Auslauftulpe am Altmühlsee, Foto: Wegener, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland Hirteninsel im Altmuehlsee, Foto: Wegener, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland Aussichtpunkt Schnepfenbuck, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland Seezentrum Wald, Foto: Hub, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland Aussichtspunkt Schnepfenbuck, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland Aussichtspunkt „Monte Gero“, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland Altstadt Ornbau mit Brücke, Foto: Andreas Hub, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland AIZ Eingang in Muhr a.See, Foto: Hilde Bickel, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland

From the Altmühlsee to the cabbage village of Heglau

family friendly
All ages
Historically Relevant
Program & Tours

Off to the Franconian Lake District by train! This hike combines nature enjoyment, birdwatching and the Franconian way of life. A dip in the cool water will re-energise you. What are you waiting for?

8 h
29 km
Key facts of the tour
"The Lakeland" is the parade route for hikers in the Franconian Lake District. This tour highlights a particularly beautiful section of the multi-day hike, which is 146 kilometres long in total. Glistening waterscapes, shady woodlands and species-rich nature reserves alternate with flat plains and expansive views. The day tour for ambitious hikers is approx. 29 kilometres long.

The Altmühlsee lake has it all right at the start: bathing beaches, nature conservation zones and excursion boat trips. Along the way, you will visit places with historical flair such as Gunzenhausen and Ornbau. Look forward to enjoying nature, birdwatching and the Franconian way of life on the "Seenländer".
A hiking tour for explorers and nature lovers

Start and end station

Start station
Bahnhof Gunzenhausen
4 tour steps
29 km / 8 Stunden
End station
Bahnhof Muhr am See

Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.


Tour starts on Bahnhof Gunzenhausen


From the railway station in Gunzenhausen, first follow the signs towards Altmühlsee. The official signposting for the "Seenländer" begins shortly before the bridge over the main road.

Water and boats accompany you on the first section of this stage. You turn westwards and are soon at the outlet structure. A good place to pause for a moment before the long hike begins. With a depth of 4 to 5 metres, the structure is the deepest part of the Altmühlsee. From this vantage point, you have a beautiful view of the 25 metre high water fountain.

The route continues. Past the shepherd's island, "Der Seenländer" follows the western shore of the Altmühlsee to the Wald lake centre. The route now runs mostly on level ground through shady woodland, along the edge of the forest and through meadows and fields.

The few villages close to the route are hardly touched by the path. With the exception of Gothendorf. You cross the village and have the opportunity to take a look at the pretty village chapel. After Gothendorf, you reach the Altmühlsee-Zuleiter. But you don't follow it for long, because "Monte Gero" is waiting for you. Don't worry, you will be able to climb it without mountain boots.

Viewpoint "Monte Gero" on the Altmühltal-Zuleiter

This vantage point was created almost half a century ago from excavated material during the construction of the Altmühlsee reservoir, which began flooding in 1985. Today, the elevation is overgrown with grass and trees. The plateau offers a wide view of the Wiesmet, southern Germany's most important meadow breeding area, and of the small town of Ornbau. Incidentally, the nearby neighbourhood, the village of Gern, was the inspiration for the name "Monte Gero".

Aussichtspunkt „Monte Gero“, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland
Aussichtspunkt „Monte Gero“, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland
Aussichtspunkt „Monte Gero“, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland


It is a short descent from Monte Gero. Just a few minutes' walk away is the beach on the island directly on the Altmühlsee-Zuleiter with its beach house, boat hire and beer garden. But perhaps you can't wait to get there, as you have already seen your next destination, Ornbau, from above. Follow the signs in a northerly direction and cross the impressive five-arched Altmühl bridge to reach the small medieval town.

In Ornau, you can stop for refreshments in the beer garden on the island of Gern. (Am Anger, 91737 Ornbau, Tel.: 09826/655340)

Altmühl bridge

With its gates, towers and walls, Ornbau exudes plenty of historical charm. The town was first mentioned in a document in 838. The original fortifications of the medieval dwarf town date back to the 13th century. Bastions, gate castles, kennels and walls made of quarry stone and ashlar, which were built in the 15th century, can still be seen today.
The vaulted four-arched Altmühl Bridge is Ornbau's landmark and is two hundred years younger. From here, the mighty river front of the town fortifications, the Lower Gate and the Catholic parish church of St James can be clearly seen. The figure of St Nepomuk, a sculpture from 1736, is enthroned on the apex of the bridge. The shape of the old town buildings also dates mainly from the 18th century, although many of the buildings are even older at their core.

