Messel Pit – A journey through time with fossils

Messel Pit – A journey through time with fossils

Messel Pit – A journey through time with fossils

The Messel pit exerts an immense fascination. Fossils, 48 million years of earth history, excavations, etc. All of these are things that one would not expect to find just around the corner. And yet sometimes the good things are so close. Because here you can discover all these. On the observation platform you can let your gaze wander over the pit, which lies so quietly there. You can inform yourself in the visitor center and even get into a virtual elevator that takes you down the borehole and sends you on a time travel. Or you can take a guided tour of the pit itself.

Although I knew about the Messel pit, I only made it here this year. What I experienced there, I have summarized for you here:

How to get there

  • By car: The Messel pit is very easy to reach by car. It is located near the exit Darmstadt Weiterstadt on the A5. The address is Roßdörfer Str. 108 in 64409 Messel. The parking lot at the visitor center is big enough and since you have to register in advance for a tour, there should really be no space problems.
  • By train: Take the 75 train line to Messel station. From there it is about a two kilometer walk to the Messel Mine Visitor Center or take the bus line that follows.
  • By bus: Take the F/U line bus from Darmstadt (or even from Messel train station) to the bus stop “Grube Messel – Besucherzentrum Grube Messel” at Landesstraße 3317. From there it is about 500 meters by foot.

 

The Messel Pit

The Messel pit has a history that goes back more than 150 years. And it dates back to a time when it was not clear what kind of treasure it contained.

Blick in die Grube Messel

 

Beginnings and mining

The history of the Messel Mine begins with the construction of a grass iron ore mine in 1859. Ore was mined first, then lignite and then oil shale, which was discovered after some time. This was then smoldered by the specially founded Messel trade union, which was necessary to extract oil from it. Until 1971, the year the mine was closed, the focus was on the mining of oil shale. The pit was closed because oil extraction was becoming increasingly unprofitable and therefore oil shale was no longer needed.

In the meantime, however, fossils have been found again and again during the excavation work.

 

 

Landfill vs. excavation site

Coincidentally, at a time when the extraction of oil shale was already unprofitable, a location for a waste disposal site was being sought in southern Hesse. The Messel pit met all the criteria and since at that time it was not yet known what the value and extent of the fossil finds would be, the choice was made quickly. This would have automatically led to the end of the excavations. But when more and more finds were made by fossil collectors during private excavations after the end of mining, some scientists realized what an incredible treasure they had right under their noses.

The Senkenberg Research Institute intervened and scientific work was carried out, which underlined the importance of the Messel pit. What followed was a 20-year struggle at both bureaucratic and political levels.

 

 

UNESCO World Heritage Messel Pit

In the end, the state of Hesse bought the pit for over 30 million marks and transferred the operation to the Senkenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft. Since then, oil shale has been mined there officially and for scientific purposes. In 1994, the Hessian Ministry of Science and Culture submitted an application for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, as it had become clear in the meantime what an inestimable value the mine has for science. It is unique worldwide. So it was not surprising that the application was granted the following year and the Messel Pit was declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.

The viewing platform on the southern slope was built in 1997 and with it the management of the mine was started. The visitor center followed 13 years later.

 

On time travel

The fossil finds in the Messel pit allow us an extraordinary view into the past 48 million years. They cover a wide range of plants and animals. For example, 200 plant species and more than 30 genera of mammals have been found fossilised. Some species could even only be described in more detail through the fossil finds in the Messel Pit.

The preservation in the oil shale is incredibly good. So good that in some cases stomach contents could be determined, allowing conclusions to be drawn about nutrition. With insects even the veins in the wings or the coloring of the carapace are visible. Usually such details are lost when something becomes a fossil. But in the Messel Pit the condition is uniquely good.

However, there is a conservation problem. Because the soft oil shale cracks enormously quickly as soon as it dries. Then it becomes flaky and crumbles. Since the 1960s, it has fortunately been possible to re-bed the fossils on synthetic resin and thus save them. Otherwise they would have to be stored permanently in a liquid, which is also done for demonstration purposes during guided tours.

Here are some impressions of the fossils you will be shown during the guided tour. The first picture shows fossilized excrements and the second picture are photos of fossils. On the last picture you can clearly see that the oil shale is still wet.

Fossilien in der Grube Messel 2

Fossilien in der Grube Messel 3

Fossilien in der Grube Messel

 

The Visitor Center of the Messel pit

In 2003 the question arose how the Messel pit should present itself. In addition, there were numerous visitors and of course we wanted to meet their expectations. But a museum did not fit here, that was clear to everyone. So the state of Hesse drew up a plan and tried to find a new, suitable concept. The result is a meeting and exchange place between science and the public.

The visitor center offers a glimpse into the 48 million years of the earth’s history, which is opened to us by the Messel pit.

Here you will find all your questions answered and, in addition to information boards and exhibits, an elevator that takes you on a time travel into the depths – the elevator virtually drives into the borehole that has revived the past world for us. Here are some impressions from the Visitor Center at Messel Pit:

Rohr Grube Messel

Kopf des Urpferdchens Grube Messel

Informationszentrum Grube Messel

Im Informationszentrum der Grube Messel – Gesteine in der Grube Messel

 

 

Guided tours

Of course you can see all this with your own eyes. Guided tours take place regularly, but must be booked online on the website of Grube Messel: Guided tours in Messel colliery.

The tours are usually done on foot and last from 1.5 hours. You should definitely bring sturdy shoes and, depending on the weather, sun protection. The pit is a veritable cauldron where the sun just burns. As half Sicilian, I felt at home there. But the normal Central European does not cope with the heat and the blazing sun so well. A cap, sunscreen, and possibly long clothes to protect yourself are advisable.

Some tours also include a guided tour of the Visitor Center. Otherwise, you can also book a ticket (with or without a guide) for the Visitor Center: Tickets Messel Pit.

If you just want to have a look, you can also just go to the viewing platform on the southern slope. It is freely accessible and you do not need a ticket to have a look into the pit from there.

Aussichtsplattform Grube Messel

 

Other excursion destinations in the vicinity

A visit to the Messel pit can be combined with a wonderful hike to the Kranichstein hunting lodge. The circular trail has a length of 16 kilometers and even if the Messel Pit is not on the way, it is only a small detour. I did the round for you and you can download the GPX data of my tour at Komoot here: Kranichsteiner forest path in modified form.

Kranichsteiner Schloss

If you like hiking and want to explore other regions, I can recommend to visit the Pfälzerwald, the Spessart or the Taunus. Blogposts will follow for these regions. So far I can only refer you to my blog post about Staufen im Taunus outside the Odenwald.

