Ahr (German pronunciation: [ˈaːɐ̯]) is a river in Germany, a left tributary of the Rhine. Its source is at an elevation of approximately 470 metres (1,540 ft) above sea level in Blankenheim in the Eifel, in the cellar of a timber-frame house near the castle of Blankenheim. After 18 kilometres (11 mi) it crosses from North Rhine-Westphalia into Rhineland-Palatinate.

In the valley of the Ahr
The river Ahr
EtymologyOld High German aha ("water")
Physical characteristics
  locationBlankenheim, Northern Eifel, North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany
  coordinates50.438°N 6.6494°E / 50.438; 6.6494
  elevation470 m (1,540 ft)
Remagen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
50°33′34″N 7°16′37″E
58 m (190 ft)
Length89 km (55 mi)
Basin size900 km2 (350 sq mi)
  average8.9 m3/s (310 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionRhineNorth Sea

The Ahr flows through Ahr valley or Ahrtal, passing through the towns of Schuld, Altenahr and Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. Between Remagen and Sinzig (south of Bonn), at about 50 metres (160 ft) above sea level, it flows into the Rhine. The length is roughly 89 kilometres (55 mi), of which 68 kilometres (42 mi) is within Rhineland-Palatinate. The Ahr has a gradient of 0.4 percent in its lower course, and 0.4 to 0.8 percent in its upper course.

Source of Ahr in Blankenheim

The Ahr and its tributaries are a main drainage system of the eastern Eifel. The watershed is approximately 900 square kilometres (350 sq mi).


There were isolated settlements in the Ahr valley beginning at the latest in Roman times, evidenced by the Roman villa near Ahrweiler. Owing to their isolated location, the upper and middle parts of the course were sparsely populated.

That began changing in the mid-19th century. The development of settlements and transportation routes (including three railway lines) and the expansion of the area used for agriculture in the Ahr valley led to the narrowing and constraint of the riverbed. The course of the river was graded and its banks were stabilized.

Catastrophic flash flooding occurred on the Ahr in 1910 and 2021 resulting in the deaths of hundreds.


The Ahr rises in the middle of the village of Blankenheim, in the Eifel region of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the basement of a timber-framed house in an enclosed spring at a height of 474 m above sea level (NHN). It then flows through the Schwanenweiher pond below Blankenheim Castle.

The stream, which runs in a south-easterly direction, through the valley meadows of upper Ahr valley, has not cut very deeply into the heights of the Eifel. Much of the upper Ahr valley is protected and follows the B 258 federal road. Below the hamlet of Ahrdorf in the municipality of Blankenheim, the Ahr reaches its southernmost point and enters the state of Rhineland-Palatine. From Müsch via Antweiler to Fuchshofen, the river runs northwards and turns east at Schuld heading through Insul to Dümpelfeld. Here, the Ahr collects the waters of the Adenauer Bach coming from the right and flowing in a northeasterly direction. In Altenahr, the valley bends to the east and initially follows a very winding course. Here the river is accompanied by the B 267, although it does not follow every loop in the river. In Altenahr, the largest bend in the river beings; it is protected because of its flora and fauna. From here, the valley becomes a gorge bordered by the steep cliffs of the Ahr Hills. From Reimerzhoven the valley sides are dominated by vineyards, especially on the south-facing slopes north of the river, particularly around the villages of Mayschoß, Rech, Dernau and Marienthal. The last narrow point in the Ahr valley occurs below the Bunte Kuh ("coloured cow"), a rock formation that almost reaches the river and leaves little room for road and railway. In Walporzheim, the valley widens abruptly, and the Ahr passes through the county town of Bad Neuenahr. In Heimersheim, the vineyards end. The valley floor between Bad Bodendorf on the northern side and Sinzig on a terrace in the south is dominated by agriculture and fruit and vegetable growing.

