The Rheinsteig is a hiking trail in the Middle Rhine Valley and Rheingau regions of Germany.
HistoryThe path was opened on 8th September 2005, and has had a few minor route changes since then. The creation of the Rheinsteig was a joint project of the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse to promote tourism in the area. The German hiking institute (Deutsches Wanderinstitut) has awarded the Rheinsteig a premium trail seal (Deutschen Wandersiegel Premiumweg).
LandscapeThe southern end of the trail starts in the relatively wide upper Rhine (Oberrhein) valley but soon moves into the hills of the Taunus. On returning to the Rhine you find yourself in the narrow Middle Rhine (Mittelrhein) gorge a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trail then runs either on the slopes of the valley or moves away from the river to the flat plateau above. The numerous tributaries (mainly small streams) makes for a very up and down trail. At the northern end of the trail the valley opens up again at the start of the lower Rhine (Niederrhein) valley.
Eat and drinkIn the summer there are a few wayside rest places along the path selling drinks and light meals. Places on the Rheinsteig trail are listed below and of course in the towns and villages you go though or pass near by there are some good German restaurants and taverns (Gaststätte).
SleepThere are hotel and camping facilities on both sides of the Rhine river. Places on the route are listed below, for others follow the links to the town pages.
BuyPlenty of opportunities to sample and purchase excellent local wines.
Flora and faunaAlong the trail you will go through beach and oak forests. The meadows have a wide range of wild flowers. At the right time of the year you will come across many types of fungi and mushrooms. For wildlife you may see deer, lizards, slow worms, a few snake species for example the Grass snake and the Aesculapian snake (although rare) and many varieties of butterflies, beetles and birds.
ClimateThe generally mild weather in Germany means this trail is accessible all year round. The colours of fruit tree blossom in the spring and the orange leaves of trees in the autumn are both worth seeing. In the summer be aware that you could be exposed to the strong sun for a large portion of the walk, so do not forget sun protection. Some points of the walk you need to take caution on rainy days, particular on rock exposed slopes.
Studying a map prior to the hike is obviously a good idea, as much to decide and start and end point logistics as checking the route for the day. The route itself is well signposted with the Rheinsteig way-marker (white curve on a blue background giving the idea of the river forming an R). The yellow markers show feeder route on and off the walk from villages and key transport points.
There are a number of guide books on the trail, mainly in German but at least one in English. Also available is a good paper map (ISBN-13: 978-3896373694) which also marks key points of interest as well as parking spots and rescue points.
By planeThe area can easily be reached from Cologne/Bonn and Frankfurt airports.
By carFrom the east the A3 connects to the Rhine valley via the A66 at Wiesbaden, the A48 at Koblenz and A560 for Bonn bring you to the B42.
From the west A61 has good road connection at Bingen, Koblenz and Bonn. There are then a number of ferry crossing points along the B9. The only bridges across the Rhine along the route are at Wiesbaden, Koblenz and Bonn.
From the south A60 take the A643 to Wiesbaden.
By trainThere are good rail connections from outside the region to Frankfurt/Wiesbaden and Cologne/Bonn/Koblenz, from where you can get regional trains (SE10: Frankfurt – Wiesbaden – Wiesbaden-Biebrich – Lahnstein – Koblenz Hbf – Neuwied and RB27/RE8: Cologne – Bonn-Beul – Bad Honnef – Neuwied – (Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein) – Koblenz Hbf) to points along the walk.
By boatThere are a number of car (also for foot and bike) ferries across the Rhine. See below in route listings for details of locations.
By carThe B42 follows the river and provide access to the walk at a number of points or tracks and side routes to the main trail.
By trainThe right-hand side of the Rhine is served by the Rechte Rheinstrecke train line SE10 from Frankfurt, Wiesbaden Hbf and Wiesbaden-Biebrich (the train stop on the north side of the Biebrich park ) to Koblenz Hbf and Neuwied.
- Bus line 4 and 14 from Wiesbaden Hbf to Biebrich
- Bus line 171 from Wiesbaden Hbf, Wiesbaden-Schierstein and Eltville to Rüdesheim
- Bus line 172 from Eltville to Kiedrich and Kloster Eberbach
By cruise boats
KD (Köln Düsseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt AG) and BRFS (Bingen-Rüdesheimer Fahrgastschiffahrt) boats cruise the Rhine stopping at a number of points along the route.
Route and sights of interest
The first stage of the walk (if you start from the south end) begins on the outskirts of Wiesbaden, gently winding up out of the town through low hills of orchards and farming fields moving away from the Rhine into the woodlands of the Rhein-Taunus nature park.
Wiesbaden-Biebrich to Schlangenbad - 16,5 km
Wiesbaden-Biebrich Rail StationSE10 direction „Neuwied“ and 1,3 km though the park.
Bus stop BiebrichBus 14 „Biebrich Schloss“ or 4 „Rheinufer“ from Wiesbaden city and central station, Bus 9 from Mainz.
Parking „Am Parkfeld“ or „Rheingaustraße“ Street
Biebrich PalaceBaroque residence built in 1702, was seat of the Duchy of Nassau. The park grounds are free to walk around.
Schierstein HarbourThe marina is home to a number of yacht and water sports clubs. There are a number of restaurants around the harbour.
GoethesteinObelisk build in 1932 to commemorate visit by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Aussichtsturm FrauensteinWooden tower that provides a good view of the Rhein-Taunus nature park and Rheingau.
Frauenstein CastleRuins of medieval watch tower and battlements built on a quartzite outcrop.
Bus stopBus 24 from Wiesbaden city
Schlangenbad to Kiedrich
Schlangenbad spa town and thermal springs
Scharfenstein CastleRuined medieval castle.
