Bad Hönningen train station (89 m)
32U 381186 5597143
Linz, market square
Arenfels Castle ('Castle of the Year') lies in front of us: it has 365 windows, 52 doors and twelve towers. Next stop on our hike is the Schafstall, a former settlement for the courtiers of Arenfels Castle. From here, the Rheinsteig trail leads to an airy viewing point and an avenue of chestnut trees, which leads down to Ariendorf. Passing the community centre and Ariendorf Castle, it continues up to the 'Helle Au' viewing point. Shortly afterwards, the trail leaves the forest and leads back into open fields, where the descent to Leubsdorf begins. Until a few years ago, the slopes around Leubsdorf were planted with vines. Today, there are only a few vineyards left. The residents of Leubsdorf remember their 1300-year-old tradition of wine-making with a wine festival, held on the last weekend of September every year. The town is also distinguished by its moated castle, many half-timbered houses and the parish church of St Walpurga, which sits on a rock, and is also known as the 'white church on the Rhine'. From the train station, the trail climbs steadily uphill to meet the Rheinsteig trail, which leads around the base of the Giersberg mountain. There are plenty of opportunities to catch beautiful views along the way. Shortly after this, the Rheinsteig trail leads us to Dattenberg, with its Romanesque basilica (‘church of the holy guardian angels’). From here, the trail takes us down to the war memorial chapel. Behind the church is a former cemetery, which now serves as a park. Before following the Rheinsteig trail to the stone pit, you will see the ruined castles of Metternich and Dattenberg. Heading towards the sports centre on a narrow path, we pass a viewing bench with a great view of the Rhine loop at Remagen and Erpel. The path continues down to the sports field and into the woods. Walking past some allotments, we reach the outskirts of Linz and climb up a winding path to the viewing point at the Kaiserberg stadium. Below the Chapel of St Donatus, the Rheinsteig trail brings us down to Linz's market square.