41 KM I 358 HÖHENMETER I 3-4 STD. DAUER I SCHWER
The cycle route meanders through the wooded hills of the Naturpark Nordvogesen (Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park) and passes lots of the region’s many incredible castle ruins (including the ruins of Windstein, Fleckenstein and Schöneck Castles), which you can also explore for a while on foot whilst you’re there.
STARTING POINT AND HOW TO GET THERE
THINGS TO SEE
- Lembach: Arbre Vert, A l’Orée du Bois, Rossel Stub, Auberge du Cheval Blanc, Snack du Fleckenstein, Gimbelhof and Boulangerie Bischung
- Wingen: La couronne, le Hohenbourg
- Nothweiler: Zur Wegelnburg, Die Scheune
- Niedersteinbach: Cheval Blanc, Hoeffler, Au Wasigenstein (Wengelsbach)
- Obersteinbach: Anthon, Wachtfels
- Jaegerthal: de Jaegerthal
- Woerth: Sept chènes
- Goersdorf: Palais gourmand
This loop begins in Lembach, where you can admire beautiful half-timbered houses made from Vosges sandstone, the altes Waschhäuschen (Old Washhouse), an evangelische Kirche (Evangelical Church) with a pulpit made from Vosges sandstone, the old “market town” centre and the Friedensflamme (Flame of Peace). From here, the route goes on to Wingen, which is famous for its Gallo-Roman stelae. You will cycle through Petit Wingen and Col du Litschhof, where the cross-border circular walking trail called the “Grenzgängerweg” (Cross-Border Path) is located, before ending up at the Gimbelhof restaurant, which is the perfect place to stop for a little break. There is even a mittelalterlicher Abenteuerspielplatz (Medieval Adventure Playground) nearby. You will be able to see Burg Fleckenstein (Fleckenstein Castle) from here and that’s where you will be heading next. The castle, which dates back to the Middle Ages (12th century), is an impressive relic bearing witness to the Holy Roman Empire in Germany and its history in Alsace. It attracts lots of visitors who are interested in history as well as families given that it is suitable for all ages. You can have a go at the incredible three-hour “Rätselburg” tour that is aimed at families as the perfect introduction to the Middle Ages through puzzles or check out the “P’tit Fleck” play-based exhibition all about forests and sandstone for children aged from three to six. The cycle route carries on through the idyllic village of Niedersteinbach to Burg Wasigenstein (Wasigenstein Castle), which actually consists of two castles – Alt- und Neu-Wasigenstein (Old and New Wasigenstein) – separated by a crevice. This place has been famous since the 10th century thanks to the “Waltharius”, an epic poem set at the time of the invasion of the Huns. Next up, you will be cycling to Obersteinbach, home to the Maison des Châteaux Forts (Castle Museum), the small Burg Arnsbourg (Arnsbourg Castle) and Burg Lutzelhardt (Lutzelhardt Castle). You will then go past Burg Wineck (Wineck Castle), which dates back to the 13th or 14th century, Burg Wittschloessel (Wittschloessel Castle) and Burg Schoeneck (Schoeneck Castle). From there, cycle through Wineckerthal to get to Windstein, where you will find alte Burg Windstein (Old Windstein Castle) from the 13th century and neue Burg Windstein (New Windstein Castle) from the 14th century. Next you will come to Jaegerthal and the former Dietrich-Werken (Dietrich Works), where hammers were produced. The loop then passes through Nehwiller and Langensoultzbach, where an old chapel is housing an exhibition called “Götter, Göttinnen und Heiligtümer der Nordvogesen” (“Gods, Goddesses and Shrines of the Northern Vosges”). You will then just cycle through the picturesque village of Mattstall before ending up back where the cycle route started – Lembach.
Copyright photo on this page: Hogenbourg © K. Gross 2012
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