advertisement

Begin your tour at the Alter Markt, or old market square. The most colorful facade here is the frescoed Hotel Karpfen, Alter Market 1. Many visitors can be seen photographing what the Germans called its sgraffito (frescoed) facade.

You can visit the tourist office in the historic Haus Thalheim, Kellereistrasse 36 (tel. 06271/4899). This is the house, or so it is believed, where Great Britain's future Queen Victoria was conceived. Victoria's parents were on an extended holiday, living in Haus Thalheim, 9 months prior to her birth. In a controversial claim, some local historians assert that Victoria was actually born aboard the family's yacht moored in the Neckar. The same historians also claim, for reasons having to do with public relations and anti-German sentiment among the British at the time, that soon thereafter, the family took their newborn daughter to England and announced that Victoria had actually been born on British soil. The debate continues, quietly, in Eberbach.

Upstairs, above the tourist office, is the headquarters of the Naturpark Informationszentrum, the organization that dispenses maps and advice about hiking or walking through the enveloping Odenwald forest. They'll tell you about overnight shelters, give you a list of guesthouses, and outline the carefully marked footpaths leading through the forest. Be sure to ask about the nearby 60m (197-ft.) Douglas fir, purportedly the tallest tree in Germany. These offices are open May to October Monday to Friday 8:30am to noon and 2 to 5pm, Saturday 10am to noon; from November to April, they're open Monday to Thursday 8:30am to noon and 2 to 5:30pm, Friday 8:30am to noon.

Tours of Eberbach's old town are given each Saturday from May to October in English and German. The 1-hour guided walk kicks off from the tourist office at 10:30am and costs 2€.

Burg Eberbach (Eberbach Castle) lies about 1km (2/3 mile) from the town center; it's a steep uphill climb. It is only a ruin, a jumble of once-fortified walls and arches that visitors can wander through without charge, at any hour of the day or night. Views from the base of the ruin are panoramic.

From Burg Eberbach, signs point to a forest path that leads, after a relatively flat 90-minute walk, to Katzenbuckl. Here, you'll see the Turm Katzenbuckl, a tower built during the Victorian age of the "Grand Tour" that marks the highest point in the Odenwald Forest at 626m (2,053 ft.). The stone-sided tower (a 19th-c. mock-medieval folly) is open without charge day and night. Views are also panoramic. From Eberbach to Katzenbuckl requires a total walk of 2 hours, a distance of about 6km (4 miles).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.