Hiking in the Habsburgs’ Footsteps in the Palatinate
The Habsburgs not only left traces in Speyer but also the entire region. Several hiking trails in the Palatinate go past places that still attest the Habsburgs’ impact in southwestern Germany.
King’s Cross and St. Mary’s
The so-called “King’s Cross” still tells of the Battle of Göllheim fought between King of the Romans Adolf von Nassau and the Habsburg Duke Albrecht of Austria on July 2, 1298. Presumably erected on the site of the battle in 1309, a chapel was built over it in the nineteenth century. It memorializes the violent death Adolf von Nassau, who lost his life in the battle.
The ruins of St. Mary’s Abby are located approximately six kilometers away in Rosenthal. Adolf of Nassau was buried in this erstwhile Cistercian abbey right after the Battle of Göllheim, before being his transfer to Speyer Cathedral was permitted in 1309. The abbey also served as his adversary Albrecht of Austria’s camp before the battle.
Starting and ending at the King’s Cross itself (Königkreuzstrasse parking lot, 67307 Göllheim), the certified Adolf von Nassau Trail of around sixteen kilometers and 250 meters of ascent and descent can be completed in about four hours and also goes past the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey.
The starting point of the hike is roughly 70 kilometers away from Speyer and can be reached by car over the A61.
Hiking in the Palatinate: Wachtenburg Castle ruins, a Best Vineyard View.
Wachtenburg Castle ruins are located high above Wachenheim in Bad Dürkheim County on the German Wine Route. It was built in the twelfth century and purchased by Rudolf of Habsburg in 1273 as his daughter’s dowry.
Numerous hiking trails pass by Wachenheim. Loop Trail No. 10 proceeds from Tourist-Information Wachenheim through a landscape of vineyards, past the Best Vineyard View 2016 selected by the German Wine Institute for the Palatinate growing region and up to Wachtenburg Castle ruins.
Alternatively, the third leg of the premium “Palatine Vineyard” trail from Bad Dürkheim to Deidesheim can also be hiked. Wachtenburg Castle ruins is on this trail too.
Bad Dürkheim and Deidesheim train stations are on the Grünstadt – Freinsheim – Neustadt (German Wine Route) rail route. Wachenheim on the German Wine Route is roughly a 30-kilometer drive from Speyer.
The north- and the south route of the Palatine Way of St. James start right in front of Speyer Cathedral where Rudolf of Habsburg and his son King of the Romans Albrecht I of Austria are buried among other rulers.
In both cases, the end of the roughly 150-kilometer long-distance trail is Hornbach Abbey, reached after six day-long legs. Both routes can also be combined into one roughly 300-kilometer loop trail with twelve legs. The roughly 21-kilometer leg from Germersheim to Speyer on the south route (start: right in front of Germersheim-Mitte/Rhein Train Station on Rudolf-von-Habsburg-Strasse in Germersheim) is roughly equivalent to the route ridden by King Rudolf in 1291 with his last bit of strength as he neared death to be buried in Speyer Cathedral.
Speyer Cathedral is a roughly 1.4-kilometer walk from Speyer Central Station. The Historical Museum of the Palatinate is located around 100 meters away on the right on Cathedral Square.