Castles Galore and 6.5 mile Hike: Sankt Goar to Oberwesel with Lorelei Rock
Stage 2 of 5 German Castle Hotel Way as part of a German walking holiday or a day hike.
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Paintings, poems, comics, operas and dozens of songs, not only German but from Gershwin to Styx to K-pop all sing or reference “Lorelei” on the Rhine. She seduces and enchants sailors to their doom.
The Rhine river is one of the biggest, most important waterways in Europe but under Lorelei’s shadow, the mighty river speeds up dangerously and narrows to only 371 ft in a gorgeous s-curve that has claimed many vessels and sailors, most recently in 2011.
This hike is for you if you’ve got an artist’s heart or just really love magnificent castles like Burg Rheinfels, single track along the top of cliffs overlooking the Rhine river and want to potentially stay the night in a renovated castle at the end of your walk.
Does anywhere mix Nature & Culture like the Germans?
My goldendoodle’s middle name is Lorelei. This was an especially fun hike to do and I tried my best to get her to sit still for a photo next to her namesake. How’d we do?
Sankt Goar to Oberwesel Germany Hike: Burg Rheinfels to Burg Schönburg
This is Stage 2 of 5 in the German Castle Hotel Way Hike, to be used as a day hike with history and visitor information for Burg Rheinfels St Goar.
Create your own adventure! Hike 1 to 5 days in a row on this newly formed path enabled with Germany’s excellent transit system. You’ve got plenty of options to suit your medieval desires.
If you’re on the multi-day castle to castle hotel hike, start at the hotel Burg Rheinfels, Romantik Hotel Schloss Burg Rheinfels in Sankt Goar featuring restaurants and wellness amenities.
From there walk a leisurely 6.5 miles on the Left Bank of the Rhine River all the way to the elegant Burghotel auf Schönburg in Oberwesel.
Each hike includes detailed GPS guidance (without any special apps) so it’s simple and not frustrating to find your way, get local food recommendations, and history highlights.
How This German Trail Guide is Organized
Getting to Burg Rheinfels
If Not Hiking There on This Awesome Castle Hotel Way Trail
Burg Rheinfels sits on the Left Bank of the Rhine River just above the half timbered village of Sankt Goar, Germany. It’s a perfect day excursion from the air hubs of Frankfurt or Luxembourg.
This region is about 30-45 minutes from Frankfurt international airport by car.
The best way to access Schloss Rheinfels and the hike is by train. This region is served by the MittelRheinBahn Train. From the town train station (bahnhof), simply walk north and uphill 0.5 miles following the ample signs.
Download the DB Bahn app and you’ll find the best timetables. The train runs typically 1-2 times per hour. You can purchase tickets on app or at the local kiosk at every train station. There are toilets onboard. If you get caught not paying for a ticket there is a 60 euro fine. FYI.
If using a car, simply park in the ample parking directly at Burg Rheinfels.
A Very Brief History of Burg Rheinfels
Dating back to 1245, this castle and fortress fought and won against 28,000 French troops. Unlike many, it was not destroyed in the Palatinate wars of succession leaving behind an impressive piece of history.
Burg Rheinfels Castle Highlights
Museum, Cafe, Restaurant and Hotel
This area is rarely crowded but schools will have classes visiting on occasion. It’s probably the largest on the middle Rhine and the complex includes the fortress, outer gardens, museum, cafe, restaurant and hotel.
Enjoy a drink in the garden in front of the gift shop where you’ll be lovingly watched over by the witches of Rheinfels.
Tips for Visiting Burg Rheinfels
Check online here for the most recent information as covid guidelines are ever changing. www.stadt-st-goar.de. Bring a mask for the foreseeable future.
For guided tours you can register by telephone at the castle office, telephone 0 67 41 / 77 53 or via reservix.de.
Most of the fortress and castle do not require a guide like the largest cantilevered vaults and the museum can also be visited without a guided tour.
