Discover the world of the monks! The Northern Black Forest Monasteries Route, which takes in three major monasteries and abbeys – Maulbronn Monastery, Hirsau Abbey and Alpirsbach Abbey – can also be explored by bike. It is an exciting journey interspersed with moments of meditation that leads pilgrims through serene valleys and physically challenges them during hilly sections.
This mixture makes the Northern Black Forest Monasteries Route from Maulbronn to Alpirsbach such an unforgettable experience. It is a cycle path for pilgrims with cultural relics of the past along the route, for instance the Maulbronn Monastery Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As if created for all eternity, the former Cistercian monastery reflects the centuries spanning from the Romanesque to the late Gothic period with its church, Gothic cloister and the fountain house – an emblem of Maulbronn. Yet the ruins of Hirsau Abbey are even older than this. In the 11th century, it was a spiritual and political hub and a meeting place for the Dukes of Württemberg, who built their hunting lodge here and brought royal glamour to the Black Forest. The hunting lodge is derelict, but the abbey's herb garden remains intact. It is a little paradise with local plants and varieties from Hildegard of Bingen's "Physica", her writings on health and healing. Cyclists really have to step on it between Kälberbronn and Alpirsbach as they head up to Friedrichshöhe, before reaching their final destination of Alpirsbach Abbey, a genuine historical and cultural gem in the picturesque Kinzig Valley that has stood proud for nine centuries! The red sandstone church greets visitors from afar, and the late Gothic cloister today provides an impressive backdrop for the annual summer Alpirsbach Cloister Concerts.
Total length of route: approx. 150 km/3 stages recommended
Pilgrim hostels along the route?: Yes
Arrival options: change at Stuttgart Central Station for connections on regional and commuter trains
Departure options: Offenburg Central Station
About the route: features valleys and hills with an elevation of 800 metres; paved agricultural roads and cycle paths, quiet roads; approx. 25% of the route is on gravel cycle paths. For details of the route/GPS data/the elevation profile (in German), visit: www.schwarzwald-tourismus.info
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