The Franconian Red Wine Hiking Trail – 6 days in Churfranken
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:
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:
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.
With a little over 17 kilometers and 400 meters altitude difference, it is a little bit more than the first one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Hiking in the region
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.
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.
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*.
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!
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