Following the sign of the shell on St. James' Way – Germany is a wonderful place for pilgrimages
Going on a traditional pilgrimage, taking a self-initiated time-out, following well-trodden roads to self-discovery – it's an adventure for body, mind and soul. Those who don't have the time or energy for a long trek can try a 'taster tour' and get a feel for what it's like to go on a pilgrimage.
The route, approx. 300km in length and clearly marked with the Loccum Cistercian cross, passes through a harmonious landscape of hills and unspoilt countryside and connects the two ancient Cistercian abbeys of Loccum and Volkenroda.
One theme and one event connects 1,200 kilometres across the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. The Luther Trail is part of the Luther Decade culminating in 2017, which marks 500 years since Luther nailed his theses to the church door in 1517 – the anniversary of the Reformation.
The scenery of Upper Bavaria is divinely beautiful and the 85km Meditation Trail, right at the foot of the mystical Ammergau Alps, offers a wonderful opportunity for walking meditation, spiritual contemplation and pilgrimage. It runs from the Wieskirche Church to Linderhof Palace with many cultural treasures along the way.
People cycling along the 342km Monks' Trail are following a centuries-old tradition: welcome to a modern style of pilgrimage from Glücksstadt on the River Elbe to the island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea.
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.
Via Claudia Augusta – the name of the only Roman road crossing the Alps has a wonderful ring to it. This well signposted, unforgettable trail takes you from the Danube to the Alps, covering more than 500km in Germany.
The Via Nova Pilgrimage Route runs approx. 280km from Bogen in Lower Bavaria, across the Salzburg lakeland, to St. Wolfgang in Austria. In days gone by, pilgrims used to carry a cross with them. Today, travellers on this modern pilgrimage trail are more likely to be carrying a lightweight rucksack.