Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Travel Guide

  • A view from Lindenfels castle.
    A view from Lindenfels castle.
    by TomInGermany
  • Jewish Cementery
    Jewish Cementery
    by TomInGermany
  • A view from the tower
    A view from the tower
    by TomInGermany

Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Things to Do

  • Villa Haselburg, Roman villa in Odenwald

    During the Roman settlements in what is Germany today, they have built a limes, Limes Germanicus to be precise, to defend their territory to the east. In that approx. 570 km long defensive “wall”, a tiny section of 70 km, leads down south from Main river approximately south of Aschaffenburg. It was called Odenwaldlimes, best seen on the map of...

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  • Very unusual wooden planks on a cemetery

    I came across this very unusual custom when I read a book about hiking in Odenwald. On one of the photos these strange “tomb poles” and I knew I had to find them. The custom of adding these to graves seems to date back to pagan times when the dead were laid out on wooden planks to protect them against evil spirits on their last journey. Later they...

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  • Hiking north of Weinheim

    I love to get out of the house and into the woods especially if it is a new set of trails. After looking over my maps of the Odenwald area I decided to hike along the ridge line between Hemsbach and Weinheim. While the weather wasn't the greatest as least the rain stopped by the time I got to the parking lot and didn't start up until I was already...

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  • Hiking between two castles

    Interested in seeing a couple of castle ruins but also getting in a little bit of exercise? If so, then this is a good hike for you. The two castles you will see are Alsbacher Schloss and Aurbacher Schloss both located on the western edge of the Odenwald nature park and about 40 minutes south of Frankfurt. The total distance for this hike is less...

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  • Auerbach Castle and Felsenmeer Hike

    Here is an excellent hike for those who are interested in history and geology. It is 11 miles long but can be cut a little shorter is you take a side trail and involves two hills to conquer that are not bad if you are in decent shape. You should start the hike at one of the nature parking lots on the road up to the Auerbacher castle. I wouldn't do...

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  • Walking in the Weinheim Area

    I'm always surprised by the number of towns in the local area that are not in any of the tourist books I own (and I own a number of them) but are worth a visit (or two). Weinheim is one such town. I visited the town so I could hike in a new part of the Odenwald region and check out the the castle ruins above the town. After seeing the town I now...

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  • A Lithuanian School

    Hüttenfeld/BergstrasseThe small village of Hüttenfeld ( not even 2000 people are living there ) is nevertheless known internationally among Lithuanians. In 1953 Lithuanians living in exile founded a boarding school there for their children, to help them learn about the culture and language of their home country.They had chosen a mansion built for...

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  • Schloss Auerbach

    Bensheim-Auerbach:Between Bensheim and Darmstadt you see a large castle up on the hill, Schloss Auerbach.It was built in 13th century and belonged to the Counts of Katzenelnbogen. A strange family name, by the way, as it means cat's elbow.It was not the home of the family, but used as a defense castle. From the towers you still have a great view...

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  • Zwingenberg - 3

    This is the Scheuergasse. Scheuer is a barn and during the 18. century the barns were build as a special part of the city away from the house. This should avoid fires. The Scheuergasse is unique in south Hessen. Now you find there some shops and restaurant. Also a holiday appartment could be rented.

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  • Museum Künstlerkolonie

    Darmstadt:I know I had said I wouldn't write any tips about Darmstadt, as there are excellent pages about this city on VT, but since I haven't seen any tip about this museum I decided to write one.More than 100 years ago, Darmstadt was the site of the Art Noveau scene in Germany. The last ruling Arch Duke had invited many artists to come and build...

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  • A Dragon has found its way to Viernheim

    Viernheim:When you walk up from the small train station in Viernheim, you'll see a very colourful dragon sitting on the roof of a garage near the bank. Because of the vicinity to the places connected with the legend of the Nibelungen, which involves a fight with a dragon, the local bank decided to have a dragon put up on this roof. The...

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  • Schriesheim, part 3

    One of my favourite walks in Schriesheim is along the small creek, the Kanzelbach. The water is coming down from the hills with enough power to have driven an oil mill. The wheel is still to be seen, and even the mill - certainly from 1623, probably from the end of 14th century - could still be used. The family who owns it today keeps it in good...

