Between Bingen in the south and Bonn in the north, the Rhine has carved a deep valley out of the Rhenish slate mountains as its flowed for millennia through the land: the Middle Rhine Valley. Both sides of the river are lined with small villages and numerous medieval castles — an epic landscape that you can best experience over 13 stages on the Rheinburgenweg (The Rhine Castle Trail). This trail cuts straight through the middle of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Upper Middle Rhine, and it will allow you to not only witness the beauty of the region but to experience the exciting history of the Rhine Valley and those who call it home — first hand.
This region, full of ornate castle ruins and a host of local legends, was the source of inspiration for numerous writers, poets and painters at the turn of the 19th century. At this time, the Rhine Valley became such a hotspot for so many artists that it became known as the Rhine romantic era.
The officially signposted Rhine Castle Trail starts at the Rolandsbogen in Remagen and takes you 130 miles (210 kilometers) to Bingen. As you go, you will climb up and down over 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) in altitude. Each stage is between 9 and 13 miles long (15- 20 kilometers) and, thanks to the well-maintained trails, is easily doable for hikers of all experience and fitness levels.
The hike itself will take you through untouched forests and up to wonderful viewing points of the steep slopes of the Rhine Valley — and it'll allow you to truly immerse yourself in the ancient settlement history of the Middle Rhine, something which stretches back to Roman times. Even back then, goods were already being transported through the valley on the Rhine due to the surrounding landscape (made up of the Eifel, Hunsrück, Taunus and Siebengebirge) being impassable. To protect these goods, innumerable forts were built. After the Romans withdrew, the medieval lords and bishops built on the Romans' example and continued constructing, building watchtowers and knight's castles on the steep slopes of the Rhine Valley. And even though many castles have since crumbled (many were tragically destroyed through war) you can still find and visit numerous, well-preserved castles and forts in the valley today.
At all stage destinations, you will find a good selection of different accommodation options. Since the Rhine Castle Trail leads through a popular holiday region, it's advised that you book all overnight stays in advance. If all the rooms in one of the smaller towns are booked up, however, don't worry too much — at each stage destination you can easily reach the next neighboring town by bus and train.
A special feature also makes the Rhine Castle Trail particularly interesting for weekend hikers. Almost all starting and end points lie directly on the route of the Mittelrheinbahn RB26, which runs every hour from Cologne to Mainz and stops in the many towns and villages in the Middle Rhine Valley. This means you can complete any of the listed hikes as a day-hike without any problems, with the exception of the hikes ending in Bassenheim (stage 4), Winningen (stage 5) and Gerhardshof (stage 12), which are not served by the Mittelrheinbahn.
You can find timetables of the Mittelrheinbahn at mittelrheinbahn.de.
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Last updated: November 23, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The starting point of your first leg is the Rolandseck station. Only a few steps down to the banks of the Rhine. Here you will be spoiled with a first view: Before you lies the island Nonnenwerth in the middle of the Rhine, on the right bank the Siebengebirge piles up and on the left bank you can see…
The second stage on the Rheinburgenweg begins in Remagen. Through a quiet residential area with single-family homes, it goes out of town and immediately after you climb on forest roads to Victoriaberg. Once at the top you can see the ruins of the forest castle between the trees. The Waldburg was built…
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Starting from Bad Breisig, you follow the hiking trail directly along the green slopes of the Rhine Valley. After you have crossed the narrow Vinxtbachtal, it goes up to the Reutersley. High above the Rhine you have a fabulous view here. Then the path leads you down to Brohl-Lützing. Along the edge of…
Between Andernach and Koblenz, the Rhine flows through a wide, densely populated valley. Therefore you leave the Rhine bank on the fourth stage of the Rheinburgenweg in Andernach and wander in a big loop over wide hilly landscapes in the volcanic Eifel.
On the edge of Andernach, the hiking trail leads…
Freshly rested, you start your fifth stage in Bassenheim. On dirt roads it goes around the small town once. Today, you'll hike over a hilly plateau with alternating forest and field sections. Along the Belltalbach you descend in the direction of the Moselle, from which the plateau at the southern edge…
In Winningen on the Mosel begins the sixth stage of the day on the Rheinburgenweg. First, you walk through the midst of extensive vineyards above the Moselle. About dirt roads, through small forest and along other vineyards, the trail leads you to Güls. Here you cross the Moselle on the old bridge. Once…
At the beginning of the seventh stage you climb on already known paths from Koblenz to the knight's fall. High above the Rhine, the Rheinburgenweg takes you on good hiking trails along the slope - fantastic views are guaranteed here.
The trail winds along the Rhine Valley until you finally reach the castle…
The starting point of your eighth stage is Rhens am Rhein. From here, the Rheinburgenweg gently climbs up to Gedeonseck. As you ascend, you wander on quiet paths through pristine forests.
Just before you reach the Gedeonseck, you will meet the viewpoint Vierseenblick. From the surrounding mountain slopes…
The ninth leg of the Rheinburgenweg begins in Bad Salzig. After leaving the town, the trail leads you on forest trails up to the lookout point 'Praying Nun'. A medieval legend surrounds the lookout point - on the spot you will learn all about this story on a blackboard. But even without legends and legends…
At the beginning of the tenth stage of the Rheinburgenweg, you will ascend from St. Goar to the most famous rock of the Rhine Valley. Just opposite to today's hiking route is the nearly vertical Loreley Rock. With the most beautiful view of the Loreley you can enjoy from the viewing terrace at the restaurant…
Shortly after the start in Oberwesel you will reach the first castle on the eleventh stage. The Schoenburg is perched on a hill above the city. The perfectly preserved castle can be visited partly within the framework of a museum. The rest of the castle today houses a hotel.
From the Schönburg the Rheinburgenweg…
The twelfth leg of the Rheinburgenweg usually leads from Bacharach to Trechtingshausen. Since the hiking trails in the vicinity of Trechtingshausen but have been impassable for some time due to severe weather damage, there is an official detour to Gerhardshof. From there, the thirteenth leg starts.
Since the regular Rheinburgenweg between Trechtinghausen and Bingen is impassable in many places due to storm damage, the official diversion from Gerhardshof leads you on silent forest paths to the stage destination.
Your thirteenth and last leg on the Rheinburgenweg begins in Gerhardshof. The trail winds…
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