The Neckar slices through the Odenwald for 50 km, forging a deep channel through the variegated sandstone, describing a number of bends and loops and still presenting a host of puzzles to geologists today. Steep slopes rise up from the river bed to a height of more than 400 m above the valley floor. The imposing rock faces have a warm red tone that is also evident in the castle and the Old Bridge of Heidelberg.
Today, the Neckar is dammed. A whole series of barrages has created an enormously long lake, taming what was once a wild and tempestuous river and transforming it into a restful idyll. The Neckar has something dreamlike about it; hills, clouds, woods, fortresses and ancient towns are all reflected in its calm waters. Yet it is precisely this fusion of all those things that people love and hold dear that make the Neckar a living river. And it is surely no coincidence that the old imperial town of Bad Wimpfen lies at the beginning of this stretch of the valley, and it is in Heidelberg, the seat of the Electors, that the Neckar leaves the mountains behind. Everything that we associate with romanticism can be found here: castles, fortresses, villages with magical hidden corners, wild ravines in the woods, extraordinary crags and gorges, like the "Wolfsschlucht" in Zwingenberg, a world of myth and legends. This romantic world extends beyond the high banks as well. The "Neckartalstraße" - the Neckar Valley Route - opens up the beauty of the Odenwald and the river valley, and with no gradients at all is perfect for cyclists.
Make a day of it and visit the Greifenwarte and Bad Wimpfen, or what about an excursion to Hirschhorn, Burg Guttenberg, Burg Hornberg or Eberbach?
4-castle-tour and burg "Dilsberg"
Neckarsteinach is around 10 km from Heidelberg and is easy to reach by car (via Ziegelhausen) or even by boat (departure point Kongresshaus Heidelberg, "White Fleet Heidelberg"). The area round the "4 Burgen" in Neckarsteinach - Vorderburg, Mittelburg, Hinterburg and Schadeck (the "swallow's nest") offers attractive hikes of various lengths with fabulous views over the Neckar. Bring a touch of culture to your outdoor adventures!
Not far away, on the other side of the Neckar, lies Dilsberg and its romantic fortress. Dilsberg has belonged to the diocese of Worms since 988 and is part of the woodland - now declared a forest - that lies between Neckar, Elsenz and Lein (Wimpfener Bannforst)