Altstadt Ornbau mit Brücke, Foto: Andreas Hub, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland


On the northern outskirts of Ornbau, "Der Seenländer" first takes you eastwards. It passes the Kappelwasen and Heglauer Wasen nature reserves. The surrounding species-rich wet meadows are adorned with countless flowering plants, especially in summer. For a view over this enchanting landscape, flowering meadows and bird breeding grounds, we recommend another tiny climb to the "Schnepfenbuck" viewpoint shortly after Hirschlach. From the "Schnepfenbuck" viewpoint, follow the signs in an easterly direction to Heglau.

Herb village Heglau

In this district of Merkendorf, everything revolves around cabbage: every year on the third Sunday in September, Heglau celebrates the cabbage festival with the Merkendorf Cabbage Queen, cabbage pralines and cabbage cheese. Those who book in advance can take part in a guided tour of the Merkendorfer Kraut GmbH farm. Now in its second generation, the family business grows white cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage and pointed cabbage on around two hectares. The Merkendorf white cabbage is processed fresh into sauerkraut.

However, the history of cabbage growing goes back many generations further. At the height of the 18th century, Merkendorf cabbage farmers not only supplied neighbouring markets. They were also suppliers to the court at the margrave's palace in Ansbach and the summer residence in Triesdorf. In the heyday of cabbage cultivation, they even travelled as far as today's Württemberg.

Heglau 8

Phone: 09826 1482


Have you picked up some fresh sauerkraut from the farm shop or a packet of cabbage noodles with Merkendorf red cabbage? Go ahead, your last stage is not that long. From Heglau, your route takes you southwards back to the Altmühlsee. You reach Muhr a.See through the Mönchswald forest. The town's landmark is its historic half-timbered gatehouse, which was first built in 1551 and renovated in 1752. But you are drawn to the AIZ and so you walk down Stadelner Straße to Schlossstraße, where you will find the Altmühlsee Information Centre on your right.

Altmühlsee Information Centre (AIZ)

Culture and nature come together at the AIZ in Muhr a.See. Since 2004, the Altmühlsee Festival has been held on the open-air stage every year from the end of June to the end of July. The audience can look forward to family theatre, modern interpretations of classical texts and plays that are critical of the times.

In the environmental centre of the Bavarian Bird Protection Association (LBV), a permanent multimedia exhibition provides information about the special habitat of the Altmühlsee. Many bird species, some of which are highly endangered, can be observed on the lake and the bird island. An overview of current sightings can be found on the Internet. The LBV offers guided tours of the bird island nature reserve on the Altmühlsee. (Tel. 09831 4820)

Schlossstraße 2-4
Muhr am See

Contact person: Municipality of Muhr am See
Phone: 09831 619560
Monday: 09:30am - 12:30pm
Tuesday: 09:30am - 12:30pm
Wednesday: 09:30am - 12:30pm
Thursday: 09:30am - 12:30pm
Friday: 09:30am - 12:30pm
AIZ Eingang in Muhr a.See, Foto: Hilde Bickel, Lizenz: TV Fränkisches Seenland
Vom Aussichtsturm Vogelinsel, Foto: TV Fränkisches Seenland

Tour ends on Bahnhof Muhr am See


Have you made any interesting ornithological observations around the Altmühlsee? Then you can help to deepen our knowledge of biodiversity. Simply send an e-mail to the LBV.

Is there still time before your train departs and you want to replenish your energy stores with Franconian specialities after the long hike? Then you are spoilt for choice: you have already passed the sun terrace of the country inn-café "Zur Jägerluck" (Tel. 09831 2833) on Stadelner Straße. Or would you prefer the inn "Zum Hirschen" (Tel: 09831 3940) in the extension of Bahnhofstraße?

To get to the railway station, head east from Schlossstraße back onto Kirchenstraße. At Rosenau, turn right into Bahnhofstraße and follow it to your departure point.

Tour map


Bahnhof Gunzenhausen

Bahnhofsplatz 3

91710 Gunzenhausen

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