Germany Trip Plan:
UNESCO Nature Park Odenwald-Bergstrasse

Germany trip plan: UNESCO Nature Park Odenwald-Bergstrasse
Rothenberg
[ source: www.rothenberg-odw.eu]

Welcome to the picturesque landscape of the Odenwald, in the middle of the UNESCO Nature Park Odenwald-Bergstrasse. Extended hikes and day trips to the many attractions and villages along the Neckar River will make your holiday an unforgettable experience.




Note: This is a trip plan (self-driving, stay in a vacation apartment, explore on your own)
Duration: 7 days
Recommended Destination Airport: Frankfurt Airport

Trip Plan Details:

Welcome to the picturesque landscape of the Odenwald, in the middle of the UNESCO Nature Park Odenwald-Bergstrasse. Extended hikes and day trips to the many attractions and villages along the Neckar River will make your holiday an unforgettable experience.

The small community Rothenberg is located in the southern Odenwald region in the state of Hesse. Blessed by beautiful nature, the region becomes more and more popular amongst nature lovers and families who enjoy the hiking, biking and the more laid-back feeling of the pretty villages and towns. Only about 4 miles to the south lies Hirschhorn on the Neckar. With its pretty valley it adds up to the beauty of the whole region. You will love to explore castles and fortresses, go on a boat trip to Heidelberg, visit the the famous cathedral in Speyer, and learn about the world largest barrel in Palatine Bad Dürkheim, and of course enjoy Hessian specialties and warm hospitality.

Cost Estimate:

We compiled some starting prices and rough estimates to help you better with your Germany trip planning.

Lodging: starting at $407 for 2 persons / 7 days
Admissions: starting at $250 for 2 persons / 7 days
Car Rental: starting at $420 / 7 days
Gas: starting at $250 / 7 days
Estimated Total Cost:2 persons, starting at $1327 / 7 days
 4 persons, starting at $1784 / 7 days

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Day 1: Arrival
Zum weissen Lamm
[ source: www.zumweissen-lamm.de]

You will already enjoy your drive from Frankfurt International Airport through the Neckar valley, passing world famous Heidelberg, before reaching your holiday destination. Check in your vacation apartment and relax a bit before having a fantastic dinner with regional delights at Zum Weissen Lamm (white lamb), in Kortelshütte, a town district of Rothenberg.


Day 2: Erbach Castle and picturesque Michelstadt

Day 2: Erbach Castle and picturesque Michelstadt
Schloss Erbach, GNU-Luidger
[ source: Wikipedia]

After a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast drive to the town of Erbach and its ancient castle; the residence of the Hereditary Count Erbach-Erbach. The last alterations date back to the first half of the 18th century, but the foundation walls with a thickness of 1.85 meters from the 12th century still form the core of today's newer castle. Those massive walls rest on estimated 8,000 to 20,000 oak posts. The castle houses the famous ancient library of Count Franz I of Erbach-Erbach and the Europe wide unique Ivory Museum, Deutsches Elfenbeinmuseum Erbach, in the former so called Ivory-Town Erbach. Take a coffee break at the castle's cafe and stroll through the late Baroque Orangery and the Castle Gardens before continuing your sightseeing trip to Michelstadt.

You will love the picturesque old town with its many half-timbered houses. Some of the historical buildings are inside the ring of walls, such as the Historic Town Hall and the late Gothic Town Church. Other impressive buildings are the Einhard's Basilica, the castle of the Counts at Erbach-Fürstenau, the Eulbacher hunting lodge with an English-park and the Roman bath houses and forts as part of the Neckar-Odenwald-Limes. But your stay in Michelstadt should also be a kind of culinary tour, so indulge in all the yummy Odenwald savories.


Day 3: Hirschhorn am Neckar and its castle

Day 3: Hirschhorn am Neckar and its castle
Hirschhorn am Neckar, GNU-Schmelzle
[ source: Wikipedia]

If you like walking enjoy an easy 2-hours hike to Hirschhorn am Neckar. (Alternatively you can take a bus or drive by yourself) Hirschhorn is a small town in the Bergstraße district of Hesse and known as The Pearl of the Neckar valley. The town is situated on a horseshoe bend of the River Neckar and Hirschhorn Castle sits on a south-facing spur of the Stöckberg Mountain; directly above the old town. The castle shows different architectural styles from 800 years of history, which makes it very interesting to visit. The entire complex is basically composed of the main castle and the upper and lower bailey. Today the castle serves as a hotel and restaurant, with an outdoor terrace providing stunning views of the Neckar valley and the Odenwald Mountains. Guided tours are offered from mid June to mid-September Saturdays 10 a.m. or by appointment. Burg Hirschhorn can be reached on foot and by car. From the city center the ascent takes about 30 minutes on foot. Try the excellent Odenwald pastries along with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea before heading back to your vacation apartment.


Day 4: Leisure boat trip to Heidelberg

Day 4: Leisure boat trip to Heidelberg
Funicular railway, GNU-Haselburg-Mueller
[ source: Wikipedia]

Embark on a cruise ship and enjoy the Neckar Valley views in a most relaxing way possible. Heidelberg stands not only for its world-famous castle, for Germany's oldest university and for lanes steeped in history in the Old Town, but also for a modern scientific and economic location with an international reputation, and a most lively and varied cultural scene. This attracts people from all over the world with some 3.5 million guests per year. Join a guided tour in the historic part of town before taking the funicular railway, which will bring you in just a few minutes to its first mountain station, the Heidelberg Castle.

Over the course of centuries, the Castle and its grounds reflected the rise and fall of Heidelberg as a Prince Elector's residence. In the early 19th century, it made Heidelberg a mecca of German romanticism. The Castle, the town and the surrounding landscape blended with university and student life to create the Heidelberg legend, while providing exciting new inspiration to composers, painters and poets.

