The Way of St. James is one of the most important and longest Christian pilgrimage routes in Europe. Countless sections of the pilgrimage route are already winding through Germany. The Westfälische Jakobsweg is a central part of the route leading to the French border.
In the middle of the 9th century, the tomb of St. James was discovered in Santiago de Compostela and the first pilgrims went on their way. In the 11th century, the knowledge of the tomb spread throughout Europe and one of the greatest pilgrimage traditions of Christianity developed. All pilgrims who would go to Compostela were promised the remission of their sins and so people from all over Europe made their way to far away Spain.
In Germany alone, there are more than 10,000 kilometres of designated Jacob's Trails. All continue to France and from there via the Pyrenees to Spain. Not all today's pilgrims undertake the journey to obtain a remission of sin. Many people set out to find their way back to themselves in the peace and quiet of walking and to reflect on their hectic everyday life. Those who hike more than 20 kilometres a day will get to know their body and rhythm anew. This is not about effectiveness or success, but about the most original way of human mobility.
The Westphalian Way of St. James is a centuries-old section of the pilgrimage route that takes you through nine daily stages and covers a distance of about 210 kilometres from Osnabrück via the Ruhr area to Wuppertal. The trail follows old trade and military roads, it leads you over the wide fields of the Münsterland, through densely populated Dortmund and to the border of the green and hilly Bergisches Land. Some daily stages have a challenging length, which you can easily divide into two days. Every pilgrim has its own rhythm and you will find it after a short time. This gives you the chance to rediscover yourself already in this section.
If you have found in Wuppertal-Beyenburg a real liking for pilgrimage, you can follow the seven-day Rheinischer Jakobsweg via Cologne to Aachen: komoot.com/collection/546/a-pilgrimage-week-on-the-rhineland-way-of-st-james
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Last updated: November 22, 2021
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The Westphalian Jakosbweg begins for you at the cathedral in Osnabrück. Enter the impressive church complex and get your first stamp for your pilgrim pass. Then it goes over the streets of the old town and through the city out into the countryside. The houses are smaller and soon you wander across wide…
With a distance of 14 kilometers, the second stage is one of the shortest tours on your pilgrimage route. After the demanding start, this is just the thing to find your own pace and get in step with your step.
You leave Lengerich and wander across the wide fields and past the old farms of the Münsterland…
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The restrained second stage is followed by Stage Three with a distance of 33 kilometers. After all, the purpose of pilgrimage is to push its forces to its limits and to come into harmony with one's own self while walking.
You leave Ladbergen and soon reach the Dortmund-Ems-Kanal. You follow its course…
The fourth stage is also the longest stage of your pilgrimage on the Westphalian Way of St. James. You leave early in the morning and leave Münster heading south. After about five kilometers you leave the city behind you and then reach the suburb Hiltrup. After a short stop at the church of St. Clement…
In the morning you leave Herbern and make your way through the Münsterland. After only a few steps, you will reach the end of your stage through extensive fields and through small wooded areas.
On the fifth day, you will quickly find your pace and despite the long stages of yesterday, your past successes…
The sixth stage is clearly one of the shorter stages and is a real reward for the distance covered. The Way of St. James first leads you out of Lünen and after you have crossed the Datteln-Hamm-Canal, meadows, fields and forests await you again.
After you have wandered through the dense forest of the…
On your seventh leg you leave Dormund again and wander through the green Syburg down to the Ruhr. First, it goes through the city and through the Westfalenpark. At sports fields, event halls and at the BVB Stadium, the Way of St. James leads you further south.
Soon, the houses become smaller again and…
On the eighth stage, the Way of St. James leads you through the mountainous south of the Ruhr area. The stage is correspondingly challenging. You can expect a distance of almost 28 kilometers in length and a difference in altitude of 710 meters in the ascent. Since the Way of St. James leads not far…
On the ninth day is your last pilgrimage on. The tour is pleasantly short at eight kilometers, so you can take enough time on your way to review the last few days.
With fresh energy you leave Schwelm to the south and reach the outskirts after a short time. The Way of St. James leads you on the route to…
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