This is the part of the river where one can see the Loreley...both the statue of her which is in this picture (far left, on that narrow spit of land) and the big cliff (can't exactly be seen but you get the idea).
With myriad songs and poems written about her, and tons of Japanese tourists coming to see her, the Loreley is probably the best known legend on the Rhine, though there are thousands of tales concerning her, all of them seeing her slightly different.
Perhaps the best known sees her as a water-nymph, daughter of the god of the Rhine or a spirit, who takes great delight in sitting on the cliff that bears her name, singing and combing her long golden hair. A dangerous bend in the river to start with, sailors on the Rhine would be distracted by the haunting voice echoing in the chasm of the cliff, and mesmerized by her beauty, the combination of which led to many ships dashed on the rocks and lives lost. In one story viewing the Loreley in this manner, among her victims was the son of a rich and powerful nobleman who finally had enough of the water-nymph's 'games' and set out to seek and destroy her. His men managed to find and corner her, but just as it seemed that victory was at hand, Loreley called out to her father, the Rhine, who raised the waters and swept her (and her erstwhile would-be-captors) away. Since then, this version says, she has not been seen but sometimes heard, singing.
One story says she isn't probably alone though as years ago a fisherman, young and handsome, won the attention of the nymph who let him visit her on the moonlit nights when she sat and sang on the cliff top, also telling him where to cast his net the next day to ensure a good catch. One night though he vanished without a trace, and locals could only guess that Loreley had taken her to her crystal palace beneath the Rhine.
Even the Devil himself had trouble with Loreley, for one night when he decided to take some pleasure by stylishly floating up the river, he came across the rock bearing her name. As it caused problems for his passage, he resolved to move it, declaring it some God-made obstacle. No sooner had he dug his claws into the stone, however, but Loreley's song came to him. Bewitched (and presumably mollified realizing this wasn't exactly God's domain?), he left the rock be though not without leaving a mark burned into the stone from where he had leaned against it.
A less evil, or at least less magical depiction of the Loreley has her starting off as a beautiful young woman, pained by the hurt inflicted on her many suitors by her refusals. The man she did finally come to love, however, decided that before he could wed her he needed to gain wealth and fame and ran off to the crusades. She fell into a despair, which only grew worse as she began to hear the stories of countless young men falling deeply in love with her and then killing themselves or going off to die in war when she refused their advances. Things were so dire in fact that it was said there were hardly any young men left in the area any more, the only ones being those who had never seen Loreley. Worse, people were starting to whisper of witchcraft, whispers that grew so strong that the archbishop finally had her come before him. Though he was convinced she was innocent, Loreley begged him to let her die to put her and everyone else out of their misery. He instead suggested she go to a convent and she agreed. On the way though, climbing up a cliff, she happened to see her lover coming down the river on a skiff. Overjoyed, she cried out to him, her voice echoing in the chasm. Surprised and delighted by the sight of his lover, the knight began sailing dangerously towards the rocks. Loreley, seeing this, began to gesticulate wildly, trying to warn him of the danger, but he paid no heed. She motioned even more wildly, closer to the edge, until just as he smashed against the rocks (presumably dying), she herself tumbled from the cliff, landing (and definitely dying) beside him. .......The cliff now bears her name.