Bertha Benz Memorial Route
In 1886 Dr. Karl Benz invented the automobile in Mannheim/Germany (Reich Patent No. 37435) - but nobody wanted to buy it.
But when Bertha Benz, his wife, went with her 13- and 15-year-old sons on a long-distance trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in 1888 - without her husband's knowledge - to prove that the horseless coach was absolutely suitable for daily use, it became a huge success with almost a billion drivers worldwide today!
This probably most important marketing activity of all times was on the verge of sinking into oblivion. So Frauke and Edgar Meyer started a private non-profit-initiative in 2007 to commemorate Bertha's pioneer deed by signposting the original route she had taken in 1888. Bertha Benz Memorial Route has become an official German tourist route in 2008 and a member of ERIH (European Route of Industrial Heritage) in 2009.
Edgar and Frauke are inviting you to join them on an exciting trip into the past, and at the same time to visit Baden, the land of wine and enjoyment smiled upon by the sun.
Mannheim is one of the most important trainstops in Germany with numerous ICE-train-connections. Cars can be rented at the major train stations.
By car or bike
Mannheim and Heidelberg, both situated in the Rhine Valley, can be reached via several highways, in Germany called "Autobahn". Though there is no general speed-limit, please drive carefully! And remember: The little spot in your rear-view mirror can become a limousine of 2 tons within only a few seconds!
The authentic route taken by Bertha Benz not only links almost forgotten original sites she passed on her way, it also leads to one of the most attractive scenic regions in Germany, the wine region Baden.
This route of industrial heritage of mankind follows several Roman roads in the area of the Upper Rhine Plain, for example the Bergstraße (Mountain Road), it leads along the foot of the Odenwald mountains and the Kraichgau, and shortly before reaching Karlsruhe it branches off into the Pfinztal valley leading to Pforzheim, the entrance to the Black Forest.
As Bertha was afraid of some steep mountains, the return trip follows an alternative route and finally leads along the river Rhine to reach Mannheim again.
Mannheim to Pforzheim, approx. 104 km (64 miles), southbound (S):
Pforzheim to Mannheim, approx. 90 km (56 miles), northbound (N):