When I visited Rüdesheim recently, I decided to extend my trip and combined several sites into a short Rüdesheim hiking trail in the romantic Rhine Valley. There are many Rüdesheim hiking trails between Rüdesheim, Assmannshausen, and the surrounding area. Knowing this area very well, I didn’t follow any official Rüdesheim hiking trails. Instead, I started my hiking from the train station. That was a wonderful excursion in the Rheingau valley.
I drove there and parked my car near the train station. If you are the first timer, the cruise is the best way to arrive at Rüdesheim and explore the Rhine Valley. Köln-Düsseldorfer (known as KD) is the budget cruise and offers the flexibility of enjoying the Rhine Valley and its many castles, vineyards, and more. The KD cruise line stops at many places, including Rüdesheim, as well as other big cities along the river.
The highlight of my hiking trail includes five sections:
- Walkthrough the town via Oberstraße
- Stroll through the vineyard
- Take a break at Rebenhaus
- Enjoy the hilltop views from Niederwalddenkmal
- Walk down via Brahmsweg
Walkthrough the town via Oberstraße
At the crossing of Am Rottland and Rheinstraße, I turned left and followed Oberstraße. The first site along the street was Schloss Groenesteyn, a castle closed permanently. Further down the road, more shops, restaurants, and wine cellars come into the scene.
On the left side of the road, at the upper end of the famous Drosselgasse, stands the eye-catching building of Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet. It displays about 350 mechanical music instruments out of 3 centuries. If your main purpose is to visit the town, it is worth to visit this place.
I passed 144 metres long Drosselgasse, a touristic highlight of genuine German history. Every year, the street attracts millions of people from locals and all over the world. Music, wine bars, souvenir shops, and garden taverns along the street satisfy everyone.
Not far from the Drosselgasse is the Rüdesheim cable car station. It brings the visitors up the hill to the Niederwald monument. Since my focus was to hike around, I didn’t make a stop there and continued my journey towards the wine terrace.
Stroll through the vineyard
At the crossing of Bergstraße and Germaniastraße, I turned left and arrived at a big parking lot. Opposite the public toilet, a paved road goes straight to the vineyard. Followed the meandering walking trail through the vineyard, I found myself along on the trail.
The walkway ascends with a small gradient. I looked back and got a wonderful view of the entire old town. The parish church from the 15th century, St. Jakobus, tops the skyline of the town.
On the east side of the hill, I could see as far as the St Hildegard standing in the middle of the vineyard. The Abbey has around 48 nuns, the youngest being 33 and the oldest 94. They welcome visitors to their craft and art studios, wine cellar, restaurant, etc. People can join a guided tour and learn the everyday lives of the Abbey.
At the end of April, some green leaves are visible around the grapevines. With an average temperature of 9.9°C, 1,643 hours of sunshine, and just 536 mm of annual rainfall, Rheingau has excellent conditions for growing grapes. Besides, the diversity of soils, slate, quartzite, sandstone, and gravel, create an outstanding condition to produce some of the best Riesling wines in the world.
Take a break at Rebenhaus
I walked parallel to the Rhine River. At the sign “Rebenhaus / Niederwalddenkmal”, the walkway becomes challenging. I had to climb up the hill. Stone stairs replace the flat walkway. After a short walk, I turned left until another sign-post, which also indicates the direction to Assmannhausen.
More stone stairs on the way are leading to the uphill. The stairs are well-maintained. Both sides have metal handrails. It took me only a few minutes until I reached the Rebenhaus, a wine restaurant that offers wine with local specialties.
It is also a guesthouse that features holiday apartments and studios. Some units also come with a private terrace. If you would like to hike in the area, this is a good choice. The cable car mountain station is just 200 metres away.
The restaurant has a large outdoor seating area, with a panorama view of wine terrace, Rhine river, the old town of Rüdesheim, and the romantic hills on the south bank. I took a rest there before heading toward the Niederwalddenkmal.
