Embarking on a journey of self-discovery: these days pilgrimages are about more than just "praying with your feet". They make you apply the brakes and rediscover a slow yet soothing pace, while readjusting to the tranquil setting and exploring new things. The St. James' Way route across Lüneburg Heath is a prime example of this.
In spring, visitors marvel at the cotton grass blossoms, creating a fluffy layer of white over the 8,000 year-old moor. See the unique heather blossoms in summer, get a sense of that Indian summer feeling when autumn paints its rainbow of colours and enter into the treasured tranquillity of winter: the nature on Lüneburg Heath moves visitors all year round, so the St. James' Way pilgrimage across Lüneburg Heath is always an experience. A total of 50 pilgrim badges were found in 2000, prompting the revival of the medieval route. Today the yellow scallop shell on a blue background takes pilgrims to historic sites with silent witnesses to the past: burial mounds, churches, abbeys and monasteries, to name just a few. And through tranquil forests and along heath streams with impressively clear water, through mellow lilac heaths, where onlookers become absorbed in thought. The St. James' Way pilgrimage through Lüneburg Heath starts at St. James' Church in Hamburg, visited by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela since 1255. In Soltau, which boasts the only stave church in northern Germany, pilgrims must make a choice: should they take the path via Walsrode/Walsrode Abbey through the Aller-Leine Valley or the route through Südheide Nature Park, past Wienhausen Abbey and through the residence city of Celle? Regardless of the route taken, the surrounding serenity brings visitors renewed strength for the return to everyday life at the end of the pilgrimage.
Total length of route (both routes): approx. 390 km
Route from Soltau via Walsrode and through the Aller-Leine Valley to Mandelsloh, ending at Mariensee Convent: 4 daily stages
Route from Soltau through Südheide Nature Park, via Wienhausen and Celle to Mandelsloh, ending at Mariensee Convent: 10 daily stages
Pilgrim hostels along the route?: Yes
Ends: Mariensee Convent
Arrival options: Hamburg Central Station
Departure options: Celle
About the route: easily accessible, slight elevation
For accommodation (advance booking recommended)
and dates for guided pilgrimages (in German), visit:
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