An important trade route, the Flemish Road, has connected the cities of Bremen and Osnabrück for centuries. In the 13th century, the path gained another use – the Pickerweg became part of the vast European network of paths used by the pilgrims of St. James who journeyed from all corners of Europe to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Today, you can embark on your own pilgrimage adventure on the Pickerweg or simply enjoy it as a beautiful, idyllic long-distance hiking trail.
Just under 190 kilometres (118 mi) long, the Pickerweg takes you from Bremen’s Old Town, through the rolling Geest landscape of Lower Saxony to the gates of Osnabrück's Westphalian Peace City Hall. As suggested in this Collection, you can divide the hike into eight stages, or just take your time. There are hardly any climbs en route, as the pilgrimage trail takes you through the very flat Ems-Hunte-Geest plain which is crisscrossed by small bodies of water. The gradients only start to rise from the Dammer Mountains in Osnabrück region.
In total, there are just 1,130 metres (3.700 ft) of altitude difference to conquer along the Pickerweg. This is one of the factors that make the 19 to 32 kilometre (11.8 to 18.6 mi) stages so wonderful to walk. You can also easily plan your arrival and departure. Bremen and Osnabrück’s train stations are excellently connected to long-distance and local transport networks. Each stage ends near inns or B&Bs where you can stay overnight without having to spend time searching for accommodation in the evening.
It’s easy to extend your adventure beyond the Pickerweg’s eight days if you wish. The Pickerweg is the last section of the north German Way of St. James ‘Via Baltica’. Leading from Sassnitz on the Baltic Sea to Lübeck, Hamburg and Bremen, the Baltic-Westphalian Way is the northernmost pilgrimage route in Germany. The Way of St. James Osnabrück-Wuppertal-Beyenburg begins where the Pickerweg ends in Osnabrück. This then merges with the pilgrimage routes of North Rhine, which take you from Liège to Paris and beyond. You can find more information in German here: jakobswege-europa.de
Whether you are a pilgrim or not, the Pickerweg is a long-distance hiking trail that is easy to follow even for beginners. With many cosy villages, impressive historic churches, mills, picturesque town centres and bird-rich landscapes, this route is impressive.
For 252 years, Bremen was part of the important Hanseatic League, which ensured the city's continuous development. The rich history of Bremen is still clearly visible in the city center, where you can wear light hiking boots and take the first steps on the Pickerweg with your rucksack on your back. If you have time, maybe arrive a day earlier to explore the city on your own.
In contrast to the hustle and bustle in downtown Bremen, only the steadily flowing Hache and the croaking ducks at the Barrien mill pond await you on the morning of the second stage. A good atmosphere to get out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life on your hike.But now you leave the Hache for the first time …
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A total of 20 kilometers lie ahead of you on the third stage. After your overnight stay in Wildeshausen, you start the hike in peace and quiet and take the path towards Aumühle Wildeshausen, which you will reach after 6.5 kilometers.The Aumühle is a good example of buildings that were created due to their location on the trade route …
Small, but “oho!”. This motto fits some of the smaller cities in Lower Saxony. Among other things, also to Vechta, the equestrian and university town. At the beginning of the fourth stage of the Pickerweg you can look forward to your visit to the city, because it is your destination today. But before you can immerse yourself in the rich culture of Vechta, there is still an exciting section of the pilgrimage ahead of you.
After half of the distance of the Pickerweg is behind you, on the fifth day you can enjoy the multifaceted old town of Vechta again while you slowly set off. The highlight of the stage is the moor landscape of the Great Moor, along the border of which you move throughout the day.Drebberscher Moor, Boller Moor, Südlohner Moor, Heeder …
From the sixth stage of the Pickerweg it will be mountainous for Lower Saxony conditions, because you are crossing the Dammer Mountains today. A total of 240 meters up and down lie in front of you - not including the ascent of the tower with a view on the Mordkuhlenberg.Full of activity, you get back on the Pickerweg in …
The last two stages of the Pickerweg now bring you further and further into the Osnabrück hill country. You walk through southern Lower Saxony and the beginning of the Teutoburg Forest. Accordingly, the landscape around you changes more and more from Neuenkirchen-Vörden.After you have covered a few kilometers on the seventh day, you enter the Teutoburg Forest, a low …
The eighth day on the Pickerweg has begun and you shoulder your rucksack one last time and set off from Engter to first dive back into the Teutoburg Forest. Since you will only meet the next place after about eight kilometers, you can let the forest around you and the sounds of nature affect you again. The leaves rustle under your every step and you won't meet many people on the paths of the low mountain range.
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