The Altmühltal cycle path — fantastic nature & fairytale castles

Bike Touring Collection by
Altmühltalradweg

Along the Altmühltal cycle path, you will find unique rock formations that line the banks of the Altmühl, fairytale castles standing at dizzying heights on rugged cliffs, clear lakes and shallow river banks, and untouched nature that will make you dream.

The Altmühltal is one of Germany's most beautiful landscapes — and the Altmühltal cycle path takes you through the heart of it for 160 miles (254 kilometers) from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Kelheim. The mostly flat stretch of the popular cycle path meanders almost exclusively along the banks of the Altmühl and offers you some breathtaking natural spectacles such as the impressive rock formations of the Juraalb, which include the Twelve Apostles and the Burgstein rocks near Dollnstein.

The ride also has a lot to offer in terms of culture. The starting point at Rothenburg ob der Tauber is home to a world-famous medieval town center. On the way to your destination in Kelheim, you can also look forward to seeing countless castles and palaces, some of which you can visit.

Another great feature of this ride is the infrastructure as you go: You'll be awash with hotels, guesthouses, and campsites that offer bicycle-friendly accommodation. In summer, special buses with bicycle trailers are also used along the route. Otherwise, however, it is also possible to take bicycles with you in normal buses and by train, which makes traveling to and from the Altmühltal valley completely uncomplicated.

We have divided the route from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Kelheim into five roughly equal stages of approximately 30 miles (50 kilometers) each. If 160 miles (250 kilometers) and five days of cycling are not enough for you, you can also extend your ride by attaching a stage to the end and riding from Kelheim along the Danube to Regensburg. Or you can start right at the beginning of the ride in Wertheim. From there, you can cycle in two stages along the Tauber to Rothenburg, where the Altmühltal cycle path begins.

The Altmühltal cycle path is recommended in the brochure "Deutschland per Rad entdecken" by the ADFC (German Cyclist's Association).

On The Map

The stages of the Altmühltal cycle path

  • Intermediate
    03:23
    34.1 mi
    10.1 mph
    1,000 ft
    975 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a romantic medieval town, surrounded by the original landscape in the Tauber Valley. Here begins the Altmühltal cycle path, the first stage of which leads you from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Herrieden. You can travel to Rothenburg comfortably by train.After a short climb at the beginning, it goes largely downhill at one of the three sources of Altmühl over. From here on you drive along the river through beautiful nature far from roads and traffic.Half way around you come through the small town Colmberg. Here you can make a detour to the castle Colmberg, which towers high above the town. In the castle there is a hotel with restaurant, where you can stop and enjoy good Franconian cuisine.Freshly fortified, you cycle comfortably downhill to the finish in Herrieden. Here you can stay in one of the hotels, pensions or apartments. If you only want to enjoy this one stage, you can simply take the bike or bus to the train station in Ansbach, about ten kilometers away. From here you can leave by train.

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  • Intermediate
    03:36
    34.7 mi
    9.6 mph
    350 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you can look forward to a very nice and relaxed bike ride along the Altmühl. The distance of this stage is almost completely flat. Nevertheless, some highlights await you on the way.It starts in Herrieden southeast. After 16 kilometers you come through the small town Ornbau, which is located directly on the river. This little town not only looks beautiful, but also has a lot of history to tell. After all, one of the battles for Regensburg took place here during the Thirty Years' War.From there you drive directly next to the Altmühlzuleiter through beautiful nature. On the way you have a wonderful view of the watercourse, which brings you to the Altmühlsee, in which he flows.The lake is in a class of its own and the absolute highlight of this stage. The stretch along the shore is one of the most beautiful sections of the Altmühltal cycle path. Since the lake is located halfway, offers a rest at one of the many restaurants. Afterwards, continue along the Altmühl up to the finish line Treuchtlingen. Here you can either stay overnight or take the train home.

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  • Intermediate
    02:40
    26.8 mi
    10.0 mph
    850 ft
    950 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    After the first two stages were each over 50 kilometers long, you can recover today on the approximately ten kilometers shorter track a bit. In the immediate vicinity of the river you cycle through fresh forests, past green meadows and pass spectacular rock formations. Nature is simply breathtaking on this route.Right at the beginning of the tour, you will pass the Weidenkirche in Pappenheim. A natural, open church covered with green plants. This natural structure is a nice place to take a break.A few kilometers further on about halfway, you have from the bike path from an excellent view of the 12 Apostel, a rock formation, which can be seen on the opposite bank of the Altmühl.At Dollnstein you can experience again breathtaking rock formations, this time up close. Here you drive directly past the imposing dry slopes.Today's stage destination is Eichstätt, a small town with a train station. If you want to leave from here, you can do so comfortably by train. Apart from that, you will find all imaginable accommodations such as a campsite, a youth hostel and classic hotels, guesthouses and holiday apartments for overnight stays.