Enjoy the hilltop views from Niederwald Monument (Niederwalddenkmal)
From Rebenhaus, I walked up a few steps further and arrived at another German restaurant, Am Niederwald. The Niederwald Temple is on the way to Niederwald Monument. The white tempel conveys a Mediterranean atmosphere. And its wonderful view to the south shows the romantic Rhine Valley in each season.
Not far from the Niederwaldtempel, I finally arrived at the foot of the Niederwald Monument. The 38-metre tall monument, erected between 1877 and 1883, symbolizes Germany’s victory over France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 and the subsequent foundation of the German Empire. The main figure is the Germania holding the imperial crown in her raised right hand and the imperial sword in her left hand.
In 1885, the royal Prussian State Government granted a license of operating a railway track. The 2.3 km railway served as organized passenger transportation to and from Rüdesheim. At the beginning of the 20th century, the railway ceased operation. Today, tourists can take the cable car from the Rhine valley to the monument while having the entire valley view.
The monument towers above the Rhine Valley and opens out beneath, offering fascinating views from the Rheingau to the Middle Rhine Valley. I could see the Chapel of St. Roch on the hill of the south bank, the Rhine river winding through the valley, the rolling landscape of the vineyards, and the wide walkway among the vineyards.
Walk down via part of Brahmsweg hiking trail
In the summer of 1883, Brahms stayed in Wiesbaden. At that time, he visited the von Beckerath family in Rüdesheim quite often and liked to hike in the surrounding vineyards. He was inspired by the unique cultural landscape.
Named after the famous composer Johannes Brahms, who stayed in Rüdesheim and composed his well-known 3rd symphony, the hiking trail is around 6 km long. This Rüdesheim hiking trail takes around four hours from the famous Brömserburg, where once a knight family lived, and which now houses a wine museum, to the vineyards of Rottland and Bischofsberg. This hiking trail, which ends at the ring wall in the city center, offers a wonderful view of Rüdesheim, the Rhine and Bingen opposite.
I found several information boards about this Rüdesheim hiking trail on the way down the hill. Unfortunately, the information is in pure German language. Nevertheless, they deliver the feeling of the famous composer when he hiked around.
At the Rottland vineyard, I walked towards the riverside. In a few minutes, I was back to the train station.
Tips of my Rüdesheim Hiking Trail
The short cut of the hiking trail
I ended my Rüdesheim hiking trail at the train station again. If you don’t want to see the town, it is possible to enter the vineyard by first following the Oberstraßße and then turn left into the Am Feldtor street. Then try to walk parallel to the Rhine river, you will see all the sites described above as well.
Take the cable car
If you only want to enjoy the view from the hilltop, you can take the cable car in the centre of the old town. It is then easy to walk down.
What to wear and to bring
It’s better to wear proper running shoes or hiking shoes. There is no shed while walking in the vineyards. So, it is better to bring some water on the way. When the sun shines, even it was in April, it was hot. So, make sure to wear proper clothes that suit your situation.
The Rheinsteig trail is a signposting hiking trail from Wiesbaden to Bonn. It is famous for its unique landscapes, picturesque towns, castles, and vineyards that will take your breath away with its stunning views. The Rüdesheim Hiking Trail I did is just a very short part of it. This website describes detailed information about the trail.
How to get to Rüdesheim
Since Rüdesheim is a perfect day trip destination from such as Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, or Mainz, there are many ways to reach there.
If you stay for example in Wiesbaden, take Köln-Düsseldorfer (known as KD) cruise to Rüdesheim. The cruise line stops at many places along the river.
There is an organized wine tasting tour stating from Frankfurt. If you want to try the German wine, this is a good choice for you.
Trains from Deutsche Bahn stop at Rüdesheim train station. Visit the German railway website to find the quickest connections.
The quickest way to get there is by car. The driving time is around 38 minutes, and the distance is about 52 kilometres from Frankfurt International Airport.