If you want to make a city trip in this part of Germany, I recommend the following cities:

  • Aschaffenburg: Aschaffenburg is called the gate to the Spessart. Besides the (partly very photogenic) sights like the Aschaffenburg Castle, which the city itself has to offer, you can also reach the forest quickly from here and can let off steam on many hiking trails.
  • Heidelberg: Heidelberg is located directly on the Neckar and offers a picturesque backdrop with the river, the old town, and the castle on the mountain. Here you will also find the ideal mixture of city and countryside.
  • Lohr am Main: Lohr am Main was first mentioned in a document in 1295 and is generally known as Snow White town. It is not documented that the girl who was to be killed because of her beauty was Lohr, but it is quite possible. The Brothers Grimm lived not far from Aschaffenburg, in Hanau, and on their way towards Bremen they also passed by in the Spessart, so they might have been inspired by the city of Lohr.
  • Mannheim: The square city is worth a visit at any time. Whether inside or outside, there is always something to do or experience here.
  • Michelstadt: The historical old town with the famous town hall and the half-timbered houses is simply enchanting. My tip: Take a photo tour to the sunrise when you have the cobblestone streets all to yourself! Near Michelstadt there are a lot of hiking trails, so that you won’t get bored.
  • Miltenberg: The small town in Lower Franconia is located between Odenwald and Spessart and is a real gem. The old town is picturesque and even the starting point of several hiking trails. The Mildenburg and the Museum of the City of Miltenberg offers the culturally interested among us the opportunity to quench their thirst for knowledge.

 

My equipment

On my tours I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon*. My hiking boots for example are these: Waterproof half-height hiking boots*. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you get some appropriate clothing and shoes. In case of emergency, normal sneakers will do as long as they give you a good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look.

Wanderschuhe von Decathlon

I would also recommend protection for your cell phone. I got a nice scratch when I was walking in the Margarethenschlucht gorge. Even though my cell phone didn’t fall down or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore I have now provided with an outdoor case: Outdoor Case iPhone*.

By the way, I take my pictures with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favourite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you’ve ever wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.

 

My conclusion

The Messel Pit is an exciting place for all those who want to embark on a journey through the history of the earth. I admit, the subject is not always tangible and many things are hard to imagine. Be it from the technical and scientific side or simply in the imagination of such a completely different person in a time before Homo Sapiens. My imagination was put to the test in every case.

Nevertheless, the visit to the Messel pit was a unique experience for me. Of course, there is nowhere else in the world like it!

Have you ever been to the Messel pit? Tell me about it in the comments!

Deine Barbara

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

GERMANY
THE SEA OF FELS
GERMANY
MANNHEIM IN WINTER
GERMANY
HIKING IN THE ODENWALD

The Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail – 6 days in Churfranken

The Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail – 6 days in Churfranken

The Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail – 6 days in Churfranken

ADVERTISEMENT

The Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail, at 80 kilometers, is already a long-distance hiking trail, but it is not excessively long. Since it can be done in a week, I didn’t want to miss the fun. Therefore, at the invitation of Churfranken, I went to Bavaria in a summery week in June to take a closer look at the beautiful vineyards and places like Großostheim, Klingenberg or Miltenberg.

The Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail

For 30 years now, since 1990, the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail has been leading through vineyards, winegrowing communities, and along the Main Valley, waiting for pleasure hikers. The motto is: Live slowly!

In six stages, the tour goes from Großwallstadt to Bürgstadt – a well-known stronghold for Pinot Noir. If the almost 80 kilometers is too long for you, you can also run individual stages. The landscape is simply magnificent and it’s just too beautiful to stop off at a hacker’s tavern, i.e. directly at a winegrower’s, after a relaxed hike. You can check the wine calendar to see when which hack is open. Here you can find the Churfranken Wine Calendar 2020.

The marking of the Franconian red wine hiking trail is – how could it be otherwise? – a glass of red wine! You just follow it and then nothing can go wrong.

Here is a quick overview of the data of the Franconian red wine hiking trail:

Gesamtlänge

79 Kilometer

Etappen

6

Dauer

About 6 days
)

Höhenmeter

Knapp 1.500

The stages

The Franconian red wine hiking trail consists of a total of 6 stages. You can get more details on the page of Churfranken.

You have different ways to walk this red wine trail:

  • You run the whole way and stay overnight at the respective destination of the stage. The following day you will run the next stage.
  • You walk the whole way, but always stay in the same hotel. You can either use public transport or take a cab between the start or end of the stages and the hotel.
  • You only run single stages and stay overnight along the trail or stage.

What to expect at each stage? Here is a small overview:

Stage 1

Starting in Großwallstadt the first stage leads to Großostheim. It is mostly flat and leads along or through the vineyards. In some places you have a view into the Taunus Mountains and even the Frankfurt skyline is visible on clear days. With 16 kilometers and only 200 meters altitude difference, this stage is a great start into the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail with beautiful photo spots.

Tip: The Höflich winery is located directly on the way. There you can stop and taste the local wine or eat one of the local delicacies – wild boar sausage.

Reben auf der ersten Etappe vom Fränkischen Rotwein Wanderweg

 

Stage 2

With a little over 17 kilometers and 400 meters altitude difference, it is a little bit more than the first one.

 

Stage 3

From Elsenfeld to Erlenbach the third stage is on the way. It goes from the valley to lower altitudes, but with about 300 meters of altitude and almost 15 kilometers, the tour is quite feasible. One of the highlights of the tour is the Himmelthal Monastery.

Kloster Himmelthal

 

Stage 4

This stage was one of my two personal highlights: Not only that I found this stage short with its 4 kilometers the most pleasant to walk and the view into the Main plain really fantastic. Klingenberg also really has a lot to offer and since the stage is so short, you can easily take a relaxed walk through the old town and to the castle or a tour through the Seltenbach Gorge – a gorge in the middle of the city! – do.

Blick ins Maintal auf dem Fränkischen Rotwein Wanderweg

 

Stage 5

I also skipped the 5th stage during my press trip: It leads from Klingenberg to Großheubach and is 10 kilometers long. If you want to see Klingenberg separately or just want to hike more, you can also combine stage four and five, because you still only have to walk 14 kilometers.

 

Stage 6

I divided the sixth stage into two parts: It actually leads in 15 kilometers from Großheubach to Bürgstadt, where my hotel was. So I walked the one from Großheubach to Miltenberg and then spent the afternoon in Miltenberg in a very relaxed way, enjoying myself in Germany’s oldest inn “Zum Riesen” and then visiting the sights like the Schnatterloch and Mildenburg.

