Breathtaking views, historic castles and picturesque half-timbered houses. Endless forests, steep cliffs, juniper meadows and peregrine falcons. And you're smack-bang in the middle of it all, with your bike in tow and ready to start a real challenge: 405 kilometers (251 miles) and almost 9,200 meters (30,000 feet) of elevation gain. Welcome to the Swabian Alb.
"Spätzle Cross", "Trans-Alb" or officially "Bike Crossing Schwäbische Alb"- there are many names for crossing the Swabian Alb from Aalen to Tuttlingen, a stage trip that is a real challenge even for bikers with serious Alpine experience. And while you might ask why you would opt for the lower mountain variant when the Alps are a short drive away, the fantastic views, diverse nature and culinary specialties will you make you glad you did. And that's before you enjoy the incredible, hard-earned descents.
"Bike Crossing Swabian Alb" is the official version of this ride which inspired us to build our own. The original is technically a relatively simple ride, however, choosing smoother paths over proper singletracks, which is why have added plenty of additional Highlights here and have exchanged many of the dirt tracks for singletrack. And while this means it might be more strenuous in parts, we guarantee it'll be more fun. If it does get a little much for you after some time on the trails, though, you can always revert to plan B: switch to the official route, which is well signposted throughout the length of this ride.
Just bear in mind: A trip through the Swabian Alb is always challenging. Constant ups and downs are typical for this low mountain range, so you'll need to be physically prepared. Your effort will be handsomely rewarded, however, as glorious views over the Albvorland are always a given. Thanks to the "Albtrauf", a unique sort of cliff-edge that skirts along the side of these routes, you'll always have a great view over the landscape.
If you want to start the rides in stages, a little planning is important. Book your accommodation in advance at each destination and make sure you have enough clothing, food and spare parts. In order to minimize your luggage, you can also send small "sweeping packages" with clothes to change in advance to wherever you'll be staying when you need them. This requires some effort, but those who have already had the pleasure of wearing fresh clothes after several days on the bike know that this is guaranteed to pay off. The best way to and from your arrival and departure point is by train. Both Aalen and Tuttlingen are well connected to the rail network.
The Spätzle Cross starts in Aalen, one of the largest cities in the Swabian Alb region. High on the northeastern edge of the low mountain range, Aalen is ideally suited as a starting point for a stage trip due to its top accessibility.The first stage shows you with almost 63 kilometers in length and over 1500 vertical meters directly, what is going on in the Swabian Alb so. The most important lesson of this tour: It is a constant ups and downs, which can sometimes be quite demanding. Fortunately, you always come up at some point and there in most cases a great view and the start to a wonderful descent waiting for you. Speaking of views. Since we have, so you get a good overview, a small tidbit built: On the Aalbäumle the 26 meter high observation tower offers a perfect overview of the surrounding area.We continue on a beautiful, high level with lush meadows and refreshing lake. Then it goes down to Heubach, where you can treat yourself to a little break after about 25 kilometers. Incidentally, Heubach is a city with a great deal of mountain bike sports. Bike the Rock hosts a bike festival every year, and everything from cross-country to downhill racing has taken place here.From Heubach out it gets really nasty steep. Clench your teeth, you've made it. Preliminary highlight of the rise is the pilgrimage chapel St. Bernhardus at 774 meters altitude, because the marked the start of a really nice single trail descent. Brake and enjoy - the next uphill is guaranteed. This leads you up to Knörzerhaus, a cozy mountain inn, which offers the second beautiful opportunity of this tour for a little rest. In a rustic ambience you can fortify yourself with local specialties such as spaetzle and Maultaschen.On to the final spurt - the nasty climbs are done. The last kilometers lead you short and crisp to the goal of today's stage to Geislingen. Here are really nice old half-timbered houses, but above all you have in the large district town no problems to find the right accommodation. From the campsite on a hostel or various hotels is really everything available.
From Geislingen it goes straight into the terrain. You can easily remember the following topography: Hoch follows down. And very often in a row. That means: many vertical meters and crisp driveways. But that also means great trails, fun runs and great views.For wide views of the foothills of the Alb, especially the "Albtrauf" is responsible. This term refers to the typical, steep drop of the terrain of the Swabian Alb to the northwest. This results in a great view, which you can enjoy today again and again. In between, great trails are waiting for you. Each one of them may be rather inconspicuous - but this results in a super varied tour that will not make you bored.Almost 65 kilometers and almost 2000 meters of altitude are in your road book today - that's a decent bite. There it is no shame, if this seems a bit too crisp. No problem, you can easily abbreviate: At kilometer 28, you can "cheat" a bit and cut off a 20-kilometer loop. However, you will not only miss a few trails (do not worry, there are plenty of others), but also the stop at the Italian with a panoramic view, which we have chosen for your strength.Whichever you decide, the stage destination is located in Guibingen, a tranquil community in the middle of the Swabian Alb. Here you can relax, because here there is not much that will distract you from it. If you want to stay here, we recommend that you look after the accommodation in advance, as the offer is manageable. After all, there is a campsite and various inns. Information can be found on the community webpage: gruibingen.de/gastronomie-2
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"Tour de belle vue" could also be called today's stage of our crossing of the Swabian Alb. Because today it is really nice. And today you can fully enjoy the viewpoints, because with just under 34 kilometers and 680 vertical meters, this tour is easy to master. In addition, there is a relatively flat route profile, so that today you flow rather relaxed than climbing one hill after the other. Thanks to the Albtrauf, the view is breathtaking in many places.The points of view could hardly be more different: from the paragliding launch site over a castle ruin to bizarre rock formations everything is there. The Swabian Alb is really a varied patch.The stage destination, a small village called Owen, you can see from afar today: The castle Teck offers a great view of the foothills of the Alb and the valley of Lauter. Your goal today Owen is located in the middle of the biosphere area Swabian Alb and here it is really contemplative. Accommodation can be found here especially in the form of private apartments. Information can be found here: owen.de/freizeit-kultur/ubernachtung.
