Albtäler Cycle Tour — in 5 stages through the most beautiful valleys of the Swabian Alb
Fotograf Thomas Rathay
A change of scenery is guaranteed on the Alb valleys cycle tour: 186 kilometres of cycling through eight different valleys of the Swabian Alb, crossing countless rivers and streams, passing bizarre rock landscapes, mysterious caves, idyllic juniper heaths, hot springs and mammoth tracks. You will ride through original Alb villages and quaint little towns with many cosy places to stop for refreshments and surprising sights. Other highlights await you along the way with historic castles, exciting open-air museums and breathtaking natural monuments. And all this on an ADFC quality four-star cycle route — you shouldn't miss it.
The Albtäler cycle tour is divided into five stages. The starting and finishing point of the varied round tour is the small town of Amstetten. With a total of around 1,200 metres of altitude difference, the route is a sporting challenge, but can be mastered by everyone, as some stages are relatively short. If you're looking for more kilometres at a time, there's nothing wrong with combining a few and riding the tour in three days.
In the stage finishes of the four-star quality route, there is a wide range of comfortable accommodation where you can relax and rest after the tours. In many places, you'll even find Bett+Bike accommodations that the ADFC has found to be particularly cyclist-friendly. Along the way there are several bike service stations, bike rental centres (including e-bikes) and even bookable luggage transport from place to place.
The Amstetten starting point is well connected via the A8 and free parking is available at the station. Also the journey by train is very easy. From Stuttgart or Ulm there are regular and good connections.
The first stage on the Albtäler Radweg starts at the train station of the tranquil village of Amstetten, from where you cycle straight into the idyllic Lonetal. The small river rises in the nearby Urspring. You follow its course downstream to the bizarre foal house rock. From there it goes uphill for a short time into the Danube plain and on to the stage destination Langenau.At 28 kilometers, this stage is relatively short, leaving enough time to stop here and there and enjoy the beautiful nature and many attractions along the way. So worth a visit to the "spring pot" of the Lone, from the turquoise and crystal clear spring water bubbles. In Westerstetten on Sundays and public holidays, a visit to the restored station building invites you to a cozy retreat.In Breitingen, the interesting mill museum awaits you and after you have crossed the most beautiful part of the Lonetal, the bizarre rock formation and the "Fohlenhaus" cave will captivate you. At the refuge with barbecue area offers a cozy rest.Shortly before the stage goal awaits you a short but quite challenging climb. Once at the top, it's only downhill to the finish. As soon as you exit the small grove, the great view of the vast Danube valley and Langenau opens up. In the cozy city you will find accommodation for every taste and if you still have time and desire, you can end the day with an entertaining cultural program, for example the local history museum, the museum for pre- and early history or the evening program of the well-known Pfleghofsaals visit.
The second stage of the Albtäler Radtour is all about water, caves and teddy bears. And in exactly this order.You start in Langenau and, as soon as you leave the city, you get to the flat Danube river. This huge wetland provides large parts of Baden-Württemberg with drinking water - for you, it is a joyful pleasure to cycle through the protected nature in many places. If you would like to know more about the drinking water supply, it is worth stopping in the "Erlebniswelt Grundwasser" in the pumping station of the Langenau waterworks. When you leave Langenau, you will see the waterworks after about two kilometers on the left side of the bike path - a short detour that is worthwhile.After about 15 kilometers, the hearty beer garden invites you to take a leisurely rest in the small village of Lindenau in front of the backdrop of the monastery, before you make your way to the Valley of the Caves. Here you will find impressive rock formations and small caves. One of the best known is the Vogelherd cave. Here the mammoth hunters sought refuge during the Ice Age and left behind some of humanity's oldest works of art. Among other things, you can look at the "lion man", a small sculpture depicting a human with the head and limbs of a cave lion.On quiet roads you cycle now through the Lone Valley, into the valley of the hurdle. Here, too, the cave theme is present everywhere and the cave experience world is another reason for a long break, because in the cave, the adventure museum and a large adventure playground, which is of course especially interesting for children, there is plenty to discover.Towards the end of the tour it's over with all the cave bustle. Now it will be cuddly. Because from Giengen an der Brenz comes no one less than the world-famous Steiff Teddy Bear. Here is the very interesting Steiff Museum and the birthplace of Margarete Steiff, which you can visit as part of a guided tour. And of course, there are not only furry bears here, but also cozy accommodations - an all-round cuddly stage goal that awaits you here.
