Breweries, hops & beer – Four days hiking in Franconian Switzerland

Hiking Collection by Fränkische Schweiz

Franconian Switzerland stands for two things: wonderful natural and a decent brewery-per-mile density. The highest in the world, to be precise. So as you could probably already guess when you read the title of our Collection, this region is known for one thing – enjoying a beer.

But don't worry, even if you prefer a sporting challenge to a pint in a brewery, you’ve still come to the right place. This four-day adventure takes you on a sporty round trip through the very best corners of Franconian Switzerland.

You will hike from village to village, passing from Waischenfeld to Hollfeld, then on to Heiligenstadt via Sanspareiland and finally from Veilbronn back to Waischenfeld. As you walk through the wonderful landscapes, you visit numerous breweries, which serve their very own brew, but also delicious food.

Franconian Switzerland’s nature captivates hikers with its wonderful valleys, panoramic views, and impressive rock formations. The region’s famous history can be felt along the entire route in its castles, chapels, and other historical buildings.

To fully enjoy the culture and landscapes en route, make sure you pack enough water, sturdy shoes, and enough leg-power. The stages range in length from 10 to 17 miles (17 to 27 km). At the end of each ride, you will find comfortable accommodation in the stage destinations of Hollfeld, Heiligenstadt, and Heilbronn. As always, you can add more or fewer breaks to suit you. Waischenfeld, the start and endpoint of the Beer Hike, can be reached easily by bus or train (fahrplan-bus-bahn.de/bayern/waischenfeld#). You can look forward to a care-free and enjoyable hike through Franconian Switzerland.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    Difficult
    05:01
    11.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,250 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Let's start enjoying beer in the beautiful climatic health resort of Waischenfeld. Yes, the country town already has some quaint breweries to offer. But you start moving in its center. It goes towards Hollfeld. And don't worry - there are still plenty of places to stop for refreshments on the almost 18 kilometers that you have to hike today.From Rathaus II at the Bischof-Nausea-Platz car park or from the train station, which you can reach several times a day from Pegnitz, Forchheim and Bayreuth, a bridge will soon lead you across the Wiesent and shortly afterwards a sign saying "3 im Winkel" to the Geißelkapelle . A beautiful mountain path takes you to the Aukapelle and past an old mill down into the valley.You are now in Nankendorf, where a brewery - the Schroll private brewery - is already waiting for you. A dark or light beer and maybe a snack later, you cross the state road and again follow the marking "3 im Winkel" in the direction of the Aalkorb. The Wiesenttalweg now leads you to the municipal boundary on Plankenfelser Berg towards Hollfeld.If you still have enough energy at this point, a detour to the 481-meter-high Plankenstein pays off. It gives you a fabulous view over the valleys of Wiesent, Lochau and Truppach. A detour or not - from Plankenfels the path leads you through a former railway line and over a bridge into the quiet forests and meadows of the Lochau valley. Sooner or later you will reach the city forest via the villages of Wohnsdorf, Schönfeld and Pilgerndorf, which will take you up to the historic town of Hollfeld.You should definitely take a close look at the St. Gangolfsturm, which is visible from afar, and Marienplatz with the listed old town ensemble. There is also enough time for this, because Hollfeld is your first stage goal. Several inns and accommodations are available for you (hollfeld.de/hollfeld-erleben/gastronomie-und-uebernacht/unterkuenfte).

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    Difficult
    05:42
    13.1 mi
    2.3 mph
    900 ft
    850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Stage 2 of your beer enjoyment hike is strictly an additional stage. So here is a tip from us: Extend your Hollfeld accommodation by one night. Because today you hike to Sanspareil and then come back to the medieval town with the unmistakable tower.But first things first. Your hike begins at the Marienplatz in Hollfeld. Through the Bergschustertor you make your way into the idyllic meadow valley of the Kainach. You will stay here for a while and hike through a beautiful landscape until you finally turn into the Jura Altstrasse in the village of the same name.You can already see the Zwernitz castle, but you are still hiking through the Wonsees, which was named "Germany's most beautiful village" in 1969. You finally reach it via the wonderful juniper valley: the imposing Zwernitz Castle in Sanspareil. The village owes its special name to the sister of Frederick the Great and Market Countess Wilhelmine von Bayreuth, who built an Hermitage and the first landscape garden in Europe up there. Before you continue your hike, you should definitely visit the oriental castle, the rock garden and the castle.Then the path leads you over Zedersitz to the rock village Krögelstein, where you can enjoy a wonderfully natural landscape. It is not too far from Krögelstein with its 30 meter high rocks. Again via Kainach and the Kainachtal - but via another hiking path - you come back to Hollfeld and arrived there through the upper gate to Marienplatz. Stage 2 is done - you deserve a rest!

