In the middle of the massive limestone plate of the Franconian Jura, the Altmühl has dug its way through a deep valley over the millennia. On both sides of the river, the slopes rise up and rugged rocks throne high above the valley. The Altmühltal Panoramaweg leads you from the Altmühl lake at the edge of the Franconian Lake District through the picturesque river valley as you accompany the Altmühl on its long journey to the Danube. You will climb the wooded slopes, explore fossil-rich quarries, discover Stone Age caves, visit picturesque towns and impressive castle ruins. And, above all, you will be thrilled by the countless vantage points high above the valley, which offer you deep insights into the picturesque landscape.
Over 133 miles (215 kilometers) long, you'll hike the Altmühltal Panoramaweg in ten daily stages from Gunzenhausen at the Altmühlsee along the course of the Altmühl to Kelheim at the Danube. As you go, you'll cross the Altmühl Valley Nature Park, Bavaria's largest nature park. The signposted long-distance hiking trail leads you through varied landscapes of meadows, juniper heath and dense forests on field paths, hiking trails and also on to some narrow climbs.
Some stages are considerably longer than 12 miles (20 kilometers) and are therefore aimed primarily at hikers with great endurance and plenty of experience. However, as there are many cozy villages and towns along the way, you can easily divide the long stages into two or more days. In addition, you can also reach all the stage towns easily by bus or train. So you can put together your personal long-distance hike from your favorite sections of the Altmühltal Panorama Trail or complete individual stages as a day Tour. All timetables for buses and trains in the Altmühltal can be found at bayern-fahrplan.de.
Whether you hike all ten stages from the Altmühl lake to the Danube or just want to enjoy individual sections, the Altmühl valley with its picturesque nature will always fascinate you.
In Gunzenhausen, south of the sprawling Altmühlsee, your hike begins through the Altmühltal. From the train station you follow the path through the historic old town and soon a wide landscape spreads before you. In its middle course, the Altmühl meanders as a small meadow river through an open hilly landscape - only a few kilometers further downstream you will find the dramatic valley slopes and rock formations.So, on this stage, you'll be strolling on barely traveled roads, quiet country lanes and beautiful hiking trails across the rolling hills of the Franconian Lake District. In the summer, endless oysters of rapeseed blooms bloom and exude their unmistakable fragrance.After a while, you can already see a prominent ridge rising in the distance above the fields. These are the first foothills of the Franconian Jura Plate, which is traversed by the Altmühl on its journey to the Danube. Your goal today is Spielberg. The village and the castle of the same name lie directly at the transition to the Franconian Jura.Arrival: From Munich, Nuremberg or Würzburg by train to Treuchtlingen. There change to the regional train until the start of the stage Gunzenhausen.Departure: Bus 646 directly from Spielburg to the starting point Gunzenhausen. Here you have again connection to the regional train. Note that the bus only runs from Monday to Saturday.
Spielberg, starting point of the second stage, is located directly on the edge of the Franconian Jura plateau. As a result, it will slowly become mountainous from today. Right at the beginning, a gentle climb awaits you on a wooded ridge. You follow the course of the ridge to the Yellow Mountain. It is a distinctive and unwooded hilltop. From the dry meadows on the Yellow Mountain, you therefore have a fantastic view of the hills below you.If you are satisfied with the panorama, follow the signposted Altmühltal Panoramaweg further south. The trail runs along the edge of the forest and you can enjoy the beautiful view over an open field landscape. After a small section of forest you reach the community of Wolfsbronn, where you can take a break in an inn.Shortly after, a unique nature experience awaits you. In the middle of the forest you meet the stone gully. On a stone wall almost one meter high and mossy overgrown, a watercourse in a gutter whizzes down into the valley. The amazing thing about it: the stone gutter was created without any human intervention. The very calcareous water leaves every year tiny calcifications and so the wall grew over centuries to its present size.On your way you walk through quiet forests and with beautiful views along hilly meadows. Arriving at the stage destination Treuchtlingen, you will also meet again the Altmühl, which runs peacefully through the valley here.If the stage is over 30 kilometers too long for you, then you can divide it into two days. A good stopover is Auernheim, which you pass after about 20 kilometers.Arrival: Regional train from Munich, Nuremberg or Würzburg to Treuchtlingen. Here you change to the regional train to Gunzenhausen. From there, from Monday to Saturday, the bus line 649 to the starting point Spielberg.Departure: The Treuchtlingen station offers rail connections to the starting point Gunzenhausen as well as to Munich, Ingolstadt, Würzburg and Nuremberg.
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Treuchtlingen is located right at the beginning of the Altmühltal and so you can look forward to the third stage on the beautiful landscape. First, it goes over the open meadow landscape on the valley floor, before you ascend steeply at Dietfurt at the valley slope.High above the valley, you hike on forest trails and can always throw views down to the Altmühl between the trees. Soon you will see a striking castle on the riverbank: Pappenheim Castle.Here, the trail leads you down to the castle and the town of the same name. Luckily today's 16km stage is not that long, so you have plenty of time to explore the castle ruins and castle museum. In addition, there are various guest houses in Pappenheim, which are perfect for a midday rest.Then it goes back up the valley slope and with great views to the stage destination Solnhofen.Arrival: Treuchtlingen can be reached directly by regional train from Nuremberg, Ingolstadt and Munich.Departure: Solnhofen has its own train station. From there the regional train will take you back to the starting point Treuchtlingen or on to Nuremberg, Ingolstadt and Munich.
