The story of the blood miracle of Walldürn dates back to around 1330. This tale has lost none of its fascination; as testified by the numbers of worshippers who go on the pilgrimage during the four-week period to honour the Holy Blood in the minor basilica. And they often travel with great hope for solace in their backpack.
For 375 years, Christians looking for hope have sought out an image of the Mother of God: the Madonna in the small Baroque chapel on Kapellenplatz (Chapel Square) at the heart of Kevelaer. This has transformed the tiny town in the Lower Rhine region into one of the most important Marian shrines in Germany, and made it a meeting place for prayer and silent conversation with God.
As the saying goes: "in vino veritas". If you believe this, then the Wine Route is the ideal pilgrimage for exploring your inner self. This indulgent trail from Koblenz to Konstanz boasts ever-changing scenery and exciting cultural history. The entire route is accessible, so it is perfect for hikers and wheelchair users who like to hike.
The hiking trails and pilgrimage routes that snake through the region of St. Wendel are thought to offer "moments to take pause". They connect Saarland's long-established pilgrimage sites, including St. Wendel, Tholey and Marpingen. They also reflect deep faith and are a source of strength for those who have set out on their journey.
Three routes in Hesse are dedicated to St. Elizabeth, who, in acts of exemplary selflessness, cared for those whose lives had taken a cruel turn: the poor, the sick and the needy. The Elizabeth Paths start in three different places – Frankfurt, Eisenach and Cologne – yet all roads lead to St. Elizabeth's Church in Marburg.
St. Anne: the patron saint of guilds, women, mothers and laymen. Legend has it that the church in Alt Krüssow, Brandenburg with St. Anne's robe was a major pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims can now retrace the saint's steps on the St. Anne's Path pilgrimage trail.
If you drop in to the "Pilgerherberge im Alltag" pilgrim hostel in Berlin, you will generally meet like-minded people and experienced pilgrims, as well as many people who would love to give it a go and are looking for tips on how to get started. After all, there are opportunities to go on a pilgrimage just a stone's throw away, on the St. James' Way route through Brandenburg.
Did the European project begin on the St. James' Way pilgrimage? In any case, the Council of Europe certainly ascribes symbolic importance to it for the creation of Europe. The Commission for Westphalian Antiquities used this as an opportunity to research five medieval routes and prepare them to be opened to pilgrims travelling within the St. James' Way network, as well as anybody interested in cultural history.
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.