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Long Distance Hiking recommended route Stage 1

Rheinsteig Stage 1: Bonn–Königswinter (north–south)

· 13 reviews · Long Distance Hiking · open
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Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • Blick vom Geisberg
    / Blick vom Geisberg
    Photo: Frank Gallas, Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH
  • / Rheinsteig Impressionen
    Video: Top Trails of Germany
  • /
    Photo: Frank Gallas, Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH
  • /
    Photo: Frank Gallas, Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH
  • /
    Photo: Frank Gallas, Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH
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The first stage of the Rheinsteig takes us from the historic town hall on the market square in Bonn along the level banks of the Rhine. On the second half of our tour we then head for the hills of the Siebengebirge.
Distance 22 km
7:00 h
597 m
470 m

Legend has it that a dragon would lie in wait in his cave for passing ships and breathe fire on them.    One day his fire hit a ship loaded with gunpowder. There was a huge explosion – and the evil dragon was then nothing more than a legend. According to the Saga of the Nibelungs, it was Siegfried who killed the dragon. When you listen to these stories, it's hard not to imagine the hot, fiery breath of the dragon on the back of your neck ...

The first few kilometres are perfect for warming up, as you initially walk upstream along the banks of the Rhine with no noticeable incline. From Küdingshoven the Rheinsteig then starts to wind up into the Siebengebirge, with several metres in altitude to be mastered en route. Despite the climb, this shady section is also easy to manage in sunny weather.

Author’s recommendation

Impressive Drachenburg Castle is well worth a visit.
Profile picture of Frank Gallas
Frank Gallas
Updated: August 13, 2020
Premium route awarded the "Deutsches Wandersiegel"
Highest point
320 m
Lowest point
47 m
Best time of year

Safety information

Health and safety

  • Wear suitable weatherproof clothing that will protect you from cold, wet, heat and sunshine.
  • Make sure you take regular breaks and don't overexert yourself.
  • Take enough fluids with you as there are sections without rest stops.
  • Wear suitable hiking boots/shoes which give you enough grip on slippery, steep, rocky and uneven surfaces.
  • Avoid any sections of the route which you feel are too difficult for you. Natural trails can quickly become wet and slippery in adverse weather conditions.
  • Particularly in autumn, you should be careful of uneven ground, roots, stones or holes that have been covered by leaves.
  • You need to take these kinds of adverse conditions into account every time you go on a hike.
  • Particularly steep and dangerous places are made safer with handrails or ropes. Please use these as safety aids. Handrails are not to be climbed on or used to get a better view!

Tips and hints


Bonn, market square (57 m)
50.735318, 7.101927
50°44'07.1"N 7°06'06.9"E
32U 366061 5622109



Turn-by-turn directions

The first stage of the Rheinsteig starts on the market square in Bonn. It passes the University of Bonn on the banks of the River Rhine and the landing stage of the Rheinnixe ferry (please check times on  There’s an alternative route across the Kennedy Bridge.)

Next, the post office tower on the riverside in Bonn points the way to the company premises of T-Mobile in Ramersdorf, taking you through the expansive park lining the Rhine on your way. The trail then cuts away from the river. You arrive in Küdinghoven, pass the church, cross the A59 and after your first steep ascent reach the Foveaux Pavilion picnic area. After a short break you then wander through a pretty stretch of deciduous forest to the hikers’ car park at Dornheckensee. The ensuing route along the edge of the plateau has many wonderful viewpoints in store, with the vistas from the lakes of the Dornheckensee and Blauer See the most spectacular. The quarries are completely filled with water and have become an important spawning site for various species of amphibian. Although swimming here is forbidden, some people are bold enough to jump in regardless – and some don't make it out alive.

About half a kilometre beyond the Dornheckensee a skywalk has been erected which besides the grand panorama also has signs providing lots of interesting information on the Siebengebirge.

The route takes you on the Kuckstein, a plateau up above a number of former basalt quarries. It then again turns away from the Rhine Valley and reaches the edge of Oberkassel. Up above the vineyards you then come to the Rheinblick viewpoint. On towards Heisterbach Abbey you cross the Mühlen Valley. The former Cistercian monastery, with its spacious park and imposing chancel ruins, is popular with day-trippers. Beyond the abbey your ascent begins, past Fritz-Rösing-Platz and up to the Petersberg, one of the region’s seven distinctive peaks. German post-war history was made here: in 1949, the Petersberg Agreement was signed in the hotel which later served for several decades as a guesthouse for the Federal Republic of Germany. This agreement was the first step towards the sovereignty of the German republic.

