Darmstadt, Russian Chapel and Wedding Tower in the Mathildenhöhe district
Darmstadt, Russian Chapel and Wedding Tower in the Mathildenhöhe district ©DZT (Dietmar Scherf)

The Castle Trail - hiking in the Bergstraße region

On the western edge of the Odenwald mountain range, we hike 120 kilometres from Darmstadt to Heidelberg. We see forests, walk through vineyards and take a look around the many castles.

Our tour along the Castle Trail also takes us through the Hessische Bergstraße wine region. The powerful Riesling grape is the main variety grown here. We travel through many wine-growing areas and sample excellent regional varieties by Bensheimer Wolfsmagen (Bensheim Wolf's Stomach) and Heppenheimer Schlossberg (Heppenheim Castle Hill).

The wine gives us the strength for the Castle Trail. It is a tough route, and we need to climb a total of 3,650 metres. But we get our reward once we reach the top of the Odenwald: views extending from the Upper Rhine Plain to the mountain ranges in the Palatinate.

The way-markers featuring a blue castle on a white background guide us to 30 marvellous castles, palaces and iconic sites along the route – a sheer abundance of attractions. On average, we come across a historic site every four kilometres.

TIP: Frankenstein Castle

Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"Frankenstein Castle is situated to the south of Darmstadt on the Castle Trail. Rumour has it that the infamous Dr Frankenstein created his monster here in this castle. A horrifying hiking highlight!"

At a glance: Castle Trail

Starts: Eberstadt, Darmstadt

Ends: Heidelberg

Length: 120 km

Number of stages: 9

Altitude variation: lowest point 105 m, highest point 420 m

Terrain: 37% unmade, 17% asphalt, 36% other, e.g. farm tracks

Certified quality hiking trail

Barrier-free control

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