The Swabian Alb: an enchanting hiking experience
The Swabian Alb in the south-west of Germany with its bizarre rock formations and gentle curves emerged from the Jurassic ocean millions of years ago. Today, it possesses a paradise for outdoor and hiking enthusiasts as its appearance boasts juniper heaths, woods, wide, lush green plateaus, hilltops and enchanting valleys and thus makes it one of Germany’s most impressive and diverse landscapes.
The Danube Valley. Photo: Alex Schnurer Fotografie
With a length of around 200 kilometres and a width of approximately 50 kilometres, the Swabian Alb in Baden-Württemberg offers enough space for extensive hiking opportunities. Here, on the many hiking trails, one can not only enjoy the magnificent landscape with its hills, mountain ridges, vast meadows, volcanic lakes, thermal springs, quaint historic towns and panoramic views of the distant Alps and the Black Forest, but can also go on a journey through time as fortresses and castles sit atop the rocks and hill-tops. Furthermore, names like ‘Hohenstaufen’ and ‘Hohenzollern’ remind us that great dynasties came from this part of the world. Furthermore, there are few places in Europe that can boast as many stalactite caves as the Swabian Alband those who explore the UNESCO Global Geopark Swabian Alb will discover a multitude of geological facts. The oldest art figures and music instruments ever created by mankind from the Ice Age nearly 40,000 years ago were found in the caves of the Swabian Alb.
Hikers on the Albsteig. Photo © Schwäbische Alb Tourismus, Julia Metzmann
Hiking of the highest quality is ensured here as a large number of well-signposted premium and quality hiking trails make the Swabian Alb accessible. The Albsteig (HW1), for example, is one of the ‘Top Trails of Germany’ and leads hikers across the 200-kilometre-long scarp on the Swabian Alb’s northern edge. It takes visitors on an impressive route through the Geopark, past the Urach waterfall and further cultural and geological highlights and on to the Lemberg – the Swabian Alb’s highest mountain. Or why not visit one of the five ‘DonauWellen’ premium hiking trails, which lead through the picturesque and hilly Danube landscape? Furthermore, the new GrenzgängerWeg is a 23-kilometre-long circular trail that tells many exciting stories of the life of the past and present at the Württemberg-Hohenzollern border. Near Meßstetten, the HochAlbPfade reveal spectacular views as well as surprises like the barefoot path; and these examples are only a small number of the region’s many hiking trails.
Lichtenstein Castle. Photo © Schwäbische Alb Tourismus, Ralph Lueger
After a day of hiking, around 80 suitable hotels are also at hiking enthusiasts’ disposal as the German Ramblers’ Association developed a quality label to ensure the best offerings for them. Whether long-distance or circular trails, day or half-day tours, the paths in the Swabian Alb are sure to bring visitors pristine nature, unforgettable views and interesting sights.
TOURIST BOARD Schwäbische Alb
D-72574 Bad Urach
+49 (0) 71 25 / 93 930 – 0
TEXT: NANE STEINHOFF | TOP PHOTO: SCHWÄBISCHE ALB TOURISMUS, ACHIM MENDE, 2007
Photo © Schwäbische Alb Tourismus, Achim Mende
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