Time to reflect
© Schwäbische Alb Tourismus, Thomas Rathay
A pilgrimage is so much more than just walking. Those who go on a pilgrimage are looking for spirituality and peace. Here are some hikes, where you can broaden your external – and internal – horizons:
1. THE KAPELLENWEG IN THE ELLWANG MOUNTAINS -
3 hours to contemplate
From Schönenberg pilgrimage church, this circular route runs for 12 km / 7 miles over gentle hills, through pine woods, past chapels, wayside crosses and shrines. The limestone Albtrauf ridge has glorious views.
2. LAKE CONSTANCE - Pilgrimage crossroad
Five pilgrimage trails cross the Lake Constance region: the Linzgauer Way of St James, the Beuron and the Tübingen, Hohenzoller and Hegau Ways. From there, many continue on for Santiago de Compostela.
3. PILGRIMAGE COMPANIONS - Walk and talk
In SouthWest Germany, a network of trained guides specialises in accompanying walkers on selected pilgrimage routes. These can be one-day or multi-day tours and they are designed for those, who are dealing with the problems and challenges of life.
4. THE JAGSTTAL VALLEY - The Five Paths of Silence
Five communities in the Jagsttal valley, northeast of Heilbronn, have jointly set up five special pilgrimage routes. Along the way, hikers come across caves and chapels, ruins and long-forgotten steps in the forest. All these places have a spiritual and contemplative quality.
5. WU WEI WATER HIKE - Meditate as you walk
The Chinese Taoist concept of “wu wei” means “non-action”, or being in alignment with the ebb and flow of the natural world. In the valley of the River Rench, west of Freudenstadt, this guided meditation hike includes, for example, mindfulness and breathing exercises.
6. NORTHERN BLACK FOREST MONASTERY TRAIL - Pedalling pilgrims
This route takes in medieval monasteries and castle ruins; it follows river valleys and climbs some 800 m /2,500 ft into the Black Forest for impressive views. Starting in Maulbronn, northwest of Stuttgart, it finishes 150 km / 100 miles later in Alpirsbach, where the reward is a beer or two at the Klosterbräu monastic brewery.
7. UPPER SWABIA - The holy mountain
In Upper Swabia, pilgrims can hike seven routes dotted with pilgrimage churches, monasteries and places with religious links. For many, the high point (literally!) of all the routes is Upper Swabia’s “holy mountain”, the 767-m / 2,500-ft high Bussen, southwest of Ulm.