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  • Intermediate
    03:03
    27.7 mi
    9.1 mph
    700 ft
    775 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    From Eichstätt we continue along the Altmühl to Beilngries. Today's route of about 45 kilometers contains some small slopes. On the whole, it is quite relaxed in the shallow Altmühltal always along the shore. First, the Altmühl leads you to the southeast, but then makes a large arc and takes the path to the northeast. There is also the stage destination Beilngries.Shortly before the destination, you will pass a beautiful lake that invites you to rest and refresh. The water of the lake is beautifully clear and the view of the opposite wooded shore is beautiful.In Beilngries itself you have the opportunity to see the castle, which towers high above the city. In addition, the city enjoys a beautiful old town. In Beilngries you have countless accommodation options, including a campsite. Otherwise, you can leave from spring to autumn with the leisure bus, which has a bike trailer.

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  • Intermediate
    03:31
    28.7 mi
    8.2 mph
    425 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today is the last stage of the Altmühltal cycle path. She brings you from Beilngries to Kelheim. In addition to incredible scenery with beautiful hills and impressive rocks, you can look forward to some castles and castles that you can see from the bike path high on their mountains and rocks.The 46 kilometers of today's tour are mostly flat, mostly even slightly sloping. A few minimal uphill gradients provide a bit of action on the track.Arrived in Kelheim you can look forward to beautiful sights and good accommodation. You can easily leave by train from the hall on the Danube, which is six kilometers away, or you can take the leisure bus with bicycle trailer, which is available from spring to autumn.If you still want to continue cycling, you can extend the bike tour along the Danube to Regensburg.

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  • Intermediate
    03:05
    30.2 mi
    9.8 mph
    1,225 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If you really want to enjoy the Altmühltal cycle path, it is a good idea to start the multi-day bike tour from Wertheim. From here you can cycle in two stages on the Tauber Altmühl cycle path to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, where the starting point of the Altmühltal cycle path is.So today you set off on the first leg of this extension, which will take you from Wertheim to Bad Mergentheim. Wertheim is easily reached by train. From the station, head south. The almost 50-kilometer route contains some small gradients and goes towards the end slightly but continuously uphill.On the way you come through some beautiful places like Gamburg and Tauberbischofsheim, in which a small sightseeing tour definitely worthwhile.At the stage finish in Bad Mergentheim you can easily stay overnight and rest for the second leg of the extension the next day.

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  • Difficult
    03:19
    31.7 mi
    9.6 mph
    1,575 ft
    925 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today we head to the second stage of the Tauber Altmühl cycle path, which joins the Altmühltal cycle path in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It starts in Bad Mergentheim, the lowest point of the route. From now on, going up the next 51 kilometers continuously, which makes this tour even more demanding than the other tours.On the way you can enjoy the Tauber and pretty little villages, which are ideal for rest. One of the highlights along the cycle path is the late medieval Toppler Castle, which impresses with its tower-like construction.The destination of the stage is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is world famous for its well preserved medieval town center. Rothenburg has a very good infrastructure for tourists and therefore also many overnight accommodations.

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  • Intermediate
    02:28
    23.3 mi
    9.5 mph
    550 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    If the Altmühltal cycle path alone is not enough for you, you can extend the tour to Regensburg with this stage. The route is only about 37 kilometers long and thus a nice and relaxed end to this multi-day bike ride.First, drive from Kelheim a short distance along the Altmühl until it finally flows into the Danube. From here you cycle on the no less spectacular Danube Cycle Path. From the uferern bike path you have almost all the time a beautiful view of the river and the opposite landscape.For the necessary refreshment in between, provides an idyllic beach on the Danube, which also offers a wonderful place to rest.In the beautiful city of Regensburg, the tour ends in southern Germany then. From here you can easily leave with trains of local and long-distance traffic.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    237 mi
  • Duration
    25:04 h
  • Elevation
    6,700 ft

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