Rheinsteig Trail: Hike & Wine in The Heart of Germany

By Sierd van der Bij

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Rheinsteig Trail: Hike & Wine in The Heart of Germany
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The Rheinsteig: hiking along the Rhine. Along with the Eifelsteig, the Malerweg, the Rothaarsteig, and the Moselsteig, the Rheinsteig is one of the absolute German hiking classics. The Rheinsteig follows a path along the right bank of the Middle Rhine in Germany. The 320 km route stretches from Wiesbaden to Bonn and attracts thousands of hikers and Riesling wine lovers from all over Germany and neighbouring countries every year. Want to discover the heart of Germany by foot? Read our blog post now!

From Beethoven's hometown along one of Europe's lifelines (the Rhine) to beautiful Wiesbaden. Or vice versa. The Rheinsteig can be walked in both directions and instead of walking the whole route at once, most Rheinsteigers only walk one, two or three stages during a trip. Walk with us along the most beautiful stages of the Rheinsteig and get inspired.

Hike and Wine. Why the Rheinsteig?

Are you looking for an authentic hiking experience in Germany and also a wine lover? With the Rhine by your side, you'll be hiking through the heart of Germany with the most splendid views. The same Rhine provides the ideal climate for the white grapes of the world-famous Riesling wines. With hiking days varying between 10 and 20 kilometres per day, you can certainly combine some of your stages with a visit to one of the wineries. Hiking and wine, do we want more?

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Where is the Rheinsteig?

The Rheinsteig runs from Bonn to Wiesbaden and runs parallel to the river Rhine, the Rheinhöhenweg and the Rheinburgenweg. The most popular part of the Rheinsteig can be found between Koblenz and Wiesbaden. This section has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Typical are your hikes along the vineyards that you already encounter a lot from Lorchausen onwards.

Did you know that we can book all overnight accommodation for the Rheinsteig for you? Check out all our options here.

Best (wine) season for the Rheinsteig

Although you can hike the Rheinsteig all year round, the best seasons are obviously spring, summer and early autumn. Note that some climbs on the Rheinsteig can be muddy and slippery in winter. If you want to combine the Rheinsteig with the wine season, stick to July and August. During these months, there are various festivities concerning Riesling and other famous wines in the various regions. Beware of heavy legs along the way!

Best (wine) season for the Rheinsteig

Rheinsteig - A 'Premium Hiking Trail'

The Rheinsteig, just like the Eifelsteig for example, is one of the LAW hiking trails that has been awarded the "Premium Wanderwege" seal of approval by the German Wanderinstitut. According to the Wanderinstitut, a Premium Wanderweg is characterized by "excellent markings and a particularly high level of experience". Premium hiking trails guarantee a balanced and beautiful hiking experience. Pleasant paths and trails, great views, beautiful forest scenes, water bodies, rock structures, well-maintained rest and relaxation areas, cultural and historical treasures, and many other aspects make hiking on premium trails a special pleasure.

Rheinsteig Map

In the interactive map below, you'll find the most up-to-date Rheinsteig route. At Bookatrekking.com, we offer the route between Koblenz and Lorch. This hike takes you approximately 100 km along the Rhine.

Rheinsteig stages overview

The complete Rheinsteig consists of 21 stages that can be walked in both directions. What follows is an overview of the Rheinsteig stages starting in the north, in Bonn, and ending in the south, in Wiesbaden.

The 320-kilometre-long Rheinsteig is divided into 21 stages:

Stage 01: Bonn - Königswinter (22 km)

Stage 02: Königswinter - Bad Honnef (13,9 km)

Stage 03: Bad Honnef - Linz (17,9 km)

Stage 04: Linz - Bad Hönningen (13,2 km)

Stage 05: Bad Hönningen - Leutesdorf (16,2 km)

Stage 06: Leutesdorf - Rengsdorf (18,5 km)

Stage 07: Rengsdorf - Sayn (15,4 km)

Stage 08: Sayn - Vallendar (12,5 km)

Stage 09: Vallendar - Koblenz (8,9 km)

Stage 10: Koblenz - Lahnstein (12, 9 km)

Stage 11: Lahnstein - Braubach (8,3 km)

Stage 12: Braubach - Osterspai (16,7 km)

Stage 13: Osterspai - Kestert (12,4 km)

Stage 14: Kestert - St. Goarshausen (12,2 km)

Stage 15: St. Goarshausen - Kaub (21,5 km)

Stage 16: Kaub - Lorch (13,8 km)

Stage 17: Lorch - Rüdesheim (20,6 km)

Stage 18: Rüdesheim - Johannisberg (14,7 km)

Stage 19: Johannisberg - Kloster Eberbach (14,3 km)

Stage 20: Kloster Eberbach - Schlangenbad (9,6 km)

Stage 21: Schlangenbad - Wiesbaden (16,7 km)

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Rheinsteig with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

All Rheinsteig stages

When you choose to book the Rheinsteig with us, your journey begins in Koblenz and ends in Lorch am Rhein. During this hike, you'll discover the most popular part of the Rheinsteig.