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  • Schriesheim,part 2

    In the centre of Schriesheim the old city hall built in 1684 is still standing. It was put up at the market square and the open hall on ground floor level was very convenient for storage, in case of rain. Next to it the old pillory from 1540 can be seen, a reminder that market days were also jurisdiction days.I like the old post box, still in use...

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  • Schriesheim,part 1

    On the way from Darmstadt to Heidelberg you pass through Schriesheim. This is a small town, with lots of vineyards on the hills, above them the ruin of a castle, the Strahlenburg. Strahl means ray, and this is the reason the crest of Schriesheim shows two crossed rays. They look like arrows, and I suppose this is what most people imagine them to...

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  • Villa Rustica - an old Roman mansion

    Großsachsen:This small village along the B3, the Bergstrasse, boasts of having the ruins of a large Roman mansion in its fields, the Villa Rustica. That is, the village council may be boasting, the villagers don't seem to care very much. In fact the farmers used to be very angry about these Roman places, as it meant lots of stones, bricks and...

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Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Restaurants

  • World champion cakes, chocolate and...

    In southern Hessen, this café has a fame. Bernd Siefert, the owner, has won several medals in pastry making and also the world championship some years ago. He is very active in marketing his products and the café in Michelstadt, wrote several books and gives seminars about anything related to pastry. On the first sunny weekend in March 2011, spring...

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  • Watch the market going on

    Darmstadt:When I am in Darmstadt this is a place I like to go and have lunch. It's right at the market square, in the ground floor there is a bakery and upstairs there is a café , where you also have a light lunch. This is not a restaurant with a large menu, more a bistro type of place. They have a lunch menu, which always includes at least one...

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  • Exceptionally Good Italian Food

    The small town of Dossenheim, just outside of Heidelberg, has an Italian restaurant which is much better than average. It's in the (very) small shopping mall there, on the first floor - second floor to Americans- and looks like any other Italian place. We had heard good things about it and wanted to try it.Walking up the stairs we heard a barrage...

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  • Watch the Boats go by

    Dossenheim - Schwabenheimer HofSchwabenheimer Hof is a part of Dossenheim, a little village outside the town at the river Neckar. A few farms, a few houses, lots of fields, a lock and a very good restaurant, Zum Anker - To the Anchor, that's all.Built in 1738, this restaurant used to be the place where men and horses hauling boats could rest, the...

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  • Mongolian Buffet

    This is an Asian restaurant in Viernheim,Bergstrasse. They offer all sorts of Asian meals, but their specialty is the Mongolian buffet. I don't know if it's really Mongolian, probably more a sort of mix from many Asian cuisines. (They also have French Fries, not very Asian, but an all time popular for kids.)There are several kinds of vegetables,...

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  • Eat in the former guard station

    In the Fuerstenlager in Bensheim Auerbach there are two restaurants, one pretty expensive, the other a small, comfortable place. This used to be the guard station for the duke and his family. No full meals are served there,only some snacks and a good selection of freshly baked cakes , also soft drinks, coffee, beer and two of the regional wines....

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Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Local Customs

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    by christine.j Updated Jul 27, 2007

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    Viernheim:

    Two statues are standing in the centre of Viernheim, a man and a woman. They were both local people, but really different from each other. The man was homeless, wandering through the area, working occasionally. He was generally well liked for his good humour.People only knew him by his nickname "Linsefranz" - "Lentil-Franz". I don't know why, maybe his favourite meal were lentils? He lived from 1871 to 1950. This is the only statue of a homeless man I know.

    The other statue is that of a nun, pushing her bike through Viernheim. She was working in the local hospital and was mostly known for her relentless pursuing of her aims. When she needed money to help the poor, she would stop every member of the city council, no matter where she met them, and ask for money, and she usually succeeded. For her work she was given the Federal Cross of Merit, a high medal in Germany. She lived from 1902 to 1986.

    Both statues are standing in the very centre of Viernheim, close to St Aposteln.

