Table of contents
- Tour tips Odenwald / Kraichgau Tour 1: Nibelungen Race
- Info tour 1
- Tour 2 – Tour 2: Dusty East
- Info tour 2
- Tour 3 – Tour 3: Wine Route
- Info tour 3
Tour tips Odenwald / Kraichgau
Tour tips Odenwald / Kraichgau
Tour 1: Nibelungen Race
Three routes in Odenwald and Kraichgau, a little-known motorcycle area in the wild south. Paths, places and landscapes offer real highlights. Here are our tips.
The small low mountain range between the Main and Neckar offers motorcyclists exactly the size they need to really enjoy a weekend. The red sandstone stock, jagged by many river valleys, contains a multitude of tiny streets that swirl in splendid curves over the wooded mountain ranges. Even if the Katzenbuckel, the highest elevation, barely exceeds 600 meters, the sometimes steep valley cuts ensure driving drama. A disproportionately large number of castles and beautifully restored medieval old towns give the region an extraordinary variety. Not least because of this, Heidelberg was chosen as the base quarter, from where the routes spread out in three directions. The first climbs a few kilometers east of the city to the north high in the mountains. The first vantage points are reached near Wilhelmsfeld, the first chicane in Heiligkreuzsteinach. After you have found the exit on the right into the tiny, beautiful Eiterbachtal, the tension increases again when halfway through a small, winding gravel passage to Siedelsbrunn (attention: closed from Saturday 2 p.m. as well as on Sundays and public holidays, then west via Absteinach drive around).
In addition to fast bends, you can also visit medieval cities.
A little later there are two beautiful parallel routes to choose from in the direction of Morlenbach / Heppenheim, the northern one being closed to motorcyclists in the same time frame as the gravel path. Tip for Heppenheim: Park the motorcycle directly below the church on the Einfallstrabe and walk three minutes to the medieval market square with its inviting street restaurants. Otherwise follow the B 3 to Bensheim and from there the wonderful Nibe-lung road to Michelstadt / Erbach. Here the historic stop is really inevitable, especially since Erbach’s old market square can even be approached with a targeted right turn (opposite the Volksbank and then left 200 meters later). Then briefly follow the B 45 and in Beerfelden in the direction of Rothenberg a curve road to Hirschhorn (great castle including hotel / restaurant with a mega view). From there either cruise on the Neckar back to Heidelberg or build in a dangling over Wald-Michelbach and the Sensenbachtal before heading towards the old metropolis at Eberbach on the Neckar straight.
Info tour 1
The starting point for all three routes is Heidelberg. That not only offers a lavish selection of hotels, but also a great bar scene in the old town for an after-work beer. Those who like it a little more leisurely can find stylish accommodation a few kilometers to the west at Hirschhorn Castle. The restaurant terrace with a mega view is also ideal for breaks.
The wide range of offers in Heidelberg can sensibly be searched using online portals such as www.hotel.de. We liked the “Hotel am Rathaus” very much, Heiliggeiststrasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg (double rooms from 80 euros), phone 06221/14730. Alternatively: Hotel Schlob Hirschorn, 69434 Hirschhorn, phone 06272/92090, Internet: www.schlosshotel-hirschhorn.de. Single rooms from 82 euros, double rooms from 105 euros.
The volume Odenwald / Spessart with seven day tours for 16.90 euros was recently published in Motorbuch Verlag’s motorcycle regional guide series. As always, the general maps, sheet 15/16, which show even the smallest paths and slopes, are well suited.
Fortunately, there are hardly any road closures. Only a few particularly relevant passages, such as between Wald-Michelbach and Morlenbach or the aforementioned gravel passage on the Eiterbach, are closed on Saturday afternoons and on Sundays and public holidays. General information on blocking: www.bvdm.de.
The castles and medieval old towns are beautiful and typical on these three tours. On Tour 1 above all Heppenheim and Erbach as well as the castles Auerbach and Hirschhorn.
Tour 2 – Tour 2: Dusty East
There are also some legal pieces of gravel under the routes.
The longest of the three tours also starts on the Neckar, follows it in an easterly direction on the federal road 37/27, which is just as beautiful as it is perfect to drive and on the surrounding slopes of which is emblazoned castle after castle – to the Jagst estuary near Bad Wimpfen. Here the pace becomes slower and the curve radii narrower to the same extent as the valley. Jagst enthusiasts drive to the Schontal Monastery, all others in Widdern turn left and over an extremely steep transition into the neighboring Kessachtal. From there, the route continues in a similarly rugged manner to Adelsheim and Osterburken. Where, by the way, again and again open dirt roads for small (considerate!) Gravel detours. This is when historical terrain begins, the route follows the Limes for a short while, grazing the western foothills of the Hohenlohe plain in fast, wide curves. Before it branches off to the left at Hettingen to Buchen and there – keep in the city center towards Hettigenbeuern – turns into the pretty Morretal.
Urbanity and nature – the essence of the three routes.