Gasthof Zum Riesen Miltenberg

The next morning, I left before sunrise to walk the last 6 kilometers of the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail while the first sunrays of the day flood the vineyards. I have to say: That was simply breathtaking and when I come back (which I will definitely do next year!) I will start every stage very early!

Weinblätter im Sonnenaufgang

Weinberg im Sonnenaufgang

 

Accommodation at the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail

During my time on the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail I stayed at the Landhotel Adler*. I really liked that and also, if you can book a luggage transfer, I personally found it very pleasant to be in the same accommodation all the time. Also, the food was very delicious and the location, as mentioned, was perfect to start the last tour at sunrise. But maybe I will try it next time with changing hotel and luggage transfer.

For alternatives, check out Booking*, Tripadvisor*, Airbnb* or Hostelworld*! There is something for every budget.

 

Hiking in the region

For hiking in Odenwald, I have already written my own article. I have also written detailed reports about the Felsenmeer and the Margarethenschlucht.

If you like hiking and want to explore the surrounding regions, I can recommend to visit the Pfälzerwald, the Spessart or the Taunus. Blogposts will follow for these regions. So far I can only refer you to my blog post about Staufen im Taunus outside the Odenwald.

 

City trips in the region

If you want to make a city trip in this part of Germany, I recommend the following cities:

  • Aschaffenburg: Aschaffenburg is called the gate to the Spessart. Besides the (partly very photogenic) sights like the Aschaffenburg Castle, which the city itself has to offer, you can also reach the forest quickly from here and can let off steam on many hiking trails. If you want to do a tour in Aschaffenburg, I recommend Get Your Guide*.
  • Lohr am Main: Lohr am Main was first mentioned in a document in 1295 and is generally known as Snow White town. It is not documented that the girl who was to be killed because of her beauty was Lohr, but it is quite possible. The Brothers Grimm lived not far from Aschaffenburg, in Hanau, and on their way towards Bremen they also passed by in the Spessart, so they might have been inspired by the city of Lohr.
  • Klingenberg: Klingenberg is also a town with history. Not only the old town and the castle ruins bear witness to this, but also, for example, the old court lime tree. And if you prefer nature, you can walk through the Seltenbach Gorge: A gorge in the middle of the city. If you choose the stages on your hike along the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail that do not go through Klingenberg, you should think about taking a separate look at the city. It is worth it!
  • Miltenberg: The small town in Lower Franconia is located between Odenwald and Spessart and is a real gem. The old town is picturesque and even the starting point of several hiking trails. The Mildenburg and the Museum of the City of Miltenberg offers the culturally interested among us the opportunity to quench their thirst for knowledge.
  • Bamberg: If you’re ready to go a little further, why not stop by in Bamberg! The city is really pretty and worth a day or weekend trip. You can also book tours with Get Your Guide* if you like.

 

My equipment

On my tours, I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon*. My hiking boots for example are these: Waterproof half-height hiking boots*. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you get some appropriate clothing and shoes. In an emergency, normal sneakers will do as long as they give you good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look. But especially on a long-distance hiking trail like the Fränkischer Rotwein Wanderweg, hiking boots are a must in my opinion. Your feet will thank you for it.

Wanderschuhe von Decathlon

I would also recommend protection for your cell phone. I got a nice scratch when I was walking in the Margarethenschlucht gorge. Even though my cell phone didn’t fall down or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore I have now provided with an outdoor case: Outdoor Case iPhone*.

By the way, I take my photos with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favorite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.

 

My conclusion

That was only a short insight into the Franconian red wine hiking trail. But I hope you got a feeling for what this hiking trail has to offer. I am already planning to come back next year and then publish something longer about it.

Therefore: If you like hiking and don’t necessarily want to go to the Alps, but would like to explore a beautiful region in Germany, the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail is ideal. I liked it very much and it was also pleasant that I could stay in the same hotel the whole time. I really enjoyed it and I will definitely come back again!

Did you know the Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail?

 

PS: All links marked with an asterisk (*) are Affiliate links!

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

GERMANY

THE SEA OF FELS

GERMANY

PHOTOSPOTS IN FRANKFURT

GERMANY

THE MARGARET GORGE

Things to do in Bamberg – 8 Tips for Your Day Trip

Things to do in Bamberg – 8 Tips for Your Day Trip

Things to do in Bamberg – 8 Tips for Your Day Trip

Two weeks ago my friend Katrin from beforewedie.de asked me if I would like to go on a spontaneous day trip to Bamberg with her. First of all, I have never been to the city in Upper Franconia before and secondly, I thought that an article about things to do in Bamberg would fit perfectly on my blog. So I said yes!

Bamberg – The Franconian Rome

Bamberg is the largest medium-sized city, i.e. a city with 20,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, in Bavaria. To be more precise, it is located in Upper Franconia and is known above all for its old town, which is first of all in impeccable condition, as it was spared from bombing during World War II. And secondly, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. Bamberg is also known nationwide for the art of brewing beer.

By the way, Bamberg was first mentioned in 902, almost 100 years before the first turn of the millennium. Under Henry II the city reached its first heyday and so the cathedral was also named after the Roman-German emperor: namely Heinrichsdom.

The city is located on the Regnitz river, which gives it additional charm and without it the things to do in Bamberg such as Little Venice or the Old Town Hall would not even be possible.

Since Bamberg was built on seven hills, the city is nicknamed Franconian Rome. The hills are called: Stephansberg, Kaulberg, Domberg, Michaelsberg, Jakobsberg, Altenburg and Abtsberg. On my day trip, I was on six of the seven hills. How I managed it in such a short time, I’ll tell you below.

Things to do in Bamberg

 

How to Get to Bamberg

Bamberg is well connected in every respect and therefore easy to reach:

  • By bus or train: Bamberg has a train station and a bus station. You can either take the regional train or a bus company like Flixbus. The bus terminal is located at the main station, so you arrive at the same place whether you travel to Bamberg by bus or train. It is located on the other side of the Regnitz river about 20 minutes walk from the old town.
  • By car: Bamberg has its own motorway junction: the A 70 and A 73 intersect here, making it ideal for getting there quickly. However, the parking situation is quite difficult. After about half an hour of searching, I found a parking place on the Michelsberg. This turned out to be a great spot to start my day trip in Bamberg. But at most places around the old town, you can only park up to two hours with a parking disc. So be prepared for a longer search.

 

Things to do in Bamberg

You’re literally spoilt with things to do in Bamberg: 1200 monuments alone are waiting for you! And this, although the city is relatively small and easy to explore on foot. There are also many churches. The exact and surprisingly high number was mentioned during the 6-hill tour I took part in. But unfortunately, I forgot it. The reason why so many churches had been built was that in former times you were only allowed to build a brewery in Bamberg if you had built a church. Interesting reason…

But now let’s come to the things to do in Bamberg, which I visited during my day trip and which you can also visit easily if you only want to make a short trip.