Day
1

Arrival day Koblenz

Welcome to Koblenz, one of the most beautiful cities in Rhineland-Palatinate and the starting point of your 12-day hike on the Rheinsteig. The city's name refers to its location, stemming from the Latin "confluentes," meaning confluence. It's at the Deutsches Eck where the Rhine and the Moselle rivers converge. A must-visit leg warmer for your legs is a trip to Fort Ehrenbreitstein, once the largest rock fortress in Europe after Gibraltar.

Hotel Kleiner Riesen (Koblenz)

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Hotel Kleiner Riesen (Koblenz)
Day
2

Koblenz - Lahnstein

Duration: 04:18 h
Distance: 11.4 km
Ascent: 490 m
Descent: 290 m

A relatively easy stage with not too much elevation gain, with the literal highlight being the Ruppertsklamm gorge shortly before the finish. This hike starts very close to the Rhine and leads to beautiful viewpoints, ultimately concluding romantically with a climbing journey through the Ruppertsklamm, one of the most exciting sections on the Rheinsteig. We stroll through the Nassau Nature Park, one of Germany's most beautiful protected landscapes, and can look forward to walks through dense forests with views of beautiful castles.

Boutique Hotel Altes Rathaus (Lahnstein)

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Boutique Hotel Altes Rathaus (Lahnstein)
Day
3

Lahnstein - Braubach

Duration: 02:55 h
Distance: 8.37 km
Ascent: 150 m
Descent: 320 m

Another stage that can easily be completed in half a day. There are stories that get under your skin, like the tale of Idilia Dubb. In 1851, the Scottish young lady climbed the tower of Lahneck Castle all by herself, which was then still in ruins. When Idilia reached the top, the rotten stairs beneath her collapsed. Her desperate cries for help grew weaker and weaker until the beautiful Scottish woman ultimately died of thirst within the castle walls. Many years later, her diary was discovered in a niche in the wall.

At the beginning of this stage, you'll cross the Lahn River. Then it's uphill to "Lahnstein auf der Höhe" with its spa park. After an exciting scramble through the Schliebachtal, you'll reach the Fladenberg. From the Kerkertser Platte, you can already catch a glimpse of the stage destination, Braubach, with the high-lying Marksburg Castle.

Hotel Garni Maaß (Braubach)

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Hotel Garni Maaß (Braubach)
Day
4

Braubach - Filsen/Osterspai

Duration: 04:41 h
Distance: 13.2 km
Ascent: 390 m
Descent: 390 m

This is the ultimate example of a German castle: the Marksburg. The only castle that hasn't been destroyed on the hilltop of the Middle Rhine is one of the most beautiful fortresses in Europe. The medieval torture chamber, the cannon batteries, and the herb garden are impressive and perhaps even eerie.

After this cultural highlight, you continue your journey straight through the forests to Filsen.

Altes Tor (Filsen / Osterspai)

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Altes Tor (Filsen / Osterspai)
Day
5

Filsen/Osterspai - Kestert

Duration: 05:18 h
Distance: 14.7 km
Ascent: 470 m
Descent: 400 m

During this varied stage, you'll pass orchards, forests, and impressive rock formations. If you keep a good pace, you can cover the 14.7 km within half a day and reach Kestert around lunchtime. Along the way, you'll encounter the folk tale about the two brothers who deprived their blind sister of her share of the inheritance. Once again, an impressive story that adds color to the Rheinsteig.

Zur Traube (Kestert)

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Zur Traube (Kestert)
Day
6

Kestert - St. Goarhausen

Duration: 04:34 h
Distance: 12.6 km
Ascent: 330 m
Descent: 430 m
Today, you're in for another varied route. You'll be walking through forests and fields, along meadows and rocks. In the past, there used to be a tunnel deep under the Rhine here. That was until September 15, 1958, when the "Grube Gute Hoffnung" mine above the Wellmich district in St. Goarshausen ceased its operations. Since the ore processing plant for the minerals mined here for centuries was on the left bank of the Rhine, the miners dug a tunnel under the Rhine at a depth of 136 meters, laid tracks, and even operated a freight train. An educational hiking trail here provides you with the opportunity to learn more about this mine and the old tunnel.

