The Franconian Forest, the Rodach white rapids, Franconian Switzerland, Altmühl Valley, the Franconian Lakes and the Swabian Alb: the 520km of the Franconian Trail reflect the region's rich diversity.
The Franconian Trail starts in Untereichenstein and heads into the lush wilderness of the Franconian Forest. Passing 'Hell Valley' and the rafting country of the Wilde Rodach, the town of Kronach where Lucas Cranach was born, and Kulmbach with its brewing heritage and Plassenburg castle, the route includes many cultural attractions. The path continues through the Upper Main Valley-Coburg region and the Main Valley views from Kordigast hill and Staffelberg hill are well worth the climb. The thermal salt water in Bad Staffelstein is the warmest in Bavaria and the perfect way to relax after a hike. The unusual rock formations, shadowy caves and quaint villages of Franconian Switzerland will enchant walkers along the next 100 kilometres of the trail. At this stage we recommend a detour via Greifenstein Palace in Heiligenstadt, the pilgrimage basilica in Gössweinstein and the Franconian Switzerland Museum in Tüchersfeld. The trail then reaches the Franconian Alb where the views stretch out over Schwabach valley with its romantic castles and quaint little towns. The inclines ease slightly as the route passes through the medieval town of Berching and the Altmühl Valley nature reserve complete with Jura peaks and juniper heathlands. The Bavarian town of Weissenburg is also well worth a visit for Wülzburg castle, the Roman baths and the remains of Biriciana Roman fort. The Franconian Trail then briefly skirts the Franconian Lakes before reaching its end point, Harburg in the Swabian Alb.
Amid 'God's Garden' on the Upper Main are two exquisite examples of baroque architecture: the former Benedictine monastery Banz Abbey, and Neumann's Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, where thousands of pilgrims flock every year to plead for the help of the 15th century church's namesakes.
At a glance:
Starts and ends: Untereichenstein – Harburg
Number of stages: 24
Altitude variation (approximate values): ascent 320m, descent 270m
Terrain: 44% unmade, 36% asphalt, 20% other hard paving
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