Adults 6,00 €
Adults discounted 4,00 €
Pupils, students 4.50 €
Children up to 5 years free
Children from 6 - 14 years 3,00 €
Family ticket, parents with their children 13,00 €
Groups >10 persons (registration required):
Groups from 10 persons adults 5,00 €
Children up to 14 years 2,50
Pupils, students 3,00 €
Trail Map - Burg Rheinfels to Oberwesel
Section 2 Castle Hotel Way Hike - 6.5 Miles or 10.5 km
This hike is for those who love a little cliffside hiking to go with their wine, medieval towers, luxury castle hotels and stories of Sexy Sirens luring sailors to their untimely demise.
You can also book a private Rhine Private Wine Tour with a guide to taste wine in a “Schloss” (German Palace) and gain insight into the local, family owned winery scene.
Stage 4: German Castle Hotel Hiking Guide:
Romantic Rhine Sankt Goar to Oberwesel, Germany
How to use this map: Use your computer mouse or fingers to zoom in and out. Click on the icons to get more information. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the written index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your google maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open google maps, click the menu button, and go to “your places”/ “maps.”
How to Visit the Burg Rheinfels Hike & Area Guide
German word of the Day: Turm : Tower. We’ll be going past many medieval towers today. Some were for collecting tolls, some were probably just to seem badass.
Part of the German Camino de Santiago Hike Series
This is part 7 of my ongoing German Camino de Santiago Blog series, an exploration of outdoor culture and accessible Nature experiences empowered by the enchanting Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path that spans most of Europe.
Rheinburgenweg - Rhine Castles Trail
There is more than one way up to the trail out of town, but we’ve decided to go north out of town to walk past the Burg Rheinfels. Once in the complex, we’ve taken a cool route through the upper Rheinburgenweg, checking out some incredible housing areas after the castle.
Don’t try to park at the train station.
Stay on the riverfront and enjoy paid parking here.
Follow the abundant signs for the Rheinburgenweg (RED sign only, sometimes it goes purple with the same symbol, but that's different).
If using a car, simply park in the train station at Oberwesel (the end of the hike) and use the train to get to Sankt Goar and hike back.
If you’re making this an overnight at Oberwesel castle, park there or where you’ve chosen to stay and take the train and/or ferry to Sankt Goar. Start your hike and your car will be waiting for you at the end.
Cycling Pitstop Between Rotterdam and Basel
🚴🏻♀️ If bikes are your thing and you want to explore the Rhine by bike this unguided adventure book will help you explore.
The path is smooth and 100% riverside through this gorgeous river gorge. I had reservations and a plan that covid canceled, but it’s on my outdoor travel wish list.
Who is This Guide NOT for and What are the Alternatives?
Seeking an adventure isolated from people? Similar to Cochem castle, it can be crowded during the high season.
You’ll pass many quiet green spaces, but there’s many art, culture and food stops along the way. It’s not crowded by any means during off and shoulder season, but Lorelei Rock is world famous.
If you want something more serene, more naturally dramatic try hiking the Dolomites in Italy. The Alta Via 1 trek offers delicious food but with a smidge (well, more than a smidge) more effort you can have your breath taken away at every bend in the trail.
This guide is also not for strollers. There are sections that would be great for backpacking your kid with a comfortable Osprey Baby Carrying Pack.
An alternate German hike that includes dramatic hills and castles is the Burg Drachenfels Dragon Stone hike in the Wasgau forest just 1 hour south of Kaiserslautern.
Want to stay off your feet? Take a cruise down the Rhine River to view all the lovely castles on both sides of the river.
Burg Rheinfels Trail Guide
Stage 4: Castle to Castle Hotel Hiking Guide: Romantic Rhine, Sankt Goar to Oberwesel
German Camino de Santiago Series
Free Google Maps Guide: Just follow the blue dot to never lose your Way.
Komoot App with GPS Tracking: You get one free zone with this free app.
