G3VGR Rheinsteig   Bonn - Unkel      

For my first venture on the Rheinsteig, I stayed the weekend at the Holiday Inn Express in Troisdorf, checking in on Friday evening. The hotel is a short drive from Königswinter. On the Saturday morning, I parked at the railway station in Königswinter and caught the train to Bonn-Beuel, then the tram to the city centre.

Starting at the Rathaus, the trail crosses the river and follows along the bank of the Rhein for quite a distance until taking a sharp left, crossing through T-Mobile's factory. After crossing over the B42 road, it at last escapes suburbia and heads up into the Siebengebirge. It was very pleasant walking through the hilly forest with occasional glimpses of the Rhein. Some of the junctions of the forest trails were not well signposted. Fortunately, I'd brought my GPS which was preloaded with tracks from the Rheinsteig website There were some viewpoints with stunning views of the Rhein as I neared Königswinter. The day ended at the ruined Drachenfels above Königswinter. The town is a popular resort and has many shopping and dining possibilities. After an early dinner in Königswinter, I drove back to Troisdorf.

On Sunday morning, I again parked at Königswinter station and instead of walking up to the Drachenfels, caught the electric rack railway from the town centre. Being Sunday morning, the trail was very busy. Germans enjoy hiking, but seem to prefer to participate in large groups, chatting noisily to each other whilst enjoying the hilly forests of the Siebengebirge. I am used to walking alone and prefer it this way, so each time I encountered a large group at a crossroads in the forest, I scampered off quickly to escape.

Most of the day in the Siebengebirge was spent hiking along forest paths with many ups and downs. There were infrequent views of the Rhein from various outlook points. The last few kilometers before Unkel were in open countryside on a high, flat plateau of farm fields. In this area, I found a solitary shop next to a riding school and bought a much needed ice cream from the most miserable shopkeeper I'd ever met. I descended to a crossing on the B42 and headed to Unkel to finish the day. There seemed to be a lack of yellow Rheinsteig access signs and I wasted about 30 minutes in the outlying area of Unkel before eventually finding my way to the centre. Unkel is a pretty town with many half-timbered buildings and plenty of restaurants. After a few Kölsch, I caught the train back to Königswinter and rejoined my car.

The start - Bonn Rathaus

Into the Siebengebirge

First vineyard of the Rheinsteig

Drachenfels Railway

Bad Honnef

Friendly Siebengebirge Squirrel

Nice place to rest awhile

Unkel Marktplatz

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