In the Altmühltal (Altmühl valley) Nature Park, a castle wall jags into the sky almost everywhere. We reveal what you should have seen and experienced on the left and right of Germany’s slowest river.
10x Experiences in the Altmühltal Nature Park
Summer Fun Boat Hiking
Whether for half a day or several days – beginners, families or even experienced paddlers can enjoy the cosy Altmühl. The boating route between Gunzenhausen and Dietfurt/Töging through the Altmühl Valley Nature Park measures just under 120 kilometres. Each part has its own charm, service along the route is provided.
Fantastic fossils in Solnhofen
150 million years ago, today’s Altmühl Valley was a subtropical island and lagoon landscape. Dinosaurs roamed the land, pterosaurs dominated the skies. When they died, their bodies sank to the bottom of the sea.
Today they are seen again as fossils. World-famous: the prehistoric bird “Archaeopteryx”, on display in the Solnhofen Museum. Visitors can go fossil hunting themselves in a hobby quarry.
museum-solnhofen (only in German)
Get a breath of city air in Eichstätt
The baroque, episcopal and university town with Celtic and Roman roots is the centre of the Altmühl Valley Nature Park. Many preserved historic buildings, spacious squares such as the baroque “Residenzplatz”, fountains, alleys and parks invite you to stroll around. Numerous museums and the prestigious Willibaldsburg Castle are well worth a visit.
eichstaett.de (only in German)
Feel history in Berching
The romantic little town of Berching lies directly on the Main-Danube Canal and close to the historic Ludwig-Danube-Main Canal. Its enclosed historic townscape is remarkable. This includes a 500-year-old defensive wall with thirteen towers and four gates that surrounds the village.
In the nearby Plankstetten Monastery you can take spiritual time out and/or enjoy organic food and drink from the monastery tavern!
Visit a Tyrannosaurus rex
On an adventure trail with over seventy life-size prehistoric animal replicas, visitors can stroll through the different geological eras. A museum exhibit presents fossils and original skeletons: the world’s only real skeleton of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex, the largest life-size pterosaur ever found and over a hundred fossilised small lizards and dinosaurs.
Cruising on the Altmühl and Danube
Enjoy the beauty of the Altmühl Valley Nature Park in comfort on board! Six modern cruise ships travel various routes. On the Altmühl and the Main-Danube Canal you will pass castles and romantic landscapes or on the Danube through the impressive Danube breakthrough to Weltenburg Monastery. The trips can be easily combined with a hike or a bike tour – in the Altmühl Valley, bicycles can be taken on the boats free of charge.
schiffahrt-kelheim.de (only in German)
Cave trip in the Schulerloch
The Schulerloch stalactite cave near Kelheim holds fascinating stalactite formations. The highlight is a water basin (cupstalagmite) that is probably unique in the world. You can visit the cave on a guided tour. The Schulerloch was inhabited by Neanderthals and Ice Age animals, finds from this period are on display in a museum. Concerts are held in the cave in summer.
schulerloch.de (only in German)
At the end of the first century AD, the Roman province of Raetia extended into the Altmühl-Jura region. The fortified imperial border extended north of the Danube. It is still recognisable today and runs through the Altmühl Valley Nature Park as the Unesco World Heritage Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes.
In Weissenburg, for example, you can go in search of Roman traces at the Bavarian Limes Information Centre, the Roman Museum, the Roman Baths and the Biriciana Fort.
museen-weissenburg.de (only in German)
Hike along the river
The Altmühl Valley Panorama Trail has been awarded the title “Quality Trail Hikable Germany” by the German Hiking Association. It leads from Gunzenhausen to Kelheim – two hundred kilometres in ten days! The trail is excellently signposted and offers good transport connections. But that’s not all: twenty quality-tested circular hiking trails branch off from the route and complement the Panorama Trail.
It is one of the most popular cycle paths in Germany: the Altmühl Valley Cycle Path. Bikers follow the quietly flowing river for about 160 kilometres through the Altmühl Valley Nature Park, from Gunzenhausen to Kelheim, and discover the beauty of the region – wild and romantic rock formations such as the Twelve Apostles near Solnhofen, impressive juniper heaths such as near Gungolding or green riverside and meadow landscapes.