The trail continues through the Mirbesbach Valley to the next rest area, the Walter Guilleaume Hut. Before the hut you cross the road between Königswinter and Margarethenhöhe (Siebengebirge Association Info Centre). A little further on you reach a viewing pavilion on the Geisberg before the trail winds in a long loop past the Schallenberg. At the last restaurant (Milchhäuschen) before Königswinter the signs point the way to the nearby Nachtigallen Valley, at the start of which the main trail ends and the access path begins. If you don’t opt for the idyllic Nachtigallen Valley, you can first visit the recently restored Drachenburg Castle and then either follow the tarmacked road down to Königswinter or gently chug down to the valley on the Drachenfelsbahn, the oldest cog railway still in operation in Germany.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


There are many long-distance and local train connections to the main station in Bonn. From here, the way to the main Rheinsteig trail is marked by yellow access signs. The trail starts on the market place directly outside the town hall. 

After your hike, the best way back is to take the direct number 66 tram from the Rhine promenade in Königswinter to the main train station in Bonn.

Getting there

The A565 motorway goes directly into Bonn. Bonn can also be reached on the B9 and B42. Follow the signs to Bonn-Zentrum (city centre).


There are several car parks in the middle of Bonn (fees charged). The underground car park beneath the market place is closest to the starting point of the Rheinsteig. 


50.735318, 7.101927
50°44'07.1"N 7°06'06.9"E
32U 366061 5622109
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

Literatur zum Rheinsteig erhältlich im Rheintalshop: Web-Shop

Author’s map recommendations

Rheinsteig-Wanderkarten sind im Rheintalshop erhältlich: Web-Shop


  • Wanderschuhe
  • Witterungsangepasste, zweckmäßige Kleidung

Questions and answers

Question from Reinhard Schleidweiler · August 27, 2020 · Community
Sehr geehrte Damen und Herrn, mein Name ist Schleidweiler Reinhard. Wir haben den Rheinsteig von Nord nach Süd erwandert und habe ihn mit der Kamera dokumentiert. Die Wegbeschreibung in outdooraktiv diente mir als Storyboard für meine Filmaufnahmen. Nun möchte ich den Autor im Abspann von meinen Aufnahmen benennen. Würden Sie mir bitte den Namen benennen, oder ist dies aus Datenschutzrechtlichen Gründen nicht möglich. Mit freundlichen Grüßen Schleidweiler R
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Micha Di 
April 22, 2021 · Community
Habe die erste Etappe am 20.04.2021 von Bonn Hbf aus gemacht. Ich bin über die Kennedybrücke am Rhein entlang gegangen. Die ersten 7,8 km sind total flach. Auch wenn es asphaltiert und am Rhein entlang geht, ein recht schönes Stück. Ab Küdinghoven geht es dann bergauf in den Ennert. Immer am Hang entlang mit herrlichen Aussichten auf das Rheintal. Die Wege sind breit und leicht begehbar bis auf einige schmalere Stellen. Ich bin die komplette Strecke nach GPS und der hinterlegten Karte gegangen. Und hier Achtung, bereits an der Lietschenhütte hatte ich die angebliche Streckenlänge von 22 km zusammen. Ab dem Milchhäuschen bin ich dann Richtung Rhöndorf gegangen, weil ich dort zum Zug wollte und am Drachenfels letzten Monat schon war. Ich hatte dann am Ende 26,5 km und 740 Höhenmeter, die ich mir zwischen km 8 und ca. 23 geholt habe, also schon ganz gute Anstiege. Bis Königswinter Bahnhof wäre es ungefähr gleich weit gewesen. Die Streckenlänge und die Höhenmeter auf der hinterlegten Karte stimmen also nicht. Dennoch eine herrliche Tour mit viel Wald und schönen Aussichten.
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Photo: Micha Di, Community
Photo: Micha Di, Community
Photo: Micha Di, Community
Photo: Micha Di, Community
Photo: Micha Di, Community
Photo: Micha Di, Community
KM 22, hier sollte eigentlich Ende der Tour sein
Photo: Micha Di, Community
Reinhard Schleidweiler
December 11, 2019 · Community
Bilder sagen mehr als 1000 Worte.
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When did you do this route? May 18, 2019
Sabrina Roth
May 27, 2019 · Community
Anstrengend, aber es lohnt sich! Wirklich wunderschöne Aussichten.
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When did you do this route? May 26, 2019
Photo: Sabrina Roth, Community
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+ 39

22 km
7:00 h
597 m
470 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Family friendly Cultural/historical value Point to Point


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