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On the third stage of the Albtäler cycle tour you will climb the Alb climb, where you can expect some not insignificant climbs. Here you can either pedal hard, or just push a piece. You will be rewarded with views of the imposing Alb plateau, prehistoric cliff formations and the flora and fauna of an idyllic nature reserve.From Giengen you start to Brenztal. As soon as you leave behind the Brenz area, which is surrounded by residential areas and industry, you will reach the Eselsburger Tal, where you will find complete idyll and tranquility. Framed by juniper heathen, the Stone Virgins tower into the sky and look more and more impressive the closer you get to them.Until this point, the stage is still lambfromm. But now you leave the valley and go to the Alb climb. Go easy on it and if it feels better, just push it. So you have more time to enjoy the beautiful scenery and discover the many details that testify that the area was flooded millions of years ago by the sea. At the Heldenfinger Kliff you can treat yourself to a little breather and strengthen yourself on the nice rest area.It continues: Through beautiful woods, past castle ruins and through cozy villages you drive to the Roggental, in which the Eybquelle, the "Upper Rye Mill" and the "Mordloch" are beautiful opportunities for a little rest before you on the last part The tour will take you to the beautiful nature reserve Eybtal. Here live numerous, rare animal and plant species, some of which are on the red list of endangered species. Surely you can discover some of them on the way and watch them for a while.Out of the Roggental you finally reach the stage destination Geislingen. If you still have desire and strength, worth a short trip to ruin Helfenstein, from which you can enjoy a great view of the city and the valleys around it.
On day four on the Alb Valley bike tour you deserve a bit of relaxation. Today is a short drive of 22 kilometers, so that there is enough time to recover a little. Opportunities for this are on the way in a double pack: In Bad Überkingen and in Bad Ditzenbach each invite thermal baths for a healthy and relaxing break, which may take a little longer.You start from Geislingen on the railway track bike path of the former "Täleskätter" -Bahn, framed by typical juniper heaths, which accompany you to the next valley, the Upper Filstal. It does not take you four kilometers to get to the thermal bath in Bad Überkingen for an extensive breather. You are spoiled for choice: Would you like to relax now or prefer to do a few more kilometers and wait until the Vinzenz Therme in Bad Ditzenbach? If you can not decide, just try them both out.The tour continues along the Fils, with a steady uphill ride. On the way you can relax in the Capuchin Monastery and the pilgrimage church Ave Maria to contemplative silence or a little later enjoy the view of the beautiful heathland on the Nordalb before you reach Bad Ditzenbach. After the visit to the spa, there are still eight kilometers remaining, until you roll into the charming resort of Wiesensteig, which represents the idyllic stage destination of this tour and perfectly fits the day's motto "peace and relaxation".
On the fifth stage of the Albtäler cycle tour, it goes up high: At almost 850 meters altitude you cycle today. Of course that requires a bit of you, but the slopes are feasible and many beautiful sights on the edge of the track always provide for small breather. At the very end, the reward is only downhill to the starting point of the round trip in Amstetten.You start in Wiesensteig and continue cycling up the Upper Filstal. It goes up again on the plateaus of the Alb - at the top there's even a "summit cross" and wonderful views. The highest point you have done, now you roll a bit until you reach the mountain village Westerheim, which invites you to stop.About really nice bike paths you drive on to Laichingen. Here it is worth stopping in the 55 meter deep Laichinger Tiefenhöhle, to which also a museum and a restaurant are connected. If you're in the mood for dizzying heights, the next door climbing forest is just the thing for you.A rather culinary highlight is waiting for you in Nellingen. Here at the Gasthof Krone the Alb whiskey is made, which is said to be especially rare and delicious. How about a small tasting? From here it is not far to the starting point of the tour in Amstetten and it is almost only downhill, so you can treat yourself to this culinary break quietly. If you prefer to wait until the very end, that is not a problem: in the old station building in Amstetten is a restaurant that is perfect for a hearty meal after five days on the beautiful Albtäler bike ride.