Location: Upper Middle Rhine Valley - UNESCO World Heritage Site. 45 min from Frankfurt, Germany, 1 Hour from KMC Military Area
Trail Guide: Sankt Goar to Oberwesel
Type of Hike: Point to Point
Distance: 6.5 miles, 10.5 km
Elevation: 775 ft up, 950ft down
Duration: Approx. 3-3.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy on soft paths, farms and cliffsides
Start/end point: Sankt Goar to Oberwesel
Fees: Parking: metered.
Camino de Santiago: Yes - Long Stretches on Camino
Something Good to Eat: Maria Ruh - Want to eat on a cliffside meadow overlooking the Lorelei Rock?
The Pavillion holds some mystical yum yum. Definitely look up.
Rhine Castles Trail: Rhineburgenweg
74 miles of pure Romanticism artists from around the world have walked for inspiration
We stay on the Left Bank of the Rhine River today in an easy 6.5 mile day entirely on the Rhine Castle Trail.
You’ll get a chance to stand in the actual footsteps of the artist William Turner, credited with inventing the Romanticism style of painting in the early 1800s. His landscape painting based along the Rhine is at auction for $47.2 million, the highest for any British painter of all time.
It’s really easy to understand why artists have been coming to this walking path for centuries to gain inspiration for ground-breaking works of art.
Germany’s Upper Middle Rhine Valley stretching between Koblenz and Rüdesheim includes abundant historic castles and castle hotels nestled upon hilltops, linked by well-marked, vineyard strewn and soft hiking trails.
The hike starts by walking by the Burg Rheinfels castle, home of the Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels.
It ends at the Burg Schönburg castle with the Burghotel auf Schônburg hotel. Across the river on the right banky you’ll see Burg Katz, Burg Maus, Burg Gutenfels and the Lorelei Amphitheater.
In summer, the Rodelbahn operates across on the Right bank, worthy of an excursion after the hike.
What’s a “rodelbahn”?
Congratulate German engineering to create a summer based “sledding” down something steep. It’s worth a trip for all ages.
Stay in a History or Castle Hotel
Check out the links here from Booking - I always use them for my city and multi-day hikes because they are trustworthy and helpful to keep organized.
Beginning of Trail Castle Stay: Burg Reinfels in Sankt Goar
Best Castle Stay: Rheinfels Castle Hotel
💖 Romantik Schloss Hotel Rheinfels Wellness hotel and restaurant overlooking the scenic Sankt Goar on the Rhine River. Burg Rheinfels hotel features private rooms overlooking the Rhine River.
💲Going budget and have an SUV? It’s completely legal to sleep in your car (but only one night in each place) in Germany in a parking lot. Make it comfortable with a comfy SUV air mattress.
End Of Trail: Oberwesel Castle Hotel Stay
💖 Burghotel auf Schönburg sits atop Oberwesel like a star upon a Christmas tree, full of joy, wine and beauty. They’ve even got a torture museum in addition to the river view rooms and restaurant.
Tips for Hiking in Germany: Safety, Food, & Gear to Have a Kickass Experience
Stage 4: Rhine River Castle Way Hike
Best Time to Hike the Rhine Castles Trail
May or October
Mother’s Day. Wait, that’s a little self serving but accurate.
The spring time or October would be most ideal due to blossoms and foliage and hotels and castle hotels operating fully. More importantly there will be less tourists so you can soak up the dreamscape.
However the trails are accessible year round.
If planning this as a winter (or late fall, early Spring) hike, carefully consider your daylight hours. There are signs of wild hogs or “boar”.
They can get fussy with their territory or babies and potentially charge your shins at dusk or in the evening.
If you’ve got to do the night hike thing, take a serious Headlamp, it’s got 900 lumens to scare them away.
Weather Burg Rheinfels Germany
It’s pretty mild here. This valley gorge can get filled with fog and rain, so take appropriate rain gear and footwear. It lies near to the Hunsrück and Palatinate forests and usually is much more mild in temperature and snowfall.
The other consideration to take seriously are floods and mudslides. These gorges are steep, so If the weather report has 4-5 days of rain in a row after a month of not having much rain at all, ditch your plans, it’s not worth it.
