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Stage 01 Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail: Idar-Oberstein - Herrstein

· 2 reviews · Pilgrim Trail · Nahe
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  • Felsenkirche Idar-Oberstein
    Felsenkirche Idar-Oberstein
    Photo: Peter Bender, Urlaubsregion Naheland
m 500 400 300 200 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km Schloss Oberstein Historisches Kupferbergwerk Fischbach Wanderparkplatz am Schlossweiher
The 1st stage of the Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail is very demanding and is characterised by a diverse route with steep gradients.


Idar-Oberstein - Herrstein

The area around Idar-Oberstein stands for a craftsmanship that is unparalleled anywhere in the world. This part of the trail is dedicated to Hildegard’s history of stones.


Idar-Oberstein - Herrstein

The area around Idar-Oberstein stands for a craftsmanship that is unparalleled worldwide. This part of the trail is dedicated to Hildegard's stonecraft.

Distance 18.9 km
6:07 h
851 m
798 m
472 m
233 m

The 1st stage of the Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail is very demanding. For about 19 kilometres, the trail leads along narrow paths, past rocks, through forest and also includes a section that leads steeply down on stairs.

We therefore recommend splitting up the first stage and spending the night halfway in Fischbach.  Please read the descriptions for stages 01a and 01b.

Idar-Oberstein is internationally renowned as the gemstone town. Various museums there invite visitors to go see the gemstones that have been mined and processed here for centuries. Fittingly, the first information board on Hildegard Way deals with Hildegard's history of stones (Board 2: Stones, German Mineral Museum). However, the visionary abbess who was an expert in natural medicine did not write about stones as such, but rather about the healing effect of stones on people.

Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail

In her fourth book of her Physica, she describes the effects of 26 (precious) stones. After the legendary rock church and the spectacular rock formations at the beginning, the nature trail offers beautiful quiet stream valleys, old forests and magnificent views when crossing the heights.

Hildegard of Bingen, abbess, poet, theologian, naturalist and healer lived in what is now the Nahe holiday region throughout her life. The 137-kilometre Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail passes various stations in the life of this probably most famous personality of the Middle Ages. The trail starts in Idar-Oberstein and continues via Niederhosenbach, the family seat and possible birthplace of Hildegard of Bingen, to Bad Sobernheim. Not far from here is the Disibodenberg monastery ruins, where Hildegard spent almost 40 significant years of her life. The Pilgrimage Trail ultimately ends in Bingen am Rhein. Here, the Rupertsberg vaulted cellar still bears witness to Hildegard of Bingen’s last place of work: in 1150, the saint founded the Rupertsberg monastery, which was the place of her work for 29 years. The last stops on this ecumenical pilgrimage trail are the Hildegard shrine in the pilgrimage church of St. Hildegard Rüdesheim-Ebingen and the Abbey of St. Hildegard Ebingen.

The pilgrimage trail is split into 10 stages. The stages vary between 5 and 21 kilometres.

59 information and meditation boards along the entire route provide information about Hildegard as a person, her work and life in the Middle Ages. Hikers approach the spiritual side of Hildegard of Bingen through meditation boards that follow Hildegard of Bingen’s visionary images from her main work of “Scivias - Know the Ways” and give stimulus for meditation. The boards are written in both German and English.

The pilgrim’s passport can be stamped at accommodation establishments, other way stations and finally at St. Hildegard’s Abbey in Eibingen.

Brief résumé of St. Hildegard of Bingen

1098: Birth Hildegard of Bingen, presumably in Niederhosenbach near Herrstein

1112: enters the Disibodenberg monastery near Bad Sobernheim, together with Jutta of Sponheim

1136: Hildegard of Bingen becomes, after the death of Jutta of Sponheim, the second Magistra in the Disibodenberg monastery

around 1150: founds her own female monastery in Bingen am Rhein

from 1150: Hildegard writes her visionary medical & musical works. She travels along the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Neckar and preaches in public places.

1165: Foundation of a second female convent in Eibingen, today’s pilgrimage church of St. Hildegard Rüdesheim-Eibingen

17 September 1179: Hildegard of Bingen dies in Bingen am Rhein

10 May 2012: Canonisation of Hildegard of Bingen by Pope Benedict XVI

7 October 2012: Elevation to Doctor of the Church

Author’s recommendation

In Fischbach, a footpath takes you to the historic copper mine, the largest man-made widening of Europe in the Middle Ages. It is worth a visit!

Profile picture of Naheland-Touristik GmbH
Naheland-Touristik GmbH
Update: December 21, 2022
Highest point
472 m
Lowest point
233 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Rest stops

Jugendherberge Idar-Oberstein
Alte Kanzlei - Das Spießbratenhaus
Herrsteiner Dorfladen
Café-Restaurant Zehntscheune

Safety information

The first stage of the Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail is very demanding and is characterised by a varied route with steep slopes.

For about 21 kilometres, the trail leads along narrow paths, past rocks, through forest and also includes a section that goes down steep stairs.  It is possible to split up the first stage and spend the night halfway in Fischbach.

