Caverns, heathland, ancient castles - the Albsteig (HW1)
© Schwäbische Alb | Foto: G. Lengler
Fairytale castles, breathtaking views from rock pulpits, enchanted stalactite caves and beech forests flooded with light — the Swabian Jura is a special place. You can discover this incredible region in all its glory on the 222-mile (358 km) long Albsteig.
With tradition dating back over 100 years, the Albsteig is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the Swabian Jura. Countless ascents and descents take you up to the Jura plateau at 3,280 feet (1,000 m) above sea level and down into picturesque valleys. You mostly hike along the northern edge of the cliff and the length of the Swabian Jura.
The oldest main hiking trail (HWI) of the Swabian Hiking Association, the Albsteig leads you once across the length of the mountains from northeast to southwest. Starting in the tranquil Donauwörth, the trail shows you the beauty of the Jura in 16 stages.
You will come across castle ruins and magnificent panoramas, and — with a little luck – you will spot the Black Forest to the west and the Alps to the south. The route also takes you to Harburg Castle, one of the largest Staufer castles north of the Alps, to the magnificent Lichtenstein Castle and the gushing Urach Waterfall. Breathtaking viewpoints such as the Breitenstein, the Dreifürstenstein or the Lemberg, which marks the highest point of the Jura, are also fascinating. At the Albsteig’s end point, you can explore Tuttlingen’s romantic town centre and stroll along the Danube promenade.
The starting and end points of the trail in Donauwörth and Tuttlingen are well-connected by rail, making it easy to reach your adventure and return home when you’re done. There’s more information about other rail connections along the trail in the route descriptions. From April 2020, you can even use regional buses and trains free of charge to get to the stages. All you need is the AlbCard, which you will receive as for free if you spend a night in one of the AlbCard establishments. The AlbCard also gives you free entry to many attractions along or near the trail, such as the Fog Cave. You can find more information at albcard.de
As the path crosses many villages, you will also have the opportunity to stop at cosy inns. Regional dishes of the Jura are known far beyond its borders, such as Alb lentils with spaetzle or Swabian Maultaschen. If you want to cater for yourself, you will find numerous resting places along the Albsteig which are mostly equipped with a barbecue area. So pack some barbecue food if you fancy a grill. One thing is certain, hiking along the Jura is a special experience.
For more insight into hiking the Albsteig trail, check out this video:
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Last updated: November 17, 2021
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
Your first stage on the Albsteig leads you on paved paths along the Wörnitz river, to the first viewpoints and deep into the forest. Between green meadows and wide fields you can already see the Harburg in the distance.
Your adventure starts at Donauwörth train station. After you have left the old town…
Today, a rather short stage awaits you, which gives you enough time to explore the beautiful Harburg. Then it goes along forest paths and narrow paths into the idyllic nature reserve.
Before you leave Harburg behind, we recommend that you explore one of the oldest and best-preserved castle complexes in…
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After the refreshingly short stage of the previous day, the first challenge now comes to you. On almost 27 kilometers, you cross leafy forests and a game reserve. But also wonderful views are not neglected and you get to the first castle ruin.
You leave Mönchsdeggingen via a meadow path, which soon changes…
On the fourth stage, two hydrological highlights await you - the Eger spring and the origin of the cooker. Kapfenburg Castle and the ruins of the Kocherburg, on the other hand, provide medieval flair. Today you have a lot of distance ahead of you.
Your hiking day starts with a small climb out of Bopfingen…
Viewpoints on the conveyor belt, mysterious caves and another castle ruin make the fifth stage a special experience.
After you have left undercooking, mighty oaks, beeches and firs line your path on the Albsteig. On the first hill you can scramble up to the Aalbäumle observation tower and let the panoramic…
A challenging route with many kilometers, but also peppered with great viewpoints from the Scheuelberg and the Albtrauf as well as an impressive castle awaits you today.
You start the sixth stage at the market square in Heubach and soon follow a hiking trail that takes you up to the Scheuelberg and the…
The seventh stage of the Albsteig along green meadow paths, rocky cliffs and through picturesque valleys are also characterized by the most beautiful views over the Swabian Alb. Today there are some challenging climbs waiting for you.
You leave the quiet Kuchalb via the narrow meadow path of the Maierhalde…
The eighth stage of the Albsteig continues in a varied manner. You mainly hike along the Albtrauf and discover great ruins in addition to great viewpoints. Surefootedness is required on the sometimes steep paths.
After you have crossed a small piece of forest, you stroll along the edge of the forest for…
Beautiful trails through forest and across meadows with just one climb are waiting for you today. The ninth stage on the Albsteig also offers you the opportunity to visit the massive Hohenneuffen Castle with a breathtaking view.
Depending on how far you have walked yesterday, you can start your day very…
Moss-covered rocks and water that plunges over a tuff edge from 37 meters - the Urach waterfall is just one of the varied highlights that awaits you on the tenth stage from Bad Urach to Honau.
Your hiking day starts with a long, steep climb to a fairytale place, the Urach waterfall. In the small shelter…
The eleventh stage is by far the most magical of the Albsteig. Today he leads you to the romantic Lichtenstein Castle, through rustic forests and to a real robber's cave.
You already saw it from afar yesterday: Magnificent and like a picture book, Lichtenstein Castle rises on a slope. The castle can be…
Today the tour takes you to three former principalities and deep into nature, so that you leave civilization behind for long distances.
From Willmandingen you return to the Albsteig. The ascent to Riedernberg awaits you at the beginning, before descending to Talheim. Talheim is the last tranquil place…
The Hohenzollern Castle is your constant companion on the 13th stage. Although you cannot get there directly via the Albsteig, there are always perfect views of the majestic castle complex.
In a zigzag with numerous switchbacks, you can get from Jungingen to the Himberg, which is also called the Hoher…
As if you had guessed it - even today the Albsteig challenges you again with several meters of altitude. Along the eaves, you can even climb your first “Albsteig Thousand”.
For a change, your hiking day starts this time with a descent that takes you to the Albstadt suburb of Laufen. But it's already uphill…
On the penultimate stage, you continue your way through the “Region of 10 thousand” and climb two more of them with Lemberg and Kehlen.
Out of Ratshausen you follow a leisurely ascending path to the edge of the forest. From here it gets a lot steeper. At the Schörzinger Hütte you can take a breather on…
The last day on the Albsteig begins. It is the second shortest of all stages, but still has plenty of variety due to the wonderful nature and impressive ruins.
You leave the idyllic Risiberg behind and start with one of the last small climbs up to the eaves. It goes through romantic forest and meadow…
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