Odenwald mountain road

Odenwald mountain road


Beautifully situated on the edge of the Rhine plain, the Odenwald mountain road offers numerous highlights for a successful short trip. Romantic half-timbered towns, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, medieval castles, the impressive Felsenmeer and the famous Heidelberg. Put together your route and explore the picturesque region.

Dreieichenhain: half-timbered town on the 50th parallel

The dreamy little town of Dreieichenhain in the district of Offenbach has a lot to offer visitors interested in more than just history. In addition to the famous Turmhügelberg, also known as the “skyscraper of the Middle Ages”, you can also admire the ornate half-timbered houses in the old town centre. A lovely tour through the town takes you along the Fahrgasse, which lies exactly on the 50th parallel and is part of the German Half-Timbered Road for good reason. Here you can stroll through the centre of Dreieichenhain from Obertor to Untertor and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this idyllic little town. There are several inns along the way where you can sample original Hessian specialities such as “Handkäs’ mit Musik” or “Äppelwoi”. Many visitors are also attracted every year by the Dreieichenhain Castle Festival, which takes place regularly in summer at Hayn Castle.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Hayn Castle on the Odenwald mountain road

An absolute highlight of a visit to the medieval half-timbered town of Dreieichenhain is a detour to the castle near Dreieichenhain. The official seat of the imperial bailiffs of Hagen-Münzenberg in the 11th century, Hayn Castle is now regularly used for events. From exhibitions and poetry readings to the castle festival, which takes place every summer on the castle’s open-air stage. The castle cellar and the round tower of Hayn Castle are also worth a visit. Numerous weddings take place here throughout the year. You can read about the history of the castle in the nearby Dreieich Museum. Extra tip for hikers: The area around Dreieichenhain is a good starting point for several long-distance hiking trails.

Castles & Ruins

Relaxing at Forest Lake

Langen Forest Lake on the Hessian Bergstrasse is known as a leisure and recreation area that attracts numerous visitors all year round. Especially in summer, the Langener Waldsee beach with its 900 metre-long sandy beach is popular with swimmers and water sports enthusiasts alike. If you are travelling with a camper van or tent, there is a great campsite in the immediate vicinity. The “Ironman Germany” swimming competition, which is held here every year, is always an absolute crowd-puller. If you prefer things a little quieter, you can also come to the Langener Waldsee for hiking, jogging, fishing or bird watching.

Rivers, Bridges & Lakes

Church of St Mary Magdalene in Darmstadt

The Russian chapel in Darmstadt with its golden twin towers is the eye-catcher on Darmstadt Mathilden High. According to legend, the impressive church was built on earth specially imported from Russia – as a private place of worship for Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra. Regardless of the time of year or time of day, the magnificent Russian church in Darmstadt is always an impressive photo motif and is also absolutely worth seeing from the inside. However, you should check before your visit whether a service is being held by the Russian Orthodox community in Darmstadt. Admission to the church is free, but a small donation is of course welcome. If you’ve been walking around for a while, you can take a short break in the neighbouring café.

Monasteries & Churches

Darmstadt Mathilden High UNESCO World Heritage Site

Anyone planning a visit to Darmstadt on a trip to the Odenwald Bergstrasse should definitely not forget the Darmstadt Mathilden High (Mathildenhöhe). Founded in 1899, the Darmstadt artists’ colony with its museum and plane tree grove has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for several years, and not without good reason. Once the centre of the European art scene and Art Nouveau, Mathildenhöhe is now an extensive park with sculptures, fountains, garden pavilions and impressive buildings. In addition to the Russian Orthodox Church of St Mary Magdalene, this also includes the Wedding Tower Darmstadt, which is considered a landmark of the city. The wedding tower is one of the most popular locations for weddings and also offers a unique view over Darmstadt from the viewing platform.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Frankenstein Castle, the model for the medieval novel

The medieval castle “Frankenstein“, which served as the model for the world-famous novel of the same name, is located around 17 kilometres from Darmstadt. Presumably built in the 13th century, Frankenstein Castle is now a very popular excursion destination and can be reached via many hiking routes. A moderately difficult tour leads from the car park in Leinbachtal over 8 km to the castle complex and back to the car park via Frankenstein Protestant Church. You should allow around 2.5 hours for this hike. Once you arrive at the castle, you can enjoy the fantastic panoramic view from the castle wall or enjoy a bite to eat in the castle’s own panorama restaurant. In summer, Burg Frankenstein also hosts regular musical events.

