A range of hills rises over 200 metres above the flat plain in the west of Franconia. The densely wooded mountains rise markedly above the flat foreland and form a natural border here. This ridge is the Steigerwald. Wine has been cultivated on its lush and particularly fertile slopes for hundreds of years, but the forests on the peaks and ridges are largely untouched. Between the old tree trunks on the mountain ridges you can discover numerous castle ruins from less peaceful times, while you can stroll through picturesque Franconian villages and small towns below the ridge.
The Steigerwald Panoramaweg leads you from Bad Wildsheim in the south to Bamberg in the north once over the entire ridge of the Steigerwald. In nine days, you cover a distance of 160 kilometres and climb 3,000 metres in altitude. The stages of the journey are very varied. You hike through untouched beech forests, enjoy the view over the vineyards, relax in cosy inns and explore ancient castle ruins.
The Steigerwald Panoramaweg is marked with a curved green 'S' on a white background and excellently signposted. On most of the trails you will find traditional rest stops along the way and in the small villages and towns you will sleep in guesthouses or holiday apartments. The city of Iphofen, at the end of the third stage, can be reached by train and is therefore perfect for short walks on the panoramic trail. Just reserve your accommodation, shoulder your backpack and let yourself be treated to nine days of Franconian cosiness at the Steigerwald.
Your first leg on the way through the Steigerwald begins in the idyllic town of Bad Windsheim. Your tour starts at the station and the signposted Steigerwald Panoramaweg leads you through the spa gardens out of the city into nature.You wander over flat fields and can enjoy the wide view here in peace. Through a narrow alley you soon reach the Gräfweiher, a small lake on the edge of the nature reserve Gräfholz.You continue hiking through the natural forest and hear nothing here except birdsong and your own steps. About half way to the stage destination you come through the small village Oberntief. Here you will find the quaint Gasthaus Schwarzer Adler, where you can take a hearty rest. Note that the inn is closed on Mondays.After your rest you follow the panorama path back into a forest. After you have crossed the Schmalenbach, it goes over a narrow, not particularly steep ridge, before it goes along fields and meadows to the final destination to Herbolzheim.
On your second stage of the day, it goes up high: Along today's tour you will find the two highest mountains in the Steigerwald. At 498.5 meters, the Scheinberg is the highest mountain in the Steigerwald and the neighboring Hohenlandsberg is only 498 meters lower. On the high ridge you will also find two castle ruins. The lavish views over the plain have already been used by the lords of the castle in the Middle Ages.Your tour begins in Herbolzheim and after a short stretch across meadows and fields you follow the panorama trail uphill into a large forest. About 150 meters in altitude await you as you ascend to the Hohenlandsberg, but here in the peaceful forest, this is not a problem. Once at the top, you can examine the impressive remains of the castle ruins before you continue your hike.Continue through the forest and soon you walk along the slope of the Scheinberg. If you like, you can make a detour to his summit. However, this is completely wooded, so you can expect no view here.Soon you will reach Frankenberg Castle and the castle ruin Hinterfrankenberg. Originally stood here two castles of enemy aristocratic houses, which wanted to enforce their respective rule claim. In the meantime, one castle has completely expired and the other castle has been rebuilt into a castle.The panorama trail Steigerwald takes you along the edge of the forest and above the vineyards to Kapellberg. At the top stands a lookout tower and a little further along the path you will also find the eponymous chapel. After enjoying the view of the tower and the ruined chapel, descend to the picturesque village of Bullenheim. The vineyards through which you wander here are particularly fertile and are therefore lovingly referred to as Bullenheimer Paradies.As today's stage leads almost exclusively through secluded nature, unfortunately there is no rest stop along the way. It is best to provide yourself with provisions and sufficient water in advance.In the small Bullenheim you can spend the night in one of the guest rooms of the Dürr winery in the village center. More information and reservation under weinbau-duerr.de/ueber.htm. If there are no vacancies, there are other inns in the surrounding communities, which often offer transfers to and from Bullenheim.