The landscape might not absorb water and trees will be at risk of falling branches on the trails and your head, and the mud will make you miserable.
To make lemonade, the warming weather means there’s rarely snow on the ground and January hikes are relatively pleasant. I wore a fleece and trail running shoes in January. It’s possible to do as a winter hike (I did!) but some hotels (especially castles) will be closed for vacation.
Parking Hotel Schloss Rheinfels & More
Parking likely will fill up at Schlosshotel Burg Rheinfels Germany, especially in summer so get there early.
If doing a multi day hike, let the castle hotel know you are undertaking a multi day hike and ask if you can leave your car there for the duration.
Right Bank vs Left Bank of Rhine River
The Right bank refers to the side of the river on your right if you are facing downriver, or the direction the river flows. Left bank is the opposite. They both are gorgeous.
If doing a multi-day hike, depending on the castle hotel you’ve chosen, you’ll either walk, train, or train and walk to your castle hotel.
Don’t be like me and get eye pre-cancer, protect your eyes from the damage inflicted by the sun with cat 3-4 sunglasses.
🥾💪These Black Diamond walking sticks will help you walk faster, but aren’t really needed for balance, but might supercharge your fitness if you want to get your heart pumping.
You’d want to have rubber tips due to some pavement at times. Find quality poles that won’t break the first time you use them, on amazon.
Bring your own water as buying water in Germany is crazy expensive both at restaurants and at convenience stores.
Beyond Rheinfels Burg Hiking in Germany: Fisherman’s Trail in Portugal
If you’re looking for some breathtaking coastal scenery on the last wild coast of Europe, the Rota Vicentina Fisherman’s Trail will be a delight. Hike and stroll over the path of actual fishermen today and over the past 1000 years.
It’s a 2-3 hour bus ride from Lisbon and wanders over sand dunes and cliffs along the rugged Atlantic ocean. Here’s a detailed planner needed to complete a 4 day Inn to Inn hiking trip.
Best Hikes in Germany
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy the Romantic Rhine and it’s endless romantic castles and historic hotels.
Please share your stories of your awesome outdoor adventures over on our facebook group European Adventure Travel Planning.
The Burg Rheinfels restaurant, hotel and it’s museum along with staying in Burghotel auf Schönburg make this a unique walking experience.
This steep rock formation and elegant bend in the Rhine are the main features of this easy, culture-filled section hike of the Rhine Castles Trail.
If you’re going to pick one section of a hike in Germany to max out dramatic landscapes, castles, wine pit-stops and culture - this is the one for you.
From the Lorelei Song by Silcher:
The boatman aboard his small skiff, -
Enraptured with a wild ache,
Has no eye for the jagged cliff, -
His thoughts on the heights fear forsake.
I think that the waves will devour
Both boat and man, by and by,
And that, with her dulcet-voiced power
Was done by Loreley.
There’s even a statue of her in the Bronx, New York.
Recommended Books and Guidebooks for Exploring Hut to Hut Hiking and Day Hikes in Germany and More
🏔Looking for an amazing Hut to Hut Hike of a Lifetime? Stimulate the senses in the Italian Dolomites! Alta Via 1 Cicerone Guidebook
💥Classic Rick Steves Guidebook - This brand is so awesome, get some cool ideas.
🚴🏻♀️ If bikes are your thing and you want to explore the Rhine by bike this unguided adventure book will help you explore by bike.
with 💖, Crave the Planet
▶️ P.S. If you like Crave the Planet you can help me do more by becoming one of my monthly supporters. When I get to $500/month in support, I’ll launch a $500 scholarship in the name of the patron who has donated the most by the time the goal is reached.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a passionate hiker and writer, physical therapist, and European Cornhole Commissioner. She is living near Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and featured giving science-based hiking tips and advice.
When not out exploring the mountains or sea, she’s writing articles and gear reviews to empower Outdoor Journeys that include family and good food. She is actively involved in the community and advocating for connection and sustainability with her community projects at Cornhole Europa and Sustainable Investors Group.