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Castles of the Rhine

  • 8 Night Route

    Price From: £795
  • 7 Night Route

    Price From: £735
  • 6 Night Route

    Price From: £685
  • 5 Night Route

    Price From: £605

From Bingen to Koblenz

Back to Routes
The paddlesteamer

The paddlesteamer

Bacharach

Bacharach

St Goarshausen from the Lorelei

St Goarshausen from the Lorelei

St Goar

St Goar

Kaub

Kaub

Schloss Rheinstein

Schloss Rheinstein

The Boppard bend

The Boppard bend

Mist over the Rhine

Mist over the Rhine

The Posthaus in Bacharach

The Posthaus in Bacharach

Vineyards on the slopes of the Rhine

Vineyards on the slopes of the Rhine

Rhens Town Hall

Rhens Town Hall

Vineyards in Autumn

Vineyards in Autumn

Price: £795
Nights: 8
Grade:
Walk: 4¾-6¾ hr/day
Max. party size: 16

Travellers Reviews

The 'romantic' aspect of the Rhine seemed appropriate for our 30th anniversary.

The highlight of the holiday was the stay in the two castles and the beautiful autumn colours. We enjoyed the wine tasting and the excellent local wines. We felt very safe at all times.

Kath Busby, Lancashire, October 2016

We particularly enjoy the kinds of accommodation you include in your holidays.

Small, local, historic, quirky etc. The walks all take you away from the touristy places and get you out into the countryside and we have been able to choose a walk that suits our capabilities and interests. The notes are excellent and you also have lots of suggestions for eating and enjoying local experiences in the towns and villages where we stay.

Pam Edwards, South Australia, September 2016

The routes were perfect - we wouldn't change a thing.

It's such a luxury following someone else's carefully-planned route. The length of walks was just right, as was the variety. It was absolutely wonderful to be able to travel with our dogs too, and they loved the walks. Germany is very dog-friendly, we wouldn't hesitate to bring them again. We have decided that the first week of June should be reserved for an On Foot adventure every year from now!

Stephanie Rampton, London, May 2017

More independent feedback
About the Route

At a glance

8 nights (7 walking days) - the complete route. Why not an extra night in Koblenz at the end?

How much walking?

Full days: 18-21km per day, 4¾-6¾ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 7-14km per day, 2-4½ hrs (using buses/trains/boats to reduce walking)

Max. Grade:

Castles and the Romantic Rhine

The Rhine Gorge is unique.  Its 20 castles, perched high above the river, some visitable, bear witness to a crucial role in the history of Europe, and to its iconic “Romantic” status for painters, poets and composers.  It is busy and exciting too – the barges negotiating sharp bends and the toy trains (for that is how they look from the footpaths high above), and the river towns and villages – many very old and still wholly or partially fortified – make a pleasant variation from the rural walking. It is also a wine route – every village is proud of its own Riesling vineyards and you will have the chance to sample their produce when you sup after a walking day.

Walked by On Foot staff:  Simon, and Debbie (with Thomas)

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit Aito.com.

Route Highlights

  • The spectacular Rhine Gorge
  • 20 castles high above the river
  • Bacharach, the Loreley, St Goar and Roman Boppard
  • The merging of the Rhine and Moselle at Koblenz
  • Riesling and beer gardens

We Recommend

An extra night in Koblenz at the end for a stroll around the town and a trip on the 'Seilbahn' over the Rhine to Ehrenbreitstein, or perhaps a leisurely boat trip down the scenic Moselle.

Eating and drinking

There are some excellent chefs en route – notably Florian at the Weinbergschlößchen, Edgar and Willi at Kaub, and Werner at Rhens.  Werner specializes in “Wildgerichte” from his own hunt – so venison and wild boar in particular.  He recommends a local red wine – Dornfelder from Weingut Kronen-Hof – but a richer Riesling will also work well with “Wild”.

How much Walking?

