The Heuberg-Allgäu Trail takes you on a varied hike through natural and cultural landscapes from the lonely south-western Alb in southern Germany, along the lively shores of Lake Constance and into the pre-Alpine Allgäu. You cross deep forests and mystical moors, roam across beautiful green meadows where cows graze peacefully and make your way through vines and hop plants. Along the way, you discover medieval old towns and historical sights such as churches, monasteries and castles. The famous pile dwellings on the shores of Lake Constance and a beautiful open-air museum in Neuhausen ob Eck also lie en route.
The Heuberg-Allgäu Trail is the main hiking trail 9 (HW 9) of the Swabian Albverein. It leads 185 kilometres (115 miles) from the town of Spaichingen over the Great Heuberg plateau and across the southwest of the Swabian Alb to Lake Constance. You follow the northern shore of the lake which has fantastic views over the water and to the Alps. Next, thet trail takes you deeper into the Württemberg region to the city of Wangen im Allgäu. For the grande finale, you ride through the town of Isny before climbing the Schwarzen Grat, the highest mountain in Ravensburg.
I’ve divided the route into 11 stages. The paths are mostly well-maintained and easy to walk so they’re also suitable for less experienced hikers. The stage lengths can be challenging, but you can master them easily with a solid basic fitness level. As accommodation is quite limited on many of the stages, it is important to plan and book in advance. Some of the hikes take you through sparsely populated areas, so you won't always have the opportunity to stop for a bite to eat along the way. You should definitely carry some food in your rucksack.
What is the best time of year for the hike? If possible, you should avoid walking the Heuberg-Allgäu Trail during the high season in summer. Lake Constance can be quite crowded and very hot when the sun is shining. This long-distance hiking trail is ideal for spring and autumn, when the holiday resorts are a little quieter and the climate is pleasant.
As the long-distance trail starts at Spaichingen station, you can easily get there via rail. There is no station near the end of the hike. Instead, you could take a bus from Isny to Wangen or Kempten where there’s a train station.
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With the third stage, a longer route is waiting for you again. But it's more downhill than uphill. Quiet paths lead you through the moraine landscape with its flat hills. In the south of Neuhausen ob Eck you go under a country road and then dive into nature. Every now and then you pass a meadow, but most of the time you stay between the trees.
Furthermore, Lake Constance as well as vineyards and fruit trees on the first part of the stage determine the landscape. For the first few kilometers you hike a little above the shore with a clear view. In the winegrowing village of Hagnau you then switch back to the water. Passing a campsite and a harbor, you can relax here on the flat paths.
Today is your last day at Lake Constance. But you still stay in the flat areas near the shore and therefore only have to overcome a few meters in altitude. From Friedrichshafen you hike along Lake Constance to the next place Eriskirch. Enjoy the leisurely riverside paths and the view over the water again. Perhaps the lake will give you a beautiful view of the Alps when you say goodbye.
On the eighth stage it is now hilly again, because you are getting closer to the Allgäu with big steps. Today's route is characterized by varied cultural landscapes. As the first backdrop, extensive hop fields are on the program. Fittingly, you also leave Tettnang on the hop path that accompanies you to Brünnensweiler. From the hill you have a fantastic view over Lake Constance to the Alps.
The eleventh and last stage of the Heuberg-Allgäu-Weg is a brilliant finale. It ends on a wonderful panoramic summit. That's why it's not quite there with the stage destination, because then the descent is still waiting for you. The route is a nice end to the long-distance hiking trail, because it is once again very varied and combines nature with culture.