Enjoy the Franconian nature and way of life. The Altmühltal Panorama Trail spoils you with sweeping views on your hike. Treat yourself to Franconian beer and explore the healing springs.
A hiking tour for explorers, connoisseurs, families, culture vultures and nature lovers
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
Your tour starts from the railway station in Treuchtlingen and heads south. Turn right into Bahnhofstraße and continue straight ahead into Bürgermeister-Döbler-Allee. Cross the bridge and pass the Altmühltherme thermal baths before turning left into Kästleinsmühlstraße.
By the way, if you want to end this hiking tour with a visit to the Altmühltherme thermal baths, you don't have to carry your swimming costume with you the whole way. You can hand them in at the thermal baths now, and it is also possible to hire them.
You pass the spa gardens and come to a right-angled turning. In front of you is the Nagelberg. Walk up the slope and then keep left until you reach the war cemetery.
The war cemetery is located on the western slope of the Nagelberg near Treuchtlingen. The view over the cemetery with the 21 metre high spire of the memorial extends far into the upper Altmühltal valley. Both a signposted road and a narrow path - the "Path of Reflection" - lead to the war cemetery. This is where 2,545 victims of the Second World War found their final resting place. Among them are not only soldiers. Women, children and victims of political, racial and religious persecution were also buried here. Most of the war dead buried in Treuchtlingen were victims of the fighting in this area in April 1945. Others died in the many air raids, especially the one on Treuchtlingen on 23 February 1945.
From the war cemetery, walk down towards the railway line and continue underneath it towards the village of Graben. Walk to the centre of the village, past the church and follow the signs on the right that point the way to the Fossa Carolina, the Karlsgraben.
One of the greatest technical cultural monuments of the early Middle Ages lies between the Altmühl and Rezat rivers. The Fossa Carolina, also known as Karlsgraben, was the first attempt to connect the Rhine, Main and Danube with a waterway. Even today, a 500 metre long stretch of water at the edge of the village of Graben and the adjoining earth embankments up to ten metres high bear witness to this attempt.
The village of Graben lies on the main European watershed. Here, the Rhine and Danube river systems come within a few kilometres of each other and are only separated by a slight rise. Emperor Charlemagne wanted to capitalise on this geographical proximity. In 793, he had a canal dug around 3,000 metres long to enable ships to sail to the south-east of his empire, where he was at war with the Avars.
Whether or for how long the canal was actually used is still unclear today. Since archaeological investigations began in 2012, there has been increasing evidence that it was not completely navigable, as previously assumed. Chroniclers reported that persistent rain and the marshy ground had become a problem during construction. So was the ambitious project ultimately cancelled or was the passage too complicated and the tolls for traders too high?
In any case, what can be seen of the Fossa Carolina at Graben today is reminiscent of one of the largest engineering and geological construction projects of the Middle Ages. It is probably the most important ground monument from Carolingian times in Franconia and is one of the "100 most beautiful geotopes in Bavaria", selected by the Bavarian State Office for the Environment.
You stroll along the tree-lined Karlsgraben and turn left into the open field. Now you climb gently up the slope to a small wood. Follow the edge of the wood to the hill and from there continue uphill to the top of the Bubenheimer Berg.
The elongated Bubenheimer Berg is also known as Hoher Stein. From the Vielsteine rest area, 476 metres above sea level, there is a wide view of the surrounding landscape.
The top of the Bubenheimer Berg also offers a glimpse into the history of the earth. When a meteorite struck around 30 kilometres away almost 15 million years ago, chunks of rock were hurled as far as here. The impact is known as the Ries event and left behind an almost circular, flat crater between the Swabian and Franconian Jura mountains, which is one of the best-preserved large impact craters on earth.
The giant ejection has left traces on the top of the Bubenheimer Berg in the form of so-called härtlings. Härtlings are formed when other rock that is less resistant to weathering is removed from around very resistant rock. The specimens at this location have formed from malm, mass limestone and dolomite clods and are up to several cubic metres in size.
Time for the descent! Head diagonally left down the slope, past the former "Altmühlgrund" restaurant, to Dorfstraße, then turn right. After crossing the Altmühl bridge, take the footpath over the railway crossing, under the road bridge and in Wettelsheim turn right into Wehrstraße. Walk past the "Goldenes Lamm" and "Hirschen" inns to the village stream.
On the other bank, walk round to the left along the stream. At the "Sonne" inn, turn right and follow Friedhofweg and Viersteinweg to the end of the settlement. On the first forest path, turn left and walk to the Wettelsheimer Keller.
Here you have the opportunity to enjoy a hearty snack in the beer garden, which was built in 1850, and the marvellous view of the Altmühltal valley. Speaking of enjoyment: beer and especially the palatable Märzen beer is the speciality of the Wettelsheimer Keller. It is still served from large, spiked wooden barrels that are stored deep in the mountain in huge, naturally cooled vaults.
Once you have fortified yourself, follow the forest path to the right until you reach the Naturfreundehaus. From there, follow the road slightly downhill and turn right between the houses until you reach the Treuchtlingen - Auernheim state road. Keep left on the other side of the road. The route leads up through the forest to the Treuchtlingen castle ruins dating back to the 9th century. You can get the key to visit the keep for a deposit at the spa and tourist information centre.
Treuchtlinger Str.26, 91757 Treuchtlingen OT Wettelsheim
Tel.: 09142/7740, wettelsheimer-keller.de
In the first half of the 12th century, a hilltop castle with a stone residential tower and several forecourts was built on a mountain spur to the west of the village of Treuchtlingen. The castle was probably founded by the local nobility, who had lived in a permanent stone house on the Altmühl since the 10th/11th century. However, it was not until 1340 that the Treuchtlingen lords succeeded in buying the Upper Castle free of all foreign rights. In the following decades, the Treuchtlingen knights reached the height of their power. They were the sole lords of the town, which had been elevated to a market town, with its two castles and the surrounding area.
The family died out in 1422. In the middle of the 15th century, the marshals of Pappenheim acquired the castles and the lordship. Their Treuchtlingen line was able to maintain its independence for a further 200 years before the town fell to the Margraviate of Ansbach. However, the Pappenheimers had already allowed the hilltop castle to fall into disrepair towards the end of the 15th century. Today, the exemplarily restored castle ruins are a worthwhile excursion destination with a fantastic view of the town of Treuchtlingen lying at its feet.
From the castle forecourt, a small forest path leads left down the slope to the road "Am Schlossberg". Go left downhill and past the Forsthaus cultural centre to the Altmühltal panorama trail. Continue left to the centre of Treuchtlingen. Turn right at the town hall and continue to the Altmühl. A short walk along the river takes you to the Altmühl thermal baths.
Do your feet, back or knees ache at the end of your walk? Do you feel like enjoying yourself and relaxing at the end of the day? The 18,000-year-old healing water in the Altmühltherme spa alleviates complaints related to the musculoskeletal system and has a vitalising effect. It gushes from the state-recognised, certified healing springs at a pleasantly warm temperature into the pools of the Altmühltherme and provides you with vital minerals and trace elements.
It's not far from the thermal baths back to the railway station. Simply walk along Bürgermeister-Döbler-Allee, cross the Altmühl bridge one last time and keep going straight ahead.