Nature & Outdoor Activities

Bertha Benz Memorial Route – memorial to the world's first female driver

Pforzheim: landscape at sunset, aerial view ©gettyimages (Dennis Bayer)

This route commemorates a legend from back in the days when driving was still an adventure. This authentic route spanning 194 kilometres from Mannheim to Pforzheim via Heidelberg takes in plenty of stunning sights along the way.

Married couple Carl and Bertha Benz are pioneers of automotive history. Without her husband's knowledge, Bertha Benz drove her two sons from Mannheim to Pforzheim via Heidelberg in August 1888 in the Benz patent motor car that Carl had developed. When the tank was empty, she bought three litres of ligroin from a pharmacy in Wiesloch, making this the world's first petrol station. On the journey, the water and oil had to constantly be topped up and the broken drive chain had to be repaired by a smith in Bruchsal, who also covered the brake pads in leather.

Later on, Bertha Benz cleaned the blocked fuel line with her hat pin and used her garter for insulation. And her sons did have to push the car once at the edge of the Black Forest. Now, every car enthusiast can follow the route taken by Bertha Benz on the first long-distance car journey in history.

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