View from the tower showing the ruins of Auerbach Castle and the famous Scots pine on the castle walls
Auerbach Castle in the Bergstrasse region with the famous Scots pine on the castle walls ©Manfred Zenker
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Bergstrasse-Odenwald Nature Park – geology, nature and culture up close

The land between the Rhine, Odenwald forest and Neckar river is characterised by over 500 million years of geological history, diverse natural surroundings and good old-fashioned hospitality.

Can you still remember what soil feels like? Are you curious about what rocks, plants and water can tell us about the planet we live on? Do you ever wonder where the first horses lived?

Then why not take a family-friendly guided tour of Bergstrasse-Odenwald Nature Park, led by one of the rangers, where you'll learn about the region's natural and geological history and its culture. Whether you immerse yourself in the past, relax in the tranquillity of the moment or enjoy a few culinary treats, the park's comprehensive programme of activities offers insights into the life of the region.

The entrance gates and information centres, and over 30 themed trails and educational installations on the environment (such as the visitor centre at the stalactite cave in Buchen), provide plenty of tips and suggestions. The region covered by the park also contains three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Messel Pit Fossil Site, Lorsch Abbey and, near Walldürn, the Upper-Germanic Rhaetian Limes.

The charm of the landscape is based on contrast. There is the Bergstrasse region in the west with its history-steeped sites, mild climate and winegrowing tradition. Then there is the Odenwald forest in the east: the Crystalline Odenwald features primarily gently undulating farmland, while the Bunter Sandstone Odenwald is marked by arresting valleys and large areas of woodland. And the plunging valleys of the Main and Neckar rivers are the backdrop to spectacular landscapes and pretty towns such as Heidelberg.

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