The Rheinsteig

An account of the Rheinsteig (a hicking trail that has become immensly popular over the last few years) cannot fail on any site covering the Rhine Valley.

The Rheinsteig, which is over 320 kilometers long and runs from Mainz to Bonn, was officially opened in September 2005. Since then it has become one of the most walked and loved hiking trails in Germany.A large part of it (the best part of course) runs through the Rhine Valley.

The route is divided into 23 different sections which vary a great deal in length and in how strenuous they are. Some sections are perhaps better suited to the more experienced and fitter hiker while others are ideal for a family hike - grandparents and children included.

A whole industry has developed around the Rheinsteig - mainly catering and accomodation. It is often possible to leave the car at the start of one section, walk to the end and return to the car by train or bus. This is particularly true in the Rhine Valley where the trail runs more or less parallel to the train line.

Some enterprising individuals make a living transporting the luggage of hikers from the Bed and Breakfast/Hotel they are leaving at the start of the day to the accomodation that is their target for the end of the day.

Quite a few people plan on "doing the Rhainsteig" over a number of  years, hiking say sections one,three and five the first year - sections two, four, and seven the second year and so on until they finally achieve their goal or death intervenes !!

The aim of those who planned the Rheinsteig was to enable the hikers to "experience nature", to recover from the daily stresses of life, to relax in the bosom of mother nature, to breath clean fresh air and imbibe beautiful scenery in the peace and quiet of the outdoors. This aim has been achieved.

If you hike along the Rheinsteig not only will you enjoy all that nature has to offer but will also profit from the legendary German thoroughness which went into the planning of the route.

Included in this planning were such ideas as.

  • sticking to narrow paths wherever possible which enhances that "trail-breaking" feeling
  • avoiding tarred roads wherever possible
  • taking the route to vantage points with particularly spectacular views
  • taking not the shortest route from A to B but the most attractive
  • passing close to taverns and restaurants where local fare and wine can be sampled.Don't worry beer drinkers good German beer is also to be had!!
  • when passing through small towns to seek a route that goes through the old part of the town and passes culturally interesting buildings and monuments
  • leading the route reasonably close to transport points(railway stations/bus stops) where the weary hiker can end his hike and continue/return by train or bus.
  • placing benches at fairly regular intervals (often at vantage points with particularly good views) where one can stretch ones legs and perhaps stop to enjoy the sandwiches and beer that have travelled with in the rucksack.
  • placing information boards along the way which give interesting facts about the surroundings
  • and last and perhaps most importantly providing signposting that is simple, non confusing and accurate.

Below I set out the sections of the Rheinsteig that pass through the Rhine Valley - the distances and walking times come from the official Rheinsteig Site to which I link at the bottom of this page.

Rheinsteig Sections in the Rhine Valley

From - To Distance Walking Time
Rüdesheim - Lorch 20 Kilometers 7 Hours
Lorch - Kaub 13.5 Kilometers 4 Hours 30 Minutes
Kaub - St.Goarshausen 22 Kilometers 7 Hours
St.Goarshausen - Kestert 12 Kilometers 4 Hours
Kestert - Kamp-Bornhofen 12 Kilometers 4 Hours
Kampf-Bornhofen - Braubach 16,5 Kilometers 5 Hours 30 Minutes
Braubach - Niederlahnstein 8,5 Kilometers 3 Hours
Niederlahnstein - Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein 13,5 Kilometers 4 Hours 30 Minutes

I shall be covering the above sections in greater detail and adding them to my Walks Page but be patient it will take time to walk, photograph and describe the 118 Kilometers.

In the meanwhile I include the link to the official Rheinsteig Site which unfortunately is only in German - however the following link takes you to another good site covering the Rheinsteig in English.

Return from Rheinsteig to rhine valley vacations.