German Beer Day – Hiking from one beer to another

Photo by Alice Lucas

Enjoy spring with a beer hike in Franconia
With the first warm rays of sunshine, Franconians especially like to enjoy their beer outside in the fresh air. It’s no surprise that a very popular activity is hiking through the countryside combining multiple pit stops, and visiting different breweries—otherwise known as a beer hike. The so-called beer hike combines culture, exercise, and nature with socialising and a refreshing drink, and is therefore the perfect leisure activity—for beer drinkers, hikers and culture enthusiasts alike.

And where better to practise this than in the area known as the Fränkische Schweiz (Franconian Switzerland). With almost 300 breweries, Franconians uphold the art of brewing and create a unique and enticing variety of beer that is unparalleled anywhere in Germany. In fact, when it comes to brewing beer, Upper Franconia is the out-and-out leader, with a total of 173 breweries.

Although there is no official start or end date for the beer hiking season, spring is the very best time of the year to pack your rucksack and bring your boots back to life by discovering just how many traditional breweries there are around the corner in Franconian Switzerland.

Franconian Switzerland

Franconian Switzerland. Photo by Alice Lucas

Three of Franconia’s best one-day beer hiking trails
For the ultimate hiking experience and to kick-start the beer season 2022, I have checked out three of the best beer trails for you.

1) A classic among the beer trails – The Fünf Seidla Steig
The Fünf-Seidla-Steig (Five Brewery Hike) beer hike is already well-established and popular among locals and tourists alike. It opened in 2008, is about 20km long and links five small and mid-sized breweries in the countryside around Gräfenberg. One of the oldest Franconian breweries is the Klosterbrauerei (monastery brewery) in Weißenohe, which is well-known nationally and is also part of this hike. Founded in around 1100 and family-owned since the 19th century, besides various Franconian classics, it has been producing beer specialities and craft beers for several years now. Guided tours of the brewery are also offered. You can find more detailed information on the brewery’s website.

A collectors card is available in the breweries or can be downloaded on which you can collect stamps from each of the breweries. At the end of the hike, a fully stamped card qualifies the holder to purchase a Fünf-Seidla-Steig-Krug (beer mug) with changing motifs for €7 instead of the usual €12.

At weekends trains return to Nuremberg hourly with the Gräfenbergbahn. It should also be noted that most inns require advanced reservations for groups of 10 people or more. By the way, especially for all non-Franconians among you: If you don’t know what a “Seidla” is, read our Franconia Word of the Month from September 2020 before doing the hike.

Key points: 


2) Beer hike with a medieval backdrop—the Pottensteiner Bier-Trilogie-Weg
If you are more of a sporty hiker but are also interested in history, you should definitely pay a visit to the town of Pottenstein. The Pottensteiner Beer Trilogy Trail leads hikers to three places well worthwhile of making a stop: The Hufeisen Brewery (since 1738), a family business for four generations, relies on organic products and invites you to a beautiful beer garden. The Mager Brewery entices with Franconian cuisine and has also been family-owned since 1774. Bruckmayers Urbräu has another beautiful beer garden that offers play facilities for children. Pottenstein in Upper Franconia is not just a stronghold of the Franconian art of brewing. The picturesque rock town at the confluence of three rivers also attracts with a historic old town, its thousand-year-old castle, a landmark of the climatic health resort, as well as its beautiful rock pool, devil’s cave, and even a summer toboggan run.


Pottenstein. Photo by Huawei Vog-L29/Pixabay

Key Points: 

  • start/finish: Pottenstein
  • length: 8.5km | duration: 2.5 hours (without break)
  • difficulty scale: moderate—reasonably fit hikers who get out at least once a month should be able to do this level.
  • best seasons: spring, summer and autumn
  • rest points: Brauerei Mager, Gasthausbrauerei Hufeisen and Bruckmayers Biergarten


3) Climbing the Holy Mountain of Franconia, the Walberla-Bierwanderung
Franconian Switzerland offers a variety of destinations, the climb up the “Walberla” mountain otherwise known as “Ehrenbürg” is one of the most popular excursions. The highlight of the year is the traditional Walberlafest, a kind of church fair that takes place on the first weekend in May when thousands storm the Holy Grail of Franconia.

Once you reach the top of the ‘mountain’ you are rewarded with magnificent views. At the Walburgis chapel, it is worth making a detour right or left to the viewing points and enjoying the wonderful scenery. The path then leads downhill again to Dietzhof, where the Alt Brewery is located. It’s a very small but fine brewery, a real insider tip, and it’s not that easy to find. The fifth generation of the family business is run by Raimund and Rita Alt together with their son, who is responsible for the brewery. It has a very nice historic dining room and outdoor area. The in-house beer, which regular customers say has both miracle and healing powers, is served in traditional style—in a proper beer stein. So it’s no wonder that Markus Alt can hardly keep up with the brewing!

Brewery in Franconian Switzerland

Brewery in Franconian Switzerland. Photo by Alice Lucas

Then follow the Walberla circular route (red sign with a white circle and black Walberla silhouette). This leads you back down to the starting point of the hike in the centre of Kirchehrenbach. Here you can fortify yourself with a cool beer and a snack before heading home.

Key Points: 

  • start/finish: Kirchehrenbach
  • length: 8.5km | duration: 2.5 hours (without break)
  • difficulty scal: easy—suitable for people of most ages who have a basic fitness level.
  • best seasons: spring, summer, autumn 
  • rest points: Restaurant & Café “Zum Walberla” (Straße zur Ehrenbürg 21, 91356 Kirchehrenbach), Brauerei Alt (Dietzhof), Gast­haus-Brennerei Sponsel (Kirchehrenbach)

Good to know: Almost all of the above-mentioned beer hiking trails are accessible almost all year round. Many breweries and restaurants are closed on Mondays or Tuesdays and many stop serving hot food after 2pm, so it’s always good to check the opening times beforehand.

Useful links:

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like

More in Adventure