The Rhine Castle Trail – 13 stages of pure Rhine romanticism
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) and Winningen (stage 5), which are not served by the Mittelrheinbahn. However, there is regular bus service from Bassenheim to Koblenz and you can take the Moseltalbahn to Koblenz from Winningen.
You can find timetables of the Mittelrheinbahn at mittelrheinbahn.de.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: March 24, 2023
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 stage is Rolandseck train station. It is only a few steps down to the banks of the Rhine. Here you will be spoiled with a first view: In front of you is the island of Nonnenwerth in the middle of the Rhine, on the right bank the Siebengebirge towers up and on the left…
The second stage on the Rheinburgenweg begins in Remagen. You head out of town through a quiet residential area with single-family houses and immediately afterwards you climb up forest paths to the Victoriaberg. Once at the top you can see the ruins of the Waldburg between the trees. The Waldburg was…
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
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.
The path then leads you down to Brohl-Lützing. The hiking trail…
Between Andernach and Koblenz, the Rhine flows through a wide, densely populated valley. Therefore, on the fourth stage of the Rheinburgenweg in Andernach, you leave the banks of the Rhine and hike in a large loop over wide hilly landscapes in the Vulkaneifel.
On the outskirts of Andernach, the hiking…
The Moselle has carved a dramatic valley into the landscape at this point and the Rheinburgenweg runs just above the river on the steep northern slope. On the hiking trail you have a fantastic view of the Moselle, the countless vineyards and above all the impressive Moselle valley bridge. The hiking…
The sixth stage of the day on the Rheinburgenweg begins in Winningen on the Moselle. First you hike through extensive vineyards above the Moselle. The trail leads you over field paths, through small wooded areas and along other vineyards to Güls. Here you cross the Moselle on the old bridge. Arrived…
At the beginning of the seventh stage, you climb up the well-known paths from Koblenz to the Rittersturz. High above the Rhine, the Rheinburgenweg then leads you on good hiking trails directly along the edge of the slope - fantastic views are guaranteed here.
The hiking trail continues to meander along…
The starting point of your eighth stage is Rhens am Rhein. From here, the Rheinburgenweg climbs gently up to the Gedeonseck. On your ascent you hike on quiet paths through unspoilt forests.
Shortly before you reach the Gedeonseck, you will come across the viewpoint Vierseenblick. From this perspective…
The ninth stage of the Rheinburgenweg begins in Bad Salzig. After leaving the city, the hiking trail leads you up forest paths to the viewpoint "Praying Nun". A medieval legend is entwined around the viewpoint - you can find out all about this story on a board on site. But you can also enjoy the great…
At the beginning of the tenth stage of the Rheinburgenweg, you climb from St. Goar to the most famous rock in the Rhine Valley. Exactly opposite of today's hiking route is the almost vertical Loreley rock. You can enjoy the most beautiful view of the Loreley from the viewing terrace at the Maria Ruh…
Shortly after the start in Oberwesel you will reach the first castle on the eleventh stage. The Schönburg castle is enthroned here on a hill above the town. Part of the perfectly preserved castle can be visited as part of a museum. The rest of the castle now houses a hotel.
From the Schönburg, the Rheinburgenweg…
From Bacharach you hike past Stahleck Castle and the old city wall on the twelfth stage. The Rheinburgenweg climbs gently through a forest and over vineyards, meanders around a small side valley and finally leads you back to the edge of the slope. On the other bank you can discover the small ruins of…
Your thirteenth and final stage on the Rheinburgenweg begins in Trechtingshausen. The hiking trail meanders, in places steeply uphill, to the first stop on the stage: the Jägerhaus. From here the stage runs mostly downhill for the rest of the day. From the Jägerhaus you follow the Waldgeisterpfad for…
Hiking Collection by Westerwald-Sieg
Hiking Collection by Westerwald - Die Urlaubsregion
Bike Touring Collection by Martijn | Fernwee
Bike Touring Collection by Jesko