On the fourth stage of the Altmühltal panorama path, the long-distance hiking trail lives up to its name: on the way between Solnhofen and Dollnstein, you will be treated to innumerable views of the romantic valley.Right at the beginning one of the biggest highlights of the whole hike awaits you. Immediately after Solnhofen the path leads along the Twelve Apostles. In a wide bend in the river twelve gigantic, white limestone cliffs rise from the green slope and appear as dumb guardians of the Altmühltal - a sublime sight.After crossing the river near Eßlingen, you walk along a quarry and over an impressive ridge. On the other side, in the narrow Gailach valley, the tranquil Mörnsheim awaits you with various guesthouses and an exciting castle ruin.Visible, it goes over another ridge, before you reach Altendorf again the Altmühltal. Here, the trail continues along the valley slope to the stage destination Dollnstein.Arrival: Solnhofen is located directly on the railway line of the Altmühlbahn and is approached directly from Munich, Nuremberg and Ingolstadt.Departure: Also in Dollnstein stops the Altmühbahn and brings you either back to the starting point Solnhofen or continues to Munich, Nuremberg and Ingolstadt.
The fifth stage of the long-distance hiking trail follows some picturesque bends of the Altmühltal and leads you to further geological highlights. Just a few meters from the starting point Dollnstein you can admire rugged dry slopes. From here you hike along the Altmühl along beautiful river meadows.Slowly the path climbs and leads you on picturesque forest paths through the steep valley slope. In many places there are viewpoints where you can enjoy the view of the narrow Altmühltal. Only at Obereichstätt the signposted path leaves the valley and leads you up to an old quarry. Countless groundbreaking fossils have been discovered over time in this limestone pit. Therefore, it was expanded after its closure to a visitor quarry. You can go here on your own - and with borrowed tools - on fossil search. With a little luck, you may even find petrified ammonites or trilobites that swam through the Jurassic millions of years ago.After your visit to the quarry you walk on the Eichstätter Höhenweg with a marvelous view to the stage destination Eichstätt. Once there, it's worth taking a stroll through the city and a visit to the castle.Getting there: From Nuremberg, Munich and Ingolstadt the regional train Altmühlbahn goes directly to Dollnstein.Departure: From the train station Eichstätt Stadt the Bavarian regional train will take you to Eichstätt Bahnhof, where you can change to the regional train to Dollnstein, Munich, Ingolstadt and Nuremberg.
The sixth stage of the Altmühltal Panoramaweg begins in picturesque Eichstätt. From here it goes uphill over a sprawling high plateau on the edge of the Altmühltal. Soon, the trail leads back down into the valley and you walk along the edge of the forest above the river.The trail eventually branches off the valley and after you have strolled through a wide juniper heath, you enter a dense forest. First it goes steeply uphill and then gently up and down through the forest. After a while, the forest opens onto an open field landscape and the path leads you down to Rieshofen, which lies in a flat, sweeping valley bend. The rustic Gasthof Bauer invites you to an extensive break with hearty home cooking.With fresh energy, you wander along the river and then ascend to the Gungoldinger Heide. The nature reserve is today one of the largest juniper heaths in the Altmühltal. In the past, such heathland covered the wide river plains and highlands around the valley.From the heath, the trail leads you down the river and up to the Arnsberger Leite, one of the most beautiful rock formations in the Altmühltal. The view from the rocks down into the valley is simply terrific. After another river crossing you finally reach the stage destination Kipfenberg.With a length of 30 kilometers, the sixth stage is one of the longest tours in the Altmühltal panorama path. If the trail is too long for you, you can divide it into two days and plan an overnight stay in one of the villages along the route.Arrival: Take the regional train from Munich, Nuremberg or Ingolstadt to Eichstätt Bahnhof. Here you change to the Bavarian regional train BRB, which brings you to the starting point Eichstätt Stadt.Departure: The bus line 9232 brings you back to the station Eichstätt Stadt, where you also have connection to the Bavarian regional train BRB.