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The third stage takes you a bit off the Steigerwald ridge across wide meadows through the flat foothills. With a great view over the wide plain, you will visit several picturesque villages, which will take you to a different time with their historic village centers.You start your day's stage in Bullenheim and climb up to Kapellberg, which you visited the previous day. It goes down over its wooded slope and soon the trees give a view of vineyards, fields and meadows.The first village is Hüttenheim with its well-preserved fortified church and its picturesque village center. From here, continue on the Panoramaweg to Mönchsondheim. Here, too, there is an imposing and nested fortified church. If you have desire and time, you can also visit the small museum there.At the Breitbach and Moorseebach, the trail winds its way across the wide fields and through small avenues. Markt Einersheim was formerly also a fortified church, but today only remains of the defensive wall are preserved. The two goals, the Nürnberger and the Würzburger Tor, are still standing and your way leads right through.From Einersheim, the path winds through vineyards up to the Steigerwald and you walk a bit over the mountain range, until you walk down to the stage destination Iphofen down. Along the city lake, you circle the old city wall and enter through the city gate into the picturesque old town.On today's tour you can expect beautiful cafés or inns in all villages and so you do not have to worry about your food on this section. Note, however, that have closed many stops on Mondays.If you only want to hike a section of the Panorama Trail, Iphofen is the perfect starting point or destination. The Regional Express from Würzburg to Nuremberg stops here at the train station and so you can easily reach Iphofen from all over Germany.
On your fourth day, the Steigerwald Panoramaweg lives up to its name. Up and down it goes over the towering ridge of the Steigerwald and always open up to you dreamlike views of the picturesque landscape.You start your tour in idyllic Iphofen and hike from here through wide spread vineyards up to the Steigerwald. The path follows the wooded ridge and soon you will reach the castle Schwanberg. The castle stands on an upstream mountain spur and is visible from afar. The castle is today a hotel, but the impressive castle park is still freely accessible. In addition to a café you will find directly at the castle also a lookout point with great foresight.You cross the castle park and the adjacent cemetery and continue on shady forest paths. Shortly before the former princely residence Castell you cross a narrow valley and climb on the other side to Herrenberg and Schlossberg. From up there you have a unique view of Castell and the vineyards. If you like, you can also make a detour to the village center and take a rest there in one of the cozy inns.If you've had enough of the view, you'll continue on the panoramic path. Individual sections lead you through dense forest, but again and again you open up grandiose views of the lovely landscape. Just before you reach your waypoint in the picturesque abyssal wind, there awaits you one last climax. At the viewpoint Frankenblick the entire landscape of Middle Franconia seems to lie at your feet. With good visibility, the view goes far to Thuringia and the Rhön.Thanks to the railway connection, Iphofen is also perfect as a starting point for a shorter hike on the Steigerwald panorama trail.
On the fifth day on the Steigerwald panorama path you will find untouched nature again over long distances. You walk evenly over the forested ridge of the Steigerwald and can really switch off between the tall trees. Here in Upper Franconia there are still large, natural beech forest areas, which are a unique retreat for wild animals.You start your stage of the day in the idyllic wind and after a short stretch over fields and through vineyards you go up into the forest. The panoramic trail winds its way along the mountain ridge along forest trails and after you have crossed the A3 motorway on a bridge, you reach the small village of Gräfenneuses in a depression.It follows a climb to the viewpoint Frankenpanorama, where you can take a break in a small hut with a beautiful view. Then you follow the trail again through extensive and rustic beech forests in the direction of milestone.Before you reach your destination, you descend from the Steigerwald and the trees pass through soft fields and shortly thereafter you reach the nature reserve Weihergrund. Along this pristine wetland you can comfortably hike up to your waypoint.On today's stage, there is only one refreshment stop in Gräfenneuses, but the local Gasthaus Rose has a limited opening hours. Plan here independently, whether you want to make a rest in the inn or with their own food.
