Rhine Castles Trail Hike (2024)

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rhine river castle

It is divided into 13 stages, each offering breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The trail takes hikers through a cultural landscape dotted with vineyards, castles, and forts, making it a off-the-beaten path destination for Nature and culture lovers.

This is what’s called a “long distance” or “multiday hiking trail”, but each section can be enjoyed as a lovely dayhike. It’s one of the best trekking trails in Europe.

You’ll have a lot of Nature and solitude once you get 2 minutes away from the villages.

Rhine Castles Trail Hike

  • Location: Rhine Valley Gorge (a UNESCO site), Germany
  • When to Hike: April – October
  • Distance: 210 km, 13 stages from 9-13 miles daily
  • Difficulty: Moderate only due to length of hikes, terrain is easy and non-technical
  • Budget Accommodations: Guesthouse Knab
  • Midrange Accommodations: Hotel Zur Loreley
  • Luxury Castle Hotel: Schloss Rheinfels
  • Transport: Frankfurt International & Hahn, Cologne-Bonn, Luxemburg Airports, Mittelrhein Train

hiking woman

Even the famous artist William Turner hiked here in 1817. His hikes here inspired some of the most famous and expensive pieces of art in the world and you’ll be hard pressed not to immerse in Nature and Culture here. It’s one of the best hikes near Frankfurt.

women hiking along rhine river in germany
I highly recommend May as a time to explore the trail like we did this year during the rapeseed bloom.

My Video of the Rhine Hike in May

If you’re looking for a hiking trail that combines stunning natural scenery If you’re looking for a hiking trail that combines stunning natural scenery, rich cultural history, and breathtaking views, this is an excellent choice.

We will take you on a journey through the Rhine River Castles Trail, highlighting the best parts of this scenic hiking trail which is Stage 10 from Sankt Goar to Oberwesel.

I’m going to nickname section 10 the “dreamy art section”.

Why is Section 10 My favorite?

I’ve gone on multiple sections of this trail and keep coming back to this one due to:

  • Outdoor art exhibit
  • Dwarf sculptures
  • William Turner exhibits x 2
  • Maria Ruh restaurant
  • It’s somewhat short and easy
  • There’s a castle hotel on both ends of this section
  • Loreley Rock Views to die for
  • Wildflowers
  • Easy trains at either end

But I’m sure each section has it’s special charm. One day I’d love to backpack them all at once on a 2 week hiking vacation that includes a lot of wine tastings, adventure (like the Mittelrhein Klettersteig and paragliding), and culture of adorable half-timbered towns like Boppard, Oberwesel, Rüdesheim, Bacharach and Assmannshausen.

| Tip

Enjoy some of Germany’s most beautiful scenery during this Private Full-Day Rhine Valley Tour from Frankfurt. Let the private transfer get you to the Rhine walks, hikes, wine tasting and boat rides without stress. Accompanied children are allowed to join!

rhein castle

TL;DR Rheinburgenweg

  • It’s a 210-kilometer hiking trail along the left bank of the Rhine River from Rolandsbogen to Bingen.
  • The trail takes hikers through a cultural landscape with vineyards, castles, gondolas, and tiny wine half-timbered wine villages.
  • It offers stunning nature and landscape, charming towns and villages, and is suitable for hikers of all levels.
  • It’s an easy hike and there are trains and ferries that can help you cut parts short if needed.
  • The best thing to do is stay at a castle hotel after your hike and drink the local wine from family run vineyards.

    ➡️ Skip directly to book the best castle hotel directly on the trail.

woman hiking

Overview Hiking

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience and one of the best things to do in Rhineland Palatinate, I highly recommend exploring the Rheinburgenweg either for a day hike or a multi-day journey.

It’s perfect as a day trip from Koblenz, Trier, Mainz or Frankfurt.

🥾 Don’t miss out on this opportunity to see the beauty of Rhine River from a whole new perspective!


cute dog
Ruby and I on our last trip hiking in May. The wildflowers and rapeseed are so nice.

The trail follows a route that has been used for centuries by travelers and traders. The castles along the trail were built during the Middle Ages to protect the river and its trade routes.

Rheinburgenweg – German Name


The Rhine river has two trails alongside it. On the left bank it is the Rheinburgenweg and on the right bank is the Rheinsteig.

Honestly, you can switch between the two of them using the ferries that cost less than 3 euros per ride.

I love seeing the river and towns from both angles.

