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Along iconic waters – Main-Danube-Lake Constance Trail

AlexanderL76

Along iconic waters – Main-Danube-Lake Constance Trail

Hiking Collection by Tamara (wandert)

16-36

days

3-6 h

/ day

252 mi

16,450 ft

15,700 ft

One thing is certain: on this long-distance hiking trail, you’re never far from a well-known body of water. As the name suggests, the Main-Danube-Lake Constance Trail connects two of German’s most important rivers – the Main and Danube – with the magnificent Lake Constance.

The route, which is about 410 kilometres (254 mi) long in total, is also known as the Main Hiking Trail 4 of the Swabian Albverein. In this Collection, I’ve divided it into 21 stages. From Würzburg on the Main, you walk southwards over the Swabian Alb to Ulm on the Danube and then through Upper Swabia to Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. You'll switch back and forth between Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria several times.

In addition to wide cultivated landscapes with gently undulating fields, this route is characterised by important medieval towns and castles and glorious streches of water It passes impressive rivers navigated by ships, idyllic streams, tranquil ponds and popular lakes. You are guaranteed to find a spot to cool off.

Along the way, you can discover the picturesque Gäuflächen near Ochsenfurt and Gollach, the romantic Taubergrund and the wonderful Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Marvel at the old mills in the Jagst Valley, relax in the quiet forests of the Ellwanger Berge and enjoy views over the Swabian Alb.

You’ll find enchanting meadows and moors as you hike through Illertal and Oberschwaben. Slowly, the Alps come closer and closer and, on a clear day, you can see the mighty peaks in the distance. Finally, the Main-Danube-Lake Constance Trail ends in Friedrichshafen on the lively Lake Constance.

There are many accommodation options en route so shorter daily stages are possible if you want to take more time. The starting point, the destination and several stage towns have train links, so you don't have to worry about getting there and back and can easily split the total distance. What are you waiting for?

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Main-Donau-Bodensee-Weg

253 mi

16,600 ft

15,875 ft

Last updated: November 10, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Würzburg to Ochsenfurt – Main-Danube-Lake Constance Trail

    Intermediate
    04:53
    12.0 mi
    2.5 mph
    125 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The starting point of the Main-Donau-Bodensee-Weg is impressive: In the center of Würzburg at the Old Main Bridge, fantastic views of the wide river and the Marienberg Fortress await you right at the beginning. You let the Main take you south and slowly leave the city. It gets more rural around you

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  • Difficult
    05:23
    12.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    800 ft
    400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The second stage starts in Ochsenfurt and takes you the first few kilometers through the beautiful Thierbachtal, where you will pass old mills. In Tückelhausen it is worth stopping at the magnificent monastery before you hike up to Hopferstadt on dirt roads. You then cross Gülchsheim and then you reach

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  • Intermediate
    04:56
    11.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    A promising hilly landscape awaits you on the third stage, which starts in Aub. The path leads you through the stilt wood to the romantic castle ruins of Reichelsberg. After enjoying the view from the tower, you follow the Gollach to the Old Mountain, where the Kunigundenkapelle and the Kunigundenstein

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  • Difficult
    05:58
    13.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,325 ft
    925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After a night in Creglingen, at the beginning of the fourth stage, you hike along the picturesque Mühlbach, which takes you past ponds, the coal mill and the Herrgottskirche. After the town of Münster, keep to the left and take the incline up to Finsterlohr.

    

    A short time later you will return to the beautiful

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  • Difficult
    07:53
    18.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    950 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    At almost 30 kilometers, the fifth stage is one of the longest on the Main-Donau-Bodensee-Weg - so it's best to take a little more food with you. From the beautiful old town of Rothenburg you follow the Schandtauber through its wild and romantic valley to the source in Bettenfeld. Then hilly woodland

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  • Intermediate
    04:31
    10.4 mi
    2.3 mph
    700 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The sixth stage awaits you with a special natural highlight: the idyllic Jagsttal. Starting from Wallhausen you hike on roads, forest and field paths to Bölgental. From there it goes down into the fairytale valley of the Jagst, which is a nature reserve. Surrounded by ancient trees, buzzing dragonflies

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  • Difficult
    06:45
    15.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,200 ft
    850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Crailsheim is the starting point of the seventh, long stage of the Main-Donau-Bodensee-Weg. You leave the center in a southwesterly direction and soon dive into the forest. There it goes up to the castle hill, where you will find a wonderful lookout tower and an inn. Climbing the stairs of the 30 meter

