum) in Prestegg, an old burgher's house (restaurant). Here a road goes off on the right and over the Stoss pass to Gais (Appenzell, St Gallen), and another road crosses the Ruppen pass, through beautiful scenery, to Trogen and St Gallen. The road continues through Oberriet and comes in 29km/18mi to Buchs.
Maienfeld to Landquart
Maienfeld (525 m/1,723ft; pop. 1,500) is an ancient Grisons town, with handsome patrician houses, the medieval Schloss Brandis ("Roman Tower"; inn) and Schloss Salenegg (17th-18th C.). In the cemetery is the grave of the writer John Knittel (1891-1970).From Maienfeld there are two possible routes to Landquart. The direct road (expressway) traverses the Rhine plain in a straight line (5km/3mi) to the bridge which crosses the river Landquart into town.The alternative route, 2km/ 1mi longer, is on an attractive minor road which follows the hillside through the orchards of the old "Bündner Herrschaft" (Grisons Lordship) to the old-world village of Jenins, and then continues below the ruined castles of Aspermont, Wyneck and Klingenhorn and past the lower station (1km/0.6mi before Malans, on left) of a cableway which runs northeast to Aelpli (1,802 m/5,912ft) under the summit of Vilan (2,376 m/7,796ft; 1.5 hours), to the vine-growing village of Malans (568 m/1,864ft), with handsome old patrician houses, under Burg Bothmar (16th and 18th C.).
Landquart (527 m/1,729ft) is a busy road and rail junction (paper-making).The highway to Chur continues south between the railroad and the right bank of the river (with strong side winds when the föhn is blowing). On the hillside to the east (not visible from the road) is Schloss Marschlins.
Schloss Marschlins, with its four towers (538 m/1,765ft; 13th and 17th C.), commands the entrance to the Prättigau. It can be reached by a side road (1km/0.5mi) off the old road via Zizers. Beyond this, to the east of the road, lies the village of Igis, with a college of agriculture in the Plantahof. In another 5km/3mi the road passes Zizers.
Zizers to Domat Ems (via Chur)
The old market town of Zizers, Romansch Zizras (540 m/1,772ft), lies off the road to the left and has two churches and two 17th C. mansions which belonged to the Salis family (the Unteres Schloss and the smaller Oberes Schloss, in the upper part of the town).The road then comes to Chur and continues, bearing west, to the village of Domat Ems (583 m/1,916ft), with a church of the Assumption in Italian Baroque style (1730-38). On a rocky hill are the Late Gothic St John's church (1515; carved high altar of 1504) and the Romanesque St Peter's chapel. 3km/2mi further on we leave the highway at the Reichenau exit, just before it comes to an end. To the left is Reichenau.
Reichenau (603 m/1,978ft) is picturesquely situated on a rocky hill at the confluence of the Vorderrhein and the tumultuous Hinterrhein, with an old castle (altered in 1775 and 1820) belonging to the von Planta family; from the beautiful castle gardens there is a view of the junction of the two branches of the Rhine.