Nowadays, walkers are unlikely to meet Germanic warriors on the Alemannenweg, but they will discover idyllic landscapes, winding lanes, enchanted castles, magnificent palaces and regional delicacies.
The Alemanni were a warlike western Germanic tribe who defeated the Romans around 260 AD and moved into the Odenwald region. Evidence of their presence includes a large rock column right by the well-known 'Felsenmeer' boulder field: the Romans had no time to remove this column before they were attacked by the Alemanni. The 'Felsenmeer' is one of the highlights of the 132 kilometre circular route, which links the towns of Michelstadt and Bensheim and the villages of Mühltal and Otzberg across a rich and varied landscape. The small hill tops, idyllic valleys, wide variety of deciduous forest, charming meadow orchards, cosy villages and mysterious cliffs are all best discovered on foot. The region's designation as a nature reserve ensures its protection and indicates its status as one of the most beautiful landscapes in Germany. The fascinating geological makeup of the uplands between Darmstadt and Heidelberg has resulted in its accreditation as a National and European Geopark. Those with a penchant for horror should visit Castle Frankenstein, which has been linked to Mary Shelley's novel 'Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus'. Other attractions on the Alemannenweg trail include the fairytale castle Fürstenau, Auerbach Castle, Lichtenberg Palace and Otzberg Castle. Along the way, Odenwald inns serve up regional specialities such as Bergstrasse wines, Odenwald cider, creamy cooked cheese and local game.
'Felsenmeer' near Lautertal-Reichenbach
The 'Felsenmeer' (boulder field) consists of thousands of huge rocks seemingly strewn about at random. The Felsenmeer information centre provides fascinating insights into the origins of this fascinating natural landscape.
At a glance:
Starts and ends: Michelstadt
Number of stages: 7
Altitude variation (approximate values): ascent 2,747m, descent 2,746m
Terrain: 35% unmade, 15% asphalt, 50% other, e.g. gravel