The mouth of the Ahr lies on the plain of the Golden Mile, between the Remagen district of Kripp and the town of Sinzig at a height of about 53 m above NHN[1]. Since being re-naturalised (from 1979, see aerial photographs) it has been one of the few natural river mouths on the Rhine and is under protection.[2]


The tributaries of the Ahr include (in upstream order):[3]

NameWaterbody No. (GKZ)Length (km)DirectionConfluence
at km
Stegbach 271811122.2 right84.9 Blankenheim
Mülheimer Bach 27181124.5 left83.1
Nonnenbach 2718127.0 right82.5
Reetzer Bach 27181323.6 left80.5 Reetz
Schaafbach 27181411.4 right79.2 headstream: Eichholzbach
Lampertsbach 2718169.5 right75.7 Dollendorf headstream: Frömmelsbach
Fuhrbach 27181725.3 right74.6 Ahrhütte
Mühlenbach 2718187.1 left74.0 Ahrhütte headstream: Weilerbach
Michelsbach 27181928.3 right73.2
Aulbach 27181945.1 left72.9
Willemsbach 271819921.4 right71.1 Uedelhoven
Göttersbach 271819941.0 right70.7 Ahrdorf
Ahbach 2718214.9 right68.8 Ahrdorf
Trierbach[4] 2718425.3 right64.2 Müsch
Huhnenbach 2718524.3 left61.1 Antweiler
Limbach 27185323.9 right60.3 Antweiler
Eichenbach 27185346.9[4] left58.7 headstream: Hirzenflosseifen
Laufenbach 27185362.8 right55.5 Fuchshofen
Dreisbach 27185410.0 left55.4 Fuchshofen
Armuthsbach 27185618.4 left52.0 Schuld
Holzseifen 27185741.0 left47.9 Schuld
Atzenbach 27185762.5 left47.5
Lückenbach 2718585.7 right45.3 Insul
Adenauerbach 2718615.7[4] right44.7 Dümpelfeld
Ommelbach 27187121.8 right43.6 Dümpelfeld
Liersbach 27187214.5 left42.8 Liers
Kesselinger Bach[4] 27187414.1 right95.0 Ahrbrück
Steinbach 2718762.5 left38.3 Ahrbrück
Stream from Schorling 2718782.5 left38.2 Ahrbrück
Sahrbach 2718815.3 left34.0 Kreuzberg
Vischelbach 27189210.5 left33.9 Kreuzberg
Stream from Burtscheiderberg (Roßbach) 27189322.2 left31.5 Altenahr
Stream from Sonnenheck (Junge Berren[4]) 27189341.8 right22.0 Rech
Nollbach (Donnenbach[4]) 2718941.8 right21.9 Rech
Kratzenbach 271895122.1 left18.3 Dernau
Geusbach 27189522.4 right16.8 Walporzheim
Wingsbach 2718964.5 right15.1 Ahrweiler
Mühlenteichgraben 271897121.0 left14.5 Bad Neuenahr
Bachemer Bach 27189727.0 right12.9 Bad Neuenahr
Fuchsbach 27189744.5 left11.4 Bad Neuenahr
Mühlenteich 271897521.2 right9.6 Bad Neuenahr
Idienbach 27189765.3 right9.2 Heimersheim
Leimersdorfer Bach[4] 2718988.5 left8.7 Heppingen
Lohrsdorfer Bach[4] 27189922.5 left7.0 Lohrsdorf
Hellenbach[4] 27189967.7 right3.1 Sinzig
Harbach[4] 27189989.9 left2.5 Sinzig

Tributaries with a length of over 7 km (from source to mouth): Left tributaries are in dark blue; right tributaries in light blue.


Spätburgunder grapes

The Ahr is well known for the many vineyards that grace the hillsides downstream of the village of Altenahr. The small Ahr wine region is nevertheless the largest contiguous red wine-growing area in Germany, noted especially for wines made from the Spätburgunder (Pinot noir) grape. The Red Wine Trail runs through the southern slopes of the lower Ahr Valley, passing inter alia the former government bunker.

See also

  • Golden Mile (Rhineland-Palatinate), the fertile plain at the mouth of the Ahr
  • List of rivers of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • List of rivers of North Rhine-Westphalia


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