The Neckarsteig starts in Heidelberg, and its enchanting Old Town and world-famous castle create a spectacular backdrop. Our path takes us upstream along both banks of the Neckar.
The Neckarsteig Trail retraces the steps of Mark Twain, who explored the Neckar on foot and on his raft. We see the vineyards along the river through the eyes of the American writer. Mark Twain used to mock the regional wine: "It is really popular. You can tell German wine from vinegar by the label." Just like Twain, we have the choice of switching between a hike and a river cruise as and when we like. There are plenty of points along the river where we can board a vessel.
We take the towpaths down by the river on the Neckarsteig Trail. Every so often, we have to climb the steep slopes along the 128 kilometre route. But once we reach the top, we can admire stunning views of the bends and loops of the Neckar river. The landscape lives up to its reputation for "soft and peaceful beauty" (as Mark Twain put it).
Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"The Neckarsteig Trail ends in Bad Wimpfen. The historic Old Town district of the spa town is a protected heritage site. The Imperial Palace was once the residence of the German Emperors of the Middle Ages. Definitely worth a visit!"
At a glance: Neckarsteig
Ends: Bad Wimpfen
Length: 128 km
Number of stages: 9
Altitude variation: lowest point 116 m, highest point 575 m
Terrain: 37% unmade, 18% asphalt, 45% other, e.g. farm tracks
Certified quality hiking trail