 

The Bamberg Cathedral

Bamberg Cathedral was built at the time of the first turn of the millennium: The Heinrichsdom was consecrated in 1012, after the diocese was only founded in 1007. In the following two centuries, the cathedral burned down twice. Thus, today we see basically its third version, which was built in 1237 and is therefore late Romanesque to Gothic.

Things to do in Bamberg: Bamberg Cathedral / Heinrichsdom

Together with his wife Kunigunde, Henry II is buried in Bamberg Cathedral. The grave is one of the sights. There are also some sculptures in the cathedral which have gained fame, among them the Bamberg Horseman.

The Cathedral of Bamberg is worth a visit both from the inside and the outside. However, I was there on a public holiday, so that I could not look around the interior for long and take many photos. Therefore, I could only take one quick photo from the inside:

Bamberger Dom von innen

 

The Alte Hofhaltung (Museum of History)

This historic building complex is located directly next to the cathedral and consists of former residential and farm buildings of the diocese, which were built from the 15th century onwards. The residence of the bishop was also located in the previous building called Castrum Babenberg.

Today, you will find here the Historical Museum and the Cathedral Masons’ Lodge. In summer, the so-called Calderon festival is also held here.

By the way, the inner courtyard was the setting for the movie “The Three Musketeers” with Orlando Bloom in 2011.

Things to do in Bamberg – Alte Hofhaltung

Alte Hofhaltung

 

The New Residence

The New Residence is also located on the Domberg, just opposite the Cathedral and the Alte Hofhaltung. Numerous masterpieces from the furniture, paintings, sculptures and textiles await you here. These date back over four centuries. On a free tour you can take a look at the Kaisersaal, the Staatsgalerie of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen and sculptures by the rococo sculptor Ferdinand Tietz.

Things to do in Bamberg – Neue Residenz Bamberg

In the Rose Garden – which was originally laid out as a Renaissance garden – 4500 roses are scented. 50 different types of roses are waiting to be discovered by you. The entrance is free! The garden is bordered by lime trees and the benches between the trees invite you to enjoy the view. There is also a café, so you can quench your hunger and thirst while enjoying the view of the old town.

Things to do in Bamberg – Rose Garden in the Neue Residenz

Bamberg Sehenswürdigkeiten: Rosengarten

Rosen Nahaufnahme

 

Little Venice

A path leads from the cathedral square down to the old town. When you get to a crossroads, turn right to the Old Town Hall or go straight on to Little Venice. I decided to go to Little Venice first. The advantage of going this way is that you will have a nice frontal view of Little Venice.

Here, pretty medieval half-timbered houses with tiny gardens are lined up along the Regnitz. This pretty row of houses definitely needs to be on your list of things to do in Bamberg! This former fishing village is affectionately called Little Venice and is also one of the highlights on the trip with the excursion boat (which I didn’t do).

Bamberg Sehenswürdigkeiten: Klein Venedig

Bamberg Sehenswürdigkeiten: Klein Venedig

 

The Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall is probably the most famous architectural monument of Bamberg. According to the legend, the bishop did not want to have a town hall on his land. So the citizens of Bamberg simply built their town hall in the river. Whether this legend has a true core, I do not know, but I like it as much as I like the town hall itself.

Today, by the way, the Ludwig porcelain collection is exhibited in there, which is one of the largest of its kind. From the outside, the paintings on the façade of the baroque and rococo building, which was repainted in 1960, are particularly impressive.

Bamberg Sehenswürdigkeiten: Altes Rathaus

Altes Rathaus Brücke

 

The Altenburg

The Altenburg is a medieval hilltop castle, which the Altenburgverein takes care of. The tower at a height of 400 meters offers a wonderful view over Bamberg and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, it was closed because falcons nest there. I keep my fingers crossed that it is open when you are there! The same goes for the Burgschenke: Unfortunately, it was closed when I was there, although I would have very much enjoyed the refreshment.

The history of the castle goes back to the 12th century. So the town’s landmark has been there for quite a while…

I came here on the 6-hill tour and got off. After an hour I went on and back to the old town. But if you feel like hiking: There are also trails that will bring you here.

Bamberg Sehenswürdigkeiten: Altenburg

Altenburg Ausblick

Bamberg Sehenswürdigkeiten: Altenburg Turm

Altenburg Torbogen

Altenburg Eingang

Altenburg Brücke

The view of the city is impressive, even if you cannot climb the tower: I took this photo from the back of the castle:

Altenburg Blick auf Bamberg

 

The Michelsberg

On the Michelsberg or Michaelsberg is the monastery of the same name. Today it is a home for the elderly, but it is still worth a visit. First of all, there is a gorgeously arranged garden through which you can stroll. Or you can simply sit down in the café next door and treat yourself to a piece of cake and coffee.

Garten Michelsberg

Café Michaelsberg

A viewing platform offers probably the most beautiful view of Bamberg for me.

Ausblicksplattform Michelsberg

Ausblick Michelsberg

And secondly, the church also belongs to the things to do in Bamberg. However, it is currently being renovated and is therefore not open. If you would like to see it, please ask in advance when it will open again.

Right next to the monastery is the terraced vineyard of the Michelsberg. If you still have enough energy, you can also walk along this path.

Barbara Michelsberg

Stairs lead directly from the monastery to the old town and to the other things to do in Bamberg. You also have a nice view from the path directly below the stairs.

Treppe vom Michelsberg in die Bamberger Altstadt

Blick vom Michelsberg

 

6-Hill Zour With the Bamberger Bahn

If you don’t want to explore the things to do in Bamberg by foot and also want to get some background information, I can highly recommend the 6-hill tour with the Bamberg bus. I did it myself and found it practical and amusing. You can pay directly in the bus and learn all kinds of interesting things about the World Heritage Site.

Sehenswürdigkeiten Bamberg Tourbus 6-Hügel-Tour

 

Accommodation in Bamberg

You want to stay longer than just one day? Check out Tripadvisor*, Airbnb* or Hostelworld*! There is something for every budget. Since I didn’t spend the night there myself, I can’t recommend anything.

 

My Equipment

On my tours, I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon. My hiking boots for example are waterproof half-height hiking boots. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you buy some appropriate clothing and shoes. In the worst case, normal sneakers will do, as long as they give you a good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look. On the day trip to Bamberg, I was wearing these sneakers from Decathlon:

I would also recommend protection for your phone. I got a nice scratch when I was hiking in Margaret Gorge. And that’s even though my phone didn’t fall off or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore, I have now an outdoor case.

