With its secluded valleys, wooded ridges and impressive rock formations, Franconian Switzerland is a real place of longing for nature lovers and hikers. Countless hiking trails run through the picturesque landscape, and you will experience the best of the region on this five-day hike. From Pegnitz, the gateway to Franconian Switzerland, you will trek across forested mountain ranges, explore the most exciting geotopes and visit the most idyllic villages.
The circular hike is signposted as a '5-day hike' with a green arrow and takes you through the most beautiful landscapes of Franconian Switzerland. You will cover a distance of 110 kilometers (68 miles) and climb up over 2,000 meters (6,500 feet). On the hike, you will also get to experience the history of this region as well as its acclaimed nature as you pass numerous castles and ruins en route. Built to protect the towns and villages from Slavic attackers in the Middle Ages, many are still inhabited today, while others are preserved as ruins. The surrounding villages have clearly benefited from the protection of the castles as their medieval centers seem to have sprung from a dreamlike fairytale world.
As usual for a circular hike, you can choose which stage you'd prefer to start and end at. Pegnitz is our recommendation, however, as you can easily reach the small town by train. If you have less time or are looking for a day hike, that's no problem. You can reach all stage destinations by bus from Pegnitz. All you have to do is choose your favorite stages and off you go.
Timetable information can be found at vgn.de
Already on the first stage of your five-day tour, the Franconian Switzerland shows its best side. From the idyllic Pegnitz, the gateway to the Franconian Switzerland, you hike in constant uphill and downhill through peaceful beech forests to the stage goal Gößweinstein. Two castles await you on the way, an abandoned castle ruin and again and again great views of the mountain landscape of the Franconian Switzerland.At the beginning you stroll through the tranquil old town of Pegnitz. On the outskirts of town, it goes up a forest path that leads you around the Schlossberg. If you feel like it, you can make a detour to the summit here. There is a wooden lookout tower that gives you a nice 360 degree panorama of the city and countryside. You follow the trail further over a wooded ridge. After passing through the Voitshöhle, the trail leads you out of the forest and under the A9 motorway. Directly afterwards, it goes back into the forest and you leave the noise of the cars behind you.After a while you reach the castle ruins Hollenberg. Apart from a few remains of the wall there is not much to discover, but the view from the upper castle stand is definitely worth the visit. You pass the ruin of the Pirkenreuther chapel and continue to the Püttlachtal. The narrow, densely wooded Bachtal can only be reached on foot and is therefore particularly peaceful and untouched. You follow the course of the stream to Pottenstein. Here you can take a rest in one of the inns and visit the medieval castle.Then it continues along the banks of the Püttlach until the rock village Tüchersfeld. The half-timbered houses that nestle against the cliffs here are a symbol of Franconian Switzerland. Continue along the shore until the Püttlach flows into the Wiesent. A little later you reach your intermediate goal Gößweinstein.Since the first stage with a length of almost 24 kilometers is quite long, it is worth arriving the night before. So you start your first day fully recovered and can enjoy it to the fullest. Thanks to the railway connection, you can easily reach the starting point of your hike by public transport. The train station Pegnitz is approached once or twice an hour by the RE3 from Nuremberg and Bayreuth.Timetable information at vgn.de
On the second hiking day there are a lot of prospects on the program. Today the tour takes you over hilly meadows and up to exciting lookout rocks. This guarantees long-distance views of the wooded ridges of the Franconian Switzerland. In addition, there are several small villages along the walk. In the inns you will be provided with traditional Franconian cuisine - so your physical well-being is not left behind.Before you leave Gößweinstein, it is definitely worth a detour to the Gernerfelsen. Above you have a great view of the small town with its impressive church and rock castle. Then it goes along the road from Gößweinstein. Soon you wander across fields and meadows and a little later a hiking trail branches off to the left of the road. With a magnificent view, we continue on the wide, peaceful fields. After crossing a wooded ridge, you reach the community of Wichsenstein. In the middle of the village rises a striking rock. A staircase leads up and then you will be rewarded with a beautiful view.You leave Wichsenstein and wander across fields in the direction of Obertrubach. On the way pass the cozy villages Bieberbach and Leimersbach. In Bärnfels not only several inns await you, but also the impressive castle ruins.From Bärnfels you finally hike over wooded hilltops to the final destination Obertrubach.