The seventh stage of the Altmühltal panorama trail runs through the narrowest and rockiest part of the Altmühltal. From Kipfenberg, the trail meanders first over a wooded ridge. Especially on hot summer days the trees provide cool shade and in winter the unique silence of the sleeping forest enchants you.After a few kilometers, it goes downhill again and after passing under the A9 motorway you reach the cozy town of Kinding with its various guest houses and restaurants. After a first, short break, the path leads you once across the valley and up to the Kindinger Klause. It is a rock canopy under which Stone Age people sought protection. On narrow forest paths, you hike on to another geological highlight: the Felsentor at Emmendorf. Around the Felsentor you will also find more exciting caves in the valley slopes.Afterwards it goes down into the valley. A wide meadow landscape opens in front of you and you walk directly along the river to the Kratzmühlsee, which is perfect for a swimming stop. In addition, the restaurant on the shore invites you to take a break. The last section of the day leads you up the valley slope and with a beautiful view to the stage destination Beilngries.Getting there: The best way to get from Munich, Nuremberg or Ingolstadt to Eichstätt train station is to change to the Bavarian regional train BRB, which will take you to Eichstätt Stadt train station. Here you take the bus line 9232 to the starting point Kipfenberg. Further bus connections can be found at bayern-fahrplan.de.Departure: From Beilngries the bus 9232 will take you back to the starting point Kipfenberg. If you want to end your tour instead, you can take the bus from the central bus station directly to Ingolstadt and change trains here.
The eighth stage, with its length of twelve kilometers, is a real pleasure trip. From Beilngries you climb comfortably up to Arzberg and enjoy already beautiful views of the city and the Main-Danube Canal.The Arzberg is a broad mountain ridge, which is surrounded in the north by the Main-Danube Canal and in the south by the Altmühl. So you have on the trail always nice views of the canal and sometimes on the river. The special highlight of today's tour is the abandoned quarry Köttingwörth. Here you can admire the different rock strata of the Franconian Jura Platter, as at hardly any other point in the Altmühltal. The quarry is accessible at all times, you should just stay away from the crumbling demolition edges.From the quarry, you hike down from the Arzberg down to the Altmühltal and follow the river to the stage destination Dietfurt, where the Altmühl flows into the Main-Danube Canal. From now on, the canal and the river continue their journey to the Danube.How to get there: The ZOB Beilngries is served by numerous bus lines from train stations in neighboring towns. The best way to find your favorite connection is at bayern-fahrplan.de. One of the fastest connections is the regional bus 9226, which brings you from Ingolstadt to the starting point.Departure: From Dietfurt the bus line 515 will take you back to the starting point. Alternatively the bus 515 will take you to Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz or the bus 547 to Parsberg, where you can change to the train.
Even though the course of the Altmühl and Main-Danube Canal has been straightened out in the course of time, the landscape on the ninth stage is no less impressive. From the starting point Dietfurt, the watercourse winds through a narrow valley with towering valley slopes.First you walk on beautiful river meadows directly along the shore. Soon the trail leads you steeply through a forest uphill and on to the lookout point on Rosskopf. From here you have a fantastic view of the picturesque valley and the meadow-lined canal.After a short dive down into the valley the Altmühltal Panoramaweg runs uphill again to the contemplative Obereggersberg. The visit is worth twice: Firstly, the castle invites you with its extensive park and the cozy café-restaurant for a long break and on the other the Kirchberg awaits you with a romantic church ruins and an impressive view of the valley.In a wide loop the path leads you down into the valley and just above the canal to Röthen. On a bridge, it goes to the other shore and steeply up to the Devil's Rock. The jagged rock rewards you for your ascent with a dramatic view of the valley below you. In lofty heights it goes to the stage destination Riedenburg.Getting there: From the Neumarkt train station in the Upper Palatinate, which is served by the S-Bahn from Nuremberg, the regional bus 515 will take you to the start of the stage. Alternatively, there are also various bus services from Ingolstadt train station.Departure: From Riedenburg the bus 6022 will take you back to the starting point Dietfurt. Alternatively, the regional bus 9221 brings you to Ingolstadt, where you can change to the train.
On the tenth day of your hike, the last stage is on the Altmühltal Panoramaweg. Finally, you will be spoiled again with stunning views, impressive rocks, idyllic villages and a trip to the Danube Valley.In Riedenburg begins the tenth stage and the route takes you along a narrow trail along the steep valley slope. It goes up to the nature reserve Klamm, a rocky summit ridge, which is characterized by exciting stretches of road and beautiful views.Then it goes steeply downhill into the valley and on the other bank right back up to the castle Prunn. The well-preserved castle stands on a steep limestone cliff and can be visited. After crossing a wooded ridge, you descend into the valley and cross the Tatzelwurm, the second longest wooden bridge in Europe, the Main-Danube Canal.Soon, the trail branches off the valley and leads you through a dense forest to the neighboring Danube valley. On your way to the stage goal you wander through the Weltenburger Enge, the dramatic breakthrough of the Danube through the Franconian Jura plateau.In Kelheim, the end of the Altmühltal Panoramaweg, Altmühl and the Main-Danube Canal finally join the Danube together. Here you can enjoy the view of the flowing masses of water and mentally accompany them on their long journey to the Black Sea.Arrival: From Ingolstadt ZOB and from the station Saal there are direct bus connections to the starting point Riedenburg. The exact bus connections can be found at bayern-fahrplan.de.Departure: From Kelheim the bus 6022 will take you to the starting point Reidenburg. Alternatively, there are several bus connections to the train station Saal, where you have access to the railway network.