There are so many walks to choose from and as we are novices to walking/hiking we took the 8km option from the chairlift down.
Firstly i would like to add that i am hopeless with heights and will admit that the chairlift bit was scary for me.
But for €4.50 it was worth the ride.
The walk down is not too steep and is a proper track so footwear was not a problem.
The weather on the day was fine and warm so was a very enjoyable ramble down,taking in the sites from the woods ,past a bee hives through the Grape Vines and back out near the church in the main street.
These are the ruins of a 12th century castle and supposedly the oldest castle in the valley. High up on a hill overlooking Altenahr, it is easy to see why a fortress was needed here. It was used to rule the valley with the help of the Diocese in Cologne and villagers were often imprisoned here if they didn't pay their duties and such. It was ruined in 1714 by troops from Cologne though I know too little about the religious and land fights in the region to understand why. Amongst the ruins you will find traces of an unusual "double chapel" which existed in this region. For those who still want more castles Schloß Kreuzberg, another ruin, is just outside Altenahr.
This 35 km trail starts or ends here. It takes you into the vine hills and from one village to the next. The other end is in Bad Bodendorf.
Alternatively, there are other hiking trails along the bottom of the valley (see photos).
The Are castle was built around 1100. Troups from Cologne destroyed it in 1714 because freebooters used it as their base for trouble making. Once upon a time the castle was the administration headquarters and a prison of the Cologne Archbishops.
The Are Castle consists of some 900 year old ruins high towering above the Ahr Valley. From here one has a magnificent view of the town below and the curving Ahr River. In the past it was the administration for the city of Altenahr below.
1689/90 was the castle occupied for the first time after it was usurrounded for 9 months. In 1714 troops from Cologne destroyed the castle.
Another beautiful trail follows the course of the Ahr River. Signposted with an "A" it continues along the Ahr Valley floor, passed the river, sometimes along the hills and is another scenic way to explore thie part of the world.
The Red Wine Hiking Trail starts in the town of Altenahr with the hike up to the Castle Are. From there one simply follows the sign posted trail that continues for 35 km to the town of Bad Bodendorf. The trail moves through the various wine estates and at times also passes through shady forests.
En-route one can always retrun to the valley below and return to the starting point by rail.
I did this trail on a Sunady during the harvest season and was delighted to find lots of wine stalls that offered samples of the wines of the region.
I reminiscence about driving through Altenahr and spotting a small sign at the front of a welcoming looking home, and it advertised “zimmer frei” (vacant room) in a family run bed and breakfast known as a “pension”.
I quickly ran in and payed for a one night stay and moved my gear into a cosy looking room overlooking a lush green valley.
After a hot shower I walked slowly into town for a delicious schnitzel with fries and vegetables at a small local café. Feeling replete, I set out for a long night at a few of the many pubs with the queen of beers, Warsteiner.
The atmosphere was very hospitable and the beer flowed freely until closing time when I decided to call it a night and find my way back to the pension and a warm bed.
For great views of the valley and Altenahr village, take the chairlift up the mountain (330m). You can also go hiking through the plantation at the top of the hill.
Prices were 4 euros per adult for a return, and 2 euros return for kids. Open from 10am.
There is a great restaurant at the top with a terrace overlooking Altenahr.
The Sommer-Rodelbahn about 5km outside of Altenahr is excellent fun even for those who don't like the idea of hurtling down a stainless steel half-tube! We paid about 8 euro for about 10 rides but shared the ticket so had 5 rides each. You don't need to worry about carrying your sled all the way up the hill - there is an electric conveyor that does all the hard work. All you have to do is push off at the top of the hill and enjoy the twisting ride down!
As well as the toboggan run, there is a kids playground, electric go karts, and a petting zoo. There is a restaurant and some arcade games as well.
If you don't have your own transport it's best to go by taxi as there wasn't a bus when we were there (April). Taxi costs about 7 euros each way.
If walking up hills is not your thing, take the easy way on the chair lift. For only 4 Euros return you can travel from the village at the bottom, across the river and up to the top of the hill. At the top there is a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the village. We had lunch there - schnitzel and chips and wurst and potato salad - and the food was good with reasonable prices. If you buy a single ticket, the walk down past the vineyards is pleasant.
If you have a head for heights (I don't and it scared me silly!) try the walk from the tennis courts at the end of the village up to Teufelloch. It is waymarked, and is about 4 Km, although half of it is straight up and the other half is straight down. From the tennis courts, follow the path through the woods to the pagoda - quite easy. Then follow the path up to the cross overlooking the village - quite steep, up lots of rocky uneven steps, sometimes with hand rails. You are walking up a ridge of rock, so at times there are drops on both sides of the narrow path, and not always with handrails. Enjoy the view here, and then go on up to Teufelloch at the top. Its a hole through the rock at the peak, allowing views in all directions. Again its very steep with long drops. The return is made down a wooded path which brings you out at the other end of the village. You could go up this way if you prefer an easier walk. Look out for the faces carved in the trees.
Right above Altenahr is this view point that can be reached with a steep but short walk. A cross is placed here showing the religious commitment of the inhabitants. Reaching the top one gets magnificent views of Altenahr and the Ahr Valley.
There are several wineries in town. We just had time to go and sample wine from one of them, the Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss on Tunnelstrasse.
Take a walk around town and see some beautiful houses. Some very pretty ones are along the Brückenstrasse and Tunnelstrasse, a short walk from the railway station.