Siegfried stooped to drink water from a well when his rival Hagen seized the chance and stabbed the dragon slayer with his spear between his shoulders. This tragic murder is a key scene in the heroic epic Nibelungenlied, one of the most famous Germanic heroic legends. The Nibelungenstieg long-distance hiking trail takes you 100 miles (160 km) from Zwnigenberg, through the Odenwald to Freudenberg am Main, following in the footsteps of the daredevils along the Bergstraße. During the seven stages, you will see lots of geological, natural and cultural-historical sight: dreamlike panoramas alternate with shady forest passages. You will wander through the hilly landscape, enjoying fantastic views and discovering small villages with pretty half-timbered houses. You can refresh yourself with the clear water from the well-known Siegfried fountain and imagine what life would have looked like during the 13th century in the region when dragonslayers and knights roamed the woods.
We have divided the hiking trail – which leads you through Hessen, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria – into seven stages. On day three you can choose between two stages, depending on your mood. The alternative route shows you the former royal residence city Erbach. The route is signposted with a red “N” on a white background. Each stage ends in a village with access to public transport so if you do not want to walk the whole way at once, you can pick one or more sections. If you plan to complete the route as a multi-day hike, it is worth booking the accommodations early as the small towns and villages along the Nibelungensteig usually have a limited selection of hotels and guesthouses. On the way, you will pass numerous cozy snack bars and restaurants where you can regain your strength with regional delicacies and a glass of sparkling cider.
Let yourself be enchanted by the idyllic landscape in the Odenwald and Bergstraße: hiking these legendary paths is an incredible experience. Luckily, you do not need to worry about dragons these days.
Has the idea of hiking in Odenwald and on the Bergstraße taken your fancy? These Collections offer further inspiration for day trips and long-distance hiking trails in the region:
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 plain below the mountains. Your hike goes through dense forests and along fields. From 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 accumulation of rock on the slope of Felsberg.Then it goes on to the village Reichenbach. Here you can take a break before you go up to 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. You can get information about timetables at: rmv.de.
Today, the Nibelungen Trail leads you through soft valleys and 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 rest to recharge your batteries. Strengthened it can then continue to today's stage goal Grasellenbach.
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Today you will experience several major 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 the stage destination Erbach-Bullau, you can still admire the elegant Himbächelviadukt, where the railway crosses the valley here.If the tour is too long and too exhausting 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.
This variant of the Nibelungensteig takes you over the Mossautal and the city of Erbach. The 28-kilometer hike goes from Hüttenthal to Erbach-Bullau, where you then meet the main path again. This tour is a little bit longer than the original route, but you have less altitude to master.You start in Hüttenthal and wander through the picturesque Mossautal towards Erbach. In the once count's residence town you can expect a pretty old town, which invites you to stroll. You can also visit the famous Erbach Castle with the Count's collection.After a long break, you leave the city and wander through the Erdbachschwinde and continue into the charming recreation area Dreiseetal, one of the most beautiful valleys of the Odenwald. The path always leads you uphill on a gentle slope. The Erbacher district Bullau, the highest town in the Odenwaldkreis, you can already see from afar at the romantic church. In Bullau you then meet again on the main path of the Nibelungensteig.If you still have energy, you can make a short detour from Bullau to the nearby slide stone. Or have you ever tried a stone slide?
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 at 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.
At this stage, some altitude difference will come together for you. 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 you have passed the village Ottorfszell, it goes up to the mountain Preunschner. Once at the top, you reach Preunschen.Both in Ottorfszell and 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. But 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 earned your stop. This tour is really a challenge, so you can easily divide the stage into 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 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 stage destination. Once you have crossed the highest point of this hike, the Greinberg, phenomenal views of the Main valley in front of you open up again and again.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 into 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.After that, 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 the 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 foundation walls are preserved.After seven great days you have not only once hiked across the Odenwald, but also across the legendary and colonization history of this low mountain range. You have experienced this picturesque and fertile landscape as a hiker yourself and can understand well what people have always drawn back into this area.