This tour takes you on really nice trails up and down through the Swabian Alb. In the sense of having as much fun as possible we have allowed ourselves to install some extra trails. This results in one or the other loop, which does not necessarily seem plausible at first glance. At second glance (preferably the face of your bike buddy) but you will be able to recognize a broad grin, which immediately clears all open questions.In addition to these many beautiful trails today is a bit of industrial culture on the plan. One does not say in vain that travel forms. The first lesson will be in the context of timber framing. Both when passing through Bad Urach and at the finish in Pfullingen you will get a few examples of this construction technique presented. Take some time, especially the medieval marketplace of Bad Urach is worthwhile. Here you will also find enough opportunities to strengthen yourself.Lesson two covers the topic of mountain biking technique. Did you know that the world-famous brake manufacturer Magura comes from Bad Urach? Speaking of - before we slow you down too much: After the lunch break, a few fine trails and a really crisp climb wait for you, before you can enjoy the tranquility of the small town in Pfullingen exhausted and satisfied.
Each stage trip has its "queen stage". With these 83 kilometers from Pfullingen to Burladingen it is today: With an uphill, which has it all, it goes directly sporty. For this you climb up a long climb today, then the route leads along the Albtrauf and remains more or less at 800 meters altitude. A flowiger trail fun in the heart of the Swabian Alb.If you're on the move for so long, you can not help but take a break. That's why we've put some nice places into the route that are best for it. And they have nothing to do with beautiful views today - you'll get enough of them all day long anyway. Today we take you to two local bike spots that you can watch and of course run yourself. Maybe you're lucky and meet some locals who will show you what you can do here.It continues with fresh inspiration. Stop number three is waiting for you after just over half the distance - the perfect time for a lunch break. And what would be better on such a long bike tour than pasta? Maybe this: a whole pasta factory! At "Alb Gold", you can not only experience first-hand how delicious spaetzle and other types of noodles are made, but also directly toast them.The aim of this tour is the small town Burladingen in Zollernalbkreis. There is a train station and a few restaurants and accommodation for the royal night's sleep. Information can be found here: burladingen.de/,Lde/Startseite/Freizeit+_+Tourismus/Unterkuenfte.html
Trails, Trails, Trails! We had nothing else in mind when we laid the route from Burladingen to Balingen. And that's why the route leads you straight into the bike park Albstadt, which is located on the edge of the beautiful district Albstadt-Tailfingen and is operated by mountain bike downhill veteran Holger Blum. If you have enough power and enough time, you should definitely stay for a few runs. The trails here fall in any case in the category "spectacular".What follows could be called epic. The Swabian Alb are pulling out all the stops today to impress you. Be it with breathtaking views like the castle Hohenzollern or with extraordinary biotopes like those around the Irrenberg. Each single meter is worth twice and three times.The destination of the stage is the large district town of Balingen, which offers a great deal of gastronomy and accommodation in addition to the connection to the Deutsche Bahn network. Nestled in the surrounding mountains of the Swabian Alb, a great mix of charming nature and urban bustle awaits you here - ideal conditions to end the day in an entertaining way.
The grand finale of the Trans-Alb tour. You start in Balingen and take a bit of culture on the way by cycling along the impressive moated castle, the Zollernschloss. Then the first thing is to finish with urban flair, because now about 60 kilometers of mountain biking in the typical style of the Swabian Alb are waiting for you. And that means: It goes up and down - 1270 vertical meters will be credited to you at the end of the day. You pass a highlight in the truest sense of the word. Lviv near Gosheim is the highest mountain in the Alb.Enjoy again the beautiful trails and the many small hills with great views of the surrounding countryside, before it goes downhill again, down to Tuttlingen, the final destination of this tour. From here you can easily return to the starting point of the stage trip to Aalen with the Regional Express. If you want to refresh yourself beforehand, take a dip in the thermal bath, the "Tuttlinger Wasserwelt".