Discover the beauty of the Franconian wine country on a hike that offers you diverse nature of the Karlstadt drylands, the breathtaking panoramic view from the Karlsburg castle ruins and exciting insights into the region.
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.
From the train station in Karlstadt it is only a few steps to the old town. Follow the signs K2 through the middle of a medieval town centre with historical buildings such as the parish church of St. Andreas or the Main Gate.
At the market square, you allow yourself a first short break to take a look at the historic town hall.
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 tempts you to climb straight up to the castle ruins.
To do so, follow the main street to the more than 750-year-old Upper Gate Tower or "Katzenturm" - one of the highest of its kind in Franconia.
Turn right, cross the Main on the Old Main Bridge and, on the other bank, take the small staircase on the right that leads you down from the bridge.
Now follow the signs to Burgweg. Through a species-rich high forest, it leads you up to the ruins of Karlsburg Castle, from where you can feast your eyes on pretty Karlstadt and the landscape in the opposite direction.
Those who have taken the short climb to Karlsburg Castle are rewarded with a breathtaking view over Karlstadt, the surrounding area and the Main valley. Excavations in the 1970s and 1990s prove that the ruin had several predecessor buildings dating back to the Merovingian period in the 7th century.
The castle hill, naturally secured to the south and east by steep slopes, was fortified to the west and north by a system of ditches and ramparts. During a second construction phase in the 10th century, a wall with square bastions was built.
In the 13th century, the prince-bishops of Würzburg levelled the old grounds and built the stone Karlsburg, which is still in ruins today, on the same site. In 1409, the indebted bishop Johann von Egloffstein had to give the castle in pledge to the cathedral chapter, in whose possession it remained for almost 90 years. During this time, a 60-metre-deep well was built, which was much admired at the time.
In the spring of 1525, shortly before the Peasants' War was bloodily put down in the High Diocese of Würzburg, the people of Karlstadt destroyed Karlsburg Castle after much hesitation. Stone robbers plundered the remains until the middle of the 19th century. Since then, it has towered over Karlstadt in its present form.
After an extensive visit to the castle ruins, cross the Schlossberg.
Now follow the K10 signs and you will soon reach the Rammersberg nature reserve.
The Rammersberg nature reserve belongs to the Karlstadt drylands and is characterised by a remarkably warm climate and low rainfall. The interplay of climatic and geological conditions and the influence of centuries of human cultivation have allowed a complex mosaic of habitats to develop here: Dry grasslands, fringes, bushes, coppice, fallow fields and extensively used orchards.
Spring is particularly suitable for a visit, because the Karlstadt dry grassland is one of only a handful of small areas in Germany where the endangered and strictly protected Adonis rose can be found. Its name, which promises beauty, goes back to Greek mythology. Aphrodite wept for her beloved Adonis after his death, and a white rose grew from each tear. From the drops of blood of the dying man, however, grew Adonis roses, the species of which bloom in bright red or, as here, in golden yellow.
Explore the nature reserve at your leisure and then hike a little further.
Where the K10 trail crosses the K3, follow the K3 signs to the left in the direction of the railway tracks until you reach Wiesenfeld, the largest district of Karlstadt in terms of area.
Here you will find your third stop: the former Wiesenfeld synagogue.
Wiesenfeld has a turbulent Jewish history. In the middle of the 17th century, Jews who had been expelled elsewhere began to settle in the village. Around 1800, every seventh person in Wiesenfeld was Jewish. In 1848 the Jewish community numbered 125 members.
In the years around 1862, the community received a new synagogue building in the Gothic style. The building survived the Reichsprogromnacht in November 1938, but it was no longer usable. Members of the SA had destroyed or looted the entire interior. 22 of the 25 deported Jews from Wiesenfeld were murdered.
Since its restoration in 1993, cultural events, exhibitions and concerts have been held in the former synagogue. Guided tours and visits are available on request. ( Tourist-Information Karstadt, Hauptstraße 9, 97753 Karlstadt , Tel. 09353 906688)
The path leads you back via Schloßmannsgasse to the street Roter Rain and a bit along Hausener Straße.
You leave this to follow the signs for the K6. Go uphill through fields to a small wood. The Kreuzkapelle chapel awaits you in a beautiful clearing.
Built in 1721, the chapel on the Erlenberg, northwest of Rohrbach, is a simple building with a ridge turret and a small bell. The small window on the left can be opened to reveal the interior of the chapel.
The interior was decorated in 1868 with stencil paintings depicting stone blocks, columns, a ceiling frieze and a tapestry. After being painted over in white in the middle of the 20th century, the chapel was renovated at the beginning of the millennium. Since then, its interior has been restored in the style of historicism.
The chapel was preceded by a wayside shrine on the same site, which is the subject of a legend. A shepherd from Urspringen is said to have found his flock here after it had scattered during a thunderstorm. He erected a wayside shrine vowed in his distress.
The chapel is located at a crossroads of once important mountain paths. Over the years, hikers, carters and horsemen have probably made so many donations to the offering box at the wayside shrine that the chapel was built and a chapel foundation established at the beginning of the 18th century.
At the Kreuzkapelle chapel, turn left and continue to follow the K6 signs towards Rohrbach and its parish church of St. Valentin with its distinctive onion dome.
Cross the village street of Rohrbach, turn onto Steinfelder Straße and continue to follow the signs K6, then K5 until you reach Schlossberg.
Here, the K2 leads you onto the educational wine trail and panorama path in the middle of the Mühlbacher Fronberg vineyard. Learn all kinds of interesting facts about the grape varieties grown here, from Silvaner to Domina.
On your way back to Karlstadt station, stop off at one of the traditional wine taverns. Or visit one of the Heckenwirtschaften, where you can sample regional Franconian wine and small dishes.