While researching about the pilgrimage possibilities in Germany I found out that there are a lot of routes to walk. Therefore, not to bore you with an overly long read I will make a series of articles about Germany’s pilgrimage routes. This one is for Northern Germany.
Perhaps the most known pilgrimage route in Germany is Ochsenweg (or the Ox Trail), a continuation of the Danish Hærvejen. Although this route was mostly used as a trade route for cattle, amber, honey, metal, glass, etc. it is rich in historical monuments that go back to 4000 BCE. Nowadays, Ochsenweg is a part of the flensbEuropean pilgrimage network that leads to Santiago de Compostela and Rome. Society of Schleswig – Holstein History provides a short historical overview of the Ox Road.
It starts in the German town Flensburg and goes ~245 km down in Germany to Schleswig-Holstein Wedel. Just after Rendsburg the road separates into two West and East routes:
- West route: Flensburg – Schleswig – Rendsburg – Neumünster – Barmsted – Wedel (~246 km)
- East route: Flensburg – Schleswig – Rendsburg – Hohenweststedt – Itzehoe – Elmshorn – Wedel (~243 km)
According to Jakobswege in Norddeutschland website pilgrims can be accommodated in some of the churches along newly named Via Jutlandica. Some useful information (in German, English, and Danish) and downloadable brochure with a map can be found at Schleswig-Holstein tourism page.
Pilgrimage Berlin – Wilsnack
Berlin – Wilsnack pilgrimage route has existed since the 14th century. It connects the Marienkirche in Berlin with the Wunderblutkirche St. Nikolai in Wilsnack. The path is ~130 km long and is marked with an orange arrow and three circled crosses by it. It is recommended to walk from Berlin to Wilsnack as the route is signed only in this direction. The route is recommended to walk in 7 stages: Berlin – Hennigsdorf-Bötzow – Linum – Garz – Wusterhausen – Kyritz – Görike – Bad Wilsnack. The fun part of this pilgrimage is that you can get a pilgrim’s passport from the Ways to Wilsnack website (just need to pay postage). The same page has a downloadable accommodation list and provides information about stages, maps, and places of interest (in German). Also, check the ST. JAKOBUS SOCIETY BERLIN-BRANDENBURG website (in German) and my personal one-day pilgrimage from Hennigsdorf to Bötzow report for a first-hand experience of walking a part of it.
St. Ann’s Path
St. Ann’s Path is another pilgrimage opportunity easily reachable from Berlin. It is a ~22 km circular day walk that starts and ends in Heiligengrabe. For more information visit the official Alt-Krüssower church website (in German) and here you find a brochure with a map.
The Bishop’s Pilgrimage
The Bishop’s tour starts in Havelberg and after ~110 km reaches Wittstock. The suggested stages three stages Havelberg – Bad Wilsnack – Pritzwalk – Wittstock is well marked and easy to walk. More information about the route, accommodation, etc. on Prignitz region tourism website (in German).
Mönchsweg or the Monk’s trail is a ~1000 km pilgrimage route starting in Bremen and ending up in Puttgarden (or the other way around). The route goes through Bremen – Zeven – Harsefeld – Stade – Wischhafen/Elbfähre – Kellinghusen – Bad Segeberg – Plön –Neustadt i. H. – Oldenburg i. H. – Puttgarden.
There is an official website dedicated to Mönchsweg with loads of information about stages, accommodation, maps, etc.
Via Baltica is a part of St. James Way (or Camino de Santiago) routes network in Europe. It is a long distance pilgrimage that starts either in Sassnitz Island or Świnoujście on German-Polish border. The route goes down to Osnabrück and crosses Rostock, Lübeck, Hamburg, Bremen among other cities along its ~760 km. The pilgrimage takes around one month to walk. There are special accommodation places for pilgrims available along the route (see the list on Jakobswege in Norddeutschland).