Hotel Café Herrmanns Mühle (St. Goarshausen)

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Hotel Café Herrmanns Mühle (St. Goarshausen)
Day
7

St. Goarshausen - Kaub

Duration: 06:31 h
Distance: 21.4 km
Ascent: 690 m
Descent: 690 m

Today, you'll pass by one of the most famous peaks of the Rheinsteig, namely the Loreley. The 132-meter-high rock serves as a lookout point over the narrowest point of the Rhine. Since the singer Clemens von Brentano paid tribute to Loreley, this place has become a huge attraction.

The stage between St. Goarshausen and Kaub is one of the longest and most demanding on the Rheinsteig. The reward is that you'll enjoy one of the most diverse landscapes on the Rheinsteig. Because the Rhine has many twists and turns here, the scenery constantly changes. This stage also involves a lot of ups and downs.

Hotel Deutsches Haus (Kaub)

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Hotel Deutsches Haus (Kaub)
Day
8

Kaub - Lorch am Rhein

Duration: 04:10 h
Distance: 13.9 km
Ascent: 440 m
Descent: 440 m

Today, you'll be crossing the state border between Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. Kaub, a place where rafting is quite popular, is primarily known for its Pfalzgrafenstein Fortress. You might almost think a stone ship has dropped anchor here. Apart from the Marksburg, the Zollburg is the only fortress along the Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed. General "Vorwärts" Blücher used the small island in the pursuit of Napoleon's troops on New Year's Eve 1813/1814 for his legendary crossing of the Rhine.

Gastehaus Weingut Rossler (Lorch am Rhein)

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Gastehaus Weingut Rossler (Lorch am Rhein)
Day
9

Lorch am Rhein - Koblenz

End of the Rheinsteig. You can take the train back to Koblenz. Or, of course, continue your journey!
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Safety tips for the Rheinsteig

Although this is far from being a trek in the Himalayas, unexpected things can always happen and you might also find obstacles on the hiking trails along the way. The Rheinsteig is safe, the trails are quite straight forward and there is not an extreme difference in altitude. However, for your safety, every hike deserves a level of respect; respect for the terrain, the trails, wildlife and vegetation, local rules and regulations, and above all, your physical capabilities and safety. Therefore, for an unforgettable and safe hiking memory, please keep the following safety recommendations in mind:

  • Know your limits

    Always prepare each stage carefully to use your energy wisely, respect your physical and mental limitations, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. When ascending or descending, if applicable, always use the aids provided, such as handrails and ropes. Is this trek suitable for you? Well, familiarize yourself with the grading system and figure out if this trek matches your capabilities. If you still need professional advice you can always contact Bookatrekking.com experts.

  • Stay on marked trails

    The most important thing is to never leave the marked paths. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B in the Rheinsteig. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you.

  • Fully equipped

    Make sure you have the necessary gear for the conditions you'll be facing, including appropriate clothing, footwear, and any necessary equipment for the terrain you'll be hiking on. Always wear clothing adapted to the weather of Rheinsteig and protect yourself from cold and wetness or heat and sun. Besides, make sure you carry enough food and water for the duration of your trek. On the way, you might (or might not) be able to buy snacks.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Rheinsteig.

  • Respect for nature

    Do not litter, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Public transport along the Rheinsteig

Since there is a connection to public transport in every town along the Rheinsteig and a train station in almost everywhere along the way in the Rhine Valley, the stages can also be customised. Thanks to the good transport connections, only daily stages are also possible without any problems - you can return to the starting point by bus, train or even boat without any problems.

Packing List for the Rheinsteig

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

Rheinsteig Accommodation: Gasthöfer and Hotels

The Rheinsteig is one of the most popular long-distance hiking trails in Germany. That, combined with the beauty of the Middle Rhine, ensures that you will find numerous accommodation options along the Rheinsteig. Be it a hotel, a guesthouse, a Bed and Breakfast or a so-called Zimmer Frei. On the Rheinsteig trail, you'll find it all. The nice thing about the hiking route is that you are never very far from civilisation. The Gasthöfer and Hotels along the Rheinsteig are usually family-run businesses, often accompanied by an in-house restaurant(s) and bar and play a central role in community life in the village or town. In the wine villages, you can also taste wine there, of course.

A typical example of a Gasthof along the Rheinsteig:

Rheinsteig Accommodation: Gasthöfer and Hotels

At Bookatrekking.com, we not only book your accommodation and luggage transport, we also send you on your way with a comprehensive hiking guide with the most important information for your Rheinsteig, including interactive Komoot maps. Browse all our options here and turn your dreams into reality.

Where Can I Book the Rheinsteig?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book the self-guided Rheinsteig and many other treks. We take care of all the details for you, including arranging accommodations, organizing luggage transportation and providing you with relevant information well in advance of your trek. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is the Rheinsteig not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:

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