Albtäler Cycle Tour — discover the beautiful valleys of the Swabian Jura
Fotograf Thomas Rathay
Wonderful scenery is guaranteed following the Albtäler Cycle Tour. The route runs 186 kilometres (115.5 miles) through eight valleys in the Swabian Jura, a mountain range in Germany. Along the way, you cross countless rivers and streams, pass bizarre rock formations, mysterious caves, idyllic juniper heaths, and hot springs and follow in the footsteps of mammoths.
As well as spectacular nature, there is plenty of culture to discover too. You ride through unique Jura villages and quaint little villages where there are lots of cosy places to stop for refreshments as well as interesting sights. You can visit historic castles, exciting open-air museums, and breathtaking monuments. As a ADFC (German Cycling Federation) four-star rated route, you shouldn’t miss it!
In this Collection, we’ve divided the Albtäler Cycle Tour circular into five stages, starting and finishing in the small town of Amstetten. With 1,200 metres (3,940 feet) of altitude difference to conquer, the route is a challenge. However, as some of the stages are relatively short, you can easily manage it. If you want to cover longer distances, you can combine the stages together to ride the entire Tour in three days.
There is a wide range of comfortable accommodation and places to unwind after your ride in the stage destinations of this four-star quality route. You can often even find a Bett+BIke accommodation that was rated cycle-friendly by the ADFC. There are also several bike services centres and bike rental shops (including e-bikes) en route. You can even arrange luggage transport from place to place.
You can travel to the starting point in Amstetten with the A8. With regular connections from Stuttgart and Ulm, it’s easy to arrive by train. There’s also free car parking available near the station.
The first stage on the Albtäler Cycle Path starts at the train station in the tranquil town of Amstetten, from where you cycle straight into the idyllic Lone Valley. The small river has its source in the nearby Urspring. You follow its course downstream to the bizarre foal house rock. From there it goes uphill to the Danube plain and on to the stage destination Langenau. At 28 kilometers, this stage is relatively short, so that there is enough time to stop here and there and enjoy the beautiful nature and the many sights along the way. A detour to the “spring pot” of the Lone, from which the turquoise and crystal clear spring water gushes, is worthwhile. In Westerstetten you can visit the restored station building on Sundays and public holidays. In Breitingen, the interesting mill museum awaits you Draw a spell. At the refuge with a barbecue area you can take a leisurely break. Shortly before the stage destination, you can expect a short but quite demanding climb. Once at the top, it's all downhill to the stage destination. As soon as you drive out of the small forest, the great view of the wide Danube valley and Langenau opens up. In the cozy city you will find accommodation for every taste and if you still have the time and inclination, you can end the day with an entertaining cultural program, for example by visiting the local history museum, the museum for prehistory and early history or the evening program in the famous Pflegehof hall visiting.
The second stage of the Albtäler Cycle Tour is all about water, caves and teddy bears. In exactly this order: You start in Langenau and as soon as you leave the city you will reach the flat Donauried. This huge wetland supplies large parts of Baden-Württemberg with drinking water - for you it is a wet and happy pleasure to cycle through nature, which has been protected in many places. If you want to find out more about the drinking water supply, it is worth stopping at the “Groundwater Adventure World” in the pumping station of the Langenau waterworks. When you have left Langenau, you will see the waterworks after about two kilometers on the left side of the cycle path - a small detour that is worthwhile. before you make your way to the Valley of the Caves. Impressive rock formations and small caves await you here. One of the most famous is the Vogelherd cave. Mammoth hunters took shelter here during the Ice Age and left behind some of the oldest works of art known to man. Among other things, you can look at the "Lion Man", a small sculpture that depicts a person with the head and limbs of a cave lion. You cycle on quiet roads through the Lonetal, into the valley of the Hürbe. Here, too, the cave theme is omnipresent and the cave adventure world is another reason for a long break, because there is a lot to discover in the cave, the adventure museum and on a large adventure playground, which is of course particularly interesting for children. Towards the end of the tour, all the hustle and bustle is over. Now it's getting cozy. Because none other than the world-famous Steiff teddy bear comes from Giengen an der Brenz. Here is the very interesting Steiff Museum and the birthplace of Margarete Steiff, which you can visit as part of a guided tour. And of course there are not only furry bears here, but also cozy accommodations - an all-round cozy stage destination that awaits you here.