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  • Difficult
    05:26
    12.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    1,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After two nights in the historic town, stage 3 of the beer delight tour takes you away from Hollfeld and on through the idyllic landscape of Franconian Switzerland. From yesterday's destination, Marienplatz, you hike through the Obere Tor and down Niklasengasse, once over Kulmbacher Straße and along the street "Am Weiherer Weg" to Bamberger Straße.The path leads to Weiher, which is known for the beautiful, but unfortunately not to be visited, Weiherer Baroque castle. Through the village you hike slightly uphill to the promising rest area "At the Three Crosses". If you continue to follow the path, it will finally take you to Sachsendorf. Here is one of the four breweries of the Aufsesser Brewery Trail at home, which you can visit - if you want to put up with a few extra parameters. Then it goes (always following the signs "3 at an angle") to Neuhaus.In Neuhaus the Aufseß picks you up and leads you leisurely to Schloss Oberaufseß, then through an old linden alley and uphill through a forest to the gallery rock. The viewpoint gives you an amazing view of the valley of the Aufseß. You should enjoy it for a while - then you walk along a well-secured path around the rock and past the open Swiss cave down into the valley of the municipality of Aufseß. Another brewery and great places to stop for refreshments are waiting for you here - the Rothenbach brewery inn.We continue - following path "3 im Winkel" past a wild boar enclosure, where you leave the gravel path and walk for a while on a paved road. After a while you will reach the obelisk, a relic of the “sunken gardens” of Greifenstein Castle. Then the castle itself along the former castle park. Also known as "Kleinschwanstein" and famous for its weapons and trophy collection, the castle is worth a visit. Then the path leads steeply downhill, past the hamlet of Neumühle and a little later the Heiligenstadter See to the outskirts of Heiligenstadt.The destination of today's stage is located on the market square - where the Drei Kronen brewery is conveniently located. However, if you have more strength and would like to, follow the signposting "Frankenweg" through beautiful mixed forest to Veilbronn and only move into quarters there. You can find information on the accommodations of both towns here: markt-heiligenstadt.de/tourismus/gastgeberverzeichnis/hotels-und-pensionen.html.

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    Difficult
    07:18
    16.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,325 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    If you have spent the night in Heiligenstadt, you start stage 4 with a walk towards Veilbronn. To do this, follow the signs "Frankenweg" through a beautiful mixed forest until you find yourself in the center of Veilbronn. You hike up a street to Störnhof, then the path branches off to the left and leads you - accompanied by the idyllic Mathelbach - into the Leidingsdorf valley. This wildly romantic section of your tour today is known for the fire salamanders, which you can discover with a bit of luck and preferably in the rain, early in the morning or late in the evening. Through a rock gorge and over a mountain slope you come to a rest area, which reveals a beautiful view of the juniper slopes. Then we go past the old linden tree to Leidingshof.Turn left at the first house, first follow the village road, then the country road up to Störnhof. After a few meters towards Wüstenstein you turn in the direction of the field barn and continue to hike over a plateau and a paved road until you see the town of Gößmannsberg. But you branch off in the direction of Wüstenstein, at the Gasthof Schoberth you turn to the old gatehouse of Wüstensteiner Schlösschen and descend via the so-called "donkey path" into the Aufseß valley. If you like, you can climb the bell rock here. It rewards you with a wonderful view of Wüstenstein and the Aufseßtal. You finally march along the Aufseß to Draisendorf and over a wooden bridge and through meadows at the edge of the forest towards the village Aufseß.It’s not all over with the ups and downs of this stage. Via the hiking car park you go uphill to the Hochstahler Mulde hiking path. Then across a footbridge that soon branches off to the left, onto the so-called brewery path and on to Heckenhof. In the small town there is an even smaller castle where Caroline von Aufseß spent her youth. Today beer is served there - the Kathi-Bräu is one of the smallest breweries in Franconian Switzerland.The path "3 im Winkel" takes you further to the "gallows hill", then through a short forest and open landscape to the small town of Hochstahl. Then over soft terrain and past the brewery restaurant Reichhold to a high crossroads at the local border. Now it's going one after the other: You walk through the brewery path through a forest, past Zochenreuth and to Breitenlesau - home of another beautiful brewery. Always following the yellow dot, you descend into the Stagersgraben and finally reach Waischenfeld, your today's and final stage goal.What is the best way to celebrate completing this nice round? Of course with a beer, for example in the Heckel brewery. Otherwise you can start your journey home - comfortably by train or by car - or maybe spend a night in the beautiful climatic health resort.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    53.3 mi
  • Duration
    23:28 h
  • Elevation
    4,350 ft

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