Exploring the Middle Rhine Valley on foot and by bike

The romantic Rhine is a region that has charmed visitors for centuries. Walking along the banks of the river and to the heights of the cliffs has long been a popular way of exploring the landscape of the river. The wind blows gently through the trees and the leaves rustle underfoot. Looking down from above over the vines and the wine-making villages in the Rhine valley is a perfect excuse to stop for a while and enjoy the moment. Father Rhine flows through a truly majestic valley in which romantically-inclined King Frederick William IV of Prussia invested a great deal of money into restoring some of the buildings, including Stolzenfels Castle in Koblenz, to their former glory.

The little word ‘Steig’, meaning climb, in the name of the king’s old hiking trails in Rhineland-Palatinate says it all. The Rheinsteig is the king against which all other hiking trails a measured; it is not just a pleasure, it is a challenge. It begins on the terrace of Biebrich Castle in Wiesbaden and ends 320 exciting kilometres later on the market square in Bonn on the right-hand side of the Rhine. The excitement is largely made up of variety and the experience of what are mostly unspoilt paths leading to fantastic viewpoints, Rhineland villages, castles and Roman towers.

Starting in Wiesbaden, the Rheinsteig wends its way through the Rheingau vineyards, snaking through Kaub, past the Lorelei, St Goarshausen, the Marksburg and Ehreinbreistein Castle and through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, before crossing the Sieben Mountains to Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Marksburg Castle at Braubach, Romantic Rhine

View of the Marksburg Castle at Braubach from the Rheinsteig Trail, Romantic Rhine

The Rhine Castle Trail covers around 200 kilometres along the left bank of the river, leading from castle to castle and to villages that serve hikers as magnificent stopping points with wonderful views. There are lots of ancient tales surrounding these places between the Mouse Tower in Bingen and the Rolandsbogen in Remagen, from times when robber knights brought fear and dread to the Rhine valley. The view from the castle keep is fantastic, and it is easy to see the route covered thus far. There is also a fabulous view from the battlements of Schönburg Castle in Oberwesel.

It is always worth climbing down from the heights into the Rhine valley to wander through the old streets of the wine-making villages, dive into the little wine bars for a glass of riesling and Flammkuchen and enjoy the museums and castles from the Middle Ages or Napoleonic period. It is easy to lose track of time. But that is not a problem, as it is never far from a jetty or a railway station and you can simply enjoy the return trip in comfort on a boat or train.

Rheineck Castle near Bad Breisig, Romantic Rhine

Rheineck Castle on the Rhine Castle Trail near Bad Breisig, Romantic Rhine

There are also seven additional circular routes that link into the Rheinsteig. Designed as half-day or all-day circuits covering between eight and 21 kilometres, there are a series of varied circular hiking routes including the Fuerstenweg, the Lorelei Extra Trail, the Raunenthal Loop and the Saynsteig Dream Trail.

There is a choice of 15 circular walks on the Rhine Castle Trail. These include the Wolfsdelle and Rheingoldbogen Dream Trails, the Elfenlay Loop, Marienberg, Hasenkammer, Fünfseenblick, Ehrbachklamm and Rheingold. Like the two long-distance trails, they are well signposted and easy to reach using public transport.

The Rhine Cycle Trail is around 120 kilometres long and crosses to both banks of the Middle Rhine Valley. On the left bank of the Rhine, the Rhine Cycle Trail is very well established between Bingen and Remagen. There are wide stretches right next to the banks of the Rhine, through villages and along promenades. On the right bank, some sections need to be crossed by boat or train. The real charm of the Rhine Cycle Trail lies in the fact that the sections can be combined with a boat trip along the river. Other combinations are also possible along the cycle trails for the Nahe, Moselle, Lahn and Ahr rivers.

Rhine Cycle Trail at St. Goarshausen, Romantic Rhine

Rhine Cycle Trail at St. Goarshausen with view of Burg Rheinfels at St. Goar, Romantic Rhine

More leisure tips for nature lovers at the Romantic Rhine:

More information about holidays in the Romantic Rhine region

Find out everything you need to know on events, attractions and other destinations in the romantic Middle Rhine Valley at Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH.

Traumpfad Saynsteig


15,5 km

5:30 h
A hiking tour in Sayn in search of traces of knights and Romans can be made along the Traumpfad…

Premium circular trails along the Romantic Rhine

There are also premium circular routes in the Rhine valley, on both sides of the river and high above the valley for a wonderful walk full of variety.

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Video: Romanticism in the Middle Rhine Valley – A picture tells more than 1,000 words

Mystic castles and mighty fortresses, wide rivers and deep valleys, centuries of history and friendly people – grab your camera and head off on a tour of the romantic Middle Rhine Valley!

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Burg Katz

St. Goarshausen The castle of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen, one of medieval Germany’s most powerful lineages, looks like a cat waiting to pounce on the Rhine Toll. …

Rheineck Castle

Bad Breisig Castle with chapel in eight-sided design, which is reminiscent of the Carolingian Octagon of Aachen Cathedral.

Burg Rheinfels

St. Goar One of the most exciting castle experiences in the Rhine Valley.

Deutsches Eck mit Kaiserdenkmal

Koblenz German Corner is a promontory which juts out into the water, replacing the harbour which was once situated at the point where the Moselle joins the…

Kulturzentrum Festung Ehrenbreitstein

Koblenz 118 metres above the Rhine, from the fortress you have probably the most fantastic view of Koblenz and the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle.…

Loreley Felsen

Bornich The LoreleyIt was sung about and painted. Stories and poems tell of her myth. There are few places in the world that have such a strong charisma as…


Braubach Marksburg Castle The value and significance of Marksburg Castle lie primarily in its complete preservation as a medieval fortification. For many…


Bingen am Rhein Standing on a rocky island in the Rhine is the former watch tower which gets its name from the old German word “musen” (= to spy). It was built in the…


Kaub A popular subject for photographers the world over! The French writer Victor Hugo was once impressed by this castle in the form of a stone ship with a…


Rolandswerth The “Rolandsbogen” (Roland’s Arch) had already become a tourist destination early in the 19th century, offering a view on the Rhine Valley,…

Schloss Stolzenfels

Koblenz Only a few kilometers from the city center of Koblenz rises in the district of the same name, high above the left bank of the Rhine, the Stolzenfels…