Castles & Ruins

Alsbach Castle: distant views over Zwingenberg

Located above the historic old town of Zwingenberg, you will find a very special piece of Hessian cultural heritage: Alsbach Castle. The ruins, which have been lovingly restored by a preservation society, have a lot to offer visitors. In addition to the accessible tower with its fantastic view over the region, you can browse through the beautifully restored craftsmen’s quarters, stroll through the idyllic herb and rose garden or enjoy a bite to eat in the cosy castle tavern. Cyclists in particular like to take a break at Alsbach Castle. From Jugenheim or Alsbach, you can cycle along the castle trail through the forest to the castle. As there are hardly any gradients or inclines here, the route is suitable for all cyclists.


Experience the Middle Ages in Zwingenberg’s old town centre

You can literally feel the history around every corner here: in Zwingenberg on the Bergstrasse. As the oldest town in the Bergstrasse Odenwald, Zwingenberg enchants visitors with its narrow alleyways, picturesque half-timbered houses and snow-white castle church. Zwingenberg’s sights also include the historic Scheuergasse in the centre of the old town. You can explore these and much more on the popular covered wagon tour “Blossoms, stone and wine”, which takes you through the old town and the vineyards. An absolutely fantastic experience for children too! If you want to stay a little longer, you can browse through the pretty shops or sample regional specialities in one of the many restaurants.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Castle festivals of a special kind: Auerbach Castle

The time-honoured Auerbach Castle is located near Bensheim in the Bergstrasse Odenwald Geopark. Here you can climb the castle towers and look out over the sweeping hills of the Odenwald. From the old cannon platform you also have a fantastic view over the Bergstrasse, the Rhine plain and the front Odenwald. If you want to enjoy the castle atmosphere a little longer after a visit to the castle tavern, you can also stay overnight in one of the castle’s holiday flats. The popular castle festivals are something very special. Here at Auerbach Castle you can experience a knights’ feast, knights’ games or Walpurgis Night, for example. The events “Auerbach Castle in Flames” or the events in the large open-air theatre are also something for the whole family.


Bensheim Old Town: Welcome to the “German Riviera”

The town of Bensheim on the Hessian Bergstrasse is all about wine. Due to its favourable location and high levels of sunshine, the region with its many vineyards is also known as the “German Riviera“. Take a stroll through the old town and marvel at the well-preserved half-timbered houses and stop off at one of the many wine taverns. A popular excursion destination is the Fürstenlager Bensheim, the former summer residence of the Hessian electors. Here, hikers will find around 17 kilometres of hiking and walking trails in an extensive landscaped park. If you come to Bensheim in September, you should definitely not miss the Bergstrasse Winegrowers’ Festival, which takes place here every year on the first weekend in September. The highlight is always the parade with its magnificently decorated floats.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Natural phenomenon for climbing: Lautertal sea of rocks

Around 10 kilometres from Bensheim, there is a very special excursion destination that attracts young and old alike: the sea of rocks in Lautertal. There are several hundred metres of large rocks on a slope that are perfect for climbing. The starting point is the car park, where there is also an information centre. Here you can find out exciting facts about the history of this spectacular natural phenomenon. Then you can either find your way up over the large and sometimes bizarrely shaped granite blocks or hike up one of the forest paths along the rocks. Depending on your pace and the route you choose, it will take you between two and four hours. Of course, you can also take a break on the gigantic rocky landscape. Visitors to the Lautertaler Odenwald Felsenmeer have various places to stop for refreshments, such as a restaurant and a beer garden.

Meadows & Forests

Lorsch Old Town: Former tobacco centre

As you stroll through the beautiful old town streets of Lorsch with its quaint half-timbered houses, you will find traces of the town’s past as a tobacco centre in many places. In addition to the former tobacco factory and the tobacco museum, there is also the tobacco fountain on the market square. Extra tip: At the “Tourist-Information NibelungenLand” you can also book a historical tobacco tour, which includes a visit to a tobacco educational field. You should also definitely pay a visit to Lorsch Monastery. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex impresses with the Royal Hall and the Lauresham Open-Air Laboratory, where you can experience what life was like in the city at the time of Charlemagne. If you want to explore the nature around Lorsch, you will love the bird sanctuary and educational park in Lorsch Forest.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Jewel & UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Monastery

The former Benedictine monastery on the Hessian Bergstrasse is a landmark of the town of Lorsch. Both the royal hall and the remains of the medieval complex point to the former power and great importance of the monastery. It is therefore no wonder that the Lorsch monastery complex has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the Lauresham Open-Air Laboratory, the monastery history section of the Lorsch Museum Centre is particularly exciting for children. Here, young visitors can try their hand at typical medieval crafts such as pewter casting, writing with a goose quill or making medicine as it was done in the Middle Ages.