In the evening we recommend a nice dinner at Gasthof Hirsch. They not only offer a wide range of food, using local ingredients and herbs, but also have the perfect accompanying wines. Maybe you get lucky and can join a wine- and Odenwälder Ham tasting, held in their very own wine cellar.


Day 5: Speyer in the Rhineland-Palatinate and Bad Bad Dürkheim 

Day 5:  Speyer in the Rhineland-Palatinate and Bad Bad Dürkheim 
World largest barrel, CC-Jakmal
[ source: Wikipedia]

Todays day trip will bring you first to the Rhineland-Palatinate and the city of Speyer with its most famous imperial Cathedral. In 1980 it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The cathedrals foundation is in the form of a Latin cross, and one of the largest and most significant Romanesque edifices in Germany. It was built by the emperors and designated as their last resting place as a symbol of their power. The cathedral of Speyer is the first known structure to be built with a gallery, which goes around the whole building. The system of arcatures added during later renovation was also a first in architectural history. During restoration in the 1950s, most of the19th century painting was removed, revealing the original impressive architecture.

The Bad Dürkheimer giant barrel is a curiosity in the Palatine spa town Bad Dürkheim. It has a diameter of 13.50 meters, a volume of approximately 1,700,000 liters, making it the largest barrel in the world. It is not just used for storage of liquid, such as wine, but houses a restaurant. Here you should try Bad Dürkheim's unique sausages, which will be at the center of attraction at the annual Wurstmarkt. A unique festival held on the second and third weekend in September and attracting more than 600,000 visitors; making it the largest wine festival in the world!

Spend the rest of the day/evening touring a vineyard and join a wine tasting, possibly with the wine maker of the estate Wegner.


Day 6: Guttenberg knight's castle above the Neckar

Day 6: Guttenberg knight's castle above the Neckar
Castle Guttenberg, CC-p.schmelzle
[ source: Wikipedia]

A scenic drive through the Neckar Valley will give you once more plenty of photo opportunities. Stop at a traditional glassblowing factory and watch this ancient craft and art form. Later continue you day visiting the impressive Guttenberg knight's castle, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Neckar region. It greets the valley from its mountain top, between the lovely Neckar- and the idyllic Mühlbach Valley, with its imposing tower and palace, many walls and guard towers. Since it was built in the Middle Ages, it has been continuously inhabited and always escaped destruction. It is said it holds many mystical adventures and hidden secrets for everyone who enter its medieval surroundings.

Another highlight is the famous traditional Victoria-Cafe in the town of Eberbach. What's good for the queen can't be bad for you - try the Victorian Cake, the same type of cake which in 1963 was sent to Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham Palace. After that date more and more guests arrived and indulged in this and other sweet treats. Maybe this is a nice gift for you to take home to your family or friends?

On your last night join a Hessischer Abend, a fun evening with local foods and drinks.


Day 7: Departure

Day 7: Departure
www.rothenberg-odw.eu
[ source: www.rothenberg-odw.eu ]

Time for a last breakfast and then it is time to check out and return to the Frankfurt International Airport. Here is one more special tip to see the beautiful Odenwald Nature Park Odenwald-Bergstrasse from a different angle. During the summer months you can start on a flight with the glider right on the hill between Rothenberg and Kortelshütte, or just watch the operations. Bon voyage!


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Where to Stay?

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Bad Dürkheim

Bad Dürkheim
[ source: Flickr ]

Bad Dürkheim is a town on the German Wine Route in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, capital of the eponymous district. It is located on the eastern edge of the Palatinate forest, approximately 25km to the west of Ludwigshafen.  [ + ] More Details

Related: Bad Dürkheim Vacation Rentals


Dilsberg

Dilsberg
[ source: Wikipedia ]

Dilsberg is a district of the city Neckargemünd in-Württemberg, Rhein-Neckar district and is situated in Neckar-Odenwald Nature Park. The mountain fortress of Dilsberg is located on the top of a mountain.  [ + ] More Details

Related: Dilsberg Vacation Rentals


Heidelberg

Heidelberg
[ source: Flickr ]

Situated on the Neckar River and home to approximately 150,000 people, Heidelberg is one of Germany's most popular and picturesque travel destinations. Heidelberg provides both a glimpse at history with its world famous castle, and a look to the future…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Heidelberg Vacation Rentals


Hirschhorn (Neckar)

Hirschhorn (Neckar)
[ source: Wikipedia ]

Hirschhorn (Neckar) is a small town in the Bergstraße district of Hesse, Germany, and is known as "The Pearl of the Neckar valley". Hirschhorn is a climatic health resort situated in the Geo-Naturpark Bergstraße-Odenwald.  [ + ] More Details

Related: Hirschhorn (Neckar) Vacation Rentals


Rothenberg

Rothenberg
[ source: Wikipedia ]

Rothenberg is a community in the Odenwaldkreis in Hesse, Germany. Rothenberg lies at elevations between 200 and 500 m in the southern Odenwald in the Geo-Naturpark Bergstraße-Odenwald, 7 km north of Hirschhorn on the Neckar. The main centre lies in…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Rothenberg Vacation Rentals



How to maximize your savings and spend less during your Germany vacation?

You can cut down your vacation costs significantly by following these simple rules:

  • Instead of eating out in restaurants most of the time your vacation rental apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen. By preparing your breakfast and dinner yourself you can save lots of money, but you can also live a more authentic Germany vacation by trying out local foods and recipes. (see some German recipe suggestions.)
  • Use public transportation instead of a rental car. We provide you with links and details on how to get around using public transportation. Check out the corresponding Live Like a German travel guide for more details.

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