There are a number of pilgrimage routes all over Europe that lead to the grave of the apostle James in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The scenic Palatinate Forest is home to two such routes that cover almost 300km from the pilgrimage town of Speyer to the Benedictine abbey in Hornbach.
Walking along the Palatinate section of the St. James' Way from the pilgrimage and cathedral town of Speyer to the Benedictine abbey in Hornbach, your soul will start to wander and you'll find your own individual pace. Along the way, you'll see and hear things that you would never have noticed if you'd been behind the wheel. Whether you choose the northern or southern route, both marked trails start at the magnificent imperial cathedral in Speyer. The northern alternative, approx. 150km in length, passes through Neustadt an der Weinstrasse, the Kaiserslautern area, Landstuhl and Zweibrücken before reaching Hornbach Abbey. The southern route of approx. 140km, passes through Germersheim, Landau, Bad Bergzabern and Dahn before also reaching Hornbach, where the grave of St. Pirmin – founder of the Benedictine abbey – can be found in the former abbey. As the trail continues, you again have two alternatives. They converge in Hérapel, an early Celtic settlement, before the route goes on to Metz. All kinds of people walk this trail and for a multitude of reasons. Pilgrimages along the St. James' Way are currently very popular. You can follow tranquil paths to wonderful places of prayer, finding inner peace with every step and enjoying the feeling of being detached from the world for a moment. St. James' Day is celebrated on 25 July. Whenever this date falls on a Sunday, a holy year is celebrated in Santiago de Compostela. Anyone who has caught the pilgrimage bug can start their journey from here for the next holy year.