Full days: 18-21km per day, 4¾-6¾ hrs walking
Using shortening options: 7-14km per day, 2-4½ hrs (using buses/trains/boats to reduce walking)

Excellent,well-marked and well-surfaced paths and good signage.  Tough climbs away from the river but short (typically 100m – 150m ascent).  Highest point on route: 470m.

Medium-hard: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 600m (450m-830m) per day.

Easy-medium: CUSs 334m (150m-600m) per day using shortening options (available each day)

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops.  “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb.  See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk: May, June, July, September, October

Other possible months: April, August, November

This is a route that can be walked from April through to the beginning of November, though accommodation can be difficult to secure during certain festival weeks in September. The heat of the summer is kept at bay on many days by woodland, though if you do walk in high summer take lots of protection against the sun, else will you ripen as the grapes. Best time to walk – May (except for Ascension, shown as unavailable below), June and late September/early October – for spring flowers and fragrant vineyards later in the autumn.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for Oberwesel

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in Bingen

Arrive at your first accommodation in Bingen, preferably while the cake shop below the hotel is still open. We recommend the "Gaggianer" pub by the basilica for your first German meal, and the Riesling or beer that are likely to accompany your meals throughout your walk.

Day 2 - Bingen to Oberheimbach

Leave the town and plain behind and rise into the trees above the start of the gorge. This is a woody day, but has some surprises – Burg Rheinstein for a morning coffee, the Gerhardshof woodland clearing for lunch, and Sieben-Burgen-Blick back at the Rhine, with Burg Sooneck below (that’s two visitable castles in the first day alone!), before arriving at sleepy Oberheimbach, nestling quietly up the valley and inviting you to eat in style. (Medium-hard: 20 km, 5 hrs, CUSs 720m). Shorter alternative: take a taxi (or boat in season) to Burg Rheinstein – timetable provided – and walk the rest (Medium:  3½ hrs, 12km, CUSs 510m)

Day 3 - Oberheimbach to Kaub

Up through the vineyards now, for an open day on the west side of the river. Today’s highlight is the riverside town of Bacharach, one of the most beautiful, and with a splendid beer garden for a late lunch. Beware though of the climb back out through the watchtower – the steepest 100m ascent on the route, but with the best views too (see Gallery). Cross the Rhine at the end of the day to little Kaub, and Edgar and Willi Kirdoff’s bustling restaurant-with-rooms. (Medium-hard: 18km, 5 hrs, CUSs 560m). Shorter alternative – walk to Bacharach then take the boat to Kaub (Easy-medium: 3hrs, 12km, CUSs 350m)

Day 4 - Kaub to St. Goar

The classic Rheinsteig day, great views, the chance of lunch at a classic wayside cafe at Lieselfeld and a visit to the Loreley itself (including an excellent visitor centre) before descending to pretty St. Goarshausen and a trip over the Rhine on the ferry to popular St Goar. (Medium-hard: 20km, 5½ hrs, CUSs 680m). Shorter alternative – take the KD ferry to Oberwesel and do the Day 5 walk to St Goar OR just take the ferry on to St Goar (Medium: 4½hrs, 14km, CUSs 600m)

Day 5 - Oberwesel to St. Goar

For an easy day, take the train to Oberwesel and walk back to St Goar past TV’s Günderodehaus, through fields opposite the Loreley for the best views of the fabled rock. (Easy-medium: 3½ hrs, 10km, CUSs 280m). Extend the walk past massive Burg Rheinfels, a ruin that does not bely its complex military history and on to pretty Hirzenach via some wonderful and surprising vistas high above the river (Medium-hard: 6¾ hrs, 21km, CUSs 480m Oberwesel-Hirzenach).

Option

Alternative - explore St Goar and/or St Goarshausen on the other side for a leisurely sightseeing day. Make use of the KD ferry for an outing to Bad Salzig.

