The tree-topped hill range of Steigerwald forest sits majestically between the cultural heartlands of Nuremberg, Bamberg and Würzburg, and boasts one of Franconia's most richly varied walking regions.
The Steigerwald panorama trail from Bad Windsheim to Bamberg passes along the western slope of Steigerwald forest 200 metres above Franconian wine country, where the grapes of fine wines flourish. In the north of the forest, the route heads eastward and continues high above the Main valley to the edge of Bamberg – the world cultural heritage town famed for its imperial cathedral, its picturesque old town and its internationally acclaimed beers. The trail passes through age-old winegrowing villages, taking in impressive fortified churches, spectacular palaces, castles and abbeys. The 161km route includes such historical sites as the old town of Iphofen, the former palace in Castell, the old Cistercian abbey in Ebrach, the Stollberg castle ruins and the Bad Windsheim open-air museum. It has even been suggested that the minnesinger Walther von der Vogelweide was born somewhere along the route. The forest stands sentinel over the region's beautiful meadows and vineyards, which can be seen from the trail's various viewpoints and are likely to put walkers in a romantic mood. As its name suggests, the trail includes many vantage points offering magnificent panoramic views – the route's high points both literally and figuratively. The Steigerwald forest panorama trail is one of the most spectacular walking routes in Germany and was runner-up for the accolade of most beautiful long-distance walking path awarded by walkers' journal 'Wandermagazin' at the TourNatur trade fair in Düsseldorf in September 2011.
At a glance:
Starts and ends: Bad Windsheim – Bamberg
Number of stages: 9
Altitude variation: ascent: 3,660m
Terrain: 35.13 % unmade, 19.2% asphalt, 45.67% other
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