The 320km Rheinsteig in south-west Germany follows the twists and turns of the Rhine on its eastern bank from Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia through Rhineland-Palatinate to Wiesbaden in the Rheingau. Narrow paths guide you through stunning scenery as you wind your way along cramped rocky gorges, up and over precipitous cliffs, past beautifully tended vineyards and into shady, ancient forests. The enduring appeal of the Rheinsteig lies in its outstanding natural beauty - whether it´s the steep slopes of the Rhine valley, the Siebengebirge and Taunus hills or the lofty peaks of the Westerwald forest. But as much as the Rheinsteig is defined by spectacular landscapes, what would it be without its castles, the Rheingau abbeys, the Roman forts or the medieval towns with their narrow, winding lanes? UNESCO added the Upper Middle Rhine Valley (between Bingen and Koblenz) to its World Heritage list in 2002, citing the sheer number of scenic backdrops and cultural attractions from over 2,000 years of history. It conferred the same status upon the Roman Limes in 2005. Other historical places of interest along the Rheinsteig include Marksburg Castle perched high above Braubach - the only hillside castle along the Rhine that has never been destroyed - and castles Katz and Maus above St. Goarshausen. The Rheinsteig offers hikers a genuine test that befits its status as one of the ´´top trails of Germany´´. Although many of the stages can be shortened by taking one of the KD riverboats, steep paths and sweat-inducing climbs are inevitable and all part of the fun.