Tips and hints

Naheland-Touristik GmbH

Bahnhofstraße 37, D-55606 Kirn

Telefon: +49 (0) 6752/137610

Fax: +49 (0) 6752/137620



Local Adress:

Tourist Informations in the EdelSteinland:

Herrstein office

Brühlstr. 16, 55756 Herrstein

Fon +49 6785 - 791400

Fax +49 6785 - 7981400



Idar-Oberstein office

Hauptstr. 419, 55743 Idar-Oberstein

Fon +49 6781 - 64871

Fax +49 6781 - 64878



55743 Idar-Oberstein, Hauptstraße 436 at the German Mineral Museum - signposted from the train station (257 m)
49.700366, 7.323396
49°42'01.3"N 7°19'24.2"E
32U 379100 5506666
Show on Map


55759 Herrstein, corner of Hauptstraße/Uhrturmgasse

Turn-by-turn directions

The Hildegard Path is already signposted from Idar-Oberstein railway station in the direction of Oberstein’s old town and market square. Here you can visit one of the numerous cafés and restaurants or the Idar-Oberstein Mineral Museum. From Oberstein’s market square, it is a 216-step climb up to the "Felsenkirche".

ATTENTION DIVERSION: Due to rock protection work above the rock church, the path along the rock church is closed until further notice! A diversion is signposted. The diversion runs through the pedestrian zone towards ‘Platz auf der Idar’ and from there up Schlossstraße and Felsenkirchstraße towards Schloss Oberstein.

The "Felsenkirche" (rock church) is Idar-Oberstein’s sacral landmark. Around 60 metres high within the rock, it was built in 1482-1484 as atonement for the murder of a brother. On the footpath to the rock church, you will find the first of around 26 meditation boards entitled “The Seer”. After a few hairpin bends and through dense forest, we reach Oberstein Castle and Bosselstein Castle high above the old town of Oberstein. From here we follow the parallel route of the “Nahe Rock Trail” dream loop ("Nahe-Felsen-Weg").

Our effort of the ascent is rewarded with a fantastic view of the city centre and the wooded heights of the “Prussian Mountains”. At the “castle pond”, only a few hundred metres away, a barbecue hut and several benches and tables invite us to take a short or longer break. From the 5th kilometre onwards, the trail follows the Saar-Hunsrück-Trail, which runs in the same direction. On a nature section with beautiful quiet stream valleys, old forests and crossing mountain ranges with magnificent views, the Hildegard of Bingen Pilgrimage Trail reaches Fischbach in the Fischbach Valley of the same name after an easy descent.

After Fischbach, it is worth taking a detour along the marked access path to the historic copper mine. At the end of the stage, we reach medieval Herrstein with its numerous half-timbered houses and romantic alleys.

This stage, given the landscape, is the longest and steepest part and is more suitable for experienced hikers. Those who cannot or do not want to take on this athletic challenge are recommended to cycle at least part of the route or to spread this stage over two days (stage 1a and 1b).



all notes on protected areas

Public transport

By train to Idar-Oberstein. The town is located on the Mainz – Saarbrücken line and is easily accessible by regional express and regional train (vlexx). From the train station via the Nahe-Center and the main street (pedestrian zone) to the German Mineral Museum it is about 850 metres on foot (approx. 10 minutes)

All timetables can be found in the RNN timetable information at

Getting there

Exit A61 at Bad Kreuznach, on B41 head towards Idar-Oberstein exit “Tourist-Information”, follow the town's parking guidance system

Exit A62 at Birkenfeld, continue towards Birkenfeld B41 to the Idar-Oberstein exit “Festhallenknoten”, follow the town's parking guidance system


Multi-storey car park “Altstadt” and multi-storey car park “Stadttheater”, car parks “Festhallenknoten” and “Austraße”


49.700366, 7.323396
49°42'01.3"N 7°19'24.2"E
32U 379100 5506666
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

Pilgerbuch, Dr. Annette Esser, Ess publishers, Bad Kreuznach - -

Author’s map recommendations

“Hildegard of Bingen - Pilgrimage Trail” flyer with general map - - 


Hiking footwear recommended!

Our tips for carefree hiking fun:

Hiking is the perfect sport. With the right clothes and shoes, it’s twice as much fun. Functional clothing, poles and breathable backpacks are good choices when hiking. But good footwear is indispensable. Sturdy jogging or leisure shoes are at best only suitable for short distances on flat paths. For longer walks, we recommend sturdy hiking boots with non-slip soles. Also remember to take sunscreen and a drink. A litre of water is best.

Questions and answers

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Isolde Bilsdorfer
August 20, 2018 · Community
Für die Wegbeschilderung, den gepflegten Zustand der Pfade und Wege, sowie für die wunderschöne, stille Waldgebiete vergeben wir gerne 5 Sterne für die 1. Etappe des Hildegard von Bingen Pilgerweges. Allerdings muss ich sagen, dass die zum Teil sehr steilen Abstiege mehr als grenzwertig, wenn nicht sogar gefährlich sind bei dieser großen Trockenheit. Man hat so gut wie keinen Griff mehr unter den Wanderschuhen. Wir waren 5 erfahrene Fernpilger mit guten Schuhen und dennoch hatten wir 2 Stürze, zum Glück ohne Folgen. Also bitte aufpassen auf den Abstiegspfaden.
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Photo: Isolde Bilsdorfer, Community

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18.9 km
6:07 h
851 m
798 m
Highest point
472 m
Lowest point
233 m
Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights


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