For a stunning Rhine panorama, head up the wine slopes west of Rüdesheim to the Niederwald Monument. Erected between 1877 and 1883, this bombastic monument celebrates the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War and the creation of the German Reich, both in 1871. You can walk up via the Rüdesheimer Berg vineyards – signposted trails include one that begins at the P2 car park (one block above Oberstrasse) – but to save climbing 203 vertical metres, it’s faster to glide above the vineyards aboard the 1400m-long Seilbahn cable car.
From the monument, a network of trails leads to destinations such as the Jagdschloss (2km), a one-time hunting lodge that’s now a hotel and restaurant; and, down the hill, the romantic ruin of Burg Ehrenfels (Ruine Ehrenfels).
North of the Jagdschloss, you can follow part of the Rheinsteig long-distance path down to Assmannshausen, a village 7km downriver from Rüdesheim that’s known for its Spätburgunder (pinot noir). Or you can head down to Assmannshausen on the Sesselbahn and return to Rüdesheim on foot (via hillside vineyards and Burg Ehrenfels), by train or by passenger ferry.
A round-trip Ring-Ticket (adult/child €18/9) includes the Seilbahn, the Sesselbahn and the ferry.