Life in Bonn - Hiking on the Drachenfels
So you’ve already explored Bonn Minster, Poppelsdorf Palace and Beethoven’s birthplace and are looking for something new to fill the weekend? How about a hike on the Drachenfels in the nearby Siebengebirge mountains? The Drachenfels (which literally means “Dragon’s Rock”) has something of a fairytale feel – particularly in fall, when the leaves are changing color and the sun casts mysterious shadows.
All you need to know about hiking on the Drachenfels
Most of the Siebengebirge mountains are a nature reserve, offering a rural idyll of forests and ruined castles just a stone’s throw away from Bonn in north rhine westphalia. The imposing Drachenfels, with its red sandstone, is one of the most famous mountains in the area – it’s no wonder that this is where Siegfried slayed the dragon Fafnir in the medieval German Nibelung saga. The top of the mountain also offers phenomenal views of the Rhine Valley, and the area is filled with incredible natural beauty and traditional cafes and restaurants. The circular trail we’ve laid out below is well suited for people who don’t hike regularly, and takes around two hours. Once you include breaks and time to view the many sights along the trail, the whole trip will take around five hours.
Route description, part 1: Hiking from the Living Hotel Kanzler to the Drachenfels
It’s just a three-minute walk from our Living Hotel Kanzler in Bonn to the tram stop “Bonn Museum König”. From here, you can take tram no. 66 (in the direction of Bad Honnef) to the station “Königswinter Fähre”, which takes about half an hour. The lower station of the Drachenfels Railway, which is the oldest cog railway still in regular operation in Germany, is then just ten minutes’ walk away. This is the starting point of our Drachenfels hike.
Route description, part 2: From the lower station to the Drachenfels summit
From the lower station, follow the road Drachenfelsstraße up to the Drachenhöhle (dragon’s lair), the Nibelungenhalle (Nibelung Hall) and the adjoining reptile zoo. This mystical place gives you an insight into the famed Nibelung saga, which depicts the downfall of two German peoples. In the Drachenhöhle, for example, you can find a stone statue of Fafnir, the dragon that Siegfried slayed in the legend to gain invulnerability. After you’ve discovered everything you want to know about this ancient heroic epic, you then follow Drachenfelsstraße further to the fairytale Drachenburg Castle, which was built in just two years in the late 19th century. It’s worth taking a tour of the castle to marvel at the magnificent interior design, which is in the historicism style. From here, it then just takes 15 more minutes to reach the viewing platform that has breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley. You can also take the chance to grab a drink or snack here to fortify yourself before taking a closer look at the ruins of Drachenfels Castle, which is almost 900 years old and lies up on the mountain’s summit.
Route description, part 3: From Drachenfels down into the Nachtigallental valley
From the ruins, continue along Drachenfelsstraße to the second bend before taking a right onto a trail in the direction of the Wolkenburg mountain. The rugged surroundings are a sign of the quarrying carried out here for centuries from the Roman era onward. Once you reach Wolkenburg, you’ll be rewarded once again with fantastic views. Take one of the many paths to reach the picturesque forest restaurant Milchhäuschen, where you can fill up on hearty home cooking. Then bear left until you find yourself on Drachenfelsstraße again. Once you reach the Hirschberghütte hut, cross the road and carry on straight ahead to the meadow orchard, where a path heads right into the Nachtigallental valley. This exceptional place feels like its own little world, with its diffused light, steep slopes, caves and babbling stream. At the end of the valley, however, an underpass beneath the four-lane highway quickly brings you back to reality. Now you’ve found yourself back in the middle of Königswinter, turn left onto Winzerstraße. In just a few minutes, you will find yourself back at the lower station, which was the starting point of the Drachenfels hike.
If you’d like a chance to relax after your eventful hike through the Siebengebirge mountains, you can enjoy a massage in our wellness area, which includes a sauna and steam room!