On the tracks of Homo Sapiens and ancient cultures

Hiking Collection by
ZEIT Wissen

How we became what we are now: Whenever you are hiking in Germany, you are setting foot on ground that's full of hidden history. Full of tales of mammoth hunters, Neanderthal men, volcanoes and primeval oceans, of growing cities and rugged industrial landscapes. This collection is part one of the hiking series "Paths of Perception" by the ZEIT Wissen magazine.

We are following the tracks of our ancestors through the Neander Valley, we visit caves of the first modern humans in the Swabian Alps, and we follow Romans, Jews and Christians through the Rhine Valley from Speyer to Mainz. Read more about these hikes in the ZEIT Wissen issues available between June and October 2017: zeit.de/zw-probeabo

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    04:54
    18.5 km
    3.8 km/h
    210 m
    150 m
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Neandertal, world famous by its first inhabitants, is named after a singing pastor and is located between Dusseldorf and Wuppertal. The most important localities, the grazing primeval horses and the museum (neanderthal.de) are easy to explore in a few hours. If you want to see more of the area, start in the beautiful Ohligser Heide and wanders through human traces of various eras to the Neanderthals, with whom everything began.In the Ohligser heath, the heath bath invites you to cool off in summer. At Three Island Pond, there is a lodge from which, with luck, you can spot kingfishers and water bats.Other sights that tell very different stories of man: In the ancient Winkelsmühle (winkelsmuehle.de) was ground for centuries, the grain of the area. The water wheel of today is made of steel, instead of grinding grain, it generates electricity for the inhabitants. And in the house Koburg once tortured the Nazis, today it is for sale.

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  • Difficult
    07:26
    29.4 km
    3.9 km/h
    50 m
    70 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    In the footsteps of the Roman Rhine Valley Road. Viticulture, architecture, lifestyle, religions - the Romans brought civilization to the Upper Rhine, where they founded 2000 years ago, the province of Germania superior as a border province. The exact course of the road is no longer known, and the course of the Rhine was then different, some windings went further west than today.The hike. Those who are good on foot and have time, the approximately 130-kilometer route can go completely. From Speyer to Worms, it moves through a flat cultural landscape, from Worms to Mainz it goes along the Rheinterrassenweg. If you want to save time, you can take the bus from Speyer to Otterstadt and start there or take the train between Worms and Guntersblum.Speyer, Worms, Mainz. All three cities have old Romanesque cathedrals, a rich Jewish heritage and exciting museums and are worth a day to stay there. Of the smaller towns along the route, Oppenheim is especially recommended - the city can come up with a real surprise.

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  • Difficult
    05:53
    23.2 km
    3.9 km/h
    50 m
    50 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After the first day over 30 kilometers from Speyer to Oggersheim, you continue today to Worms. On the way, you will pass the beautiful Silver Lake, which offers the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch break.

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  • Intermediate
    04:47
    18.7 km
    3.9 km/h
    80 m
    80 m
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today, the Jewish Museum is definitely worth a visit, before heading off to the cozy, 20-kilometer hike to Metteneheim.

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  • Difficult
    06:27
    24.2 km
    3.7 km/h
    270 m
    250 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the way to Oppenheim you will pass numerous relics of bygone times. The well-preserved ruins will take you on a journey back in time to the past.

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  • Intermediate
    03:34
    13.2 km
    3.7 km/h
    170 m
    190 m
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The short stage between Oppenheim and Bodenheim is especially impressive because of the wonderful vineyards that you wander through here.

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  • Intermediate
    03:51
    14.3 km
    3.7 km/h
    180 m
    180 m
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The last stage leads over 15 kilometers to the Main. If you pass the well-preserved remains of the Roman city gate, you have made it and completed a true "migration of peoples".

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  • Difficult
    02:57
    10.0 km
    3.4 km/h
    250 m
    230 m
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    When the people invented the art, they lived in a few caves on the Swabian Alb. These caves are close to each other in the Ach and Lonetal Ulm and are easy to reach on two day trips, even with children. The roads are partly paved, partly unpaved, to the caves high you should be sure-footed. Trains and buses run between both valleys as well as from Blaubeuren to Schelklingen.More info: The caves can be admired in 3-D on the page iceageart.de and information about the lion man is available at loewenmensch.de. Overnight accommodations: tourismus.alb-donau-kreis.de

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  • Intermediate
    03:24
    12.9 km
    3.8 km/h
    110 m
    110 m
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    When the people invented the art, they lived in a few caves on the Swabian Alb. These caves are close to each other in the Ach and Lonetal Ulm and are easy to reach on two day trips, even with children. The roads are partly paved, partly unpaved, to the caves high you should be sure-footed. Trains and buses run between both valleys as well as from Blaubeuren to Schelklingen.More info: The caves can be admired in 3-D on the page iceageart.de and information about the lion man is available at loewenmensch.de. Overnight accommodations: tourismus.alb-donau-kreis.de

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Distance
    164 km
  • Duration
    43:13 h
  • Elevation
    1,380 m

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