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The third stage of your tour through the Franconian Switzerland is particularly varied. Wooded hills, wide meadows, narrow valleys and impressive rock formations are on your way today. In addition, there are striking viewpoints, where you can get a great overview of the idyllic landscape of the Franconian Switzerland.You leave Obertrubach to the west and wander over a ridge in the direction of Signalfelsens. This first section is about meadows and sometimes through small forest pieces. The Signal Rock stands on the highest point of today's stage and therefore gives you a fantastic all-round view. In the past, beacons were lit on the rock, with which the lords of the castle in Franconian Switzerland could communicate with each other and, above all, communicate warnings about attackers.From the Signalfels, it goes down slowly, until you finally reach Egloffstein in Trubachtal. High above the village rises Egloffstein Castle, which can even be visited. But almost even more beautiful is the view on the Wilhelmsfelsen. From there you have a great view of the castle, the small village and the idyllic Trubachtal.Afterwards we continue across meadows and fields to Thuisbrunn. Also here is a well-preserved castle. Although privately owned, the sight of the small castle rising above the village is well worth a visit. Also located here is the Gasthaus Seitz, in which the home-brewed Elchbräu beer is served - a must for beer lovers.Then it goes over fields and through the narrow valley of Grossenoher Bach up to the hollow church. It is a natural viewpoint above the Trubachtals. Along the banks of the Trubach, you finally hike to the stage destination Reichelsmühle.Start and finish of this stage are very close together. If you only have four days to complete your hiking tour through the Franconian Switzerland, you can simply skip this section and continue directly to the fourth stage after your second day.
The fourth stage is characterized by mountains and castles. The path meanders over a wooded ridge and three castles are now on the roadside. While the perfectly preserved Hiltpolstein castle is privately owned, the ruins of the Wildenfels castle and the Waldstall castle stable are open to anyone who is interested. In between there are peaceful landscapes and cozy, Franconian villages.You begin your walk in Reichelsmühle and walk a short distance upstream along the Trubach, until you finally leave the picturesque valley. The path leads briskly uphill towards Liebberg and Arzberg. The trail winds its way over the wooded ridge until you finally reach Hiltpoltstein. The castle can not be visited here, but you can stay here in a huge apartment. So if you ever wanted to slip into the skin of a lord of the castle, you have the opportunity here.Along fields and through small woodland the tour leads you to the ruin Wildenfels. From the castle many walls are preserved and on a tour of the ruins you can imagine the former splendor. A little later you walk along the castle stable Strahlenfels. From the bottom you can only see an impressive cliff rising above the small village. However, if you take the time to climb up, you can still discover some remains of walls on the rocky ridge.Through the forest, you finally hike on towards the final destination Schermshöhe. Just before you reach there, you pass by the Hohe Reute. The steep rock face is one of the most popular climbing walls in Franconian Switzerland. In summer you have good chances to discover courageous climbers in the wall.
On your last stage, you will pass through one of the most beautiful forest areas in Franconian Switzerland. The Veldensteiner Forst is part of the heart of the Franconian Switzerland Nature Park and offers untouched nature and impressive rock formations.You leave Schermshöhe and shortly afterwards you pass the A9 motorway. But you can leave it behind quickly and dive right back into nature. First, it goes over some fields until you reach Plech. There are also several guest houses for a rest before you continue your hike.Immediately afterwards it goes into the Veldenheim Forest. Along the way you will meet again and again on huge rock formations. Most are well hidden in the middle of the forest and carry imaginative names such as ice holes, cuckoo holes or meat caves. Especially the many holes and caves are particularly impressive. Here it is worth a flashlight or a head light to have to explore the caves a bit. Only between October and April you should not enter the caves, because then overwinter here countless bats. The small fluttering animals are very sensitive to disturbances.After you have crossed the Veldenheim forest, you have almost arrived at your destination. Only a short distance over fields and meadows, you're back in Pegnitz at the station. After your five-day tour, you have earned yourself a hearty Franconian meal and, above all, a real Franconian beer. While you eat your fill, you already revel in your memories. And who knows, maybe you have already taken the Franconian Switzerland so much into your heart, that you will come back next time for the famous Franconian mountain route.