Route Overview

The route covers a distance of approximately 210 kilometers and is divided into 13 stages of approximately 9-13 miles a day. The trail starts in Rolandsbogen, near Remagen, and ends in Bingen.

As you hike along the trail, you’ll climb up and down over 5,500 meters (18,000 feet) in altitude, passing through forests, vineyards, and small towns.

You can hike in either direction.

I’m going to list the stages walking “downriver”, starting at Bingen in the “Upper Middle Rhine Valley to Koblenz. Then you’ll enter the “Lower Middle Rhine Valley” and after Koblenz.

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley is where it’s at 😜. More castles, more restaurants, vineyards and views.

All Rhine burgenweg Trail Stages

Stage #, DistanceStart and Finish
1: 11.8 kmBingen to Trechtingshausen
2: 20.6 kmTrechtingshausen to Bacharach
3: 13.3 kmBacharach to Oberwesel
4: 8.8 kmOberwesel to St. Goar
5: 19.9 kmSt. Goar to Bad Salzig
6: 15.6 kmBad Salzig to Rhens
7: 13.2 kmRhens to Koblenz
8: 14.6 kmKoblenz to Winningen
9: 15.7 kmWinningen to Bassenheim
10: 17 kmBassenheim to Andernach
11: 22.9 kmAndernach to Bad Breisig
12: 17.7 kmBad Breisig to Remagen
13: 14 kmRemagen to Rolandsbogen

Getting There

The Rhine River Gorge Castles Trail is easily accessible by car or train. If you’re traveling by car, you can park at the starting point of the trail and take a boat across the river to the other side. If you’re traveling by train, you can take a train to one of the many towns along the trail and start your hike from there. Use the DBbahn navigator.

Hiking the Trail

If you’re looking for a scenic and historic hiking trail, this historical trail is a must-visit destination. This 191-kilometer trail takes you through legendary terrain, offering stunning views of vineyards, forests, and the Rhine River. Here’s what you need to know before you hit the trail.

Rhine Castle Trail Map

Click here to go to google map.

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.”

Trail Difficulty

It is rated as a moderate hike, with a total ascent of 5,500 meters. The trail is divided into 13 stages, with each stage ranging from 12 to 20 kilometers in distance.

The trail includes forest paths, vineyards, and some climbing on via ferrata (only if you want to, there’s always a walkaround), so it’s important to be prepared for a variety of terrains.

What to Expect on the Trail Germany Hiking

As you hike the Rhein River Castles Trail, you’ll pass by over 40 medieval Germany castles and fortresses, each with its own unique history and architecture.

The trail offers stunning views of the Rhine River and the surrounding landscape, making it an outdoor photographer’s paradise.

Section 10 Trail Report: Sankt Goar to Oberwesel

a hiking trial in germany

Length: 12.62 km (7.85 miles)
Time: 4 hours
Elevation gain: 382 meters (1,100 ft)
Difficulty: Easy
GPS: Click here

You’ll start walking from the train station (or wherever you park) and head up the single track path through the Burg Rheinfels vineyard. ONce you reach the castle hotel take a moment to overlook Sankt Goar and the Rhein River in the footsteps of William Turner.

Walk around the castle or even take a tour of it and eat in the scenic cafe. You’ll pass over the bridge, go through the other part of the hotel and up the stairs to get onto a beautiful path that passes my favorite house in Germany. You’ll make your way through fields and forest and cute little neighborhoods toward the Loreley overlook.

Plan a stop at Maria Ruh for coffee, cake, wine or a full meal. Check out the underside of the pergola, it’s very Medusa! Loreley is a “Siren” and legend says very good at luring sailors to their death.

Continue along the trail and ensure you follow variants to the “Trollpfad” (dwarf skulptures) and the “skulpturenpark” with massive art exhibits in fields overlooking the Rhine.

You’ll then pass by the “Günderrodehaus” where you can again stand in William Turner’s footsteps, get a coffee or take in a horror movie at this art house. Then it’s a short walk into town passing the Dali house, haunted house and into the town of towers, Oberwesel where there’s a train station.

There’s even a lavender field in nearby Urbar, haven’t been yet.

Best Time to Hike (May is the Best)

long distance hiking germany

The best time to hike the trail is from April to October, when the weather is mild and the vineyards are in bloom. However, keep in mind that the trail can get crowded during peak season, so plan accordingly.

