Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rails to Trails in Germany: The Bahnradweg Hessen

One of the good things about travel fairs like the CMT in Stuttgart is that it introduces you to areas that you have completely overlooked in the past. We had an interesting ten minutes or so chatting to a young woman on the Wetterau stand/booth. Where? It is a hilly area NE of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The BahnRadweg Hessen runs from Hanau NE to Fulda and Bad Hersfeld. The route offers about 400km of cycleways in two loops in combination with other routes. The route is based on old railway lines and so there are fewer steep climbs than you would expect, or so I am told. This route is on our list for a tryout in April or May this year and we will report back.
The route runs through the Rhön and Vogelsberg Mittelgebirge (hill regions). There are a number of interesting towns and sights on the route:
  • Hanau with its connections to the Brothers Grimm
  • Keltenwelt in Glauburg, a museum, archeological park and research centre
  • Gelnhausen with its historic half timbered houses, moated castle and churches
  • Lauterbach - half timbered Altstadt (old city heart)
  • Schlitz - castles and towers and half timbered houses
  • Fulda with its baroque cathedral and residences
  • Bad Hersfeld with Germany's oldest cast bell, a local museum and the ruins of the biggest early churches in the world
  • Point Alpha Memorial - on the former DDR-FRG border. This about four km from the route and well worth visiting. 
There are a number of spa towns on the route, so it's not all history and landscape, there are large scale swimming multi-pool parks with steam baths and saunas in Bad Hersfeld, Bad Salzschlirf, Baden-Allensdorf and Herbstein. All of these spa towns have active programmes of concerts and events.
Half timbered houses in Lauterbach (Foto Region Vogelsberg Touristik)

Milseburg Tunnel (Foto Region Vogelsberg Touristik) 
Underway on the Bahnradweg (Foto Region Vogelsberg Touristik)

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