    Linsefranz and Sister Paterna

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Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Warnings and Dangers

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    by christine.j Updated Jul 16, 2007

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    I have already written about these caterpillars on my Mannheim page, but since I came across a cordoned off area in the woods near Bensheim I want to warn you again. The oak procession spinner is a harmless butterfly, but its caterpillars are highly dangerous. They have tiny, poisonous hairs which they shed when they feel threatened - and they feel threatened very easily!. These hairs are blown away by the wind cause a very bad rash on human skin.

    This is why it's so difficult to destroy their nests, since it has to be avoided that the hairs get blown away.

    This year there were too many nests for the pest control to deal with all, so some parks, swimming pools and one school had to be closed for several days. The kids didn't mind the school being closed, but they would have liked to go swimming.

    I'm speaking from personal experience, which is why I immediately turned around and walked back when I saw this sign.

    Warnign against the spinners
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Off The Beaten Path

  • Hard time for a compass, magnetic stones

    This was a recent lovely find thanks to Carolina who wrote about it on her website. In the northern part of Odenwald, very near the famous Frankenstein Castle which is said to have inspired Mary Shelley to write the famous story about Mr. Frankenstein, is a group of stones which are magnetic. They are of the same rock formation as the surrounding...

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  • Little gulch & fairy tale structures :-)

    I came across this little fairy tale path when I looked up hiking paths near where I live. The moment I saw these cute little buildings and monuments I knew that I had to find them and walk through that little gulch. It was difficult though because it is not well signposted in the nearby town of Höchst (im Odenwald). But with the help of a map I...

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  • Fortress in Otzberg

    Went for a long hike on a nice (fairly nice) November day to work off Thanksgiving dinner and to see what I see. I started off at the Nature Park parking lot in Brensbach and took the blue square trail to the north and ended up in Otzberg (about 4 miles). The Vesta Otzberg is located at the top of the hill but fairly easy to get there. The Vesta...

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Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Sports & Outdoors

  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    by christine.j Updated May 15, 2009

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    Viernheim

    Do you like to play Tarzan? In the Kletterwald in Viernheim - a tree climbing experience - you can do just that.I haven't done it yet, as I feel I'm too old, but it's a great favourite for kids and young adults.
    I even heard about a grandma who did it as a birthday treat!
    You get a helmet and a rope with snap-hooks and then you can start climbing up ladders, to platforms or bridges high up in the trees. Or you can swing down on a rope and really pretend you're in the jungle.

    I like to and watch, maybe one day I'll get the courage to do it myself.

    Three hours of climbing are 10 Euro for children, 12 Euro for students and 15 Euro for adults.

    Update May 2009:
    We had four young US visitors and took them climbing.I didn't join, but I watched and listened, and I was very impressed by the organization. The safety instructions were given in English. This took a long time, almost 30 minutes. There is a low training area, on which everybody has to do a trial climb while the instructor is watching closely. Only when you have shown that you understood what to do you are allowed on the trees.

    I was really impressed and our guests loved it.

    One more word of advice: Use the bathroom before you start climbing up there.

    Equipment: Don't wear your best clothes. All the equipment needed is provided. Cell phones/mobiles, any jewellery and anything else which may fall out of your pockets is best left at home.

    One of the lower platforms Some of the higher ones helmets ... and hooks
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    • Family Travel

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Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald Favorites

  • Hiking in the vineyards on 1 May

    Each year on the 1 May there is a big hiking (or lets better call it walking) in the vineyards between Heppenheim and Zwingenberg. With friends I go each year. Starting in my hometown Heppenheim we walk to Bensheim to the Kirchberghäuschen and stay there to have some wines ... It is always fun!

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  • on our way to the Melibokus,...

    on our way to the Melibokus, the highest mountain there - hm, it is a hill, no mountain - It was so cold and especially so windy, but we saw Frankfurt, the Black Forest.....

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  • We like to go to the...

    We like to go to the Bergstraße to hike or to make a small walk. Here a walk in autumn .... where the wine grows....

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Explore Deeper into Naturpark Bergstrasse-Odenwald
The Neckar Lock
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An Old Roman Stone
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The Rock Breakers of Dossenheim
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The Fountains of Leutershausen
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The Black Madonna
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Tobacco Barns
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St Aposteln
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Bußmichelkreuz
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Viernheim
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Fuerstenlager - The Summer Residence
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A famous pine tree on the wall
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Michelstadt
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Zwingenberg - 2
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