Fascinating ride to masterpieces of nature and cultural historyThe Altmühl Valley Nature Park a touring paradise that presents unique landscapes and valuable evidence of early cultural history along fascinating driving routes.
With Kelheim we experience a brilliant start. Majestically rising on a rocky ridge above the confluence of the Main-Danube Canal with the Danube is the Befreiungshalle, a massive circular building erected to commemorate the wars of liberation from 1813 to 1815. Below, excursion boats bustle about, taking passengers through the Danube breakthrough to Weltenburg Monastery. From Kelheim, our tour follows the Altmühl, which is initially contained in the Main-Danube Canal. The waterway stretches broadly, surrounded on both sides by green mountain slopes and in between the beautiful country road with its gentle curves.
Driving pleasure is combined with a feast for the eyes, because there is no escaping the sights on this route. There is the wooden bridge in Essing, a static masterpiece that nevertheless blends harmoniously into the landscape. Or Prunn Castle, one of the landmarks of the Altmühl Valley. Impressive, how the medieval castle rises far above us on the steep limestone cliff. We head for it on a narrow serpentine road that leads out of the valley to the highest point of the steep slope. What a masterful view of the castle from above. The valley deep below us!
Riedenburg, Dietfurt, Beilngries, Kinding, Kipfenberg and Eichstätt, all these highlights are located on the further route in the Altmühl valley. For those who like it quiet in between and want to swing through a contemplative green landscape, a detour to the rather lonely Anlautertal is just right. We ride along a country road in gentle curves, passing through quiet villages and following a section of the German Limes Road.
The tour section through the Wellheim dry valley, created by the Urdonau river, is also very charming: From Dollnstein it goes to Wellheim. Defiant and spectacular, the castle ruins watch over the village on a towering rock spur. On a wonderfully winding mountain road, several tunnels have been cut into the rock below the castle, in between masterful serpentines.
On the wide heights of the Jura landscape we then enjoy a sweeping ride over Mörnsheim back into the Altmühltal, which stretches as far as Pappenheim particularly enchanting and atmospheric gives. The country road runs through the valley in wide loops, a gentle floodplain landscape surrounds the Altmühl, behind it the valley slopes with the southern-looking juniper heaths, from which the characteristic white Jura limestone rocks rise up. Particularly impressive is the rock formation "Twelve Apostles" near Solnhofen, which is known for its fossil-rich quarries. And finally Pappenheim, this picturesque old town with its exposed castle situated in a loop of the Altmühl river.
We experience the Swabian touch in the bright, friendly small towns Monheim and Wemding. Surrounded by fields and meadows, the impressive pilgrimage church of Maria Brünnlein rises up near Wemding. The ride continues through the pleasantly quiet landscape in the southern foothills of the Hahnenkamm mountain range. On the last stage we swing towards Treuchtlingen and Weissenburg i.Bay. On the way another highlight awaits us, the Karlsgraben. Today a small water idyll, it was one of the most important engineering achievements of the early Middle Ages under Charlemagne, as the ditch was intended to connect the Swabian Rezat with the Altmühl and was thus a precursor of the Main-Danube Canal.