Recommended Hiking Gear

To make your hiking experience on the trail as comfortable as possible, we recommend bringing the following gear:

  • Comfortable and sturdy hiking boots or shoes
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing
  • Sunscreen and a hat for sun protection
  • A backpack to carry water, snacks, and other essentials
  • A camera to capture the stunning scenery along the way
  • You’ll have to rent ferrata gear if you want to do the Boppard section with the klettersteig

Castles and Forts

When it comes to this experience, castles and forts are some of the most exciting and picturesque sights to explore. Here are some of the top castles and forts to visit along the trail:

Top Castles and Forts to Visit

castle hotel in germany
Yeah, that’s a hotel on the hiking trail.
  1. Burg Rheinfels: This castle is one of the largest along the Rhine and is located near St. Goar. It has a rich history dating back to the 13th century and is now a popular tourist attraction.
  2. Mouse Tower: This small tower is located on an island in the Rhine near Bingen. It has a fascinating legend surrounding it, and visitors can climb up to the top for stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  3. Marksburg Castle: This castle is located near Braubach and is one of the only castles along the Rhine that has never been destroyed. It offers a fascinating glimpse into medieval life.
  4. Rheinstein Castle: This castle is located near Trechtingshausen and offers stunning views of the Rhine. It has been beautifully restored and is now open to visitors.
  5. Burg auf Shoenburg: This castle sit above Oberwesel and has a fantastic restaurant, torture musuem and really fun hotel experience with gardens.
burg schoenburg
Inside the courtyard at Burg auf Schönburg

Towns and Villages

As we hike along the trail, we will come across several charming towns and villages that offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region. Here are some of the noteworthy stops along the way:

Bacharach and Oberwesel

oberwesel germany

Bacharach and Oberwesel are two picturesque towns that offer stunning views of the Rhine river and its surrounding vineyards. Bacharach is known for its half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and the 12th-century Stahleck Castle ruin, which sits atop a hill overlooking the town.

Oberwesel, on the other hand, boasts of its well-preserved medieval walls and towers, as well as the Schönburg Castle ruin, which is perched on a hill above the town. One of the best things to do in Oberwesel is hike up to the Gunderrodehaus, a preserved horror movie art house.

St. Goar and St. Goarshausen

St. Goar and St. Goarshausen are two neighboring towns that sit on opposite sides of the river. St. Goar is home to the imposing Rheinfels Castle ruin, which was once the largest fortress on the Rhine river. St. Goarshausen, on the other hand, is known for the Loreley rock, a steep slate cliff that rises 120 meters above the river and is said to have inspired many legends and poems.


Trechtingshausen is a quaint villages surrounded by vineyards and offer some of the best views of the Rhine river. Trechtingshausen is home to the 13th-century Reichenstein Castle ruin, which sits on a hill overlooking the village.

Boppard and Bingen

boppard germany
Boppard Germany

Boppard and Bingen are two larger towns that offer a range of amenities and attractions for hikers. Boppard is known for its well-preserved Roman walls and towers, as well as the Electoral Castle, which sits on a hill above the town. Bingen, on the other hand, is home to the Mouse Tower, a small tower on a tiny island in the middle of the river, as well as the 12th-century Klopp Castle, which overlooks the town.

I recommend taking the time to explore each town and village, as they each offer a unique perspective on the German countryside and the surrounding region.

Nature and Landscape

When hiking, we are treated to a variety of stunning natural landscapes that are sure to take our breath away. From the Loreley Rock to the slate mountains, the trail offers a diverse range of scenery that is sure to delight nature enthusiasts and hikers alike

The Loreley Rock

One of the most iconic landmarks along the Upper Middle Rhine Gorge is the Loreley Rock. This steep, 433-foot-high slate cliff is known for its stunning views of the Rhine River and its treacherous currents. According to legend, a beautiful siren named Loreley would sit atop the rock and lure sailors to their doom with her enchanting song.

loreley rock in germany

Vineyards and Fields

We will pass through a variety of vineyards and fields that are sure to impress with their natural beauty. The Middle Rhine Valley is known for its wine production, and the vineyards that line the trail offer a picturesque backdrop for our hike. In addition to the vineyards, we will also pass through fields of vibrant wildflowers and crops, adding to the beauty of the landscape.

Forests and Meadows

women hiking rhine castles trail

The Trail also takes us through a variety of forests and meadows, each with its own unique charm. The Eifel, Westerwald, Taunus, and Hunsrück regions are all home to dense forests and rolling meadows, providing ample opportunities for us to immerse ourselves in nature. We may even spot some of the local wildlife, such as deer, foxes, and birds.