Day 6 - St. Goar to Kamp-Bornhofen

Cross over to St. Goarshausen and, continuing your route northwards along the Rheinsteig, climb quickly up the valley side again and stay there amongst the fields and open skies, dipping down into woodland at Burg Maus before rising again to arrive finally at a castle at teatime, Burg Liebenstein (upgraders will stay here), and descending to the river again at Kamp-Bornhofen. (Hard: 6½ hrs, 18km, CUSs 830m). Easier alternative – this tough day can be shortened by 3 hours by taking the train (Easy: 3 hrs, 8km, CUSs 250m)

Day 7 - Kamp-Bornhofen to Rhens

After a short walk to riverside Filsen, cross the river to Roman Boppard, the largest of the gorge towns, for an early lunch and a ramble round the old streets and Roman fort, before climbing away from the river (you can use the chair lift instead!) and over the top via 4-Seen-Blick (the Rhine seems like four separate lakes from this point) and down to pretty Rhens, and your overnight stay in an old inn, complete with beer terrace, smiling waitresses and excellent kitchen (your host Werner is the chef).  (Medium: 6½ hrs, 19km, CUSs 450m). Alternative – walk as far as Filsen/Boppard for a leisurely lunch, then train to Rhens.  (Easy: 2 hrs, 7km, CUS 200m)

Day 8 - Rhens to Koblenz

Your final day takes you west into the wooded hills again, before rejoining the river at Burg Stolzenfels (visitable), and a final triumphant entry into Koblenz. You can walk the whole length of the river embankment to proud Deutsches Eck (“German Corner”) where the Moselle joins the main stream. Our hotel is well known to us over many years (it was the final hotel of our old route), friendly and well positioned for an exploration of this historic town.  (Medium: 4¾ hrs, 18km, CUSs 490m), or take bus to Stolzenfels and walk from there (Easy:  3 hrs, 10km, CUSs 150m)

Alternatively, take train to Koblenz (from Rhens) and enjoy a full day’s sightseeing there

Departure day

Return home – or why not stay a further night and make the most of the museums, castles (Fortress Ehrenbreitstein is now accessible by cable car across the Rhine), gardens and restaurants that Koblenz offers?

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR

Three airports serve the route – Frankfurt International (best – an hour by train to start and from finish), Frankfurt Hahn (which is nowhere near Frankfurt) and Cologne Bonn.

Land by: Frankfurt International 18:00; Frankfurt Hahn 15:30, Cologne Bonn 16:00 for public transport connections to first hotel.

Return flight earliest: 10:00 all airports for connections from Koblenz.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.

ARRIVING BY TRAIN

Nearest railway station:

Start: Bingen (or Niederheimbach/Kaub for shorter options)
Finish: Koblenz

Typical rail journey from UK via Brussels:

London: Eurostar to Brussels Midi, Thalys high speed train to Cologne, local train to Bingen or Niederheimbach (change Koblenz).  ~7½ hrs.

Return from Koblenz or Rhens:  As above in reverse. ~6½ hrs.

For the stretch between London and Cologne, see www.seat61.com/Germany.htm.  See www.bahn.de for final stretch to and from Cologne.

 

Getting to the start of the walk

The first hotel is normally in Bingen (Oberheimbach for shorter versions), and the last in Koblenz (Rhens for shorter versions). Transfer times and methods are suggested for the three nearest airports below. For train arrival transfers see below.

FRANKFURT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:

Outward: By train with 1 change, ~1 hr
Return: By train (direct), ~1¼ hrs

FRANKFURT HAHN AIRPORT:

Outward: By bus with 1 change 2 hrs OR pre-bookable taxi c. 1 hr
Return: Airport bus from Koblenz bus station ~ 1¼ hrs OR pre-bookable taxi c. 1 hr

COLOGNE-BONN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:

Outward: By train with 1-2 changes, 2-3 hrs
Return: By train (0-1 changes), ~1½ hrs

Transfers from train stations:

Outward:  Local taxi or 10 minutes walk to first hotel (Bingen), short lift (Niederheimbach)
Return: 5-7 minutes walk to Koblenz or Rhens stations

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack.  Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information. For Pre-bookable taxi prices see “Prices”.