Monasteries & Churches

Heppenheim Old Town on the Baden Bergstrasse

Idyllically situated between vineyards and fruit trees, the old town of Heppenheim enchants visitors with its romantic old town alleyways and historic half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages. There is always something going on in this picturesque town: while in summer you can experience the “Heppenheim Festival” and the international street theatre festival “Gassensensationen“, in autumn it’s all about wine. You can taste new wine and onion tart at wine tastings and wine festivals. A guided tour on the popular Heppenheim Lantern Trail is worthwhile at any time of year. This starts daily from 22:00 or in the darker months from 19:00 on the market square. Another eye-catcher in the town and one of Heppenheim’s most famous sights is the parish church of St Peter, which is also known as the “Cathedral of the Bergstrasse” due to its size.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Pearl on the Bergstrasse Odenwald: Weinheim Old Town

Because of its two landmarks, Windeck Castle and Wachenburg Castle, Weinheim is also known as the city of two castles. As well as visiting the two impressive buildings that tower over the town, you can stroll through the narrow alleyways of the Gerberbachviertel in the historic town centre and admire the picturesque half-timbered houses and imposing stone buildings of the lovingly restored craftsmen’s quarter from the late Middle Ages. Another highlight is Weinheim Castle with its park and neighbouring exotic forest. Between March and October, you can find out more about the interesting old town on a public guided tour on Fridays from 18:00. If you need to relax after so much sightseeing, Miramar Weinheim is just the place for you. The extensive water park with saltwater pool and sauna complex has plenty to offer for young and old.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Weinheim Castle with park and exotic forest

Even from a distance, you can see why Weinheim Castle is so popular for weddings. The imposing building is a town palace dating back to 1400, which used to be the residence of the electoral family. Today, the castle houses the town hall and the city administration of the city of Weinheim, so that numerous citizens come and go here every day – as well as wedding couples. The special thing about Weinheim Castle: if you look closely at the building, you will recognise the many different eras in which the castle was gradually remodelled. The extensive castle park and the neighbouring exotic forest are also very unusual. Here you will find giant sequoia trees as well as unusual tulip trees and araucarias. A great place to take a stroll and unwind.


Symbol of power & landmark Strahlenburg Castle Schriesheim

The beautiful ruins of Strahlenburg Castle are surrounded by vineyards, meadows and forests. Various hiking trails lead to the historic 13th century castle, such as the Blossom Trail, the Castle Trail or the trail over the Ölberg. Hikers are spoilt for choice here! A tour through the idyllic old town of Schriesheim is also worthwhile before climbing up to the castle. If you want to take a break after the long walk, you can treat yourself to a meal at the castle inn. Here you can enjoy the unique view of Schriesheim, the Rhine plain and the surrounding vineyards in the shade of old chestnut trees.

Castles & Ruins

Half-timbered houses and wine: Schriesheim old town

The medieval town of Schriesheim enchants its visitors with its unique charm. Quaint inns and wine taverns can be found in the winding alleyways as well as historic half-timbered houses and the Strahlenberger Hof, a former stately town courtyard from the High Middle Ages. A highlight in the town calendar is the annual Mathaisemarkt, a wine festival that is celebrated extensively every year at the beginning of March – and has been since 1579. A lovely walk on the outskirts of the town is the Kuhberg walking and themed trail, which leads through the vineyards. Over a distance of around 3 kilometres, you can learn exciting facts about the history of Schriesheim, viticulture and the flora and fauna of the Kuhberg from 10 information boards. The starting point of the circular trail, which takes around two hours to complete, is at Strahlenburg Castle.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Ladenburg Old Town: Hometown of Carl Benz

Founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, the former trading town of Ladenburg is now known for its numerous listed buildings. In addition to the medieval town fortifications and the historic half-timbered houses, the market basilica and the beautifully restored thermal baths and temples are also worth a detour. The Ladenburg water tower, which stands on the edge of the town centre and on the edge of Carl Benz Park, can be seen from afar. Unfortunately, the tower cannot be visited. Instead, you can follow in the footsteps of the town’s most famous resident. In addition to Carl Benz’s home, which is located in the park of the same name, you can also visit the exciting Dr Carl Benz Car Museum in the old Benz factory in Ladenburg. Here you can gain an interesting insight into the work of the famous automobile designer.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Tourist hotspot Heidelberg Old Town

As one of Germany’s most popular tourist destinations, Heidelberg attracts countless international tourists every year with its castle, the Neckar river and historic monuments. Heidelberg Castle, which towers over the city, is a particularly popular photo motif – not least when the castle is regularly illuminated. In addition to the many visitors, the numerous students also characterise the cityscape. Some faculties of Germany’s oldest university are located in the centre of the old town, so it is often a little more lively here. Beautiful walking and hiking trails can be found both in the King’s Chair (Königsstuhl) forest and on the other side of the Neckar. If you walk up the Philosopher’s Path (Philosophenweg) from Neuenheim to Heiligenberg, you can marvel at the postcard panorama of the old town.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Leave a Reply

Sharing is caring
Places of Germany


Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know when there are new places, routes or something to win.