Kiedrich to Johannisberg - 14,5 km
Bus 172 from train station Eltville to „Kiedrich Sonnenlandstraße“.
Saint Valentine’s parish church
The walk now returns towards the Rhine and vineyards of the Rheingau.
- near Kiedrich,
Bus stop KiedrichBus 172 from train station Eltville.
Eberbach Abbeyformer Cistercian monastery.
Domäne SteinbergWalled vineyard of Kloster Eberbach.
Schloss Vollrads13th century founded manor house and wine estate famous for its Riesling. The inner courtyard is open and free to walk around but not the interior. On weekends and holidays a wine stand is available to sample the produce.
parking Schloss Vollrad
Johannisberg to Rüdesheim - 13 km
- pass nearby Johannisberg (Geisenheim),
bus stop „Johannisberg Friedhof“ or „Johannisberg Schlossallee“Bus 183 or 181 from train station Geisenheim
Schloss Johannisberg12th century residence and winery
- Marienthal (Geisenheim)
bus stop MarienthalBus 181 from train station Geisenheim, only Mo-Fr.
Marienthal MonasteryFranciscan Monastery
parking MarienthalParking on the road west of Kloster Marienthal and off road to the east.
bus stop EibingenBus 187 from train station Rüdesheim to „Windeck“, sometime you must call the bus 90 min. before: +49 6124 72 65 913
Eibingen Abbey of St. HildegardBenedictine nunnery founded in 1165 by Hildegard von Bingen.
Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Rüdesheim to Lorch - 20 km
- above Rüdesheim
bus stop Niederwald DenkmalBus 187 from train station Rüdesheim to „Jugendherberge“, sometime you must call the bus 90 min. before: +49 1803 101 113
Rüdesheim Cable carEasy way to get from the town centre to the trail above.
Zauberhöhlewith the Zauberhütte
Im BodenthalEntrance to the camping site
Weinhaus Freistaat FlaschenhalsGerman and Israeli dishes
Suleika CampingFor caravans and tents, hidden away in a side valley of the Rhine
Lorch to Kaub - 13,5 km
- Access route to trail
Ruine NolligRuins of 14th century defensive castle. Trail goes passed but no access.
Parkingcouple 100 metre south of parking is access across the rail line, passes a couple of house then up now lane that is the border between Hessen and Rheinland-Pfalz onto the main Rheinsteig trail.
- Above Kaub
Burg Gutenfels13th century castle
Kaub to St. Goarshausen - 22 km
- Access route to trail
LoreleiAn outcrop of rock above the narrowest part of the Rhine. Legend has it that a feminine water spirit singing causes ship wrecks at this point.
parking LoreleyParking available for small fee near the Loreley.
Camping site Lorilei
Burg Katz14th century castle
St. Goarshausen to Kestert - 12 km
- Route to trail
Bahnhof St. Goarshausen
Burg Maus14th century castle.
Kestert to Kamp-Bornhofen - 12 km
- above Kestert
- access route to trail
Kestert train station
- above Kamp-Bornhofen
Burg Liebenstein13th century castle with hotel and reastauraunt in the non ruined sections. Free access to grounds as trail passes though .
Burg Sterrenberg12th century castle. Trail does not pass through but provides a good view from above.
Kamp-Bornhofen to Braubach - 16,5 km
- above Kamp-Bornhofen
- access route to trail
Braubach to Niederlahnstein - 8,5
Marksburg12th century castle that is well preserved. A must visit.
Waldhaus LahnsteinRestaurant, beer garden and accommodation
Niederlahnstein to Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein - 13,5 km
RuppertsklammA short steep climb through a narrow gorge
ParkingOn the side of the B260 just east of the Rupperstklamm entrance
Lower Middle Rhine Valley
Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein to Vallendar - 9 km
Bahnhof Koblenz-EhrenbreitsteinOnly line RE8 from Koblenz Hbf to Bonn-Beul and Cologne
After the steep climb from the town at river level you have the choice of going around the fortress or through. Going through the fortress provides great views of Koblenz and the Deutsches Eck.
Festung EhrenbreitsteinPrussian Fortress.
Vallendar to Sayn - 13 km
Roman watchtowerReconstruction on the Limes.
Sayn to Rengsdorf - 13 km
phone: +49 2622 90240address: Schlossstraße 100reconstructed neo-gothic residence with museum of ornamental cast iron and a restaurant. Nice place to stop for coffee and cake.
- Bendorf - (Sayn)
address: Waldstraße 160
Parking (zoo)address: Waldstraße
L258 (Haus am Pilz)Difficult road crossing
address: Zum Aubachtal 77
phone: +49 2631 47313address: Zum Aubachtal 99Welcoming beer garden and outside seating Imbiß serving basic food and drinks. The hotel and restaurant does not allow dogs.
Roman towerReconstruction on the Limes
Rengsdorf to Leutesdorf - 19 km
Parking on street (Rengsdorf)address: Gebückstraße 11There is limited public parking in the town during the week
Leutesdorf to Bad Hönningen - 16,5 km
Bad Hönningen to Linz - 14 km
Linz to Bad Honnef - 18 km
Bad Honnef to Königswinter - 13,5 km
- Bad Honnef
Ruine Löwenburg(455 m) (Siebengebirge)
phone: +49 2223 - 24446
Burgruine Drachenfels(320.6 m) (Siebengebirge)
Schloss Drachenburg(200 m),
- → Königswinter
Königswinter to Bonn - 22 km
- Rheinhöhenweg Trail
- Rheinburgenweg Trail on the left Rhine side