By the way, I take my pictures with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favorite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you’ve ever wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.

 

Final Thoughts About Things to do in Bamberg

Bamberg actually has far too much to offer to “check it off” in a single day. But if you don’t have more time or just feel like a day trip I can still recommend Bamberg. In a short time you can see the most important sights in Bamberg and get a good impression of the city in Upper Franconia.

I enjoyed my day in Bamberg and the trip was definitely worth it.

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

GERMANY

AUTUMN IN THE RHINE MAIN AREA

GERMANY

MANNHEIM IN WINTER

GERMANY

HIKING IN THE ODENWALD

Monreal in the Eifel – Day Trip to the Romantic Eltz Valley

Monreal in the Eifel – Day Trip to the Romantic Eltz Valley

Monreal in the Eifel – Day Trip to the Romantic Eltz Valley

Last week, I was in the Eifel for the first time. Monreal was the destination – a small village with not even 800 inhabitants, which is both beautiful and enchanting. No wonder: Time seems to have stopped here a few hundred years ago. The old half-timbered houses look like something out of a picture book and not just one, but two castle ruins are enthroned on their hills above the village. I have rarely seen such an idyll. That is why I immediately said yes, when my friend Jan (@jan_wehnert on Instagram) asked me to join him on a photo tour. Our photo buddy Sven (@sky.pix2016 on Instagram) came also with us.

How to Get to Monreal

  • By bus or train: Monreal is located on the RB 23 railway line of the Lahn-Eifel railway. It runs once an hour every day. For ticket prices, it is best to check directly at the website of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Mosel (VRM). Coming from Gerolstein, you are faster during the week if you take the regional bus and change in Ulmen. On weekends in the season the Vulkaneifel-Bahn (special ticket necessary, because it’s a private special train, available at the conductor on the trains; if you want to take your bike with you, you have to reserve it upfront).
  • By car: Both the A48 and the A61 are nearby and Monreal is easy to reach from there. Parking spaces are available along the main road.
  • By bike: There are also bike lanes in the area. However, there is a lot of up and down here and you have to expect steep gradients.

We arrived by car and I was enchanted from the first moment! That was my first impression of Monreal and my first view of the Löwenburg – the castle in the background:

Löwenburg im Hintergrund, Monreal im Vordergrund

 

Monreal

Monreal is located in the beautiful volcanic area Eifel. With not even 1000 inhabitants, one can probably speak of a very small community here. The village lies in the Eltz valley and the Eltzbach flows through it.

If you would like to book a guided tour or receive information, you can do so on the Homepage of Monreal. Otherwise, you can simply roam the cute alleys on your own and wander to the two castles that tower above the city.

Alte Brücke Monreal in der Eifel

Stiefmütterchen in Monreal als Dekoration vor einem Haus

Monreal – Dekoration an einem Hauseingang

 

The Almost 1000 Years of History of Monreal

Although the oldest traces of a settlement in Monreal date back to pre-Christian times, the place was not mentioned until the 12th century as Cunisberch (Königsberg – King’s Mountain). In the following century, Monreal became part of the county of Virneburg. The then name Königsberg was translated into French, as was appropriate at the time. Monroial was born and developed over the centuries to the present Monreal.

Around the year 1220, the construction of the Löwenburg (Castle of Lions), which is also called Burg Monreal, began, as it is considerably larger than the Philippsburg, which was built later. Hermann III of Virneburg began the work, although he lacked the necessary permits and rights over the land, as it actually belonged to his brother Philipp. He saw this as a political move to strengthen his count dynasty, as the family’s ancestral seat – the Virneburg – was too far away from economic centers. His plan worked out. In 1306, Monreal was granted town privileges and the rights to organize a market, which could be held every Monday.

Since Monreal belonged to the area of the Trier archbishopric, the property fell to Trier after the death of the last Count of Virneburg in 1545. The Elector of Trier appointed a bailiff instead of reassigning the fief and was later merged with the Obermayen office.

Monreal was destroyed twice in the 17th century: once in 1632 by Swedish troops and then in 1689 by French troops during the Nine Years’ War. At the same time, the cloth industry was discovered in Monreal, which brought prosperity to the small town. The half-timbered houses still bear witness to this today. However, this peak phase came to a serious end in the second half of the 19th century, as the clothiers could no longer keep up with the international competition. As a result, Monreal became impoverished.

 

Monreal’s Charming Old Town

The recovery of the city came in the 1930s, when people began to see the charm of the Eifel and Monreal’s romantic old town with its pretty half-timbered buildings became a destination for excursions. I can absolutely understand it, as it really is a beautiful old town. The little town lies in the valley, the Eltzbach flows through it and the two halves are connected by three old bridges.

Blick von der alten Brücke Monreal – Langzeitbelichtung

Blick auf die alte Brücke Monreal

Monreal – Langzeitbelichtung vom Eltzbach Richtung alte Brücke

Not only the fairytale half-timbered houses can be admired here, but also the late Gothic stonemasonry, which is presented on the bridges, among other things. For example on the Elzbrücke: here the Lion Monument awaits you. These four lions first stood at the gates of Monreal Castle to guard it. That is why it got its name – the Castle of Lions. Here is one of them:

Löwe auf der alten Brücke in Monreal

Monreal offers the visitor a small insight into the history described above. These were turbulent centuries and here they come to life. In order to illustrate this, in the years 2003/2004, information boards were installed all over Monreal.

 

The Two Castles – The Löwenburg and the Philippsburg

From Monreal, a path leads up to the two castles, the Löwenburg (Castle of Lions) and the Philippsburg (Castle of Philipp). You can’t actually miss them, firstly because the path signposted, and secondly because Monreal is really small.

Zu den Burgen – Schild in Monreal

Gleise und Löwenburg im Hintergrund

The Löwenburg is on the right and is a so-called spur castle, which is the most common type of high-altitude medieval fortifications in Germany. It means that the castle is not on the summit, but steeply above the valley on a mountain spur. The Löwenburg is the bigger of the two and one of the highlights of the whole trip. This is the view of the Löwenburg when you stand at the Philipsburg:

Loewenburg und Lensball von der Philippsburg aus fotografiert

You can explore them at your leisure and there are also information boards so that you always know what the towers and walls used to be. Because it’s not self-explanatory, unless you happen to be an expert in Medieval Studies.

