Length 9.2 km (5.7 miles), terrain flat
For more Bonn routes, see Route List.
If you're traveling to Bonn, Germany's ex-capital city, here's the place to run: heading south along the Rhine River to the Rheinau Park and back. It's definitely the main running track in town, and for good reason: the pedestrian trail is quiet and scenic the whole way.
I just got back to Bonn this week after about a 20-year lapse. The last time I was in town, Bonn was the capital of West Germany, frozen in the middle of the Cold War, and nobody could even imagine that soon the Iron Curtain would come crashing down and that the German capital would suddenly move on to Berlin.
Back then, my main impression was how rich the town seemed. The old town was plastered in expensive granite cubes, and the pubs were full of politicians drinking their kölsch beer. The baroque town hall and Beethoven's birthplace house added elegant touches to the old town. The town was full of pleasant neighborhoods full of nice villas, with a university adding a lot of life to the whole scene.
Bonn doesn't seem to have suffered from the main government ministries moving away. A few ministries were left in Bonn so that the town wouldn't suffer economically too much, and new uses were found for the old government buildings. Now, there is a World Congress Center in the old Bundestag (Parliament), and the parliament office building is now used by the United Nations.
This route will start in the market square of the old town, and just run south along the river to the Rheinau Park, loop through the park and through the old government quarter, then head back up the river again.
|Bonn Rathaus looking towards palace|
|Archway to Hofgarten|
At the river, turn right and just follow the pedestrian path as far as you please. This route will take you past those two high-rise buildings that you see down the river. You'll also see a green autobahn bridge past the buildings. The route will head under the bridge and then loop back through the Rheinau Park found there.
|Path along the Rhine, UN building in distance. The run goes past that bridge.|
|Hey, share the river!|
|At the World Conference Center|
|Rheinau Park begins|
You can now see green hills rising up along the other side of the river. The Rhine starts getting more scenic here, south of Bonn. For the next 100 kilometers, the river is lined with hills, cliffs, scenic walled villages full of vineyards, with castles on almost every hilltop.The hills that you see across the river from the park are the Siebenbergen, the Seven Mountains behind which Snow White's seven dwarfs lived.
|Rheinau Park path beyond the bridge|
The lake stretches parallel to the river, dividing the park. You'll see an arm of the lake to the left. Just before you cross the pedestrian bridge over the lake, turn right on the dirt path and follow the lake northwards, with the water to your left. Just keep following the lakeside.
|Rheinau Park lake|
|In the Japanese garden|
|Run straight between the tower and the extension on the right|
When you pass the next cross-street, Heussallee, you'll go by several buildings that used to be used by the West German Bundestag. Now the World Congress Center uses one of them. The street ends at Dahlmannstraße. Straight ahead is the driveway into the old Kanzleramt (Chancellor's office). Any Germans old enough will recognize the spot as the one where television reporters always stood when reporting from the office.
|The old Kanzleramt, daily backdrop on German news in 1980s|
Before you get to the end though, we can take a somewhat different way through the Hofgarten park.
When you pass the biergarten on the water, turn left and run uphill on Erster Fährgasse. At the end of the block you must cross Adenauerallee again, and turn right.
Then turn left on the first dirt path into the Hofgarten and run straight towards the old palace. Just before you reach it, run towards the right, going past the white U-Bahn station again and out through the arched gateway. Run straight for two blocks and you will be back in the market square where you started.
|Heading back into the Hofgarten|