Rhine in Flames Koblenz: Boat parade and fireworks


Every year, the spectacular ‘Rhine in Flames’ event draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the banks of the Rhine in Koblenz to enjoy the largest passenger boat parade in Europe. The convoy is up to 5.5 kilometres long and carries 35,000 passengers. On the second weekend in August every year, up to 60 passenger ships form a boat parade along the 17 kilometre stretch of the Rhine from Koblenz via Rhens, Brey, Lahnstein and Braubach to Spay.

As darkness falls, the return trip starts and the passengers all come out on deck. Before Koblenz heaves into view again, they can enjoy the houses and castles along the Rhine lit up by a series of spectacular fireworks. Clever signalling and precision work by the firework crews guarantee that all the guests can enjoy the fireworks, whatever their position in the boat parade.

Rhine in Flames has taken place since 1956. But the idea and tradition go back much further. The first fireworks in Koblenz shot up into the sky in 1756 in honour of the new Electoral Prince of Trier, Johann Philipp von Waldendorff. This spectacular was outdone by the honeymoon of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the river yacht ‘Fairy’ from Cologne via Koblenz to Stolzenfels in 1845. All the villages and castles around Koblenz were lit up, and English correspondents described the fireworks at Stolzenfels Castle as the best they had ever seen.

Fireworks at Marksburg Castle for Rhine in Flames, Romantic Rhine

Fireworks at Marksburg Castle in Braubach for Rhine in Flames, Romantic Rhine

The firework magic begins in Spay with high-intensity light beams in the regional colours of red, white and blue. Blazing comets and amazing flashes make for a blistering opening. In Braubach, red fiery flowers light up the sky in all shapes and sizes, and chrysanthemums in blue and yellow, Braubach’s town colours, blossom in the night sky high above the floodlit Marksburg. In Rhens, flashes, rockets and firecrackers create spectacular compositions in green, violet and blue, while shooting stars create a shimmering silvery pattern over the medieval old town. At the mouth of the Lahn, there is a multicoloured shower of blossom over the Rhine. The firework displays over Königsbach feature Roman candles, palms candles, barrages and swirls in red and gold. The climax is the spectacular ‘son et lumière’ at Ehrenbreitstein Castle. This pulls out all the stops for a cutting-edge display of pyrotechnics. The impressive finale culminates in a shower of golden rain that seems to go on forever.

Rhine in Flames boat parade, Romantic Rhine

Rhine in Flames boat parade in the Spay/Koblenz section, Romantic Rhine

The Rhine villages between Koblenz and Boppard not only put on fireworks, they also stage a varied programme of street parties, guided town and castle tours and live music. The three-day ‘Koblenz Summer Festival’ also features 400 artists across nine stages near the Deutsches Eck.

The series of five events, Rhine in Flames, takes place every year on the Romantic Rhine: Starting with the first fireworks spectacle in Bonn in May, followed by the section between Bingen and Rüdesheim in July, between Spay and Koblenz in August, the series ends in September with an event in Oberwesel and concludes with an event in the river section between St. Goar and St. Goarshausen.

Lively Rhine bank at the Koblenz Summer Festival, Romantic Rhine

Lively Rhine bank at the Koblenz Summer Festival, Romantic Rhine

Fireworks above Ehrenbreitstein Fortress Koblenz for Rhine in Flames, Romantic Rhine

Grand fireworks finale above Ehrenbreitstein Fortress Koblenz for Rhine in Flames, Romantic Rhine

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