Auf der Löwenburg Monreal

I particularly liked the fact that the tower is walkable. For this you should either have a flashlight or use your mobile phone as such. But it is not a long way to the top and so I arrived there only slightly out of breath. The walls are quite thick so that I personally found the view rather mediocre. Nevertheless, I love to stand in such places and think about how the people who lived here must have felt. What they thought. What stories the walls would tell me if they could speak.

Blick von der Löwenburg auf Monreal

From the Löwenburg you also have a good view of the Philippsburg. It was also built in the 13th century and was popularly called Rech – which is Middle High German for deer – because of its smaller size.

Philippsburg Monreal – Blick von der Löwenburg

It is not clear why the second castle was built at all: one theory says that it was built as a forework or outer work of the Löwenburg. However, there is also a local legend according to which the castle was a kind of answer from Philip to his brother Heinrich, who had built the Löwenburg illegally on his brother’s property. To me personally, it is not quite clear why this “answer” should be less impressive than the original. But I am not a medieval count… So what do I know? Hah!

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the complex was further extended and served several times as a widow’s seat of the count’s family. In the 16th century, Monreal was already the ancestral castle of the family and had replaced the Virneburg as its ancestral home.

The Philippsburg is especially worth a visit because you have a great view of the entire panorama from it and the tower is open to the top. So you can take cool pictures up to the top.

Loewenburg und Monreal von der Philippsburg aus fotografiert

 

Traumpfade (Dream Paths)

In the Rhine-Moselle-Eifel region, there are the so-called dream paths. These are well-signposted premium hiking trails in this region. Such a dream path also leads through Monreal: The Monrealer Ritterschlag, about which I write more below, even though I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to walk it myself yet.

 

Traumpfade Eifel

The volcanic Eifel is today a green and fertile land. This is how the nickname “green heart of Europe” came into being. Excursions in this region are not only something for nature lovers, but also offer a journey into days long gone by: peaked mountain cones, geological formations, and the crater lake Laacher See bear witness to the past as a volcanic landscape.

Here are a few of the Eifel’s dream paths that invite you to go hiking:

 

Monrealer Ritterschlag – Monreal’s Knighthood

The almost 14-kilometer-long hiking trail is one of the Eifel’s dream paths and goes right through Monreal and the castles. It is definitely on my bucket list and as soon as I have walked it, you will be the first to know about it here on Barbaralicious!

The highlights of Monreal’s Knighthood are:

  • Monreal with its charming old town
  • The Elz and Thürelz river valleys
  • Forest gorges and ridge paths
  • The panorama of the Eifel
  • The Philippsburg and Löwenburg

 

Traumpfädchen Rhein-Mosel-Eifel

If the afore-mentioned tours are too long for you, you can also walk one of the mini dream paths. These are only between three and seven kilometers long and can, therefore, be walked in a maximum of two hours. They are great for exploring other highlights of the region – such as Monreal or Eltz Castle, to name two examples – in addition to the short hike.

 

My Gear

On my tours, I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon. My hiking boots for example are waterproof half-height hiking boots. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you buy some appropriate clothing and shoes. In the worst case, normal sneakers will do, as long as they give you a good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look.

Wanderschuhe von Decathlon

I would also recommend protection for your phone. I got a nice scratch when I was hiking in Margaret Gorge. And that’s even though my phone didn’t fall off or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore, I have now an outdoor case.

By the way, I take my pictures with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favorite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you’ve ever wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.

 

My Final Thoughts

To be honest, I had never heard of Monreal. But since I’m always happy about photo tours with my buddy Jan and he has a good hand for choosing cool locations, I didn’t have to think twice about joining him or not. And that was absolutely right! Monreal was just adorable and we had a great tour.

Barbara in Monreal

Have you ever been to Monreal? Or have you ever heard of the romantic place in the Eifel?

 

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

GERMANY

THE FELSENMEER

GERMANY

PHOTO SPOTS IN FRANKFURT

GERMANY

GORGE OF MARGARET

Hiking on the Katzenbuckel – The Path of Crystals

Hiking on the Katzenbuckel – The Path of Crystals

Hiking on the Katzenbuckel – The Path of Crystals

Since I have been drawn to the Odenwald a lot in the last few weeks, it was only a matter of time before I would take a hike on the Katzenbuckel (Katzenbuckel means cat’s hump in German). The Katzenbuckel is the highest mountain in the Odenwald and several hiking trails lead around it or over its summit. There is for example the Katzensteig, a 12-kilometer trail, but today I will first introduce you to the Path of the Crystals. This hike is a quick one but no less beautiful.

The Katzenbuckel

The highest mountain in the Odenwald – the Katzenbuckel – is located in the border triangle between Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, and Bavaria and is actually an extinct volcano. Its vent has a diameter of almost 1000 meters. At 626 meters, it is enthroned in the red sandstone plateau of the Odenwald and stands out from its surroundings due to its easily recognizable shape. It is located near Waldkatzenbach in the far south of the Odenwald. On the summit, there is a tower of the same name, from where you have an amazing view.

Katzenbuckel Infotafel

 

How Has The Katzenbuckel Been Created?

About 60 million years ago, the Katzenbuckel erupted, which was probably very explosive due to a steam explosion when the magma came into contact with the groundwater. This is indicated by tuffs and small volcanic bombs. Today neither collapse funnels nor craters are visible. So the assumption is based purely on geological findings.

Since the end of the 19th century, volcanic rock has been mined in two quarries: Gaffstein and Michelsberg. In the 1920s, however, only one quarry was still visible on the maps: The Gaffstein had fallen victim to mining. In 1970 a blasting led to the fact that the work on the second quarry was also stopped: Groundwater had seeped into the Michelsberg Quarry and the Katzenbuckelsee (the lake of the Katzenbuckel) was created.

 

Where Does The Name Katzenbuckel Come From?

There are various explanations, but none of them is verified.

    1. The most obvious explanation is that the shape of the mountain resembles the back of a cat.
    2. Another assumption is that the name is etymologically derived from the Chatti – a Germanic tribe that lived in this area. They once had their main settlement area in northern and central Hesse and their name lives on in the neighboring state of Hesse, which is only three kilometers away from the Katzenbuckel.

 

The Path of Crystals

For your hike on the nature trail, you should choose a day with good weather if possible, as there is a lookout tower on the top of the Katzenbuckel which gives you an excellent all-round view. But only in good weather. Here are a few facts in brief:

Distance

2,4 Kilometer

Duration

1 Hour

)

Difference in Altitude

144 Meters

Highest Point

626 Meters

The Starting Point: Turmschenke / Villa Katzenbuckel

Until January 1st of 2020, the restaurant at the Katzenbuckel was in the hands of the Geier family. During the 65 years, the Turmschenke became a popular place in the Odenwald. Since May 18th of 2020, it has been reopened under new management and with a new name: The Villa Katzenbuckel awaits guests with Odenwald specialties. The restaurant is also a lounge, bar and hotel.