Slate Mountains

Finally, no hike here would be complete without experiencing the region’s impressive slate mountains. These towering mountains are made up of layers of slate that have been quarried for centuries to build the castles and other structures that dot the landscape. As we hike through the slate mountains, we will be treated to stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the Rhine River.


When planning a trip to the Rhine Hike, one of the most important things to consider is transportation. Fortunately, there are several options available to us that make it easy to get around and explore the area.

| Tip

Enjoy some of Germany’s most beautiful scenery during this Private Full-Day Rhine Valley Tour from Frankfurt. Let the private transfer get you to the Rhine walks, hikes, wine tasting and boat rides without stress. Accompanied children are allowed to join!

Train and Timetables

One of the most convenient ways to travel to and from this area is by train. The Deutsche Bahn (DB) runs regular services to many of the towns and cities along the trail, including Bonn, Cologne, Bassenheim, and Winningen. The Mittelrheinbahn is another option for those traveling between Bingen and Koblenz.

It’s important to note that train timetables can vary depending on the time of year and day of the week. We recommend checking the DB website or using a timetable app to plan our journey in advance. Additionally, some trains require reservations, so it’s a good idea to book our tickets ahead of time to avoid any issues.

lorely on the rhine

Ferry and Boat

For a unique and scenic way to explore the Romantic Rhine, we can take a ferry or boat ride along the river. There are several companies that offer this service, including the KD (Köln-Düsseldorfer) line.

Ferries and boats run regularly between many of the towns and villages along the trail, including Rüdesheim, Bad Breisig, Bad Salzig, Rhens, and Maria Ruh. We can also take a boat tour that will take us past some of the most beautiful vineyards and castles in the area.

It’s worth noting that ferry and boat schedules can vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions. We recommend checking the schedules and booking our tickets in advance to avoid any disappointment.

Best Place to Stay to Hike Castle Trail Germany

st goar castle hotel

Scholss Rheinfels is directly on the trail and offers a variety of rooms, restuarants, cafes and a museum of the castle ruins right over the town of Sankt Goar. You can even walk through their private vineyards.

An easy & relaxing Way to experience the 🇩🇪 German OUTDOORS 🚠

It doesn’t have to be HARD to explore & connect to Nature 🌎.

1️⃣ On the Upper Middle Romantic Rhine UNESCO site:
the Boppard Chairlift and Assmannshausen chairlift offer stunning views of the Rhine River. The Rüdesheim cable car offers wheelchair accessibility.

2️⃣ Flying over the Moselle River:
the Cochem chairlift takes you over vineyards and slate blue craggy mini-mountains.

Just like an e-bike, a bit of technology can make exploring nature more accessible to everyone. ❤️ ♿️

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see castles here?

There are many castles to see along the Rhine Castle Trail, but some of the most popular include Burg Rheinstein, Burg Katz, Burg Pfalzgrafenstein, and Burg Eltz. Each castle has its own unique history and architecture, making them all worth a visit.

How long does it take to complete the Rheinburgenweg?

The trail is approximately 210 kilometers long and consists of 13 legs. Depending on your pace, the trail can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to complete. It’s important to plan your trip ahead of time and take into account your fitness level and hiking experience.

What is the best time of year to hike the Rhine Castle Trail?

The best time to hike is from late spring to early fall, when the weather is mild and the scenery is at its best. However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and book your accommodations in advance.

Are there any guided tours available?

Yes, there are several guided tours available. These tours can be a great option for those who want to learn more about the history and culture of the area, or who prefer to have a guide to lead the way. However, keep in mind that these tours can be more expensive than hiking on your own. Contact [email protected] for a quote.

What is the difficulty level of the Trail?

It is considered a moderate to difficult hike, with some steep inclines and rough terrain. It’s important to be in good physical condition and have some hiking experience before attempting this trail. However, with proper preparation and pacing, most hikers should be able to complete the trail successfully.

What are some nearby attractions to visit ?

There are many attractions to visit, including charming towns, vineyards, and other historic sites. Some popular options include the town of Bacharach, the Marksburg Castle, and the Loreley Rock. Be sure to plan ahead and make time for these attractions during your hike.


Love History?  The Kirner Dolomiten hike is stunning and has a free audio tour you can use on your phone.

Thanks for reading this post on the Rhine Castles Trail.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.