The Nibelungen Trail leads you over a densely wooded mountain range when you suddenly see a stone wall between the trees, almost completely overgrown by plants. You step through an archway into the ruins of the Wildenburg and enter the centuries-old, paved, now-roofless interior. Gazing through the broken-down, meter thick brick walls, the majesty of the Odenwald Mountains is all around you, sprawling from the castle as far as the eyes can see.
You’ve reached Wildenburg Castle, one of numerous ruins on the Nibelungen Trail—a 130 kilometer-long (80 mile) route that cuts straight through the legendary Odenwald Forest, pushing you up over 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) of altitude as you go. Here, Hagen von Tronje famously stabbed the hero of the Nibelungen saga, Siegfried von Xanten—just one story from this region’s tumultuous past. Having been inhabited for more than 3000 years, Celts, Romans and Germanic tribes have all called this region home; with the numerous castle ruins remaining as proof of those who came before you. In numerous stages of decay, all of the ruins can be visited along your route, and while many are little more than an overgrown collection of abandoned stone walls deep in the forest, others serve as mighty museums, especially those centrally located in the villages en route.
The Nibelungensteig leads you through Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, and at all points the route is excellently signposted and can be recognized by a red N on a white background. The area is easy to reach by public transport, so you have the option how far you walk each day. If you plan to complete the route as a multi-day hike, we recommend that you book your accommodation early as the small towns and villages along the trail only house small hotels and the odd guesthouse.
Your hike into the legendary world of the Nibelungen begins on the western edge of the Odenwald in the tranquil town of Zwingenberg. From the train station, take a few steps through the old town and start your walk at the city gate.Already on the first section of this stage, it goes up high: Melibokus and Felsberg await you. Both are over 500 meters high and reward your efforts with great views into the plains below the mountains. Your hike goes through dense forests and along fields. From the Felsberg the hike leads you through the impressive sea of rocks. The boulders of granite were created by so-called Wollsack weathering and today form this incredible collection of rock on the slope of Felsberg.Then it goes on to the village Reichenbach. Here you can take a rest before it goes up for you on the 576 meter high Krehberg. After the summit storm, it goes through the Schlierbachtal to the stage destination Lindenfels with its striking castle ruins.This stage requires a very good stamina. If you want to spend some more time, you can plan another overnight stay in the village of Reichenbach and split the tour over two days.Since Zwingenberg is located on an important railway line, it is easy for you to reach by train from all major cities. There are also good bus and train connections between the individual milestones. Information on timetables is available at: rmv.de/c/de/start, odenwaldmobil.de/fahrplantabellen and vrn.de
The Nibelungensteig leads you today through soft valleys and over densely wooded ridges of the Odenwald. After crossing the first large mountain, it goes down into the Weschnitz valley. From there, a steep serpentine path leads up to the small Walburgakapelle. Arriving at the top is not only worth a visit to the small church building. The view of the lovely landscape of the low mountain lets you forget all the hardships.After overcoming a small, further hill, it goes down through the tranquil Gassbachtal. In the cake paradise Café Bauer you can take a break to recharge your batteries. Strengthened it can then go on to the current stage goal Grasellenbach.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Today you will experience several big highlights of the Nibelungensteig. From Grasellenbach it goes first up to the Siegfried fountain. According to legend, the great hero of the Nibelungenlied was killed here.After you have crossed the high moor "Red Water", it goes through mountain and valley down to Marbach. You follow the course of the stream to the small Marbach Reservoir. The Odenwald is indeed crossed by countless streams and small rivers, but there are only a few stagnant waters. The Marbach reservoir is even the largest pond in the entire low mountain range.You follow the Marbach until it flows into the Mümling, which you cross in Ebersberg. In Ebersberg you can also stop at the restaurant Waldschenke to strengthen you for the further hike. Before you make the ascent to Erbach-Bullau, you can still admire the elegant Himbächelviadukt, where the railway crosses the valley here.If the tour is too long and too strenuous for a day, it may be worthwhile planning another overnight stay in Ebersberg or Hetzbach. Then just book the stage for two days, so that you can really enjoy the landscape and the sights.
About a long and comfortable descent, it goes on this stage of Bullau down to Schöllenbach. The path leads through a dense forest and you can enjoy the peaceful nature to the fullest.In Schöllenbach, you can take a leisurely break in the inn "Zur schönen Aussicht" and then visit the small chapel. Then it goes over a steep climb in the direction of the high place Hesselbach. You wander in a wide circle around the city, because so you have the chance to marvel at the restored fortification of the Roman Limes.After the round along the former watchtowers of the Roman occupiers, it finally goes to your milestone Hesseneck-Hesselbach.
On this stage, you will find a few meters of altitude difference. From Hesselbach you start the descent from the back of the mountain "Der Kolli". After a short detour to Baden-Württemberg the Nibelungensteig now leads you to Bavaria.The trail continues to Breitenbach. You follow its course until you reach the tiny village Breitenbach. Of the formerly numerous farms, only very few are left today. From here start today's climbs. After passing the village of Ottorfszell, you drive up to Preuschner Berg. Once at the top you reach Preunschen.Both in Ottorfszell and in Preunschen you can take a break and strengthen yourself in the respective inns. After leaving Preunschen, you will reach the highlight of the day. The ruin of the Wildenburg is huge and it looks like the perfect movie backdrop. It is particularly exciting to see how much nature overgrows the walls and brings back their space.After another strenuous descent and ascent towards Beuchen you reach the stage destination Amorbach and have really earned your rest. This tour is really a challenge, so you can split the stage easily over two days. Just find accommodation half way, and you'll have more energy to explore the phenomenal castle ruins.
After the very exhausting fifth stage today it is a bit more comfortable. Enjoy the hustle and bustle in the beautiful baroque town of Amorbach and stroll through the streets for a while before setting out again. Via a short hairpin bump you reach an old church ruin on the Gotthardsberg above Amorbach. If you feel like it, you climb the lookout tower. From there you have an incredible panoramic view over the Odenwald and its mountain ranges.Then it goes on a long but leisurely climb through forests and meadows on to today's milestone. Once you have crossed the highest point of this hike, the Greinberg, phenomenal views open up over the Main valley in front of you.Evenly, the Nibelungensteig leads you down to the beautiful Miltenberg, where the magnificently preserved and well-maintained Mildenburg invites you on a mental journey into the Middle Ages.At today's stage there is no rest stop for you. It's best to provide yourself with enough provisions and above all water and pack it in your backpack.
Compared to some other stages, a true pleasure walk awaits you today. After leaving the picturesque old town of Miltenberg, the Nibelungensteig runs along the river Main to Bürgstadt. It is worth visiting the famous Martin's Chapel, which was decorated in a special way in the interior by the renaissance painter Andreas Herneisen.Then your last climb up to the Bürgstadt mountain follows. On the mountain can be seen in many places ancient remains of a rampart. In addition, you will see evidence of stone carvings in various places. Even the Romans have broken stone here and often brought into shape on the spot before they have transported the stones.On your last descent, you can enjoy the view of the Main, which flows evenly between green slopes. Before you reach Freudenburg and its dramatic castle ruins, you can find just above the city remains of a small, former fortress. Look carefully, from the so-called robber's castle only the foundations are preserved.After seven great days, you have not only hiked once across the Odenwald, but also across the legendary and settlement history of this low mountain range. You have experienced this picturesque and fertile landscape as a hiker yourself and can understand well what has drawn people time and again in this area.