The route is old, but its current course is new: the Loccum - Volkenroda pilgrimage route from Lower Saxony to Thuringia opened more than eleven years ago. This route connects monasteries, people and regions that were once separated by the inner German border. It was created for people who are open to communicating with themselves, with God and with the world.
It is a beautiful trail along the Weser, Leine and Unstrut rivers, traversing the Weser Uplands and the scenic Vogler and Solling hill ranges. It passes through Lower Saxony and Thuringia, following in the footsteps of the Cistercian monks. The route crosses pristine countryside, taking pilgrims past churches, ruins and abbeys founded by the Cistercians. The monks once took this path annually from the mother house, Volkenroda Abbey, to the daughter house, Loccum Abbey, which was founded in 1163. The modern-day pilgrims who now tread this path today start at the "Beginning and End" monument in Loccum. There is strong symbolism on this very special route that reconnects an entire country after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as the counterpart to the "Beginning and End" landmark is situated in Volkenroda.
This pilgrimage is perfect for meditation and conscious pause, as well as for people who do not want to be alone. The Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Hanover offers a guided pilgrimage package. This option allows you to join certified guides who will explain facts about the natural world and cultural sights around you, and take you to inspiring places, organise prayers and advise on sections of the route where you can walk in silence. For all you need to know about the route and worthwhile back roads, as well as general information on pilgrimages and individual route planning (in German), visit: www.pilgerweg-navigator.de.
Total length of route: approx. 290 km/18 daily stages; can be adapted to individual needs
Pilgrim hostels along the route?: Yes
Starts: Loccum Abbey
Ends: Volkenroda Abbey
Arrival options: change at Hanover Central Station for the regional express train/bus to Loccum Abbey
Departure options: Mühlhausen, Thuringia
About the route: pilgrimage can be taken in either direction; moderate uphill sections; signposted with a purple spider wrench on a white background
German-language "Begleitet pilgern" (Guided Pilgrimage) brochure is available to download from: