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Follow in Saxon leader Widukind's footsteps – 6 days on the Wittekind Trail

Angelina Kuhlmann

Follow in Saxon leader Widukind's footsteps – 6 days on the Wittekind Trail

Hiking Collection by Angelina Kuhlmann

5-9

days

3-5 h

/ day

64.0 mi

5,975 ft

6,000 ft

Wittekind, Widukind, Weking – the Saxon leader who defied Charlemagne had many names and even more myths surrounding his life. The best way to get to know this infamous leader and his region is along the 100-kilometre (62 mile) Wittekind Trail (Wittekindsweg) in northwest Germany. You cross legendary paths, pass historic villages and stone monuments, and hike through the heart of an ancient landscape with green forests, hilly meadows, and babbling brooks.

The Wittekind Trail doesn’t just reveal the history of this impressive leader, it also leads through the 1,550 square kilometre (932 square mile) TERRA.vita Nature Park, the Northern Teutoburg Forest Nature and Geopark, the Wiehen Hills and Osnabrück Land. TERRA.vita was the first nature park to be designated a UNESCO Global Geopark. Stretching back 300 million years, the park’s history is evident time and time again along the Wittekind Trail, for example in the dinosaur tracks in Barkhausen.

As leader of Saxony, Wittekind also left visible traces in this park. From 777 to 785, he led the Saxon uprising against Charlemagne. Two Wittekind castles line the path. You also climb the Wittekindsberg hill during the hike and pass several Wittekind springs that are shrouded in legends. I don't want to give too much away, but I’ll give you a small clue: the presumed origin of the springs led to peace between the Saxons and Charlemagne.

Over almost 100 kilometres (62 miles), the trail leads from the Lower Saxon city of Osnabrück across the state border to Porta Westfalica in North Rhine-Westphalia. The five official stages of the Wittekind Trail make up part of the European long-distance path E11. However, there’s so much to see en route that’s worth stopping for that I’ve divided the route into six stages in this Collection.

Each stage ends in a place where it’s possible to stay overnight. It’s best to enquire whether an overnight stay is possible before you arrive. There are bus stops, train stations and car parking near every start and finish point. This makes it easy to hike the Wittekind Trail in one go or to take on this ‘classic’ hike in northwest Germany one stage at a time.

There are several ways to reach Osnabrück town hall, the starting point:

If you arrive by train, you can either walk from the main station to the old town or take the 15, 20, M2 or X585 bus to the Nikolaizentrum stop. Porta Westfalica, your destination, also has a station. From here, you can return to Osnabrück or travel in the direction of Bielefeld.

There are several long-stay parking options in Osnabrück where you can leave your car whilst you hike. You can easily take the train back to Osnabrück from Porta Westfalica.

Although there are many geological and historical sights in the Wiehen Mountains, there’s one thing to do above all else – relax. The small low mountain range boasts beautiful nature. You walk through dense forests and meet open, helpful locals. The paths are rarely overcrowded, and local initiatives are committed to preserving and maintaining shelters, monuments, and other places. The Wittekind Trail offers you the opportunity to unwind, relax and be yourself – just like the people who live there.

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Wittekindsweg

59.0 mi

5,800 ft

5,775 ft

Last updated: November 19, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:05
    11.8 mi
    2.3 mph
    700 ft
    625 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It is still pulsating around you, because you start your tour on the Wittekindsweg in the middle of the old town of Osnabrück at the town hall of the Peace of Westphalia. If you have time, it is worthwhile to spend some time there before the tour starts and take a look at the historic town hall where

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  • Intermediate
    04:18
    9.94 mi
    2.3 mph
    700 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    From Engter, you go on the second stage of the Wittekindsweg into the million-year-old area, today's Geopark Terra.vita. The hiking trail leads you over the ridge of the Wiehengebirge over 16 kilometers to the small Lower Saxon community of Ostercappeln. It is important on this tour: If you are traveling

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  • Difficult
    05:44
    13.0 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,250 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The third stage of the Wittekindsweg leads you on over the wooded ridge path of the Wiehengebirge to Barkhausen. Right at the beginning you can take a look at the impressive Hitzhausen Viaduct, before you head towards Bad Essen on the hiking trail. Parts of the 18-kilometer section also take you over

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  • Difficult
    05:02
    10.9 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the way to Oberbauerschaft you will become a cross-border commuter: The fourth stage of the Wittekindsweg takes you from Barkhausen in Lower Saxony to the municipality of Rödinghausen in North Rhine-Westphalia. After the first 4 kilometers, which lead you back over the ridge of the Wiehengebirge

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  • Difficult
    05:04
    11.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,500 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the fifth stage of the Wittekindsweg you will again follow in Wittekind's footsteps and hike the almost 18 kilometers to the legendary Wittekindsquelle in Bergkirchen. On your way you can not only enjoy the view from the Kniebrink, but also reach the Heidbrink, the highest point of the Wiehengebirge

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  • Intermediate
    03:20
    7.29 mi
    2.2 mph
    700 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    In front of you on the sixth stage of the Wittekindsweg is one of the most beautiful excursion destinations in East Westphalia: the city of Porta Westfalica with the Wittekindsberg, the Wittekindsburg and of course the symbol of the region - the Kaiser Wilhelm monument.

    

    The last section of the Wittekindsweg

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    64.0 mi
  • Duration
    28:32 h
  • Elevation
    5,975 ft6,000 ft

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Follow in Saxon leader Widukind's footsteps – 6 days on the Wittekind Trail

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