Where You'll Stay

The accommodation in the middle of this route between Kaub and Kamp-Bornhofen is very friendly and is aimed primarily at walkers, while that at the beginning and end has a more varied clientele.  Enjoy the excellent dining (included) in Oberheimbach, and consider an upgrade to our captive castles in St Goar and Kamp-Bornhofen.. Please note that Tuesday arrivals at our standard hotel in St Goar (Zur Loreley) are not possible.

Oberheimbach – Weinberg Schlößchen (Dinner, B&B)

Night 2

Oberheimbach – Weinberg Schlößchen (Dinner, B&B)

An excellent restaurant, with comfortable rooms over, in a noted wine village.

Kaub – Hotel Deutsches Haus (B&B)

Night 3

Kaub – Hotel Deutsches Haus (B&B)

A friendly village restaurant with basic rooms above. Near railway.

St Goar – Zur Loreley (B&B)

Night 4 & 5

St Goar – Zur Loreley (B&B)

Family run hotel near main square with owner's wine shop nearby! Tuesday arrivals not possible.

St Goar – Schloss Rheinfels (B&B)

Night 4 & 5 (Upgrade)

St Goar – Schloss Rheinfels (B&B)

Imposing castle above St Goar with classy accommodation and restaurant with fine river views. German twin beds (large single base with two mattresses)

Kamp-Bornhofen – Hotel Becker (B&B)

Night 6

Kamp-Bornhofen – Hotel Becker (B&B)

Charming, well-furnished hotel with good restaurant and wine-tasting opportunities.

Kamp-Bornhofen – Burghotel Liebenstein (Dinner, B&B)

Night 6 (Upgrade)

Kamp-Bornhofen – Burghotel Liebenstein (Dinner, B&B)

Small castle perched high above Rhine, now a small hotel. Great views, old-fashioned atmosphere.

Rhens – Hotel Roter Ochse (B&B)

Night 7

Rhens – Hotel Roter Ochse (B&B)

Splendid old hotel with young management and a good kitchen.

Koblenz – Hotel Brenner (B&B)

Night 8

Koblenz – Hotel Brenner (B&B)

Comfortable and friendly hotel with good sized rooms, close to the old town.

Prices

Price: £795 for 8 nights

Total 8 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, 1/2 picnics (depending on hotels booked), 1 evening meal, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis), and may vary with exchange rate fluctuations – check with On Foot for your guaranteed price.

Savings and supplements

Single Room Supplement: From £175

Lone Traveller Additional Supplement: From £120

Larger party saving (on identical itinerary) – £65 off per person (except first two)

 

Add Ons

Upgrades to Schloss Rheinfels (St Goar) and/or Burg Liebenstein (Kamp-Bornhofen): Varies with season and room type – contact On Foot. Burg Liebenstein requires supplemental luggage transfer

Extra nights in any hotel: Contact On Foot Holidays

Travellers Reviews

The 'romantic' aspect of the Rhine seemed appropriate for our 30th anniversary.

The highlight of the holiday was the stay in the two castles and the beautiful autumn colours. We enjoyed the wine tasting and the excellent local wines. We felt very safe at all times.

Kath Busby, Lancashire, October 2016

We particularly enjoy the kinds of accommodation you include in your holidays.

Small, local, historic, quirky etc. The walks all take you away from the touristy places and get you out into the countryside and we have been able to choose a walk that suits our capabilities and interests. The notes are excellent and you also have lots of suggestions for eating and enjoying local experiences in the towns and villages where we stay.

Pam Edwards, South Australia, September 2016

The routes were perfect - we wouldn't change a thing.

It's such a luxury following someone else's carefully-planned route. The length of walks was just right, as was the variety. It was absolutely wonderful to be able to travel with our dogs too, and they loved the walks. Germany is very dog-friendly, we wouldn't hesitate to bring them again. We have decided that the first week of June should be reserved for an On Foot adventure every year from now!

Stephanie Rampton, London, May 2017

More independent feedback
Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
Beatrix Greiff

Route designed by:

Beatrix Greiff

Beatrix lives on the route and has a portfolio career encompassing jewellery making and being a PA. She is bilingual in German and French and fluent in English.

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