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Travel story: Magical Spessart

View of the church on the hill

The so-called "forest bathing" is a popular leisure activity, especially in Asia, and even a therapeutic measure. Being in the forest has been proven to be healthy. Active movement and hiking are known to be not only beneficial for the body, mind, and soul but also a lot of fun!

So, hiking in the forest must be the ultimate joyful and healthy vacation experience, right? I was certainly thrilled with the new walking holiday Magical Spessart.

View of the church on the hill


The Spessart is one of the largest contiguous deciduous forest areas in Central Europe and an extensive low mountain range in the heart of Germany, bordered by the river Main.

A wonderfully expansive and solitary forest area - fantastic! For long stretches, I see, hear, and feel almost nothing of civilization. Forest, trees, leaves, bushes, hills, and occasionally a small village, a tractor, or a country road. The longer I walk through this nature, the more I unwind, my stress level decreases, and I feel increasingly balanced. I hike through the Spessart for a week and it’s never boring in the slightest! There is something new to discover everywhere, and around every turn, a new impression awaits me.

Autumn hiking trail in the Spessart forest

My tour on the Spessart Trail

I am in the heart of the Spessart, the so-called 'Räuberland' (robber's country): a region certified by the Hiking Association, dedicated entirely to hiking. This healthy leisure activity has a remarkably long tradition here. The symbol with the colorful robber represents the best hiking quality and hospitality. During the stages of the long-distance hiking trails 'Spessartweg 1 and Spessartweg 2,' I regularly come across fascinating information boards that provide me with insights into the history, cultural, and geographical background of the region. I delight in the colorful signposts with various colorful animals as symbols, listening to the woodpecker's tapping, and the rustling of the leaves. There are numerous chapels, small monuments, and wayside crosses for moments of reflection, and sometimes the path passes by a monastery or a small pilgrimage site.

Every hiking day eventually ends in a place where I once again encounter people and, thus, the sounds of civilization – a pleasant contrast. Here, I can replenish my strength, shop, and chat with the locals. I am tired but filled with the energy of the forest, and after a shower and dinner, I feel rejuvenated.


The special ambiance under the dense canopy of leaves and the unique atmosphere in the green thicket never cease to enchant me every day. Once I'm back in the forest after breakfast, I can take a deep breath and feel completely refreshed in no time. Day by day, the forest becomes more familiar to me, and I perceive the sounds differently. The colorful woodpecker, which accompanies me as the symbol of the 'Spessartweg' on my hikes, has soon become a good friend.


In the fantastic city of Aschaffenburg, I was particularly fond of the expansive parklands. These can be attributed to the Archbishop and Elector of Mainz. He evidently wanted the surroundings of his residence in Aschaffenburg to be especially green, which still brings joy to today's residents and visitors. A "green corridor" leads uninterruptedly from the city center out into the Spessart region. You walk through the "open Schöntal" into the chestnut avenue, over the green bridge and the Großmutterwiese (grandmother's meadow), into the Fasanerie, and you are already at the Teufelskanzel (Devil's Pulpit) and in the Spessart. You don't notice the presence of a major city here.

Johannisburg Castle on the River Main

For all those seeking tranquility and a nature experience, relaxation, and a deep breath of fresh air, a tour of the Spessart is highly recommended!

The Main river and Snowwhite's Homeland

The view of the glistening Main River is also romantic, which I see at the starting point of Gemünden, as well as after the second stage in Lohr. Especially in the red evening light, it's a dream! Supposedly, Snow White hails from Lohr. The seven hills (with the seven dwarfs) are located in the surrounding Spessart hills, and even Snow White's mirror was crafted in Lohr. Of course, after dinner, I stroll through the old town to Snow White's castle, making it a truly fairytale-like evening walk.

Spessart villages and the robber's land

The other places I pass through are truly small "nests." Waldaschaff and the spa town of Heigenbrücken, as well as Hain and Schmerlenbach, are all genuinely quaint and peaceful. There's no trace of mass tourism here. Taking a break at the village is worthwhile to pause and savor the atmosphere. The center of the Spessart region, the village of Hainbuchenthal-Mespelbrunn, is remarkable. A sprawling settlement area that extends across several small villages. Here, the hiking enthusiast can find everything the heart desires. Well-marked routes, great hiking suggestions, colorful signposts, even a beer garden in the forest with its own brewery, and route options in all directions. Here, Eurohike hikers are invited to stay for two days and embark on a discovery tour. Of course, they must also taste the traditional herbal liqueur of the region. The famous Mespelbrunn Water Castle, where the film "The Spessart Inn" was shot, is also well worth visiting. All around, the forests and hills, chapels and rest benches, crosses, and viewpoints beckon once more.

Leaf wall on red brick house

Along the old school path to the river Main

The last day takes me along the "Alten Schulweg" (Old School Path) to the highest hill of the Spessart. In the past, this trail was indeed used by children to walk to school. At the top, I climb the observation tower and can even see the skyline of Frankfurt with its skyscrapers - it almost appears to me like a mirage amidst the "forest wilderness."

I continue onward through wooded terrain, collecting kilometers one after another. The terrain remains easily traversable, and I make good progress. Suddenly, I stand before the walls of Henneburg, pass through the archway of the ruin, and finally catch sight of the glistening Main River below me. Now I have reached my destination and descend a few steps to the riverbank. I walk the last few meters to Dorfprozelten directly along the river before boarding the train and bringing my impressive hiking tour to a close in Aschaffenburg.

Landscape in the Spessart Forest

Insider tip Spessart

A restful week lies behind me! Granted, there are more spectacular mountain ranges and more thrilling viewpoints than here, but at the Three Peaks in the Dolomites and on the observation platform of the Zugspitze, I will never feel that profound relaxation and rejuvenating natural power as I do in the forest. In Spessart you won’t find hustle and bustle, crowded cable cars, or long lines for taking photos.

Christina Keltenich

I wish you a wonderfully relaxing and rejuvenating forest hiking vacation in the enchanting Spessart.

Christina Keltenich
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