Quite possibly the most popular of all the beery hiking circuits, the Fünf Seidla Steig ® surely also has the coolest name. Even those with minimal German skills know there’s something with the number five involved and that it does, there are five breweries on this 20 kilometer Steig (steep path). Okay, okay so what’s a Seidla you ask? It’s Franconian dialect for a small (well, in Bavaria a half liter is small) beer. It comes from an old German word Seidel, which is a small mug, generally with a handle (on the side, get it). The suffix -la is added to many words in Franconian, imparting smallness to the meaning of the original word.
(Fünf-Seidla-Steig® is a registered trademark of the breweries Elchbräu, Brauerei Hofmann, Lindenbräu, Brauerei Friedmann and Klosterbrauerei Weißenohe)
Aside from the great name, it has it all: a castle, a monastery that still brews, a Franconian beer legend, some verdant forests, hills and relatively easy accessibility.
Breweries: 5 (Lindenbräu, Klosterbrauerei Weissenhohe, Hofmann, Elch-Bräu, Friedmann)
Distance: 20 km
Starting Point: Classically Gräfenberg or Weissenhohe as both are easily accessible from Nürnberg by regional train. This allows for a true circuit walk. Alternatively, you can get a bus from Gräfenberg to a number of points where you might find overnight accommodation if breaking the walk into two days. If you are mostly interested in the breweries and cutting the walk in half, I’d suggest getting the bus to Thuisbrunn (Elch-Bräu) and walking back to Weissenhohe past the remaining four breweries and getting a train back from there.
I will refer to the stages of the classic circuit.
Stage 1: Weissenhohe to Gräfenberg (3 km) You can follow few a different paths but I found it best to take the longer (more scenic) route to Gräfenberg. You walk past the Kloster (monastery) this way and can view it while it’s open. You could eat/drink at the Kloster brewery but I’d suggest finishing there. Either way, you will continue past it and climb up over a hill which gives you views over the valley and back towards the monastery before dropping down into Gräfenberg.
the route from Weissenohe to Gräfenberg
Stage 2: Gräfenberg to Thuisbrunn (6 km) Once in Gräfenberg, you will pass the Brauerei Friedmann. Above it is their charming Biergarten and just beyond it their Bräustüberl. Lindenbräu is also in town but I’d save that for last as it’s my personal favorite. Once you are ready to leave, continue out of town and eventually follow the Fünf Seidla Steig® signs that say “Variante” towards Neusles. This is a longer route but quite nice.
scenery on the “Variante” Fünf Seidla Steig®
Once in Thuisbrunn, enjoy the views of the castle ruin and a beer and possibly a meal at Elch-Bräu. You are at about the half-way point now.
the charms of Thuisbrunn & Elch-Bräu
Stage 2: Thuisbrunn to Hohenschwärz (2km). This is a short pretty stretch of the trail. If you wanted another beer at Elch-Bräu but didn’t have it, your second brewery (Hofmann) is waiting for you here.
Scenic walk to Hohenschwärz & Hofmann’s beers/snacks
Stage 3: Hohenschwärz to Gräfenberg (4-5km). Follow the Frankenweg signs back to Gräfenberg. It’s more direct but equally as scenic. You will go over a few hills and through some nice forests en route.
pretty route from Hohenschwärz back to Gräfenberg
Once in Gräfenberg, if you didn’t go to Friedmann’s earlier, go there first. It’s a nice little pub with outside seating. Food is great but I like the beer at nearby Lindebräu better. It’s just up the road so save most of your drinking for there.
Lindenbräu in Gräfenberg & Schäuferla at Friedmann’s Bräustüberl
Stage 4: Gräfenberg to Weissenhohe (2.5km). You could return via the same scenic route if you have time but there is a shorter and flatter one that follows the train tracks part of the way. If you’ve already made a stop at the Kloster Brewery, you can just walk to the train station in Gräfenberg (on the way) and get the train from there back to Nürnberg. For my money, it’s best to finish at the Kloster. They have some of the best beer and food on the circuit. They also have a wider range of beers so finishing the walk there, after “the work” of hiking makes life a lot easier. The same trains that run from Gräfenberg pass through Weissenohe.
The monastic brewery in Weißenhohe
Places to stay: Lindenbräu in Gräfenberg is ideal but obviously very popular. Reasonable prices for simple but nice modern rooms with a fair breakfast. There are numerous other options in Gräfenberg as well as Weissenhohe and Thuisbrunn. Staying overnight is well worth it with five breweries to enjoy at a more relaxed pace.
How to get there? Regional trains go once an hour from Nürnberg’s Nordost Station (a short U-Bahn trip from the main station). The end station is Gräfenberg. From there, Bus 229 runs up to Thuisbrunn (and a bit beyond) often enough but never as often as you want it to! Plan accordingly and if planning on using the bus, use it early and walk back as it runs more frequently then and you won’t get stuck somewhere far from the train station.
Not your kind of walk? How about the Tummler Brauereienwanderweg?