The sixth stage on the Steigerwald panorama path offers you a very varied hike. Today you can expect dense forests, the highest vineyard on Steigerwald, picturesque villages and a castle ruin.You leave Ebrach heading west and turn right at the Pfistersee into the Handthalgrund. In this narrow valley, lined on both sides by old beech forests, ponds and ponds line up. You wander along the waters and slowly ascend to the forested ridge of the Steigerwald. Today's path leads you through the extensive and natural beech forests of Upper Franconia.You cross the ridge and on the descent towards Handthal you walk past a small chapel with a great view. In the tiny Handthal with its beautiful, old houses, you can perfectly rest before you climb to Stollberg. On its sunny slopes is the highest vineyard of Franconia. Once at the top, a great view awaits you, a cozy inn and the impressive remains of the Stollburg.From the Stollberg, the panoramic path snakes its way through dense and secluded forests and you hike on comfortable forest paths between the towering trees. After about an hour you reach the edge of the forest and in front of you opens a great view of the hilly landscape of Upper Franconia.The last section takes you across fields to the stage destination in Michelau.In Michelau there is no pension and no guest house. But you can stay here in one of the available apartments. Information about the apartments you can get under michelau.de/unterkuenfte.html. If there are no free ones, you should plan a transfer to nearby Gerolzhofen and stay there.
On the seventh stage one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the entire hike awaits you on the Zabelstein. It goes through dense forest up to the summit and then across fields and meadows to the stage destination Echenau.The panorama trail starts today in Michelau and over vineyards you walk with great views slowly up to the ridge of the Steigerwald. First, meadows and small forest alternate, but after about 90 minutes you reach a beech forest, which extends over the entire ridge. On forest paths and narrow forest roads you walk steadily up to the Zabelstein.In addition to the breathtaking view from the lookout tower, the castle ruins and a small kiosk await you, where you can reward yourself for the ascent.From the Zabelstein you follow the Panoramaweg downhill. As soon as you leave the forest, you can take a short detour to Falkenstein for a rest in one of the inns.Then the panorama trail leads you through a small forest and over wide fields and meadows to the stage destination in Eschenau.
On your penultimate stage, it goes up again. The Steigerwald Panoramaweg leads you past the large Knetzberg, which, at an altitude of 489 meters, is one of the highest mountains in the Steigerwald. On today's tour there are always traces from the time of the Celts, who lived here from 2,000 to 200 BC.From Eschenau it goes directly steeply up to the large Knetzberg. The trail leads you almost to the summit and then along its slope over the silver saddle to the small Knetzberg. On both mountains traces of the Celts can still be found today. If you look closely at the forest, you may also discover remnants of the former ring wall.Through extensive beech forest, it goes down to Zell am Ebersberg. Several inns and hedge farms invite you to take a rest before continuing on your way. From Zell it goes up to Schlossberg. Up here you have another beautiful view of the small village and the surrounding vineyards, before the panoramic path leads back into the forest.You circle the Seeberg and then wander through a valley along the Seebach and through small villages. In Unterschleichach the Seebach flows into the Aurach. You follow their course and walk above the valley through a forest to Tretzendorf. Here you leave the Aurach and wander north over fields and vineyards towards the final destination.After crossing a last wooded ridge, you can enjoy the view of Eltmann am Main from the Wallburg. You descend and reach your destination after a short journey.On today's stage, you will pass through small villages and communities again and again. There you will also find restaurants and cafes, where you can take a comfortable rest. Best suited are Zell am Ebersberg, Unterschleichach and Tretzendorf.
At 27 kilometers long, the ninth and last leg is the longest hike on the Steigerwald panorama trail. On this route, however, you still have a lot to offer at the end. Fantastic views of the Main Valley, the Franconian Alb and the mountains of the Steigerwald await you before you can reward yourself with a smoke beer in Bamberg for your hike.After your well deserved break, you will start your tour in Eltmann am Main. The panoramic trail leads you up to the Wallburg and you hike on the slopes of the Steigerwald above the Main Valley in the east. Between Eltmann and Bamberg, the beech forests have been cleared more and so you have a fantastic view.At Roßstadt you leave the Main and hike on a beautiful mountain trail on the last spur of the Steigerwaldkamms over fields, along meadows and through small forest. On your way to Bamberg you will always be rewarded with beautiful views. You pass through small villages and before you arrive at the stage destination, you will travel through a beech forest for the last time.When you step out of the trees at the edge of the forest, the view of Bamberg awaits. On your way to the old town, the houses are getting higher and older. Past the New Residence, you will hike through the perfectly preserved city center to the world-famous Bamberg Town Hall.The cozy and lively city center is the perfect end to your hike on the Steigerwald Panoramaweg. With the old houses, the half-timbered buildings and the cobblestone streets Bamberg resembles the small Franconian villages and towns that you visited on your way. But there is one difference: In Bamberg it is not wine but beer that is drunk.