Sometimes plans just don't work out. But every now and then, you spontaneously change your idea. Our adventure on the Neckarsteig was just such a case. We’d actually been planning for a long time to hike in the Julian Alps, but chaos with the Deutsche Bahn blighted our journey. We missed our pre-planned overnight stay, which would have disrupted our ambitious itinerary.
So we were stuck in Frankfurt with our backpacks packed and barely a week to spare, somewhat frustrated, and wondering what we should do. We’d thoroughly lost the desire for another long train journey. Instead, we used komoot's radius search and it showed us hiking Tours nearby. Central Germany has so many beautiful regions; you don't always have to travel far. So, we chose the Neckarsteig.
The usual direction is from west to east, but we set off for Bad Wimpfen as it suited us better. We had provisions, a cooker and overnight equipment with us anyway, so we were pretty independent and didn't have to plan much. We just knew that we wanted to spend some time in Heidelberg at the end of the hike.
If you think that a hike along a river is boring, take a look at the altitude profile. The Neckarsteig rarely runs directly along the riverbank. Most of the time it moves above the valley. The ‘Steig’ in the name is a reference to the many steep climbs, which often lead over narrow, natural paths. If you’re carrying a heavy backpack, don’t underestimate the elevation gain. In return, you enjoy fantastic views and discover some highlights along the way.
The signposting on the trail is consistently good in both directions. There were only two or three places where we were unsure which was the correct way, so we were happy to have the route downloaded.
We slept two nights in shelters, once at a campsite and once in a hotel. With a little planning, you can spend all the nights in hotels should you wish, as the trail passes through villages at regular intervals.
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Last updated: October 28, 2022
We get off the train at the train station in Bad Wimpfen and go directly to the trail without any detours. The signage begins directly at the platform. The first five kilometers are not very spectacular along the Neckar, but you can already see that the organizers have put a lot of thought into the route…
The alarm clock rings just before sunrise, but it's so cozy here that we stay in bed for quite a while. When we finally break camp, the first joggers come by and greet us in a friendly way. A steep, stony path takes us down to the village where a baker is waiting for us. A day can hardly start any better…
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