There is a parking lot from where you can plunge into the short adventure. Two large info boards mark the beginning of the Path of Crystals.

Infotafel Weg der Kristalle

 

Weg der Kristalle

 

The Katzenbuckelsee (Lake Katzenbuckel)

After a short hike, you get to the Katzenbuckelsee. As described above in the section on the formation of the Katzenbuckel, it was created by a blasting in the former quarry. Groundwater had entered the quarry, after which it was abandoned. You can get a glimpse of the lake through the trees, but unfortunately, you can’t get close enough to take a good photo from the Path of Crystals. The trees are also very dense. If you want to get to the lake, you can try it by leaving the path.

As you go halfway around the lake, you will pass several info boards that give information about the formation of the Katzenbuckel and the minerals. In this way, the hike gains an informative aspect and also becomes a journey into the history of the earth. Of course, you can decide how much background information you want to have.

Weg der Kristalle Infotafel

 

The Viewpoint Katzenbuckel

When you leave the lake behind you, it won’t be long before you can see the old tower between the trees. But do not confuse it with the ski jump of the Eberbach Ski Guild, founded in 1949. The ski jump is closed and may not be entered.

Wandern auf dem Katzenbuckel

Aussichtsturm Katzenbuckel

The observation tower, on the other hand, is an 18-meter-high stone tower that was built in 1820. The round tower is made of sandstone – just like this part of the Odenwald. Once you reach the top, you have an excellent view of the Taunus, the Spessart, and even the Rhön.

Panorama Aussichtsturm Katzenbuckel

Auf dem Aussichtsturm des Katzenbuckel

From the observation tower, it is only a stone’s throw back to Villa Katzenbuckel. On the way there you have a great view of Waldkatzenbach and can enjoy the moment on benches at the edge of the forest.

Auf dem Katzenbuckel

Aussicht Katzenbuckel

In the Villa Katzenbuckel, you can stop by if you wish and let the day end quietly.

 

Ideas For Nearby Activities

The Horse Farm Pan Perdu

Close to the Katzenbuckel, there is a horse farm called Hof Pan Perdu. I recently spent a whole weekend here (a separate post will follow!) and I can highly recommend it to you if you love animals as much as I do and would like to explore the Odenwald from horseback. The four-legged friends are elegant and gentle and will certainly give you unique experiences if you are open to them.

 

The Katzenbuckel Spa

Alternatively, you can also give your body a break: In the local spa Katzenbuckeltherme there are several swimming pools, a relaxation area, and a sauna are waiting for you. A visit here can be perfectly combined with a hike. But make sure that it is open! While I am writing these lines, it is still closed because of Corona.

 

Hiking in the Region

About hiking in the Odenwald, I have already written an own article. I have also written a blog post about the Felsenmeer and the Gorge of Margaret.

If you like hiking and want to explore the surrounding regions, I can recommend having a look at the Palatinate Forest, the Spessart, or the Taunus. Blog posts will follow for these regions. So far, I can only refer you to my blog post about Staufen in the Taunus outside the Odenwald.

 

City Trips in the Region

If you want to make a city trip in this part of Germany, I recommend the following cities:

  • Aschaffenburg: Aschaffenburg is nicknamed the gate to the Spessart. Besides the (partly very photogenic) sights like the Aschaffenburg castle, which the town itself has to offer, you can also reach the forest quickly from here and can let off steam on many hiking trails.
  • Heidelberg: Heidelberg is located directly at the Neckar and offers a picturesque backdrop with the river, the old town and the castle on the mountain. Here you will also find the ideal mixture of town and countryside.
  • Lohr am Main: Lohr am Main was first mentioned in a document in 1295 and is generally known as Snow White town. Although this is not documented, it is quite possible, since the Brothers Grimm lived in Hanau and passed through the Spessart on their way to Bremen.
  • Mannheim: The square city is worth a visit at any time. Whether inside or outside, there is always something to do or experience here.
  • Michelstadt: The historical old town with the famous town hall and the half-timbered houses is simply enchanting. My tip: Take a photo tour at sunrise when you have the cobblestone streets all to yourself! Near Michelstadt there are a lot of hiking trails so that you won’t get bored.
  • Miltenberg: The small town in Lower Franconia is located between Odenwald and Spessart and is a real gem. The old town is picturesque and even the starting point of several hiking trails. The Mildenburg and the museum of the city of Miltenberg offer the culturally interested among us the opportunity to quench their thirst for knowledge.

 

My Gear

On my tours, I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon. My hiking boots for example are waterproof half-height hiking boots. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you buy some appropriate clothing and shoes. In the worst case, normal sneakers will do, as long as they give you a good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look.

Wanderschuhe von Decathlon

I would also recommend protection for your phone. I got a nice scratch when I was hiking in Margaret Gorge. And that’s even though my phone didn’t fall off or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore, I have now an outdoor case.

By the way, I take my pictures with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favorite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you’ve ever wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.

 

My Final Thoughts

I love being out in nature, but for me, it doesn’t have to be a day hike every time I go out. Therefore I liked the Path of Crystals on the Katzenbuckel very much. The hike is not long but with the tower and the view, it is still a lot of fun. Also, like this you have more time to enjoy the view, the restaurant, the horse farm, or the spa…

Have you ever been on the Katzenbuckel?

 

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

GERMANY

THE FELSENMEER

GERMANY

PHOTO SPOTS IN FRANKFURT

GERMANY

THE GORGE OF MARGARET

The Gorge of Margaret – The Highest Waterfall of the Odenwald

The Gorge of Margaret – The Highest Waterfall of the Odenwald

The Gorge of Margaret – The Highest Waterfall of the Odenwald

If Corona had anything positive for me, it was that I am now getting to know my own home country better! While I had not done a single hike in Germany until a few months ago, I think I’m now doing quite well with about 20 of them. Of course, I would like to share these hikes with you. I started with my blog post about the Felsenmeer a few weeks ago, then I continued with my blog post about hiking in the Odenwald and today my third post comes about a hike in this beautiful region: to the Gorge of Margaret where the highest waterfall of the Odenwald is waiting for me.

The Gorge of Margaret

The hiking trail in the Gorge of Margaret is a journey through the history of the earth. Information boards are placed along the trail to tell about the background of the formation of the gorge and to draw attention to special features of the flora and fauna. For example, it is explained that the humid climate ensures that many fern plants can be found here and that fire salamanders live in the area around the stream called Flursbach. Unfortunately, I did not see any, although I was particularly attentive after I saw the sign. But I advise you to look down – no matter if you are on the “hunt” for fire salamanders or not. Because there is quite a danger of stumbling in the partly narrow gorge.