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On the third stage of the Albtäler Cycle Tour you climb the Albaufstieg, on which some not-to-be-neglected climbs await you. Here you can either pedal hard or just push a bit. You will be rewarded with views of the imposing Alb plateau, prehistoric cliff formations and the flora and fauna of an idyllic nature reserve. From Giengen you start into the Brenz Valley. As soon as you have left the Brenz area framed by residential areas and industry behind you, you will reach Eselsburger Tal, where complete idyll and tranquility await you. Framed by juniper heather, the stone virgins soar into the sky and look more and more impressive the closer you get to them. Up to this point the stage is still pious. But now you leave the valley and embark on the ascent of the Alb. Take it easy and if it feels better, just push. This also gives you more time to enjoy the wonderful landscape and discover the many details that testify to the fact that the area here was flooded by the sea millions of years ago. At the Heldenfinger Kliff you can take a short break and strengthen yourself at the beautiful resting place. Next up: Through beautiful forest, past castle ruins and through cozy villages you head for the Roggental, in which the Eybquelle, the "Obere Roggenmühle" and that "Mordloch" are nice opportunities for a little rest before you embark on the last part of the tour, which takes you to the beautiful Eybtal nature reserve. Numerous rare animal and plant species live here, some of which are on the red list of threatened species. You can certainly discover some of them along the way and observe them for a while.Out of the Roggental you finally reach the stage destination Geislingen. If you still have the desire and strength, a short detour to the Helfenstein ruins is worthwhile, from which you can enjoy a great view of the city and the valleys around it.
On day four of the Albtäler bike tour you deserved a little relaxation. Today is a short trip of 22 kilometers, so that there is enough time to relax a little. There are two opportunities to do so on the way: In Bad Überkingen and Bad Ditzenbach, the thermal baths invite you to take a healthy and relaxing break, which can take a little longer. framed by typical juniper heaths that accompany you to the next valley, the Obere Filstal. It takes less than four kilometers until the thermal baths in Bad Überkingen invite you to take a long break. You are spoiled for choice: Would you like to relax now or do you prefer to do a few more kilometers and wait until the Vinzenz Therme in Bad Ditzenbach? If you can't make up your mind, just try both of them. The tour continues along the Fils, steadily climbing slightly uphill. On the way you can relax in contemplative silence in the Capuchin monastery and at the pilgrimage church Ave Maria or a little later enjoy the view of the wonderful heathland on the Northern Alb before you reach Bad Ditzenbach. After visiting the thermal baths, there are still eight kilometers left until you roll into the lovable Wiesensteig resort, which is the idyllic stage destination of this tour and which goes perfectly with the day's motto "rest and relaxation".
The fifth stage of the Albtäler Cycle Tour is high: you cycle at an altitude of almost 850 meters today. Of course, this challenges you a bit, but the inclines are manageable and many beautiful sights along the route always provide small breaks. At the very end, as a reward, you only go downhill to the starting point of the round tour in Amstetten.You start in Wiesensteig and continue cycling up the Obere Filstal. It goes up again to the plateaus of the Alb - at the very top there is even a summit cross and a wonderful view. You have reached the highest point, now you roll a bit until you reach the mountain village of Westerheim, which invites you to stop.You continue to Laichingen via really nice bike paths. It is worth stopping here in the 55-meter-deep Laichinger Tiefenhöhle, to which a museum and restaurant are connected. If you are more into dizzying heights, the climbing forest next door is just right for you.A more culinary highlight is in Nellingen. This is where the Alb whiskey, which is said to be particularly rare and delicious, is made in the Krone inn. How about a little taste? From here it is not far to the starting point of the tour in Amstetten and it is almost all downhill, so you can treat yourself to this culinary break. If you'd rather wait until the very end, that's no problem either: In the old station building in Amstetten there is a restaurant that is perfect for a hearty meal after five days on the beautiful Albtäler bike tour.