The Rhine Castle trail unlocks the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley, on the left riverbank between Bingen and Koblenz, on the right riverbank mainly along the Rheinsteig between Rüdesheim and Koblenz. The Rhine Castle trail passes through an impressive natural landscape: about 220 km challenging walking pleasure.
Emperors, kings, princes, bishops and robber barons: all have built their castle along the Rhine. Mostly on a steep rock high above a city, often surrounded by vineyards, offering a grand view of the magnificent landscape. High, impregnable, these castles were fortresses protecting the territory of the ruler at the Rhine, but also tollhouses controlling traffic and trade on the river. From the Rhine valley these castles had a martial appearance.
Only after practically all castles had been destroyed, 200 years ago, romanticists started considering and experiencing the Rhine valley in quite another way. The diversity of a landscape marked by a major river. Travellers from all countries met in the villages and cities on the narrow riverbanks. Some of them remained longer, wrote world-famous songs and poems or painted magnificent landscapes. Very few people walked on the heights. Still now most tourists prefer to enjoy the cultural landscape sitting comfortably on a boat or biking. Yet more and more visitors find their way to the castles along the Rhine Castle trail.
Along the Rhine Castle trail, mostly passing steep mountain ridges, the walker gets a new, phantastic perspective of this unique landscape. On the left and right riverbanks the Rhine Castle trail follows the river, from Bingen and Rüdesheim in the south to the "Deutsches Eck" and the fortress Ehrenbreitstein in Koblenz. The Rhine Castle trail offers a lot of variation: wood-paths through high forests, paths through meadows and fields, narrow paths on the steep slate mountains, rocky climbs and descents to the narrow side-valleys. The Rhine Castles trail often follows former donkey trails or ancient Roman roads. From the paths through the vineyards the walker enjoys new perspectives of the cultural landscape time and time again.
The Rhine ferries link both trails on the left and right riverbanks, so that the walkers can vary their trip with nice circuits and ferry crossings. The UNESCO cultural landscape offers almost any means of transport: with the historic Hunsrückbahn from Boppard to the heights of the Hunsrück - with the bike (your own or a rented one) through the forests, orchards and vineyards back to the Rhine valley - a climb on foot to one of the castles and a walk back to the city - a short boat trip to the Loreley rock, and finally by train through the tunnels back to your starting point. On the Rhine Castle trail you can walk without luggage as well as join a guided walk with picknick to the most beautiful views. How to get on top? Chair lifts facilitate the climb in Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein, Boppard, Assmannshausen and Rüdesheim. Shuttle bus services bring you to the Marksburg in Braubach or the Burg Rheinfels in St. Goar.
In Boppard, Oberwesel and Morgenbachtal the walker can include climbs in his walk along the Rhine Castle trail. The Alpenverein (mountaineer club) has developed climbs with supporting irons, ropes and ladders. Climbers are surrounded by abundant vegetation (partly nature reserve) and they can descend into side-valleys with cool, clear and sparkling water. Often the eye meets with far-away heights of the Westerwald, the Taunus or the Hunsrück. In the Rhine valley you see a peaceful toy world: pleasure boats and freighters on the river, long goods trains disappearing into the tunnels of the Loreley rock, time and time again small cities with churches, walls and castles. In the villages and cities the Rhine Castle trail follows the walls. From the towers you have a magnificent view of the roofs of the medieval houses.
Translator: Thanks to Freddy Storm - a speedy Flem
|Source: Photo Loreley Felix Koenig, Photo Marksburg Braubach Touristik||© 2006 go_on Software GmbH|