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  • Intermediate
    02:58
    6.91 mi
    2.3 mph
    300 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a night in Rosenberg you start the short, eighth stage, which initially takes you along the Alter Kirchenweg into the forest. You climb up the Hohenberg, where an impressive view and the beautiful Jakobuskirche await you. Then you walk along the Rotenbach until you reach the elongated glass saw

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  • Difficult
    07:11
    16.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,500 ft
    1,275 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After the comparatively short eighth stage, a longer route awaits you today: You start in Ellwangen and cross the Jagst near Schrezheim. On winding forest and field paths you hike to Oberalfingen, where you pass a castle. Afterwards you climb up to the Jägerwieshütte, where you can take a break. The

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  • Difficult
    05:41
    12.6 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,225 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The tenth stage begins in Unterkochen and immediately after a hearty breakfast you climb up the Zwerenberg. There you can catch your breath at the Hermann-Löns-Hütte before you continue hiking on wide forest paths. On the section to Königsbronn you will pass other rest huts.

    

    In Königsbronn there are many

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  • Difficult
    08:55
    20.6 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,350 ft
    1,450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    At 33 kilometers, the eleventh stage is the longest of the Main-Donau-Bodensee-Weg and starts in Heidenheim an der Brenz. From the center you hike up to the majestic Hellenstein Castle and then on to the Voith Arena. There you turn into the forest and follow the route towards Bohlheim.

    

    Continue south

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  • Difficult
    05:03
    11.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    575 ft
    525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Starting from Langenau, you hike along the creek Flöz at the beginning of the twelfth stage. Then you turn south and take dirt roads to Oberelchingen, where the ornate monastery church of St. Peter and Paul awaits you. The stage takes you over the Kugelberg to the banks of the famous Danube.

    

    It continues

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  • Intermediate
    03:03
    7.39 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This short and flat stage promises some relaxation for your feet: From Ulm, you walk along the banks of the Danube Swabia to the Konrad-Adenauer Bridge. You cross the rushing Danube and now hike to the mouth of the Iller. This gives you the direction from now on and you will get to the place Illerbr

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  • Intermediate
    03:39
    8.48 mi
    2.3 mph
    525 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Meadows and forests characterize the 14th stage, which begins in Oberkirchberg. From there you follow the path past a former water tower into the gentle cultural landscape on the Iller. You pass Dorndorf, then change into the forest and then get to Wangen. In the second half it gets a bit hilly and the

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  • Difficult
    06:14
    14.5 mi
    2.3 mph
    875 ft
    775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Regglisweiler is the starting point of the 15th stage - at first you march south between forest and field until you turn off into the Kirchberger Holz after almost seven kilometers. It goes up a few meters in altitude and then follows a longer section through the extensive forest area between Iller and

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  • Intermediate
    03:24
    7.73 mi
    2.3 mph
    675 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Since this stage is only twelve and a half kilometers long, you can stay a little longer today. From Erolzheim, the 16th stage initially takes you up to the scenic Kapellenberg. After a look at the mountain chapel and in the distance, you hike in a southwesterly direction and cross the Rot. After the

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  • Difficult
    06:20
    14.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    900 ft
    800 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Almost 24 kilometers are on your hiking menu today - it starts in Ochsenhausen. From the monastery you follow the idyllic hydraulic engineering historical hiking trail along the Krummbach. Then you change to the banks of the Rottum, from which you let yourself be guided to the place of the same name

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  • Intermediate
    04:44
    10.7 mi
    2.3 mph
    925 ft
    825 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Haisterkirch is the starting point of the 18th stage, which takes you to a beautiful forest east of Bad Waldsee. Slightly up and down it goes south - the Neuwaldsee ruins are ideal for a short break. Past the Roßberg train station you continue hiking into the valley of the Wolfegger Ach, where you pass

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  • Intermediate
    03:03
    6.97 mi
    2.3 mph
    625 ft
    400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    From Wolfegg you first walk along the Rötenbacher Straße to the wonderfully located Loreto chapel, from where you can enjoy a wide panorama to the Alps. Then you cross the Wolfegger Ach, hike gently uphill and follow the 19th stage along the edge of the forest. Various rest areas are ideal for a break

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  • Difficult
    05:24
    12.3 mi
    2.3 mph
    675 ft
    1,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    After a night in Waldburg you start in a southwesterly direction and follow the 20th stage into a small forest. On a hill near Hargarten, a fantastic view awaits you, which extends to Lake Constance and the Alps in good weather. Then it goes down to Bodnegg and then you hike through a colorful mix of

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    21
  • Distance
    252 mi
  • Duration
    109:05 h
  • Elevation
    16,450 ft15,700 ft

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