Alongside the Ahr Valley in western Germany is the 35-kilometre hiking trek Rotweinwanderweg, that travails through vineyards, villages and fields, to the source of the country’s best Spätburgunders.
Altenahr – Bad Bodendorf
Nestled just off the Rhein in the Eifel region, is the secluded Ahr Valley, a region that is well-known to the wine-loving community. Due to the soil and climate It mainly harvests pinot noir, thus the area specialises in earthy, darker, Spätburgunders, as well as Frühburgunders.
Many of these wines can be obtained from the villages that the routes passes through and over. On very special occasions, wine stalls will be present directly along the route for ease of access – and drinking. And of course, there is a wine vending machine en route.
Starting at Altenahr, the hiking route ascends above the valley and carries up and along through Mayschoß, Dernau, Bad Neuenahr, all the way to Bad Bodendorf. Directly following the river, the route is well sign-posted, designated with symbol of red-grapes. For those looking for a map, check out the Komoot guide to the route HERE.
At Altenahr the starting point can be challenging to find. At Roßberg, there is a small footpath that leads up the hill to the remains of the Are Castle, that date back to 1121.
Follow the path by the river and into the woods, as the path leads out into the Mayschoß, one of the region’s main wine hubs. Stop off to visit the Weingut Deutzerhof and Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoß-Altenahr if you have time.
Outside the village, and passed the famous wine vending machine is the Weingut Michaelishof, a personal favourite of mine, with great wine, service, restaurant and view.
As the route stretches to Ahrweiler, it passes the Weingut Kloster Marienthal, an old monastery dating back to 1137. Here you can enjoy some delicious cakes, soft reds, and rieslings in the old abbey ground.
Further along and past the old war bunkers dug into the hillside, are more restaurants and weinguts perched outside Ahrweiler including Altenwegshof, and Weingut Försterhof, a bizzare-looking, mushroom-shaped restaurant perched next to the vineyards.
Decent into Ahrweiler to see the historic town and cobbled roads, filled with centuries-old church and monasteries. There are of course, many weinguts to visit here, but I can personally recommend Winzerhof Körtgen, which comes with an ornate garden and sterling selection of whites and sparkling wines.
Transportation isn’t a problem. A train and bus connects runs all the way down the valley floor from Remagen (on the Rhein) to Altenahr, and more. When coming down off the route, getting back to where you started from shouldn’t be problem.
Take note, that a flood in 2021 destroyed most of the infrastructure and decimated buildings in the region. It’s worthwhile to check how far and when the train is running. As its replacement, a bus will shuttle you when the train isn’t available.
Since the flood businesses have opened and the region is open for visitors again, but keep in mind some places are still rebuilding, and not everything is as readily available as it was before.
Most people will venture to stay Mayschoß, where the planet of AirBnBs and guest houses available. As the area is situated at a higher altitude the area was preserved from the floods. There’s plenty of wine available nearby and places to eat, and is easily connected to the rest of the region via bus.
photo credits: Dan Cole