A hiking tour for nature lovers, culture lovers, families and explorers
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
Karlstadt station borders directly on the old town. Walk straight ahead a few steps into Neue Bahnhofstraße and turn left into the pretty green area along the town wall. Stroll through this until you reach Alte Bahnhofstraße.
Now you are entering the core of the old town. Immediately on the right you will notice the so-called "Arche". The pretty half-timbered house from the 16th century used to be the German School of Karlstadt and today serves the Order of the Knights Templar as a religious order and guest house.
You probably don't feel like resting at the beginning of your hike and you have probably already spotted your first destination: the town parish church of St. Andreas.
The historic town hall dominates and adorns the market square in the centre of the old town. Built in 1422 as a council, merchant and dance house, it embodies the archetype of a German town hall. The market hall on the ground floor has three naves, and the citizens' hall on the first floor is still the largest of its kind in Franconia.
The façade with its stepped gable facing the market square gives the otherwise rather plain exterior its unmistakable character. The double flight of steps was originally the only access to the upper hall.
The ridge is crowned by the bell tower of the town hall clock. Above it, in a niche, stands the "Schwedenmännle", created in 1718 by the Karlstadt sculptor Kilian Schüßler. Five times a day it sings its lansquenet song "Vom Barette schwankt die Feder".
From 2 to 8 p.m., it can be heard at every even hour in the entire old town.
The view across the market square down to the Main Gate with the ruins of Karlsburg Castle in the background is not a popular photo motif for nothing. For you, it is also a preview of the literal highlight of your tour today.
You cross the market square, walk towards the river and pass through the gate.
The Main is now directly in front of you, and Karlsburg Castle appears on the opposite side of the Main.
You walk along the left bank of the Main until, just before the subway through the city wall, you come to a large, cobbled square with the mill tower and the historic Rossmühle.
It is thanks to the redevelopment of the old town that the old horse mill behind the south-west corner of the town wall has been rediscovered. Horses once ensured here in a ground floor vault made of quarry stone that the mill was set in motion and kept going. Thus, even in times of war, when the people of Karlstadt could not have their grain milled on the other side of the Main in Mühlbach, they had the flour they so urgently needed.
Since its abandonment in the middle of the 17th century, the vaults of this Göpelmühle formed the substructure for a house garden. New construction work as part of the old town redevelopment made it possible to uncover the walled-up mill room and restore it in 1991.
The wooden mill mechanism was reconstructed by volunteers between 1998 and 2004 and can be set in motion by the visitors themselves during a tour - due to the lack of suitable horses.
Untere Spitalgasse 27/29
On your last stage in the old town, leave the Mühlturm behind you and follow the Untere Spitalgasse towards the Hauptstraße to another tower, your fourth stop: the Oberer Torturm. The Türmerstube inside the tower is accessible as part of guided tours of the town.
The Upper Gate Tower forms the southern entrance to the city and was the seat of the city tower until the beginning of our century. In the vernacular it is called Katzenturm. This name goes back to a legend: according to this, the last tower keeper survived a fall from the penultimate storey onto a large pile of brushwood completely unscathed - like a cat.
The construction of the Upper Gate Tower - incidentally one of the highest in Franconia - is dated to around 1350. During the renovation of the old town in 1990/1991, it was given back its 16th-century painting. On the land side, this includes the large coat of arms of Prince-Bishop Melchior Zobel von Giebelstadt.
On the side, next to the modern pedestrian passage, is a 15th century crucifixion relief. It was once the last station for those condemned to death on their way to the place of execution.
After the tour through the old town of Karlstadt, you now set off on the hiking stages of your tour today.
You cross the Main on the Old Main Bridge. On the other bank, a small staircase leads you down from the bridge on the right.
Follow the signs until you reach the Burgweg, which leads you through a species-rich high forest and past the Schlössle, a villa built in 1910, to the highlight of your short circular tour: the Karlsburg castle ruins.