Due to a closure in Zittenfelden, in Hettigenbeuern you have to climb a full 22 percent incline to Hornbach by means of several tight serpentines and continue to curve on a tiny bumpy stretch to Schneeberg and Armorbach. There the tricky part is packed, and the pleasure area of Siegfriedstrasse begins. A splendid motorcycle route and, despite the strict speed limits in places, absolutely worthwhile. 20 highly attractive kilometers further, in Kailbach, at the apex of the route, there is a lively meeting point for motorcycles, which has been gathering bikers for decades under different management. Behind it, the street narrows and winds up to the Reubenkreuz – a gastronomic alternative for those who don’t like big meeting places (like the “Prinz Ernst” in Ernsttal, an old sandstone mill around ten kilometers from Kailbach). If you want to continue on Siegfriedstrabe, keep to the right for two kilometers on the B 45, which crosses a little later, to Marbach and turn left towards Furth and Heppenheim. The route remains enjoyable, but becomes more open, faster and less speed-limited. From Heppenheim (see also Tour 1) you can, depending on your mood, cruise along the mountain road – the busy B 3 – to Heidelberg or hit the mountains again in Weinheim and curve back over the Gorxheimertal.
Info tour 2
The eastern foothills of the Odenwald require a further journey, but offer new scenic impressions, as the route here touches a piece of Hohenlohe plain. Thanks to extremely thin populations, there are often surprising connections that are barely recognizable even on top maps. Including some legal gravel.
This route contains some passages with an alpine level of difficulty. Between Buchen and Amorbach, a full 22 percent gradient is overcome by means of several sharp serpentines (the “white” connection between Hettigenbeuren, Hornbach and Schneeberg). Great for experts, possibly stressful for beginners. In this case, bypass the passage from Buchen via Walldurn or Mudau to Amorbach.
The Motor Cafe “Hill up” is located directly on Siegfriedstrasse in Kailbach: It is open Friday to Sunday from March to October, November and February only on Sundays and public holidays, December / January is closed. Telephone 06272/1261.
Enduro Anyone who likes to take a little gravel ride will discover many possibilities on this tour.
The Eberstadter stalactite cave between Osterburken and Buchen (signposted). Traces of the Limes can also be explored there.
Shortly before or after the Motor Cafe are the old mill “Prinz Ernst” and the restaurant “Reubenkreuz” in the Ernst Valley. In addition, the break tips from Tour 1 (Hirschhorn and Erbach) are close by.
Tour 3 – Tour 3: Wine Route
The third tour leaves the almost completely explored Odenwald and thus also the Neckar valley to the south. Ship enthusiasts can cross the river at Neckarhausen with a small ferry, everyone else drive the Neckarschleife at Hirschhorn (turn left into the village before the tunnel), enjoy the phalanx of castles on the steep sandstone cliffs and then cross the water in Eberbach by bridge. The so-called Kleine Odenwald, the northernmost tip of the Kraichgau, begins there to the south. A few hairpin bends lead out of the village, and on the smallest, but uncomplicated and fast connecting roads, you head towards Meckesheim and Angelbachtal. A detour to Sinsheim to the technology museum there (directly on the A 6) can be planned either now or at the end of the tour. Otherwise, keep heading south-west and cruise through the tranquil Angelbachtal to Eppingen.
The third route also leads a long way along the Neckar.
Behind the lively village, the famous Kraichgau wine-growing regions begin near Kleingartach, Haberschlacht and Zaberfeld. The landscape is much more open than in the Odenwald, the routes tend to be more attractive with fast combinations of curves, as the considerable height differences due to the steep, narrow valleys are missing here. Instead, attractions such as Maulbronn Monastery, the main stage destination of this tour, beckon. A mighty, medieval building complex, in whose spacious inner courtyard several restaurants and beer gardens offer an atmospheric atmosphere. From this extreme point of the tour it goes west via Hafner-Haslach, Ochsenbach (once boasted that it was the most beautiful place in Baden-Wurttemberg). Much more striking and a real event is the old half-timbered town of Besigheim, which could tempt you to take a little dangling a little later. And also provides many opportunities for a (also gastronomic) stop. From here the route leads via Gugglingen, Gemmingen and Sinsheim either directly to Heidelberg, to the Technology Museum – or via the surrounding A 5, A 6 or A 81 motorways back home.
Info tour 3
Instead of forest, red sandstone cliffs and deeply cut river valleys, flatter mountain ranges and, above all, distinct wine-growing areas dominate south of the Neckar. Famous varieties such as Haberschlachter and Heuchelberger thrive here. In terms of driving, the tour rounds off the tour in an exciting way. The routes become faster, the curve radii wider, and some »Wengertweg« opens up completely new perspectives.
In any case, the car & Technology Museum Sinsheim. Who hasn’t admired the supersonic Concorde from the A 6? Now is the opportunity, the route passes right by. The museum shows over 3000 rolling and flying exhibits on 30,000 m2 of hall space plus outdoor area, including 200 motorcycles. Telephone 07261 / 9299-0, Internet: www.technik-museum.de. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m..
The beer gardens in Maulbronn Monastery, restaurants in the Museum Sinsheim and the street bars in the old town of Besigheim. Attention: drive to the center, leave the main road there to reach the old core.
Tip as a southern branch: Klosterhotel Post (double room from 89 euros), Maulbronn, directly in front of the monastery entrance. Telephone 07043/1080.
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