In an otherwise flat landscape, we hike along the Hermann Heights - a ridge from Rheine in the Münsterland to Marsberg in Westphalia.
We hike along spectacular rock formations and reach the Dörenthe Cliffs, which we were not expecting to see so far north. The Externsteine rock formations, a Celtic pilgrimage site, are world renowned. Here – near Horn-Bad Meinberg – the Hermann Trail seamlessly transitions into the Egge Trail.
We make our way through lively cities such as Halle and Bielefeld, home to Sparrenburg Castle. Needless to say, we also spot the Hermann Monument en route. Cherusci war chief Arminius (called Hermann in German) defeated the Romans in Teutoburg Forest and became the hero of the Teutons. He now swings his sword over our hiking path, yet he seems almost obsolete. We can take a break from our trail at any time and enjoy a well-deserved rest. Berlebeck Eagle Station is a must-see attraction. As is the Velmerstot hill, the highest point of the Teutoburg Forest with a fairytale-like moorland landscape.
Almost all of the Hermann Heights route is along a ridgeway. If it were in the Alps, you would call it a ridge walk. From the Velmerstot hill, we head further south on the Egge ridge. What a magnificent route this is: sandy and rooty ground beneath our feet, distant views spilling out to the east and west, we are in the heart of nature. The towns and villages are at the foot of the Hermann Heights Trail. We are in hiking heaven on this path!
Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"I love the town of Tecklenburg on the Hermann Trail as it boasts charming half-timbered houses, great cuisine and the biggest open-air theatre in Germany. Tecklenburg is also known as the 'balcony of the Münsterland'."
At a glance: Hermann Heights
Starts: Rheine (Hermann Trail)
Ends/starts: Horn-Bad Meinberg/ Externsteine (Egge Trail)
Length: 226 km
Number of stages: 11
Altitude variation: lowest point 30 m, highest point 450 m
Terrain: 35-45% unmade, 18% asphalt, 38-47% other, e.g. farm tracks
Certified quality hiking trails: Hermann Trail and Egge Trail