In the gorge, you will also find the highest waterfall of the Odenwald, which is one of the highest in Germany! Over 110 meters the water of the Flursbach falls down in smaller cascades. The highest is 10 meters. The mountain is called Gickelberg by the way.

 

The Starting Point in Neckargerach

Neckargerach is a state-approved resort in a wonderful location, namely in the Neckartal-Odenwald Nature Park and the Bergstrasse-Odenwald Geo-Nature Park. Here – between Heidelberg and Heilbronn – those seeking recreation will find an ideal mixture of water, meadows, and forests.

The starting point itself is the train station of this pearl. This is super practical because you can either arrive by car and park there (like me coming from Frankfurt and having a relatively long journey) or, if you come from the surrounding area, by train. However, I found the station a bit hard to find: I had only entered the Bahnstraße in my navigation system. But since it’s around a corner again and the sign for the station is very faded, I went straight twice. Alternatively, you can also find a Park & Ride on the side where I was first – going straight instead of turning right.

On whichever of the two P&R you park, there are signs everywhere that are in better shape than the ones to the station. Finding the way to the canyon is therefore definitely no problem.

Margarethenschlucht Beschilderung

 

The Hike

For your hike, you should choose a dry day if possible, as it can get slippery in the gorge. But still, you might want to choose a day after some rain because otherwise, the waterfall is going to be very thin. Here are a few facts in a brief and concise overview:

Distance

4 Kilometers

Duration

2 Hours

)

Difference in Altitude

281 Meters

Highest Point

291 Meters

After ten or fifteen minutes walking you will have a fantastic view of the Neckar valley. The river Neckar winds in a pretty perfect loop around the Zwerrenberg. This is an excellent first photo spot!

Ausblick ins Neckartal

Then you reach the entrance to the gorge. A sign warns you that entering the gorge is at your own risk, that there is a danger of slipping and also that especially now in the time of Corona, the minimum distance is difficult to keep. Therefore, I would like to ask you at this point to act calmly and definitely not to push during this time. You should never do that, of course, but at the moment, even more, solidarity is needed than usual.

It won’t take long, you can see a first view of the highest part of the waterfall.

Der Wasserfall in der Margarethenschlucht

The waterfall is really a breathtaking sight. You should definitely have a camera with you to capture the tour. It is impressive how the water makes its way down into the valley and splashes on the rocks in front of my eyes.

Der Wasserfall in der Margarethenschlucht

I almost thought that was it, but then it turned out that the Margarethenschlucht path really does run through the gorge and over and over again over the Flursbach. So it goes back and forth for a while. On the rocks, there are partly wire ropes to which you can hold on to when the “step” is a bit high. Again and again, the above-mentioned information boards explain different things and so the hike becomes even more entertaining.

Farngewächs in der Margarethenschlucht

Der Wasserfall in der Margarethenschlucht

Except for a place at the very beginning, where you have to turn left to follow the course of the stream, you really can’t miss the path.

But to be sure, I would still recommend that you download Outdooractive or Komoot. Both are available as an app and there you can download the gpx data. Then, you really can’t get lost. You can also follow my tour here:

My Tour on Outdooractive

Basically, I think you should be able to cross the stream on dry feet. At least as long as you have shoes with good grip and don’t slip. But that probably also depends on how much water the creek carries. Further down, I recommend hiking boots, which are even waterproof in case you do slip or step next to a stone.

The gorge itself is about two kilometers long. Once you reach the top, it’s a short detour back to Neckargerach. You will pass a wild animal enclosure and another enclosure with goats.

Ziegen nahe der Margarethenschlucht

After about 1.5 kilometers the path then meets the path you came from again. Turn right and you will return straight to your starting point – the train station of Neckargerach.

 

Other Destinations in the Area

If you like hiking and want to explore other regions, I can recommend you to visit the Pfälzerwald, the Spessart or the Taunus. Blog posts will follow for these regions. So far, I can only refer you to my blog post about the Staufen in the Taunus.

If you want to make a city trip in this part of Germany, I recommend the following cities:

  • Aschaffenburg: Aschaffenburg is nicknamed the gate to the Spessart. Besides the (partly very photogenic) sights like the Aschaffenburg castle, which the town itself has to offer, you can also reach the forest quickly from here and can let off steam on many hiking trails.
  • Heidelberg: Heidelberg is located directly at the Neckar and offers a picturesque backdrop with the river, the old town and the castle on the mountain. Here you will also find the ideal mixture of town and countryside.
  • Lohr am Main: Lohr am Main was first mentioned in a document in 1295 and is generally known as Snow White town. Although this is not documented, it is quite possible, since the Brothers Grimm lived in Hanau and passed through the Spessart on their way to Bremen.
  • Mannheim: The square city is worth a visit at any time. Whether inside or outside, there is always something to do or experience here.
  • Michelstadt: The historical old town with the famous town hall and the half-timbered houses is simply enchanting. My tip: Take a photo tour at sunrise when you have the cobblestone streets all to yourself! Near Michelstadt there are a lot of hiking trails so that you won’t get bored.
  • Miltenberg: The small town in Lower Franconia is located between Odenwald and Spessart and is a real gem. The old town is picturesque and even the starting point of several hiking trails. The Mildenburg and the museum of the city of Miltenberg offer the culturally interested among us the opportunity to quench their thirst for knowledge.

 

My Gear

On my tours, I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon. My hiking boots for example are waterproof half-height hiking boots. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you buy some appropriate clothing and shoes. In the worst case, normal sneakers will do, as long as they give you a good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look.

Wanderschuhe von Decathlon

I would also recommend protection for your phone. I got a nice scratch when I was hiking in Margaret Gorge. And that’s even though my phone didn’t fall off or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore, I have now an outdoor case.

By the way, I take my pictures with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favorite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you’ve ever wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.

 

Final Thoughts

The Gorge of Margaret is a really lovely destination! The waterfall is a great motive for amazing photos and through the signage, you can learn a lot about the (earth’s) history, the formation of the gorge, and its flora and fauna. The path is also not very difficult to walk. Personally, I didn’t have sore muscles at all, but that depends on how regularly you go on hikes.

All in all, I loved the trip.

Have you ever been to the Gorge of Margaret?

 

PS: All links marked with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links!​

Did you like this blog post?

Share it in your social networks!

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

GERMANY

THE FELSENMEER

GERMANY

PHOTO SPOTS IN FRANKFURT

GERMANY

THE STAUFEN